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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Engineering Connections (2008)

Engineering Connections (2008)

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Released 24-Jun-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 200:14
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Nick Metcalfe
Kenny Scott
Mike Slee
National Geographic
Madman Entertainment
Starring Richard Hammond
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Alasdair Reid

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame hosts this interesting but slightly uneven documentary series which was made in 2007/8 for National Geographic Channel. It was recently shown locally on SBS. The basic concept is investigate modern engineering achievements and look for links to older inventions and/or natural phenomenon. This makes for an interesting viewing experience for those who like to understand how things work. Some of the links are demonstrated with live action demonstrations which are reminiscent of challenges on Top Gear. Examples of these include using a chicken gun to fire chickens at pieces of aluminium to simulate bird strikes on planes, setting fire to a boat and Hammond riding a horse trying to fire a long bow. He makes for an enthusiastic is sometimes annoying host especially when he repeats obvious things just said by an expert.

    The series is made up of four episodes each of about 50 minutes. The episodes are

  1. Airbus A380 - Links the design of the new super jumbo to eagles, Mongol bows, rockets and bikes. The best episode of the series.

  2. Deep Space Observer - Investigates the Keck Observer telescope in Hawaii and links it to ancient death rays, fridges, spy planes, the Theremin and thermal imaging. Not as good as the first episode due to a bit of geekiness.

  3. Super Rig - Looks at the Troll A gas platform of Norway and its incredible design and construction. Links to plant pots, farmers in the US midwest, concrete pillars, the Tacoma Bridge disaster and car turbos. Interesting stuff.

  4. Taipei Tower - The world's tallest building and its links to racing yachts, bird cages, steam pumps, safety belts and sports cars.

    An interesting series for people with a passing interest is how things are constructed but maybe a little light for full blown techheads.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced which I would guess is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear without being really crisp. Shadow detail is good. There is also some light grain in some backgrounds plus some minor blocking such as at 7:40.

    The colour was very good with no issues.

    There was some regular jagged edges and aliasing which would have been even more prevalent without progressive scan.

    There are no subtitles.

    There is no obvious layer change in the episodes.


Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was somewhat variable. The voiceover was generally quite audible but sometimes drowned out a little by the music. Live recorded voices were sometimes difficult to catch. Subtitles would have been useful.

    The music used added tension and excitement to some of the stunts.

    The surround speakers were used for some atmosphere when played using PLII.

    The subwoofer added a little bass to the music.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu features music but was still. Episodes could be selected individually.

R4 vs R1

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

    This seems to be the first global release of this series on DVD.


    An interesting documentary series about engineering marvels and their connections to nature and older inventions.

    The video quality is good but marred by aliasing.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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