Film Australia's Wilderness-Real and Imagined (2004)

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Released 6-Jun-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Short Film-Wildness
Interviews-Crew-Scott Millwood (Writer/Director)
Interviews-Crew-Michael McMahon (Producer)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 257:10
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Various
Studio
Distributor
Film Australia
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Various


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

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Plot Synopsis

    Film Australia’s Wilderness is a two disc DVD that is not limited solely to one programme. Rather it is a set of films, documentaries, interviews and photographs that explore the many notions of just what wilderness is. According to the producers, the idea of wilderness has been hotly contested for a very long time, both in Australia and internationally, with many people seeing the natural landscape as something to be conquered, while others embrace everything it stands for.

    This DVD presents many ideas, both contemporary and historical, that could not have been covered in a single linear documentary. It is not intended to be a definitive history of wilderness, but it does track the key historical developments in Australian wilderness thinking, from a landscape to be avoided to a landscape that should be preserved.

    The menu system of the DVD is interesting. Rather than just playing all the short films one after another or merely listing them on a static screen, the makers have decided to work on the premise that what you think of wilderness depends on where you are. As a result the menu is a signpost with pointers featuring the words Struggle, Homeland, For Sale and Imagine. You can head off in any direction you please and they take the viewer to a broad range of themed films and interviews around each wilderness idea.

    Films selected for inclusion on this DVD had to meet one key criterion: did they contribute to our understanding of wilderness and wilderness-related issues?

    Films selected include Frozen Images, an archival look at the work of Antarctic cinematographer Frank Hurley; Among the Hardwoods, a classically shot black-and-white documentary from the 1930s that looks at the timber-getters in Western Australia’s giant karri and jarrah forests; and From the Tropics to the Snow (1962), featuring Reg Livermore in search of the perfect tourist destination.

    The amazing Lake Pedder (1997) will give you some idea of just what was lost after the bloody minded decision of the Tasmanian Government of the 1960s as they sought the economic boost from hydro electric power. Seeing this idyllic lake in Tasmania’s southwest wilderness flooded will bring a tear to the eye. Interesting and in an ironic twist, the battle to save Lake Pedder actually resulted in the formation of the world’s first Green party and the creation of the Wilderness Society.
   
    Also included is the film The Edge of the World (1998), which is a tribute to the life and work of Western Australian author Tim Winton.

    The major film in the set could actually be considered an extra. Wildness (2003) is an international award-winning tribute to the work of two outstanding Tasmanian wilderness photographers, Peter Dombrovskis and Olegas Truchanas.

    This is an interesting collection of films and interviews, showing some truly stunning images and hopefully leaving the viewer with an appreciation of just what wilderness is and why it must be preserved.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of the various films is obviously a bit of a mixed bag with some relatively new footage combined with some very old footage that is up to 70 years old.

    The films are presented in a variety of aspect ratios including 1.78:1 and 1.33:1. None of the material is 16x9 enhanced.

    Bear in mind that with the age of the material on offer here, factors such as the sharpness of the transfer and the amount of shadow detail are likely to differ greatly. Some of the material is excellent, with good sharp images and no shadow detail problems. Other examples are very ordinary with fuzzy images or lost clarity throughout. Grain is pretty much evident throughout, but it is inherent in the source and cannot really be complained about. There is no low level noise.

    Colours are as expected for the material that is in colour. There are no problems other than those inherent in the source (such as fading or some cross colouration and oversaturation).

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There is no aliasing but film artefacts pop up in several of the films, some more so than others.
   
    There are no subtitles.

    This is a dual disc set with no layer change to contend with on either.

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

Audio

    A fairly basic audio selection graces this disc. We get an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack as the only option.

    Dialogue is clear, and with many of the short films being narrative documentaries that is all we can ask for. This is handled well with no obvious problems. There are also no audio sync issues.

    There is a little background music and it is all handled well.

    There is no surround or subwoofer use at all.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Short Film - Wildness

    This is an extra that is worth the price of the disc all by itself. What we have on disc two is the documentary Wildness, which is the acclaimed film about Olegas Truchanas and Peter Dombrovskis, two of Australia's greatest wilderness photographers. There are some beautiful and amazing photographs shown throughout here in addition to the inspirational story of the two men. Runs for a very healthy 55:55.

Interviews-Crew

    Scott Millwood, the writer and director of Wildness explains his thoughts on the film and what it means to him. Runs for 2:18.

Interviews-Crew

    Michael McMahon, the producer of Wildness offers his thoughts on the film. Runs for 2:48.

R4 vs R1

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

        This disc is not available in Region 1.

Summary

    Film Australia's Wilderness - Real and Imagined is an excellent set of short films, interviews and other items showcasing some of the many different perceptions of what we know as wilderness. The films contained here follow some of the key historical developments in Australian wilderness thinking, primarily where it went from being seen as a deadly landscape to be avoided to a landscape that should be preserved and celebrated.

    The quality of the video is as expected, with the older footage suffering from all the usual problems associated with film that is up to 70 years old.

    The audio is nothing spectacular but handles the job required with ease.

    The extras are limited in a true sense because the DVD is made up of a series of short films, featurettes and interviews.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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