The Power of Gold (2003)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||148:13 (Case: 150)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (25:24)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Adam Salkeld|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.75:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I have been reviewing a few documentary discs recently and enjoying them greatly. Accordingly, I decided to rescue this disc from the pile of unreviewed releases and give it a shot.
This series, which I believe was shown on SBS locally, is based upon the book The Power of Gold by Peter L Bernstein and focuses on the role that gold has played in the history of mankind, from the ancient world up to the present day. It is an English production. It is spread across 3 episodes of approximately 50 minutes each.
The episodes cover the following:
Frankly, this series was fairly disappointing because, although it contained some fascinating information, it was not well presented, including significant amounts of stock footage which did not always relate to the topic at hand directly. Also, some portions of footage were repeated in other episodes. Considering that the series was only 150 minutes in total this seemed pretty slack. The voiceover was generally interesting and there were some interviews with people in the business of gold which were quite good.
If you have a particular interest in the subject, this is worth a look, but otherwise I could not overly recommend it.
The video quality is reasonable but badly afflicted by MPEG artefacts.
The feature is presented in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio.
The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise, although there was some grain throughout which I would assume was caused by the compression. Shadow detail was reasonable but was hardly ever needed.
The colour was fine, but not particularly vibrant.
This transfer was obviously not given a great MPEG compression as it is full of aliasing, jagged edges and significant macro-blocking. The macro-blocking is worst in landscape and shots of buildings such as at 45:40 in Episode 3. The aliasing and jagged edges are everywhere. It is not unwatchable but it is certainly not spectacular either.
There are subtitles, however, they are not in a subtitle stream. They are burned in yellow subtitles for the foreign speaking interviews only. When they do exist they are fine.
The layer change occurs at 25:24 in Episode 2 and causes a significant pause.
The audio quality is good.
This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. The soundtrack is fairly quiet, and I had to set the amplifier at 5dB above my normal reference level for the dialogue to be clearly audible. There are some points where the volume of the voiceover seems to dip in relation to the rest of the soundtrack. Also, at 39:50 in Episode 3, sound is lost for a couple of seconds.
Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand (once the volume was turned up).
The music used in this series was composed by Ben Heneghen & Ian Lawson. It seemed a little too dramatic for the topic, but certainly came across well in the soundtrack.
The surround speakers were not used
The subwoofer was used to support the music, however, this had more to do with the bass management of my amp than it does the DVD itself.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu includes music and is very simple, allowing for the playing of all episodes or each individually.
A menu item marked 'Extra' takes you to one text page advertising the book this series is based upon. Riveting.......not!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This series does not seem to be available in other regions.
The video quality is badly affected by MPEG artefacts.
The audio quality is good.
The disc has one very ordinary extra.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|