Backyard Science-Volume 2 (2006)

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Released 5-Jul-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Animation
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 200:58
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Guy Mansfield
Justin Schneider
Studio
Distributor
Visual Entertainment Group Starring Taron Victor Gordon
Dana Kronentel
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Backyard Science is a television programme for kids that began on ABC television a couple of years ago. This review for the Volume 2 DVD releases follows on from the previous review for Volume 1. Backyard Science is a science show for kids aged 6-12, starring kids aged 6-12, so rather than trying to be an imitation of something like the 1980s gem The Curiosity Show, with iconic presenters Dean and Rob, this is a unique take on an educational television show. Apart from the brief introduction from a couple of adults (hosts Taron Gordon and Dana Kronentel), there's no lecturing adults to be seen, just a bunch of kids conducting a few experiments that seem more like play activities. The promotional blurb states the show is fast-paced and fun, and helps children unravel the mysteries of life, the universe and everything - all from their own backyard.

    The beauty of the show is that any kid watching should instantly be able to replicate any of the experiments conducted on the show. In these eight episodes the kids will learn things such as why your fingers go wrinkly when immersed in water, how to crush a bottle with just the force of air, how to cook with solar power, how to make home made lipstick and how to hypnotise your dog (I tried this, but my Labrador Retriever doesn't have anywhere near a long enough attention span!).

    These fun activities don't really come across as learning, so without even realising it, the kids will learn all about gravity, air pressure, inertia, force and more.

    Australian made, Backyard Science has been a success in terms of overseas sales with countries including France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Thailand, Finland and Israel picking it up.

    Just like Volume 1 and obviously a part of every episode shown is the biggest problem I found with the series. Stemming from the aforementioned overseas success is the need to be able to quickly and cheaply adapt the show for foreign audiences. This means the programme's reliance on voice-overs for virtually all of its audio instead of seeing the actual kids on screen doing any of the talking live. This once again makes the viewer feel slightly disconnected from the kids on screen and some of the voices used (it's hard to determine if they are the actual kids in the footage for this Australian version) can be a little over-the-top in terms of their enthusiasm for the topic.

    Nevertheless, this is a fun show that is above all entertaining and very educational. This two-disc DVD for volume one features eight 25 minute episodes and comes highly recommended for that little Einstein in the family.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The packaging claims this disc is presented in a "Full frame Original Ratio 16:9". The full frame part is correct - with the video offered in the old-style full frame aspect of 1.33:1. What it is not is anything resembling anything to do with 16x9, either formatted in that aspect (1.78:1) or being enhanced for widescreen televisions. I'd imagine with this being a pretty new show that it has been designed to be shown on the ABC in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio of digital television, but with the massive overseas sales it is probably a safe bet to say it was originally recorded in 1.33:1 and matted down for Australian audiences.

    Being a recent production, this is a pretty good effort in terms of clarity and sharpness with few problems. There are certainly no issues with grain or shadow detail.

    Colours are bright and crisp and there are no other problems with bleeding or oversaturation.

    I saw no compression artefacts and other blemishes in terms of the video source are also absent.

    There are no subtitles, which is a shame.

    Both discs in this two-disc set are single layered, therefore there are no layer changes to navigate.

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

Audio

    Only one soundtrack is present, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo effort that is adequate for the role required of it. There is a little stereo separation, but nothing to get overly excited over. I don't imagine the intended audience for this film would get too excited over substantial stereo imaging anyway.

    Dialogue is excellent, if perhaps a little hammy at times, and with little actual on-screen speaking there are no audio sync problems.

    There is obviously no surround channel nor subwoofer use.

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

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc.

Main Menu Animation

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 yet to be released in Region 1.
 


 

Summary

    Backyard Science - Volume 2 is the second DVD of the entertaining and educational kids show seen on ABC television. These eight episodes bring another mix of entertainment and highly educational information. Starring kids aged 6-12 and using everyday items found at home this is a show that introduces a whole new generation to the wonders of the scientific world in a safe and easy way. Mums and Dads beware! The pantry may soon be missing a few items destined for these fun experiments.
 
    The video quality is excellent, with plenty of bright and vivid colours. I don't imagine too many of the intended audience will have too much to complain about.

    The audio is functional, even though it is just a stereo soundtrack.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Saturday, July 29, 2006
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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