Particle Fever (2013)
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Short Film-Particle Fever Shorts
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Mark Levinson|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English (Burned In)||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I would be surprised if, on paper, there would be a less compelling subject for a thrilling documentary than the recent history of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). After all, the science being explored by the eggheads at CERN in Switzerland is so beyond the understanding of mere mortals as to be inexplicable. It is therefore a tribute to the production team and also the scientists involved in the documentary Particle Fever that this film is both riveting and inspirational.
Particle Fever follows six scientists involved in cracking the mysteries of the universe. Think Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory without the superiority and oddities (well mostly) and you have an idea as to the group of scientists assembled in the film. There is a line in the sand. On one side sit the theoretical physicists scratching mind-blowing theories on their whiteboards making predictions about things they cannot possibly know. Or can they? On the other side of the line are the experimental physicists who work to create environments in which the deepest theories of physics can be tested.
The LHC has been a key project for decades. The film gives an idea of the scale of the project. This is the largest machine ever built by man. To the physicists watching the LHC coming together and seeing it switched on for the first time is like seeing Edison turn on the first light bulb. Their sense of enthusiasm is palpable. So too is the slight unease felt by some of the theoretical physicists. One comments that he had been involved in promoting certain ideas for 40 years- an entire career. What would happen if the LHC, in one brief moment, showed that all those years were wasted?
The scientists assembled for the film include those in control of the experiments at CERN. Perhaps the most compelling figure is Fabiola Gianotti, a brilliant pianist and physicist who is in control of one of the four experiments which form part of the LHC. Fabiola is a distinct and engaging personality. Savas Dimopoulos and Nina Lakhani Ahmed are two theoretical physicists who are excited beyond belief at the possibilities of the LHC.
Filmmaker Mark Levinson, himself the holder of a degree in physics, followed the LHC story from the lead up to the first time it was switched on through the drama that occurred soon after inception and the search for the mysterious Higgs boson particle. During the process of putting the film together he enlisted editing legend Walter Murch (Godfather, Apocalypse Now) who shared a love of science. The film is, not surprisingly, expertly edited.
Never did I think a tear would spring to my eye when a roomful of physicist discovered something that meant so much to them but, quite frankly, I couldn't really understand and perhaps never will. The joy of this film, however, is that it brings home to the scientifically impaired the wonders of the universe.
As I write the LHC, which has been in the process of upgrading for two years, is about to fire up again. This time the power is doubled and the possibilities exciting.
Particle Fever comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 transfer consistent with the original aspect ratio. It is 16×9 enhanced.
The film consists of fly on the wall digital video, some interview footage and animations - needed to explain some of the more complex ideas. Given the period over which the film was shot the footage is remarkably consistent. It is good quality without being cutting-edge for drawing attention to itself.
The flesh tones are accurate. The image quality is sharp and pleasing throughout.
There are subtitles in English for the foreign language segments of the film. They are burned into the image.
The soundtrack for Particle Fever is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track running at 448 Kb/s.
It is more than adequate for a film which largely consists of interviews and conversation. The score is by experienced composer and multi-award winner (for his advertising work) Robert Miller. It is an engaging score.
The dialogue can all be heard clearly. The surrounds are not used a great deal and neither is the sub-woofer, however these are not criticisms of the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
There is a good deal of extra material available on the DVD.
There are a series of lengthy interviews with some of the key players in the film. The director Mark Levinson gives an extended interview where he talks about the origins of the film, the challenges faced and the joy of putting the project together.
There are two short films included with the DVD. One is a stylised interview with physicist Kyle Cranmer and the other an extended sequence showing the operation of the LHC. Both are worth watching.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD seems to be the same overseas. Buy local.
Anyone with an interest in science could do worse than pick up a copy of this DVD. It is interesting throughout even if the science remains extremely complicated. The DVD is of good quality in sound and vision terms.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 752BD All Region Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||JVC DLX 700 with 4K e-shift on 140" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Pioneer SC -LX 78K 9.2 Channel|
|Speakers||Aaron ATS-5 7.1|