Moog (2004) (NTSC)
TV Spots-Schaefer Beer Commercial
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Hans Fjellestad|
Mix Master Mike
Walter E. Sear
The Album Leaf
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.75:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Bob Moog began his career in electronics building and selling Theremin kits and is credited with building the first electronic synthesizer. The first Moog synths revolutionised music and were worth the same as a new house and car back in the 1960s, expensive because of the time consuming development and workmanship involved. Although the instrument was revolutionary, the first models were only acquired by radio stations, record producers and rich experimental musicians. Electronic music was largely considered to be unnatural and void of melody until Switched On Bach topped the charts in the late 60s.
In this documentary / biography, Bob Moog discusses modern digital effects keyboards which are comprised of processor and memory and compares them to the Moog synth which is rooted in the analogue domain. In his workshop in Asheville, North Carolina we get a look at the assembly line and Bob actually cracks open a Mini Moog and talks us through each of the circuit boards and its purpose. Bob clearly has a deep connection to his creation and likens his knowledge of circuitry to a craftsman making a violin. From the shop floor we follow him to his home in the suburbs where he enjoys life as a gardener, sharing his thoughts on organic gardening and pets.
Interspersed throughout the documentary are performances recorded at the Moog Festival in New York City. Among the artists in attendance are Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Money Mark. We're also treated to some fascinating insights as the camera follows Bob around to a conference in Japan and across the United States chatting with artists such as DJ Spooky, professional Thereminist Pamelia Kurstin and Gershon Kingsley of the first Moog quartet who offers his thoughts on the evolution of musical instruments in the past century.
Director Hans Fjellestad has put together an entertaining, revealing and informative study of the instrument that changed the face of music and the man who conceived it. I would have liked to have seen a little more comparison between the Moog and other keyboards such as Hammonds and Mellotrons, and in fact there are quite a few angles that aren't explored to their full potential. Whether you're an aspiring musician or simply a fan of the Moog's unique sound, there's plenty to gain from this documentary.
This video transfer is presented in an aspect of 1.75:1 and the image is not 16x9 enhanced. The documentary was purposefully shot on super 16mm so as to achieve a dated look and to correlate with archival footage that appears in the film now and then.
This is a Region 0 (free) NTSC disc and the shortcomings of the format are apparent. I believe that both formats have their strengths and in this case there is an upside. This is a music documentary so at least we know that the music is in the correct pitch, which would not be achievable in PAL without applying pitch correction or even worse, making a conversion. I often wish other Region 4 companies would author their discs in NTSC rather than making a hideous conversion to PAL. I hereby award a big thumbs up to the authors!
In short, we have a rather grainy image and plenty of film artefacting but that is the director's stylistic intention. Sure, the image isn't as sharp as we would expect from a PAL transfer, but in reality you're not going to get much better from this source material. Colouring is consistent and there aren't any MPEG compression issues to speak of. I noticed jagged edges and aliasing on a few occasions but they were not overly annoying.
There are no subtitle streams provided.
This disc is single layered (DVD5 format).
One soundtrack is included, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo stream encoded at 224Kb/s. This is an active and nicely weighted soundtrack.
The English dialogue is always dominant and easy to discern in the mix. Much of the soundtrack is comprised of narration or interview footage and there are rarely any microphone placement issues. Audio sync is great.
The documentary's score was recorded specifically by an assortment of musicians using the Moog synth. Obviously these sounds and effects suit the subject matter superbly.
The subwoofer picked up on a lot of the music in the soundtrack, such as the bass-heavy beats at 15:40. If you play it loud enough and have your subwoofer properly adjusted, this score really kicks along.
|Surround Channel Use|
This trailer sums up the feel of the film pretty accurately and includes a number of shots that don't appear in the final cut.
There are a few extra scenes here of varying importance, unfortunately without a play all function.
We are treated to a handful of improvised performances from musicians at the Moog Fest. in New York City. These include:
Director Hans Fjellestad shows us some footage of himself in performance at the Moog Fest. and continues with excerpts from the film, discussing how the project came to fruition and what he was trying to achieve with certain structural aspects of the documentary. He also discusses his decision to shoot the film on super 16mm and his experiences putting together the soundtrack.
A portion of this vintage TV advertisement was used in the film and it is presented here without interruption. It has been cropped at the top and bottom to make a widescreen image, but is hilarious nonetheless.
A fully functional demo of the Minimoog V software is included. The interface resembles a Moog Keyboard and has every function you could desire. Playing the keys with a mouse pointer is cumbersome and it took me a bit of time to install it and actually generate some sounds, but when you get it going there's acres of fun to be had.
A simple two panel, three colour insert with photos and notes from director Hans Fjellestad regarding the making of the film. When unfolded the cover is a replica of the Moog's control desk. Very nice indeed!
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The NTSC video transfer lacks 16x9 enhancement but has plenty of character. Yes, "character" is another word for "artefacts" but in this case they are part of the director's vision, so that's okay.
The audio transfer has a lot of depth and brings across the musical elements of the film adequately. A higher bitrate (or even better, PCM) would have been nice.
The extras are informative and worthwhile.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|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.|