So Smart!-Volume 2: Colours (1998)
|Year Of Production||1998|
|Running Time||26:11 (Case: 30)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Baby School Company
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/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||No|
Colours is the second So Smart! DVD to be released in Region 4, and reading back over my review of Shapes I was pretty impressed with the simplicity of the program and the effectiveness of the animation. While it bears a similar label and animation, Colours is quite a different step in many respects. Firstly, rather than use familiar classical music, Colours uses some original pieces of music that blend stringed instruments and midi-style electronic backing. Another difference that is apparent from the outset is the use of a female narrator as storyteller. The cover states that this disc is aimed at the same age group (12-36 months), but I would suggest around 24 months as an ideal target for this DVD.
Shapes is a big hit in my household and the family was excited to hear I was going to review Colours. My obligatory and charismatic co-reviewer enjoyed this DVD immensely (she is thirty-two months old at the time of writing) and loved pointing out the colours, animals and objects to me. There was never a dull moment, to be honest. It is certainly a DVD that deserves to be experienced with parent and child together, so the learning can be shared.
Below is a quote from my Shapes review, and the same applies here:
My other half is in full agreement that this is an outstanding DVD learning tool for babies, and is highly recommended for new parents. Next time you want to buy a gift for a friend with a new baby, instead of getting bath products or lame clothes buy them this DVD - they'll thank you later.
If you would like to learn more about the So Smart Production Company and their range of products, their website is a very well presented resource for parents and details all the theories behind their programs.
While it is somewhat different to the first DVD, this second So Smart! disc proves yet again that a worthwhile children's program doesn't need all the bells, whistles and collectable action figures in order to be an effective and entertaining learning tool.
The video transfer is presented in 1.33:1, full frame.
This is an acceptable transfer with no major issues to report. Colouring is very bold and free of any bleeding or rendering inconsistencies. The image is not especially sharp and has interleaving issues so it is most likely derived from an analogue NTSC master tape. There is no compression artefacting visible.
The animation is smooth and pleasing to the eye. I imagine young babies would be mesmerized by the colours and movement.
There are no English subtitles provided on this single layered disc.
There is only one soundtrack included; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoded at 256Kb/s.
The soundtrack has a nice degree of depth and is easy to listen to. The English narration is by Alexandra Tornek, who also happens to be the program's art director. Audio sync is not an issue here.
I didn't notice any dedicated panning from left to right, but the soundtrack is certainly lively and clear enough to keep the viewer interested.
There is obviously no dedicated LFE channel or surround activity in this stereo soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
None. The single menu page is static and silent.
The video transfer is sourced from an NTSC master.
The audio transfer is good.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). 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.|