Indigo Girls-Now See Hear (Watershed DVD/Retrospective CD) (1995) (NTSC)

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Released 20-Oct-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Featurette-Indigo Girls Video Yearbook 1997 (9:24)
Discography-Indigo Girls Video Yearbook 1997
CD-Retrospective (69:41)
Booklet
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 66:21 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Susan Lambert
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Amy Ray
Emily Saliers
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Indigo Girls


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Yet another incarnation in the Sony Now See Hear series sees the coupling of the previously released DVD Indigo Girls: Watershed - 10 Years of Underground Video with the compact disc release of essentially a greatest hits album - Retrospective. As I have previously reviewed the DVD component of the release, I have basically just borrowed my previous review and updated it to reflect any changes necessitated by the passage of three years and some changes in equipment.

    In the dark ages of rock music, otherwise known as the late 1980s and the 1990s, whilst searching for something worthwhile amongst the rubbish of the eras, I stumbled inadvertently across an album by a duo with the rather unusual name of Indigo Girls. I knew nothing of the duo, nothing at all of their music and for all I knew they came from Mars, but none of that mattered because everything I needed to know was right there on that CD - the music. It was one of those moments of revelation when you discover a lost treasure, and it headed me off into whole new vistas of music that I had previously avoided. Of course, the first thing that needed to be defined was exactly what sort of music this was. In this incessant need to tag every act with a genre, I have heard the Indigo Girls called everything from folk, to folk-rock, to new country and more. What do I care what "tag" you place on on this music? I just love the stuff, but if you were really to push me I would probably opt for the slightly inaccurate label of New Country.

    Over the years I have learned a little more about the duo, but I still don't give a d*** about what genre you want to toss them into - the one thing that I do still give a d*** about is that I still like their music. As the title suggests, what we have here is virtually a collection of home video bits and pieces that document the career of the duo from the early days in Atlanta, Georgia through to 1995. As a result of the rather diverse sources of the material, we have what in pure terms is something of an eclectic mix of music and other stuff surrounding the duo, brought together by interview material and interspersed with a number of complete videos of some of their fine work (listed below).

    If you are requiring technical merit here, then you are really going to be disappointed. If, however, you are looking for something of an insight into the Indigo Girls, then I doubt that you can do better than this collection. It is not especially long in minutes, and certainly not especially great technically, but this is music with genuine soul. I love it - I hope you will, too.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. Closer To Fine
2. Hammer And Nail
3. Finlandia
4. Galileo
5. Chickenman
6. Joking
7. Touch Me Fall
8. Least Complicated
9. Power Of Two
10. Reunion

Transfer Quality

Video

    This is the previously released DVD with nothing more than new disc art to distinguish it from the original release. That means we get the same NTSC transfer, that whilst pretty good considering the source, will be unwatchable unless you have the equipment to deal with the signal.

    As suggested, the technical aspects of the video are not great - after all, a lot of this was shot for pure home use and in some rather iffy ways and locations. However, any deficiencies in the transfer are completely the result of the source material and cannot be blamed on the actual transfer itself. Indeed, if the truth be known amongst a sea of grainy, poorly defined source materials, this is a very good transfer of that material.

    The transfer is presented in a Full Frame format and is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    All sorts of problems exist here - grainy picture, lack of detail, poor definition and so on, but all is as a result of the source material and, whilst perhaps not intended to look that way, is the unfortunate by-product of the source material. Despite all the inherent problems however, you soon ignore them as the music engrosses you. Overall, given the source material, this is not too shabby an effort and certainly is as good as the source material is going to allow. There were no low level noise problems in the transfer.

    This is a wildly divergent transfer as far as colours go, but again is a reflection of the source material. It is really quite decent, but of course nothing like what we would expect from a feature film. There did not appear to be any problems with oversaturation of colours at all, nor were there any problems with colour bleed.

    There did not appear to be any MPEG artefact problems in the transfer. There are a few more film-to-video artefacts in the transfer than I remember, mainly some minor aliasing (5:22 and 8:35 for example) and moiré artefacting (34:15). This is not serious stuff though and certainly not that distracting. The source material is of course quite blighted at times with film artefacts, which is hardly a major problem given that the stuff was really meant for home video use at best.

    This is a single sided, single layered DVD, meaning there is no layer change.

    There is just the single subtitle option on the DVD - in English obviously - and they are generally very good.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    You may recall that in my review of the original release of Watershed, I was not exactly enamoured with the quality of the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack offered. As it turns out I might well have been a little too critical of the soundtrack and I now find it somewhat less objectionable - or rather more enjoyable, depending upon which way you look at it.

    There are two audio tracks on the DVD; an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 effort, as well as sampling the Linear PCM soundtrack. As usual from this source, the reference to Dolby Stereo on the packaging is incorrect - it is Linear PCM stereo.

    The dialogue and vocals were quite clear and easy to understand throughout the transfer, although the mixing really could have been better, to make the dialogue and vocals stand out a bit more. There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer, other than those intended or presumably inherent in the source material.

    Whilst better than I originally wrote, the main problem with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack remains the fact that the mixing is anything but stellar. This one again demonstrates a recessed vocal track, which is the main inherent problem. This creates an unnatural feel to the sound picture to some extent, but this time it is not so bad as to require tweaking of the volume levels in order to get any sort of reasonable balance. The balance here is actually better than I remember, and reading my original review makes me wonder whether I am actually listening to the same DVD. The same fundamental issues remain, simply not to the extent that I original wrote. Just occasionally however, I get that recollection from the low frequency channel that reminds me of the inherent problem of a lot of Sony DVDs.

    To some extent, the slightly recessed vocal track problem is also carried over to the Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack too, although still nowhere near as bad as I first wrote. The general feel of the Linear PCM soundtrack remains inherently better, even if it lacks the body of the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It could, however, do with being a little clearer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

   The original DVD release does not have much of a package, although as I said in the original review - at least an effort was made. In this new package, the CD makes a nice addition.

Menu

    This is an okay sort of effort, but is relatively plain, lacking any sort of enhancement.

Featurette - Indigo Girls Video Yearbook 1997 (9:24)

    This is actually an electronic press kit of the sort usually doled out to radio and so on for "artiste promotional work". As such, it is not exactly a great inclusion, but at least it is better than nothing. It suffers somewhat from moiré type artefacts on a couple of occasions. It is not encoded with any timing information so your display will probably stubbornly sit there showing "title" for the nine-odd minutes it runs. Presented in a Full Frame format, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with decent enough Dolby Digital 2.0 224 Kb/s sound.

Discography

    Well, it does list all the albums to 1995 but it really should have been a lot more detailed than this.

CD - Retrospective (69:41)

    A compilation album released in 2000, this contains sixteen tracks that epitomise what the Indigo Girls are all about. Covering the length of their career to that time, the tracks on offer are:

    A good compilation let down only by the fact that it is too short - it should have been a double CD! However, this was a very pleasant listen and brought back some memories of those great albums they have made that I unfortunately have not had a chance to listen to in some time.

Booklet

    The not quite so minimalist booklet from the CD release, designed to fit a CD jewel case of course.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As far as the DVD component of the package is concerned, there is nothing essentially different between the Region 1 and Region 4 releases.

Summary

    From a musical aspect this is a top notch effort as far as I am concerned, but then again I am a little biased. However, from a technical point of view this is a decent DVD and nothing more, with an extras package that really could have been improved.. The DVD + CD package is another worthy one to indulge, although the price point still has me a little worried.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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