Lou Reed-Transformer (Classic Albums) (Warner Vision) (2001)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Bonus Interviews (9) - Expanded from the main feature
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||49:31 (Case: 80)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jim Smeaton|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, sound grab from Lou Reed|
Anyway, it's the early Seventies, the swinging sixties have turned into the outrageous seventies where the borders between gender, decency, what's hot and what's not have all got a bit bit blurred in a haze of alternative substances. Poet and singer Lou Reed, after an apprenticeship of literary study, playing the bars and coming to notice with the Velvet Underground heads to London, capital of the music scene and meets up with David Bowie who, with long-time Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson, offer to produce his album Transformer. Teamed up with Bowie sound engineer Ken Scott and various session musicians, notably Herbie Flowers on bass and Mick Ronson on guitar and enjoying the patronage of new friend Andy Warhol the classic Transformer album is born.
The DVD makes use of present day interviews with Lou Reed, Mick Ronson and Bowie together with commentary by Eurhythmics Dave Stewart, rock photographer Mick Rock and others to explain how it all came together and the background behind the songs. What these features achieve, quite brilliantly, is to highlight the poetry in the lyrics and the almost brutal simplicity in Reed's music that provides a non-judgemental and in many ways timeless snapshot of life at the time - Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose! The most fascinating feature for me was Herbie Flower's explanation of how the bass line on Wild Side was recorded (an acoustic bass overdubbed with a sliding electric bass) although the insights into the songs led to a much greater personal appreciation of their meaning and poetry.
Sadly no song is quite presented in its entirety, which is a shame. The DVD content is quite strangely authored whereby the main feature, probably filmed for television, of 49:31 is supplemented by much of the same material again 'extended for DVD' in the extras. The cover listed Chapter selection of songs is a tad misleading as these lead you not to the song itself but all the interviews and explanations around cuts of the song. Anyway, the chapters have been listed for convenience in the music track section of this review.
The star of this feature is indubitably Mr Lou Reed himself, with a self-effacing, cynical yet humorous insight into his life, songs and friends.
|1. I'm So Free|
3. Satellite of Love
4. Walk on the Wild Side
5. Andy's Chest
|6. New York Telephone Conversation|
7. Make Up
8. Perfect Day
9. Goodnight Ladies
The feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness, shadow detail and absence of low level noise are exemplary.
The colours are a little muted due largely to the subdued lighting of many of the home and studio venues.
There is aliasing throughout the feature of a minor nature and this only becomes really noticeable, as is usual, on string shots of guitars (13:37) or the edge of mixers (12:25).
The archival footage contained a smorgasbord of film artefacts with dirt, grain, scratches and film fading aplenty.
As there were no English subtitles, and I'm not polylingual, it was hard to judge the accuracy of the six European language subtitles available but they seemed adequate.
The disc is a DVD 5 and hence has no layer transition point.
There was only one audio track, in English, listed as Dolby Digital Stereo but listening reveals it to be encoded with surround information. Extensive use was made of the centre speaker for dialogue with instruments being diverted to front mains.
Dialogue quality was excellent - there was no problem making out the words from Reed's New York or Stewart's Sunderland drawl.
Audio sync was not a problem with this feature.
The surrounds were used very inconspicuously in Dolby Prologic Surround mode with low volume instrument reverb.
|Surround Channel Use|
The present day video footage was excellent.
The audio track was of high quality.
The Clayton's extras could have more plentiful in quantity and variety.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-900E, using RGB output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon ACV-A1SE. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Theta Digital Intrepid|
|Speakers||ML Aeon front. B&W LRC6 Centre. ML Script rear. REL Strata III SW.|