Wild Africa (2001)

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Released 2-Feb-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Wildlife On One-The Super Herd
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 294:08 (Case: 293)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Fergal Keane
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Another day, another high quality production from the BBC natural history unit, this time as a joint production with Discovery Channel. This series was made in 2001 and consists of 6 episodes each of approximately 50 minutes. Obviously the title gives away that this series focuses on the African continent and each episode explores one of the many and varied habitats which are present within that continent. When we think of Africa we usually probably think of the savannah or deserts but this series shows how much more variety there is. A real strength of this series is that it doesn't only cover the obvious choices such as lions, elephants and wildebeest but also covers much less well-known species from very small mammals to insects.

    As usual with BBC nature productions the photography is first class and features many different techniques including time-lapse photography, photos from space, microscopic photography, underwater and underground shots and some great action shots of wildlife in their individual battles for survival. Some of the footage is suspiciously similar to footage in Massive Nature but there is very little cross-over in subject matter and approach.

    The six episodes are

  1. Mountains (49:05) - Covers the various mountain habitats in Africa including baboons, ibex, vultures, wolves, rats, flowers, volcanos, sunbirds, hydraxes, black panthers and much more.
  2. Savannah (49:05) - Includes cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, wildebeest, birds, termites, buffalo, lions, baboons and humans.
  3. Deserts (49:01) - Includes background on how the deserts in Africa have come about and snakes, insects, rats, elephants, meerkats, antelope, locusts, mole rats, springboks, cheetahs and camels.
  4. Coasts (49:05) - Shows the remarkable variety around Africa's coasts including seals, gannets, ostriches, baboons, dolphins, monkeys, mangrove swamps, crabs, fish, devil rays, the Red Sea, falcons, hippos, wild pigs, penguins, hyenas, sharks and more.
  5. Jungle (49:07) - The remarkably lush and enormous African rainforests are covered here including elephants, monkeys, eagles, birds, chimps, fish living in elephant footprints, native peoples and the gorillas.
  6. Lakes & Rivers (48:45) - Another episode showing the incredible range of habitats in Africa from the massive rivers to volcanic lakes to broad fresh lakes and wetlands like the Okovango. Includes eagles, fish, hippos, crocodiles, flies, cranes, storks and flamingos.

    Another highly recommended nature series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.75:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good. There was light grain in backgrounds and some shots, especially wide shots, included heavier grain, but it was never really obvious.

    The colour was generally excellent however I did notice one or two spots of minor bleeding.

    The only noticeable artefact were a few small white specks.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which were clear and easy to read.

    The layer changes on both discs caused minor pauses.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The music by Christopher Gunning was mostly choral and classical in nature and had a very epic feel to it. Occasionally, it seemed a little over the top.

    The surround speakers made for a surprisingly immersive soundtrack for this style of production adding bird and animal noises, natural occurrences such as rain and other atmosphere.

    The subwoofer was used occasionally, mostly to add bass to the music.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu included music, and the ability to select episodes, scenes and subtitles.

Disc 2

Wildlife on One : The Super Herd (29:04)

    A very welcome addition is this half hour documentary narrated by David Attenborough focusing on the mass migration of wildebeest and the threats they encounter along the way. It is one episode of the BBC1 series about wildlife. Top quality extra.

R4 vs R1

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

    This series is available in exactly the same format in Region 2 but not in Region 1. You may as well buy the local product.

Summary

    Another quality nature documentary series from the BBC this time focuses on the many and varied habitats in Africa and their wildlife.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set includes only one extra but it is of high quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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