Skyhooks-Right There on My DVD
Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Skyhooks At Gotham Recorders
Featurette-Skyhooks Rehearsal Studio Footage
Featurette-Once More Without Vocals
Discography-including Audio Clips
|Year Of Production||?|
|Running Time||56:45 (Case: 180)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Being a child of the 1980s, it is somewhat ingrained in my early memories as the time when music videos went from being a bit of harmless fun, not taking themselves too seriously, to a reprehensible sort of industry. The Skyhooks as a band were one of the many artists caught up in the birth of this medium, a fact reflected in the concept and style of many of their music videos. At one point, they were the biggest-selling band that Australia had ever seen, and they sort of represent the mentality of a time that seems so far away and distant in today's ultra-conservative, utterly undaring climate. They also represent, to people like myself and my guitar teacher, a time when pop musicians and occupants of the Top 40 at least knew how to construct a decent song.
I'm not going to get into a detailed discussion of what the music was about or what makes it special, because those things are pretty obvious when one listens to it. Indeed, Shirley Strachan, Bob Starkie, Red Symons, Imants Strakus, and Greg Macainsh were seemingly all about having a bit of fun in the creative sense, which made their brief reunion all the more quizzical since pop music had become all about pretence and posing at that time. However, I found some of the lyrics for Jukebox In Siberia a little puzzling - the land of the midnight sun is a nickname given to Bodo, a place in Northern Norway where the sun doesn't fully descend below the skyline for three months of the year. Rasputin would have never seen it. Oh well, that's poetic license for you.
Nonetheless, if you like a bit of guitar work interspersed over a tight rhythm section, then this DVD is certain to please. Myself, I'm more a fan of Red Symons than the band, for reasons that should be fairly obvious from seeing him on what I like to call "Oh no, it's Saturday". So if you've got parents who used to listen to this band in the car all the time in those heady days when cassette tape was the only option for portable audio, or if you were driving yourself in those days, then this is worth considering as a purchase. Hell, All My Friends Are Getting Married has a certain funny ring to it for me, as all the people I've known since I was a child who aren't dead or in prison are doing exactly that. Scary, isn't it?
I apologise for not including this earlier, but the tracklisting for this DVD is as follows:
|1. Living In The 70s|
2. Horror Movie
3. Ego Is Not A Dirty Word
4. All My Friends Are Getting Married
5. Million Dollar Riff
6. This Is My City
7. Blue Jeans
8. Party To End All Parties
|9. Women In Uniform|
11. Over The Border
12. Keep The Junk In America
13. Jukebox In Siberia
14. Happy Hippy Hut
15. Tall Timber
Before I say anything else, I feel inclined to put in a disclaimer that I should have included with my last Doctor Who review - that this transfer doesn't look very good, but the source materials, rather than the transfer, are at fault. There are a few glitches and problems that can be blamed on the transfer, yes, but they are in the minority. I say this because the DVD actually begins with a disclaimer stating that variations in the video and audio quality are the fault of the source material, albeit in slightly different language.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. The exception here is the video for Happy Hippy Hut, which is in the approximate aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and not 16x9 Enhanced.
The sharpness of this transfer varies a bit, although not as much as has been the case with many other music videos I've seen from bands of this age. Most of the videos contained here are from the mid to late 1970s, with the only significant variation in sharpness coming during All My Friends Are Getting Married, where it becomes quite diffuse and grainy. The shadow detail is not really an issue in this transfer, with all of the videos being pretty well-lit and little, if any, darkness present. Low-level noise was occasionally present in mild amounts during the first couple of videos, but this artefact was well-controlled in light of the source material.
The colours in most of the videos tend to have a fairly washed-out or faded look to them, with mild bleeding evident in almost all the videos up to the Jukebox In Siberia era. From that point, the colours have a more stable look, chiefly due to the superior equipment used at the time to record the footage.
MPEG artefacts are not present in this transfer unless one counts the mild grain that may or may not be related to the compression. Film-to-video artefacts were occasionally present in the form of aliasing, but most of the videos lack the resolution to make this artefact anything more than a blink-and-you'll-miss-it thing. The camerawork during some of the early videos, particularly the first two that were shot on Count Down, is irritating enough to count as an instance of telecine wobble. Film artefacts were all over most of the videos that were shot on location, with a healthy splatter of black marks noted at 18:45, towards the end of This Is My City.
No subtitles are present on this DVD.
The content of this DVD is split over two layers. I suspect that the videos themselves and the rest of the material have been more or less evenly split over the layers, as there was no discernable layer change when the videos were played back using the Play All feature, at least not that I noticed.
There is one soundtrack on this DVD - the original English lyrics in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 kilobits per second.
The dialogue in the introductions, and the vocals in the songs, are very clear and easy to understand. There are some errors with audio sync in the earlier music videos, but nothing out of the ordinary for the early days of this medium.
The music on this DVD is all the work of Skyhooks, and written by members therein. Most of what needs to be said about it, I've already covered in the plot synopsis.
The surround channels are not used by this soundtrack, which is something of a pity, even if they are not that seriously missed.
The subwoofer was not specifically encoded into this soundtrack, although my receiver did redirect small amounts of lower frequencies from the drums and bass.
|Surround Channel Use|
All of the extras on this DVD are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
The menu is moderately animated, accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.
This five minute and sixteen second featurette basically shows the band working on three songs, one of which was Happy Hippy Hut, in 1994, and the video is of better quality than the main feature.
This eleven minute and three second featurette appears to be the band rehearsing for some kind of performance.
This fifteen minute and fifty-five second featurette is an ABC documentary about the recording of a Skyhooks album.
This eighteen minute and twenty-two second featurette is basically an interview with Greg Macainsh, Bongo Starkie, and Fred Strauks, in which the three of them answer questions that are rendered as text on a black screen. It is quite interesting, in fact.
A comprehensive listing of who worked on this DVD, how the videos were restored into the condition that they appear in on this DVD, and so forth. This is far more interesting than most extras of this type for the second inclusion alone.
Presented featurette-style, this is a four minute and seven second collection of unannotated stills.
Presented in the more traditional photo-gallery style, this is a collection of posters that have been used to advertise the band, or have some connection with them, at any rate.
A listing of every album and single that was released under the Skyhooks name, as well as who played on the albums, and some sound clips from the songs. I would have preferred a full-length sample of one song from each album rather than the very short snippets of every song that we do get, but oh well.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
From a quick search on the web, it does not appear that this title is available overseas as yet.
One test of a good guitar-based band is the lead guitarist's ability to do a solo without seriously interrupting the rhythm of the song, and this is harder than a lot of non-musical people might think. Skyhooks are one band that pass that test with both guitarists, even if Red does most of the soloing. Again, the tragic thing about this collection that I reflect on when watching it is not so much that Shirley Strachan died two years ago, but rather that there is nobody in the music world who can take his place.
The video transfer is a good representation of generally ordinary source materials.
The audio transfer is very good considering it is stereo only.
The extras are comprehensive.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|