Sea Symphony (2002)
|Category||New Age||Menu Audio|
|Year Of Production||2002|
|Running Time||58:43 (Case: 60)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Lin Sutherland|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.0 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (384Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The DVD is arranged into 15 chapters, each highlighting a particular species and accompanied by its own score. All of the scores are of impressionist ilk with the delicate melodies of Debussy and Satie together with original scores by Robert Chromicz making a fitting soundscape to the grace and elegance of the marine fauna. I wasn't convinced that Mendelsson's On Wings of Song was quite the fitting accompaniment to a rather lecherous looking potato cod but maybe I wasn't doing the fish justice. There's the usual large shoals of reef fish oscillating in fish-like manner over colourful corals but there is some very spectacular footage too - the sight of over 20 bronze whaler sharks, of no mean size, weaving through a wall of unconcerned looking lesser fish or the grace of a formation of manta rays was truly impressive. I was also taken with the footage of the ugly, yet strangely graceful manatees followed through the crystal clear brightly sunlit channels and shallows of the mangroves.
I'm not quite sure what audience the DVD is targeted at but if you like the background of marine life and delicate soundscore, this is a worthy addition to your collection. It would make an ideal (suitably licensed of course) distraction for a dentist's waiting room or perhaps the airport lounge just after your flight has been announced as delayed!
|1. Gymnopedie No 1,2&3 - Eric Satie|
2. Claire de Lune - Claude Debussy
3. Shimmer - Robert Chromicz
4. Prelude to the Afternoon of a faune
5. Beau Soir - Debussy
6. Evolving Days (reprise) - Chromicz
7. Diver - Robert Chromicz
8. Arabesque - Debussy
|9. On Wing of Song - Mendelsson|
10. Turning Tide - Robert Chromicz
11. Explore - Robert Chromicz
12. Evolving Days - Robert Chromicz
13. Diver (reprise) - Robert Chromicz
14. Barcarolle Op 60 - Chopin
15. Sea Breeze - Robert Chromicz
Sadly, the video is only presented at 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It is hard to imagine a more fitting title that would have benefited from enhanced widescreen production - shame on you ABC - especially now digital TV is upon us.
Overall, the transfer is very sharp. The clarity of picture is only really limited by the available ambient light which naturally diminishes as the water depth increases. The only really grainy footage was of the hammerhead sharks in Chapter 7 where either the depth or else time of day gave a rather gloomy and grainy picture. By way of contrast, the brightly sunlit shallow footage of the manatees is some of the sharpest and clearest video that I have seen on DVD. Most of the footage was well lit and so there is very little by way of shadow detail but what there was was reasonable.
Colours were very natural looking and were naturally rather washed out in most footage as they were filmed underwater. Again the shallows footage, especially of some of the reef corals, produced some excellent video with bright vibrant colours. There were no colour artefacts.
The only MPEG artefacts to be seen were very mild, occasional aliasing, seen infrequently on long straight fish bits such as the tails of the eagle rays at 11:09. This was not a distraction. The video was very clean and I presume the programming was captured on videotape - there were no film artefacts seen.
There is no narration and the only text was a brief chapter title burned into the video with no subtitle options available.
The disc is single layered and hence has no transition point.
There is no dialogue, so there was nothing for the audio to sync onto, not even a stream of bubbles!
The musical symphony is mostly based on classical themes with a contemporary arrangement by the musical director Vic Kaspar. This was mostly tastefully done but I found his arrangement of Debussy's Clair de Lune a little too synthetic and reminiscent of a downloaded MIDI file played back on a rather cheap soundcard. The original compositions by Robert Chomicz were unspectacular but appropriate and fitted in nicely with the rest of the score and the video.
The surround channels were mostly used for low level ambience, which was fitting, but once during a reef scene gave an impressively 3D effect to a roll of breaking surf.
The subwoofer was allowed to sleep for the soundtrack as the audio is coded without LFE.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|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.|