Secret Life of Us, The-Volume 4-Episodes 10-12 (2001)

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Released 27-Nov-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast-Talking With Sibylla Budd
Interviews-Cast-Talking With Damian de Montemas
Gallery-Photo-15
Synopsis
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 137:57 (Case: 140)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Lynn-Maree Danzey
Studio
Distributor
Southern Star
Shock Entertainment
Starring Claudia Karvan
Deborah Mailman
Samuel Johnson
Abi Tucker
Joel Edgerton
Spencer McLaren
Sibylla Budd
Damian De Montemas
David Tredinnick
Jessica Gower
Tasma Walton
Tempany Deckert
Andrew McKaige
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $9.95 Music Martin Armiger


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Secret Life Of Us is a well regarded TV series that started in 2001. It is entering its fourth season in 2004, but this disc contains Season 1 Volume 4, or episodes #10-#12. The TV series won Logie Awards for "Most Outstanding Drama Series" in both 2001 and 2002, and developed a cult following in its first two seasons. The series is about a group of twentysomething friends and flatmates in an apartment block in St. Kilda, and comes across as Friends meets Sex In The City meets Beverly Hills 90210.

Episode #10 (46:08) (State of Limbo)

    Everyone is really confused in this episode. Evan (Samuel Johnson) declares his love for Carmen (Catherine McClements), and is hurt when it appears she doesn't quite love him as strongly as he loves her. Kelly (Deborah Mailman) meets an old school friend and is introduced into the world of 'network marketing.'

    Gabrielle (Sibylla Budd) begins a steamy relationship with Mac (Damian Walshe-Howling) - the lead singer of a band. Jason (Damian De Montemas) and Gabrielle decide to split their possessions in preparation for a divorce.

    Miranda (Abi Tucker) is forced to go on the Work For The Dole program which she finds humiliating. Both Will (Joel Edgerton) and Miranda notice how moody Richie (Spencer McLaren) has been lately. Finally, Richie can't stand it any longer and confesses his one night stand with Simon (David Tredinnick) to Will.

Episode #11 (45:19) (Love Sucks)

    Everyone is having problems with their love life in this episode, except for Alex who has decided to give up on love and become "successfully single." As a result, she is sleeping soundly every night but everyone else is tossing and turning.

    Carmen has decided to break up with Evan and he doesn't know how to take it.

    Gabrielle and Jason reach the lowest point in their relationship as they argue with each other whilst splitting their belongings.

    Kelly becomes disillusioned with her job at the dating agency and has a heart to heart talk with her employer.

    Will becomes obsessively jealous about Sam's flirting with previous boyfriends and starts peeking into her address book.

    Richie finally gathers enough courage to confess his one night stand with Simon to Miranda.

Episode #12 (46:30) (Fallout)

    The big "bomb" drops into the personal lives of our friends this week.

    Evan can't handle being dumped by Carmen and starts to stalk her.

    Miranda is wondering whether Richie is gay or not. Richie is also wondering ...

    Will's jealousy leads him into trouble when he makes a grab for Sam one night at a party ...

    Kelly decides to quit her job at the dating agency and focus on Iridescense.

    Gabrielle and Jason starts talking to each other again, and Gabrielle realises Mac isn't as fantastic as she initially thought ...

    Alex is invited by her co-worker to Phillip Island and she feels uncomfortable when he tries to make a pass at her ...

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is in widescreen 1.75:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, with very small black bars on either side of the frame. I assume this is the intended aspect ratio, since the series was produced after the commencement of widescreen Digital TV broadcasts in Australia on 1 January 2001, but I'm surprised it wasn't presented in an exact 1.78:1

    Given that we have three episodes spread across a dual layered disc, I would have expected the video transfer to be perfect, but it's not.

    I noticed various compression artefacts, including posterization and Gibbs effect, plus a tendency towards aliasing/combing for fast moving objects, which suggests that the video source may have been inherently interlaced.

    I suspect the transfer may have been less than optimally encoded, and intended for digital TV broadcast (single pass encoding, constant bitrate) without the care normally taken for a DVD transfer. The transfer also appears to have been sourced from a composite video master, since I noticed some composite video artefacts, including dot crawl and a bit of colour smearing.

    The overall look of the transfer is probably a bit on the soft side and slightly over-exposed with saturated highlights on some scenes. Colour saturation was acceptable but the transfer seems to be missing the rich subtle colours of film.

    Darker scenes in the episodes feature a fair amount of video noise or "digital grain."

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitle tracks.

    This is a single sided dual layered disc (RSDL). The layer change occurs in between episodes. Episodes #10 and #11 are on Layer 0, and Episode #12 is on Layer 1. The extras are on Layer 1.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio track on the disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The soundtrack has obviously been "blanded down" for TV broadcast, since it sounds quite heavily dynamically compressed, with all the life taken out of out and extreme low and high frequencies rolled off.

    I'm not sure whether the soundtrack is surround encoded, but I did not hear any noticeable instances of the surround channels being utilized.

    At least the dialogue is clear and relatively easy to understand, except for a few instances where the characters are mumbling or speaking too fast.

    The background music features a selection of music from Mushroom Records . It's kind of funky and hip, and no doubt will go well for the target audience of the TV series.

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

Extras

    Extras are minimal, but at least we get some extras.

Menu

    The menus are 16x9 enhanced. The main menu is animated and includes background audio.

Interviews-Cast- Talking With Sibylla Budd (1:29)

    This features the following interview snippets, all presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s):

Interviews-Cast- Talking With Damian de Montemas (1:06)

    This features the following interview snippets, all presented in 1.78:1 (16x9 enhanced) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s):

Gallery-Photo- 15

    This contains 15 stills featuring various publicity photos of the cast.

Synopsis

    This presents a one paragraph synopsis for the first 12 episodes of Season 1, accompanied by stills from the episode.

R4 vs R1

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

    This title has yet to be released in Region 1. It has been released in Region 2 UK, but as a three DVD set covering the first 11 episodes of Season 1. I don't think the UK version has any extras, which makes Region 4 the clear winner.

Summary

    The Secret Life Of Us Series 1, Volume 4 features Episodes #10-#12 from Season 1 of the cult TV series about a group of twentysomethings living in an apartment block in St. Kilda, Melbourne.

    The video transfer is okay, but has a number of compression artefacts.

    The audio transfer is okay, but the soundtrack sounds rather lifeless.

    Extras include an interview with Sibylla Budd and Damian de Montemas, a photo gallery and plot synopses.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Friday, June 04, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDCustom HTPC (Asus A7N266-VM, Athlon XP 2400+, 512MB, LiteOn LTD-165S, WinXP, WinDVD5 Platinum), using RGB output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum/AVIA. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE (upgraded)
SpeakersFront and surrounds: B&W CDM7NT, front centre: B&W CDMCNT, surround backs: B&W DM601S2, subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

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