Oasis-...There and Then (PAL) (1996)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video-Roll With It
Audio-Only Track-Champagne Supernova
Main Menu Introduction
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, well, I saw a filled up ashtray in an interview|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, closing titles over pans across the audience|
I originally reviewed this title back when it was a local reissue of the US-based no region coded NTSC disc (the opening logo even said "Columbia Music Video" instead of "Sony Music Video"). At that time it seemed incongruous that we get to watch a British band (recorded presumably in PAL) in "Never-Twice the-Same-Colo(u)r". Since then, Sony has seen fit to reissue this in PAL as a Region 2/4 coded disc, and have even added a few bonus music videos as extras. Well, I have to offer my thanks to Sony for taking the trouble to offer their customers a better product and to support the PAL format, in contrast to another distributor (who I shall not name) flooding warmed-over NTSC titles into the marketplace.
What follows is a (slightly edited) copy of the plot synopsis from my earlier review:
Oasis ... There and Then is a collection of excerpts from three concerts (Earls Court, London 4/5 November 1995 and Maine Road, Manchester 28 April 1996), interspersed with interview snippets and off-concert footage (fans rushing into the concert venue, Oasis members playing soccer, and so forth).
Following on the heels of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, Oasis is a British rock band featuring a few young men (including brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher) with funny accents, catchy songs, and an appeal that goes beyond their country of origin. Their first album, Definitely Maybe, was released in 1994 and sold over 4 million copies in the UK but success across the Atlantic puddle had to wait until the second album (What's The Story) Morning Glory? which peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts and had two #1 singles. The band also had at least 15 minutes of fame through the off-stage antics of the brothers, which involved sibling rivalry, feuds with other bands and drug use. The band then went a bit quiet and there were rumours of a break-up, but they resurfaced in 1997 with a third album Be Here Now. The boys then calmed down a bit, got married and started families and got off the drugs and alcohol. Oasis is still around today (albeit with some changes in the band line-up), a few years and a few albums later - the latest being Standing On The Shoulder (sic) of Giants. Oasis has obviously retained a core group of loyal fans - as evidenced not only from their fairly comprehensive official web site but from fan sites as well.
The boys in the band are joined by Mark Feltham playing the harmonica and a brass section (mainly trumpets and saxophone) during track 9 (Round Are Way). Tracks 12-14 include a string ensemble. Live Forever seems to be a tribute to various (dead) icons such as Martin Luther King and John Lennon, whose images are projected onto the back of the stage. I Am The Walrus is a cover of the Beatles song and seems to be a tribute to them, including additional musicians acting as "bootleg Beatles" wearing uniforms similar to that in St. Peppers. The band is also accompanied by a brass section and various other instruments including harmonica and violin in this song. Finally, there's a guitar feedback drone at the end of track 18 (Cum On Feel The Noize) that I found intensely irritating.
I actually enjoyed quite a few of the songs. They are a bit repetitive and monotonous, but curiously catchy. I particularly liked Noel's guitar solo in Champagne Supernova. Some of the songs are quite exhilarating, notably Champagne Supernova, I Am The Walrus and Cum On Feel The Noize. It's a pity the band members have no sex appeal whatsoever - the Gallagher brothers seem to have personalities like wet fish (well, that's a bit unfair - I have met some pretty interesting fish) and look really daggy in their grunge outfits.
I'm not sure I like the juxtaposition of various interview snippets between the songs. The snippets are too short to be meaningful and seem rather pointless. I would have preferred them to be included as a separate featurette.
|1. Programme Start|
2. Swamp Song
6. Some Might Say
7. Roll With It
8. Morning Glory
9. Round Are Way
|10. Cigarettes & Alcohol|
11. Champagne Supernova
12. Cast No Shadow
14. The Masterplan
15. Don't Look Back In Anger
16. Live Forever
17. I Am The Walrus
18. Cum On Feel The Noize
The previously released full frame NTSC transfer was approximately laserdisc quality - slightly soft with oversaturated colours as well as some colour smearing. There was quite a lot of aliasing and pixelization present in the transfer, especially around the microphone, guitar strings, cables, and even a moire effect in the spiral pattern at the back of the stage. Although the concert excerpts were free of film grain or video noise, the in-between interviews and off-stage footage were more variable in source quality - some snippets were extremely grainy.
In my previous review, I mentioned that I suspected some of the aliasing may be due to a PAL to NTSC conversion.
Well, how does this remastered PAL version compare? It's still in full frame, but surprisingly the aliasing and pixelization are still there in full force. Indeed, comparing the two discs back and forth yielded no real differences in the quality of the transfer. In fact, I don't think I would be able to tell which is which.
So what is the cause of all the aliasing and pixelization? Compression artefacts? After all, this is a single sided single layered disc containing over 90 minutes of video. I checked the transfer rate of the PAL version - this varies all over the place but did not seem low to me. In fact the transfer rate hits the maximum 10Mbps quite often. My guess is the artefacts are present in the video source itself (perhaps over-use of digital zoom or maybe the source was digitally edited then over-compressed?).
In any case, it looks like this is probably as good a transfer as we are likely to get.
The PAL disc is identically featured to the previous NTSC release: two audio tracks, English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).
The NTSC disc has a Dolby Digital track that has been mastered at a relatively high level (about 3-4 dB higher than normal) and a PCM track that's about average in level compared to a CD.
Surprisingly, the PAL disc has much lower levels for both audio tracks. The Dolby Digital track appears to be mastered at a level comparable to other discs, but the PCM track seems to be at a very low level (almost 10 dB below a typical CD). The lower volume level makes the PAL disc seem poorer in quality compared to the NTSC disc. However, even when I equalised the levels, the PAL disc seems slightly less substantial and "grainier" than the NTSC disc.
In all other respects the audio tracks on the PAL disc are comparable to the NTSC disc. I still prefer the Dolby Digital track over the PCM track, even though it sounds like the surround mix is artificially generated from a stereo source. The surround speakers are quite aggressively utilised and in some of the tracks (notably Cast No Shadow) the strings have migrated almost completely across to the rear speakers. The subwoofer is lightly used to provide a low frequency extension to the music.
The audio tracks are listenable, but definitely not anywhere near "CD" quality. The dynamic range has been compressed, and extreme low and high frequencies have been rolled off. High frequencies (eg. cymbals) seem somewhat "phasy" and do not sound natural at all. All in all, the audio tracks sound like something off a cassette or VHS tape rather than from a CD.
As before, I found the dialogue in between songs to be rather hard to understand (mainly because of the strong accents) and it was also difficult following the lyrics of the songs. A subtitle track would have been most helpful.
|Surround Channel Use|
The original NTSC release had zero extras. Even the main menu looked pretty bare bones, and featured unusual terminology (I had to select "Resume" to start playing). Well, this PAL remaster includes a number of bonus music videos and audio only tracks.
The main menu now includes a short intro, and features animation as well as background audio. The menu is still a bit eccentric though. The "Video/Audio" menu item, which I thought would have allowed me to choose the audio track, actually leads into a submenu containing the extra music videos. I would have thought it should probably be entitled "Bonus Features". The menu is full-framed.
This is a full frame, somewhat grainy music video that seems to be filmed at a concert. The audio track is PCM. The transfer is quite pixelated in certain parts. The audio sounds somewhat muffled.
This is very similar to the above, except the video is presented in 1.66:1 (without 16x9 enhancements) and is less pixelated.
This is a very poor quality audio-only track, recorded live at the Earls Court, London concert on 4 November 1995 accompanied by a picture of the DVD cover, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. The audio track sounds like it has been recorded by a fan on a cassette tape. There is no track timing information encoded so the length of the track is approximate.
This is pretty much the same as the above, except recorded at Knebsworth Park, Stevenage, on 11 August 1996.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The remastered PAL Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version (and the local issue of the NTSC version) of this disc misses out on;
Given the presence of the additional features, I would say the remastered PAL version wins.
Oasis ... There and Then is a collection of excerpts from several Oasis concerts circa 1995-96. It has been remastered as a PAL disc from the original NTSC version released several years ago and now includes some bonus music videos and audio-only tracks.
The video and audio quality is still mediocre.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Front and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500|