Led Zeppelin-The Making of a Supergroup (2003) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||62:50 (Case: 60)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Charlotte Lewin|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
As a consumer, I am generally most hesitant when it comes to "unauthorised" products from musical groups. More often than not the quality of the content is sub-standard and the presentation is even worse. I approached this disc with those expectations in mind, and I was mildly surprised with what I saw. I should mention that I found this title in a bargain bin at my local shopping centre for $10.00AU, alongside many other titles in this series. If Led Zeppelin weren't a favourite of mine I would not even consider making the purchase - however reviewing such a title interested me, so here we are.
Firstly, you may be surprised to learn that not only is there no Led Zeppelin music on this disc, there is absolutely no input from the band members whatsoever. This documentary is comprised entirely of interviews with staff and crew associated with the band, as well as fellow musicians from their generation. I've made a list below of the most notable participants in this documentary, so that you can get a better idea of their credentials - and the authenticity of this production. Note that none of these names are printed on the cover of the DVD.
Don Craine (Guitarist and Vocalist for Downliners Sect)
Chris Dreja (Bassist for Yardbirds)
Jim McCarty (Drummer for Yardbirds)
Dave Pegg (Bassist for Fairport Convention)
Clem Cattini (Drummer for Tornados)
Alan Clayson (Yardbirds' biographer, rock historian)
Steve Turner (Bassist for a Led Zeppelin cover band)
Billy Kulke (Vocalist for the aforementioned cover band)
Bill Harry (Led Zeppelin's Publicist)
Phil Carlo (Led Zeppelin's Tour Manager)
Micky Waller (Drummer for Rod Stewart)
Dave Berry (1960s pop star)
John Fiddler (Vocalist for MedicineHead)
I think you get the idea. I didn't recognise a single name or face among the people assembled here, but most of them have interesting first hand stories and anecdotes to offer - particularly Chris, Jim and Dave. The fellows from the Led Zeppelin cover band (creatively named Letz Zep) don't really contribute anything beyond treacly praise, which becomes a bit annoying after a while.
The subject of the feature begins exactly as the title says. We explore the formation of the Yardbirds, and Eric Clapton's withdrawal from their ranks soon thereafter - which led to the hiring of Jeff Beck. Jimmy Page later joined as second guitarist, bringing with him manager Peter Grant, but personality clashes between the two guitarists forced Beck to jump ship in the middle of an American tour. The Yardbirds eventually dissolved, but Page and Grant continued to carry the torch under the name The New Yardbirds. With the recruitment of John Paul Jones - an accomplished session musician - and Robert Plant and John Bonham, Led Zeppelin was born. From this point on there is a chapter dedicated solely to each member of the band, including the fifth member - Peter Grant.
So, is it worth ten bucks? In short, yes - but I wouldn't recommend you pay any more for it. The quality of the production is reasonable, with modern graphics and good quality interview footage, but the runtime is short. There are many fadeouts present in the feature, presumably for commercial breaks. Some of the background music is pretty awful, but I did learn a few new things from this documentary and found some of the anecdotes funny - particularly those from Phil Carlo. This is essential for completists, however casual fans may find it a bit tedious and boring.
If you'd like to read about some legitimate Led Zeppelin DVD's, check out my reviews of the Led Zeppelin DVD or the excellent How The West Was Won DVD-Audio.
This NTSC video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, full frame.
Sharpness and general clarity is adequate and doesn't present any major issues. Some of the archival footage is heavily artefacted, however this is used in an artistic sense and does not indicate any negligence on the part of the producers.
Colours are bold and manage to remain consistent for the duration of the feature. There were no major instances of bleeding or oversaturation that I could see.
Compression artefacts are nowhere to be seen in this transfer. Regardless of this, the quality of the transfer is still good considering the age of this material.
There is no subtitle stream on this disc.
This disc contains a single layer (DVD5 format), and as such does not feature a layer transitional pause.
There is only one soundtrack present on the disc; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s).
Vocal delivery is always distinct and easy to understand during the interviews. There are no issues concerning audio sync at all.
The quality of the interview recordings is good, with only a few minor examples of distortion now and then. As I mentioned above, some of the incidental and backing music is awful, and of a very poor quality.
There is no noticeable use of panning during the soundtrack. Being a stereo effort, there is also no surround or subwoofer response to be found here.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu pages are silent and static, with a graphic identical to the DVD slick. The menu pages are not 16x9 enhanced.
A moderately interesting time waster. Some of these questions are really hard - not because the answers are obscure, but because of some serious typos! Take for example question seventeen: What was Jimmy Plant's father's occupation? Sheeesh!
This is a fairly extensive discography, with a complete track listing of each album. The various categories cover albums, live albums, singles, box sets and an assortment of bootlegs.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video transfer is good.
The audio transfer is good.
There isn't much to rave about in the extras department.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-525, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX76PW10A 76cm Widescreen 100Hz. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.|