R.E.M.-In View: The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 (2003)

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Released 26-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Optional interview footage with each video
Bonus Track-Tongue, How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us
Bonus Track-New Test Leper, Bittersweet Me, Lotus, I'll Take The Rain
Bonus Track-Trafalgar Square performance footage - 3 songs
Discography
Credits
Web Links
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 82:13 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Peter Buck
Mike Mills
Michael Stipe
Bill Berry
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Michael Stipe
Peter Buck
Mike Mills


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    R.E.M. are surely one of the greatest Rock/Pop bands to emerge from the USA during the 1980s. They have produced some mind-bogglingly catchy tunes such as Man On The Moon, Losing My Religion and Stand. At the same time, through their long and illustrious career, they have managed to produce some truly poignant tunes that can bring a tear to my eye if I'm in a melancholy mood - Everybody Hurts and Nightswimming will do just nicely thanks. With Michael Stipe's adventurous, poetic and occasionally unfathomable lyrics, supported by the music contributed by bassist Mike Mills and guitarist Peter Buck (and of course drummer Bill Berry before his retirement in 1997), with each new album release they always manage to produce something new and challenging.

    Now, just in time for the Christmas rush, we have the most exciting R.E.M. DVD release to date. In View - The Best of R.E.M. 1988-2003 is a collection of sixteen videos, plus six (rare) bonus videos and three live numbers. In addition, the matching DVD-Audio disc (In Time) is also due for imminent release. Fans of the band get ready to spend up big time - you are in for a real treat!

    The DVD presents a wide selection of videos, showcasing the diversity and artistry of the band very well. R.E.M. have usually created videos which are often more like small films than simple pop music videos. They range between the high art of Nightswimming, to the poignancy of Everybody Hurts, to the witty Imitation of Life or the fluffy fun of Stand. They are always, however, truly entertaining. My only gripe with the DVD is that there is no video for Shiny Happy People, which has to be one of my all-time favourite pop songs.

    For anyone with even a passing affection for R.E.M. I can highly recommend In View - The Best of R.E.M. 1988 -2003. The content is great and the video and audio transfers...well read on. Outstanding stuff - rush out and buy it today.

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Track Listing

1. Bad Day
2. All The Way To Reno
3. Imitation Of Life
4. The Great Beyond
5. At My Most Beautiful
6. Daysleeper
7. Electrolite
8. E-Bow The Letter
9. What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
10. Nightswimming
11. The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite
12. Everybody Hurts
13. Man On The Moon
14. Losing My Religion
15. Stand
16. Orange Crush
17. Tongue (Bonus)
18. How The West Was Won...(Bonus)
19. New Test Leper (Bonus)
20. Bittersweet Me (Bonus)
21. Lotus (Bonus)
22. I'll Take The Rain (Bonus)
23. Imitation Of Life (Live Bonus)
24. Losing My Religion (Live Bonus)
25. Man On The Moon (Live Bonus)

Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is very good, even discounting the fact that these are pop music videos ranging in age up to fifteen years old.

    The footage is presented full frame at 1.33:1 which, given the age and intended broadcast medium of the material, is almost certainly the original (televised) aspect ratio. It is not therefore 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is a little hard to judge in terms of grain or colour fidelity as R.E.M. videos are always heavily stylised. There are instances of grain - but I am sure that these are all deliberately introduced to provide an appropriate visual texture to the footage - during Nightswimming or Man On The Moon for example. Overall I would say the transfer is perfectly sharp, and any instances of softness are once again deliberate - during Imitation of Life for example, where a digital zoom is applied to the image which results in very obvious softness and macro blocking, or during Nightswimming where the feel of a handheld 8mm camera is desired.

    Shadow detail is good and black levels are usually deep, but generally with no significant low level noise apparent. Colours vary according to the particular video being watched. Once again I am assuming that the muted, almost sepia tones of Nightswimming are designed to fit the mood of the music. In contrast, the footage for Losing My Religion features highly vibrant primary colours which are solid and well rendered.

    The transfer is free from major MPEG artefacts. There is some evidence of aliasing from time to time (for example on some of the fences in All The Way To Reno, or on some of the car chrome in Everybody Hurts), but this is always a very minor shimmer and is never distracting. Edge enhancement was not a concern on my set up, although if you look hard enough examples of halos can be found, for example around the black suits in Everybody Hurts.

    There are, disappointingly, no subtitles available for the song lyrics. They are present for the interview snippets, and occasionally burned in to the video footage (for example on Everybody Hurts). Where present they are well timed and easy to read.

    This is a single-sided, dual layered disc (DVD 9), but I could not detect the layer change, so I assume that it has been very sensibly placed between chapters.

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

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is very good indeed, and for a music video compilation I would say it is of reference quality.

    The audio menu allows you to select either a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 kbps, a dts 5.1 track encoded at 768 kbps or a vanilla Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track encoded at 256 kbps. I listened to the dts track in full (several times!) and sampled the others. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is very good, and will not disappoint, however there is no doubt in my mind that the dts track leaves the others trailing in its wake. Often there is little to separate dts from Dolby Digital tracks to my ears - that is not the case here. The dts track has a more airy, spacious feel, delivers more punch from the bass notes and has a far crisper, cleaner feel to it overall. Purists may claim that the audio should be simple stereo, like the CD version of the songs - I say if you want the CD versions, why not listen to the CD?

    The music is always clean and crystal clear with no distortion, hiss, clicks or pops to be noticed. The interview snippets do have some minor hiss evident on occasion, and generally sound fairly tinny. This does not detract significantly from the overall feel of the audio transfer, however. Audio sync was fine throughout.

    The dts audio track is wonderful. The front speakers deliver the vocals cleanly and provide a lovely clarity to the plaintive piano and strings on Nightswimming. Stipes' heart-rending vocals on Everybody Hurts have never sounded cleaner, clearer or better than on this dts transfer. You can hear his voice coming from the front channels, and then out of the blue he is singing counterpoint from the rear channels and the strings sweep overhead to provide a wonderfully enveloping rendition of this modern classic.

    There is a marvellous spread of sound across the whole soundstage and every speaker is given something useful to do for the duration. From the soaring strings on Imitation of Life to the ringing bells and choral backing on At My Most Beautiful, the surround speakers deliver a lovely immersive feel to the soundstage. On Everybody Hurts, the surrounds are used to carry the percussion to provide a spine-tinglingly good rendition of the song - the best I have ever heard.

    The subwoofer is used constantly to add a powerful and satisfying bass foundation to the songs. The introduction to The Great Beyond has a wonderfully deep thudding bass which you can really feel in your gut. At other times the subwoofer is more subtly used, but it is always there. One of the biggest differences to my ears between the dts and Dolby Digital tracks is the much more intense and solid bass feel afforded by the dts transfer. This DVD demands to be played loud!

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

Extras

    There are some great extra features on this disc:

Menu

    The main menu is a simply animated screen which leads to a great collection of small video windows showing each video in miniature on the chapter selection screen. The main menu allows the choice to play all videos, with or without interview clips, select individual songs, audio set-up and access to the following extras:

Interview Clips

    If this option is selected from the main menu, the videos play in sequence, but they are preceded by a short (twenty seconds or so) segment of interview with the band members. These do not always relate to the particular video which follows, instead presenting a brief insight into recording, choosing album title names, or growing up in Georgia. They range in age from 1992 to 2001 and make a nice addition to the DVD, allowing it to feel slightly more personal than just a collection of videos.

Bonus Videos

    These are divided into two sections - Rare Videos and Live Video. All of the videos have the same choices of audio transfer as the main videos listed above. They are made up of the following:

Rare Videos - presented fullscreen (1.33:1) and not therefore 16x9 enhanced. Live Video - presented 16x9 enhanced at 1.78:1 this features three live performances from the Trafalgar Square South Africa Freedom Day concert in 2001.

Discography

    This is an extensive discography for R.E.M. including every disc released by the band, along with a complete track listing and cover art. It includes all DVD Audio and DVD Video releases to date.

Credits

    A series of simple static screens detailing the band members, office staff and producers and directors of each of the videos in this collection.

Web Link

    A simple, silent screen which points you to visit www.remhq.com.

R4 vs R1

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

    From what I can tell this DVD seems to be identical in Regions 1, 2 and 4. Buy whichever can be found most cheaply.

Summary

    In View - The Best of R.E.M. 1988 -2003 is a must-buy DVD for fans of the band. The audio transfer is of reference quality, particularly the dts track, and the video transfer is amazingly good given the age of some of the clips. R.E.M. are one of the most important pop bands to have come out of the USA in the past twenty years, and this DVD really does them justice. Although it is by no means a complete collection of all their videos, it is nevertheless an excellent package which comes very highly recommended.

    The video quality is very good for such a wide range of videos.

    The audio quality is extremely satisfying - particularly in the dts incarnation.

    The extra features are worthwhile - particularly the chillingly good live Trafalgar Square performance.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Sunday, November 30, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

Other Reviews
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Comments (Add)
There's a reason "Shiny Happy People" is missing.... - REPLY POSTED
Drive -
Also Missing -
RisingPhoenix -- - Shane C (read my bio, you will)
Subtitles Don't Work -
subtitles. -