Shaka Zulu (Miniseries)(5 Disc) (1984)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Dudu Mkhize (Actor) And William Faure (Director)
|Year Of Production||1984|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (5)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||William C. Faure|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/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||Yes|
Shaka Zulu is a gripping and exciting miniseries that tells the legend of one of Africa's greatest kings - a Macbeth-style story of a prophecy of an 'illegitimate' boy who would one day command a vast empire. Filled with supernatural elements of Zulu witchcraft, great battles fuelled by greed and hate, inter-tribal and family conflict, plotting, and back-stabbing (literally), and a spear that was believed to wield great power, the legend of Shaka Zulu is a King Arthur-like epic, stretched over many years.Shaka Zulu is
The very grainy transfer is quite disappointing, largely due to the age and condition of the source material.
Made long before the age of widescreen digital television, the transfer is presented in the old-fashioned aspect ratio of 1.33:1.
The image is very soft throughout, for example the ceremony at 4:09 (Episode 3). The shadow detail is dreadful throughout. For example, virtually nothing at all can be made out during the dark scene inside a hut at 32:18 (Episode 3), as the screen looks almost completely black. The colour is dark and desaturated throughout, especially during interior scenes. There is a brown haze of dust covering every image, which gives the series an almost sepia tone appearance.
While there are no serious problem with MPEG artefacts, such as the screen breaking up into blocks, many scenes do appear pixelated, such as the smoke through the forest at 9:16 (Episode 3) or during the battle at 43:09 (Episode 8). Film-to-video artefacts were not a problem. Film artefacts appear throughout. Most are small, but some are large, such as at 8:53 (Episode 1), or the black vertical line that lingers onscreen at 4:20 (Episode 7).
There are no subtitles present, and these are dual-layered discs, with relatively smooth layer changes.
With a poor dynamic range, the audio is very tinny and flat, with almost no bass. Indeed, the audio usually sounds mono.
Not surprisingly, there is only one audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s).
The dialogue quality is reasonable, but the audio sync is out sometimes, such as at 30:46 (Episode 4) and 19:40 (Episode 9).
The musical score is credited to Dave Pollecutt, and it also features a lot of Zulu traditional music.
While the surround flags are set, there was no use made of the rear speakers.
|Surround Channel Use|
Beautifully packaged and presented in a gate-fold box with slip case, there is a fifth disc that holds the extras.
Simple menus, they are static and silent.
Running for over 20 minutes, this is surely the world's longest trailer! Indeed, it was almost an episode itself. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
A series of photographic stills, mainly publicity shots, set to music from the series.
A television interview (running for just over 10 minutes) from the mid-1980s with, and Zulu actress and series star . As this was recorded at the height of the Apartheid regime, I found Faure's comments very interesting: He bluntly pointed out White South Africa's ignorance and denial of its black history, and what led him to be so passionate about this project.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Shaka Zulu was released on DVD in Region 1 in October, 2002.
The Region 4 DVD misses out on:
The Region 1 DVD misses out on:
I would call it even, but personally, I favour the R4 for our superior PAL formatting.
Shaka Zulu is a beautifully made miniseries with a great attention to detail.
The video quality is disappointing.
The audio quality is also disappointing
There are a few extras.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|