Africa (Blu-ray) (2013)
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Interviews-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Just when you thought it must be time for Sir David Attenborough to give the game away, back he comes with a new and stunningly beautiful television series. Obviously, the man himself is not as personally involved in the filming as he used to be, however he certainly appears in Africa itself and provides the voiceover. It would be easy to assume that you had seen all of this before in every other natural history documentary which spends time filming lions, cheetahs, hippos and other African animals. If you did assume that you would be wrong. This series is a stunning achievement because it captures things in a different way or things which have not been shown before. For example, instead of normal lion behaviours we are presented with the treat of seeing small lizards trying to catch flies climbing on lions as they sleep. We see hippo's surfing, chimps using tools to get honey, fish jumping to escape predators and much more besides.
The series consists of 6 episodes each of which runs just less than an hour. They include the main episode plus a short making of segment at the end of each episode which is a great addition showing the challenges involved in getting some of the amazing footage. The episodes are spread across three Blu-ray discs. The six episodes are
Despite knowing the work of the BBC Natural History Department very well and being completely across how amazing their camera work is, this show is still a revelation technically. The detail and close up on display here is quite amazing. The colours and the action jumps off the screen, obviously assisted by the definition of Blu-ray. The amazing scenes follow one another in a seemingly endless array of dazzlingly different insights into Africa. There are also quite a lot of shots from the sky and space giving different views of the continent.
This is natural history television of the absolute highest quality.
The video quality is nearly excellent, only really let down by being 1080i.
The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080i HD encoded using the AVC codec.
The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout except during motion when some blur due to the interlaced encoding was on display. Shadow detail was excellent throughout. The detail on display during the close up sequences was amazing.
The colour is excellent throughout with the colourful animals, sunsets, jungles and various other landscapes looking spectacular on this transfer.
Besides the motion blur mentioned above there are no other artefacts.
There are subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read.
The audio quality is excellent.
These discs contain an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1. This is a great audio track for a television show, enveloping and with lots of specific directional effects. It doesn't hit the heights of major blockbuster movies but is excellent considering the source.
Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand throughout.
The score is written by Sarah Class and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It suits the grandeur of the nature on display very well and sounds great on this audio transfer.
The surround speakers provided lots of atmosphere and some specific directional effects in certain scenes. They were well used and added to the atmosphere of the show rather than just being done to show off the back speakers.
The subwoofer added bass to the music especially during dramatic sequences.
|Surround Channel Use|
A good selection of extras are included on the third Blu-ray disc.
The menu includes scenes and music.
A number of interviews are included which cover the approach for the series, highlights from the series for each of the crew members interviewed, anecdotes, challenges and surprises. The interviews are
An amusing set of outtakes from filming including a great sequence where a lioness steals one of their cameras.
Two extra scenes which were shot but then not included. Both are well worth watching. They are
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
According to Blu-ray.com (who I would expect to be correct) the US issue of this series is in 1080p. The extras are the same. I would expect the UK version to be the same as ours so this makes the Region A release probably the best there is. Blu-ray.com also states that the US issue works in Region B players but caveat emptor on that one.
The video quality is nearly excellent.
The audio quality is excellent.The extras are worthwhile and reasonably substantial.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|