BB Mak-Live in Vietnam (Music in High Places) (2001)

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Released 18-Mar-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Getting There
Featurette-Interview
Featurette-Promo Spots
Featurette-Location Footage
Biographies-Cast-BBMak
Music Video-Just The Music
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 50:12
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Alan Carter
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Mark Barry
Christian Burns
Ste McNally
Case Click
RPI $39.95 Music BBMak


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
German
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, MSN Music in High Places
Action In or After Credits Yes, on location "off cuts"

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

Plot Synopsis

    The idea behind Music In High Places (a travel adventure cable TV series not yet shown in Australia to my knowledge) sounds interesting - take a musician/recording artist to an exotic/remote location, get them to talk to the locals and visit famous landmarks a la Michael Palin's travel adventures and get them to perform some of their best known songs "on location". Package it all up as a travelogue or travel documentary cum music videos/live performances. Microsoft has also got into the act by making certain segments from the series available as streaming Windows Media files on MSN (http://www.musicinhighplaces.msn.com), although when I recently tried to access this site it seems to have disappeared and MSN doesn't seem to mention it anymore.

    This "instalment" or "episode" features boy band BBMak travelling around Vietnam and singing at various locations.

    BBMak is a trio of British boys (from Liverpool and Manchester) consisting of Mark Barry, Christian Burns and Ste (which is short for "Steven") McNally. As far as I can tell from the DVD, they seem to sing a mixture soft rock/pop ballads in 'a capella' vocal harmonizations accompanied by acoustic guitars (played by Christian and Ste). Occasionally Mark plays the Irish pennywhistle and even bagpipes!

    The group formed in 1996, released a successful single called "Back Here" followed by their first album "Sooner or Later." They achieved success in the US by being the supporting act for Britney Spears' concerts and then repeated their success in the UK by supporting The Corrs on their UK tour.

    The music performances in the feature are edited like music videos (footage shot on location is spliced together as a montage of images together with cuts to the boys performing against a backdrop of mountains, ruins, on a boat, and in a huge cave as well as at various tourist sites). The performances are pretty much captured as is and sound quite fresh and "unmixed".

    The boys visit several places (mainly around Hue), including:

    In between performing their songs, the band talks about themselves and their impressions of the locations they are visiting, giving the impression that it's almost a home video of their holiday together. I thought their songs were quite charming, but not sure I entirely approve of what I perceive to be a lack of cultural "sensitivity" on their part (some of their comments made in the Central Market to the locals are a bit on the rude side).

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Track Listing

1. Back Here
2. I Can Tell
3. Love On The Outside
4. Ghost Of You and Me
5. Still On Your Side
6. If I Could Fly
7. Scotland The Brave
8. Again
9. I'm Not In Love

Transfer Quality

Video

    Apart from the opening title sequence, which is presented in full frame, the feature is presented in roughly 1.75:1 but with no 16x9 enhancement.

    The transfer is based on an interlaced video source, resulting in some shimmering at various locations such as 4:54-5:02, 22:13-22:19,and 33:54-33:59. Despite that, it still comes across as reasonably detailed although a little on the soft side. Colours are quite natural, though the scenes shot in the outdoors during daylight seem somewhat yellowish - perhaps an inappropriate filter was placed on the camera? Shadow detail is about average for a video source.

    Overall, the quality of the video was somewhat "amateurish" as if it was someone's home video production shot on a handheld digital camera. I think given the actual equipment used (which is visible during the "behind the scenes" featurette) the results could have been slightly better.

    There are three subtitle tracks on the disc, but the first one appears to be a silent subtitle track. The other two are French and German subtitle tracks. I turned them on briefly just to check that they do exist. Somewhere around 3:42-3:51 Mark utters some dialogue that to my ears is almost unintelligible - I checked the subtitles during this segment and the subtitle creator couldn't figure the dialogue out either as it wasn't translated!

    This is a single sided and dual layered disc. I did not notice the layer change, and I suspect it occurs in between titles.

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

Audio

    There are two audio tracks present on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kb/s) . I listened to mainly the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track appears to be sourced from a stereo mix and then electronically enhanced for surround. The rear channels are used to convey ambience and the centre channel is silent. The LFE track is mainly used to reinforce the low frequencies in the track.

    I was very pleasantly surprised by the audio quality of the music performances (given the recording conditions). However, I suspect the mix has been enhanced and post-processed to improve the quality of the audio track. The directional microphones used to try and capture the sound results in an overall sound that is somewhat harsh and over-sibilant.

   There is a lot of spurious bass apparent as a result of wind blowing into the microphone around 44:56-45:22.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 track in comparison lacks punchiness and dynamics and has been encoded at a very low volume level (down by at least 6 dB).

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

Extras

    There are a fair amount of extras accompanying this disc, none of them 16x9 enhanced. The only extra not included that I could think of would be an audio commentary track, but that would be pretty superfluous since the main feature itself is a commentary of sorts on the location and the music.

    Most of the video extras appear to be presented in 1.75:1 (letterboxed) with a Dolby Digital mono audio track.

Menu

    The menus are full frame and static.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (6:55)

    This is a short making-of featurette featuring interviews with:

    I initially thought the feature was shot entirely on consumer handheld video cameras, so I was disappointed (especially given the resultant transfer quality) that they actually used very professional looking equipment.

Featurette - Getting There (2:02)

    This is a montage of scenes of the boys and crew getting to and travelling around Vietnam. There is no accompanying dialogue narration.

Featurette - Interview (18:41)

    This contains the extended version of the interview segments with the boys, excerpts of which made it to the main feature.

Featurette - Promo Spots (0:40)

    This features the boys making sound and video "bites" promoting the Music In High Places series on DirectTV, MSN and Radio Shack.

Featurette - Location Footage (13:13)

    This is an extended version of the boys visiting various locations in Vietnam, accompanied by a local guide (a different girl in each location) providing background information. The first segment features a pretty Vietnamese girl but unfortunately her accent is so strong I found it very difficult to understand a word she was saying and wished there was a subtitle track. The background traffic noise was also quite loud in places and I wondered whether the motorcycle riders creating the noise were doing it deliberately. The latter half of the featurette has a video transfer that is quite dark and lacking in shadow detail.

Music Videos

    At first I thought this was a scene selection menu that takes you to the chapters containing the music performances, but it appears that these are separate music videos of the following songs:

    The reason why I think these are separate music videos instead of excerpts from the main feature is that

  1. The video footage is actually different, which you can verify by comparing the music video with the corresponding chapter on the main feature. In general, the music video focuses more on the musicians playing the music rather than splicing in on location footage.
  2. There is only one audio track for these music videos, Dolby Digital 2.0, as opposed to both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 on the main feature.
  3. The quality of the audio transfer for these music videos is horrible! Completely lacking in dynamics and sounding very muted (lacking in high frequency response), this makes the music videos completely unlistenable and negates the primary reason to offer the music videos (presumably so that you and I can focus on and enjoy the music).

Biographies-Cast-BBMak

    This is a set of nine stills providing a short introduction to the band.

R4 vs R1

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

    The disc appears to be identical across Region 1 and 4, with the possible exception of subtitle tracks.

Summary

    Music In High Places - BBMak (Live in Vietnam) features the boys touring various locations around Vietnam and performing a selection of their music. Mediocre video, reasonable audio plus a bunch of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Christine Tham (read my biography)
Monday, April 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3300
SpeakersFront and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500

Other Reviews
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