Rainforest Rhapsody (2001)

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Released 13-Aug-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category New Age Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 70:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Warth
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Various


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    ABC Video has done the obvious and built upon their expertise in the area of nature videos and presented another wonderful blend of visuals and music to the marketplace. Mind you, when they can do stuff this good, why not?

    Filmed in the Wollumbin Crater, Rainforest Rhapsody really is a terrific piece of background video. The variety of animal and plant life in the area is quite amazingly diverse and the range of colours is pretty stunning. With plenty of swaying gum trees and running water to back the animal and plant life, if you choose to watch this rather than just bunging it on in the background, you will find plenty to enjoy here.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    After the somewhat mixed transfer afforded the prior DVD I reviewed from this source, Bird Suite, I have to confess that I did approach this with a little trepidation, despite the obvious attractions of the content. I am pleased to report that this was a significantly better transfer in every respect. Indeed, much of the transfer is utterly superb and does absolute justice to the wildlife and scenery on display. The only slight letdowns in the whole transfer are easily pinpointed: grain and some shimmer. Otherwise, this is a stunningly sharp transfer with some utterly exquisite detail - the detail in the birds feathers for instance is simply stunning, as every feather is seen with utter clarity. Talking of clarity, this is a superbly clear transfer until the odd grain patches become evident. It should be pointed out that these grain patches are usually during long lens shots of small birds, and thus are inherent in the source material rather than being a mastering issue. Shadow detail is not an issue and there is no low level noise problem in the transfer.

    Aiding the generally superb video transfer is some of the best looking colour I have seen in recent times. This is a wonderfully vibrant transfer and this is matched by some glorious colour. There is a superb saturation to the colours in general, just let down by the odd section where the transfer is a tad over bright (such as at 11:08). There is only the slightest of indications of oversaturation in shots of the Eastern King parrots, with their bright red hooded heads, but to even mention it is purely for the sake of at least trying to find something wrong, however minor, with the transfer! There is one place in the transfer, between 59:35 and 59:50 where there is a look of slight colour bleed in the branches of the trees. I am loathe to suggest that it is definitely colour bleed, as it might well be inherent "ghosting" in the source material as these shots were taken during twilight.

    There is nothing significant in the way of MPEG artefacts in the transfer, although the slight shimmer in the transfer at times (usually during periods involving plenty of fine detail such as grass) might be indicative of some pixelization in the picture. Apart from the occasional shimmer in the background, the only noted film-to-video artefacts are some rather minor instances of aliasing in things like leaf stems (5:54 is a good example). You would however be hard-pressed to notice these in normal circumstances, unless you are viewing this on a high definition large screen display. There is nothing in the way of film artefacts in the transfer.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I listened to both soundtracks.

    Since the soundtrack is purely ambient sounds and light, classical music, obviously there are no concerns regarding audio sync in the transfer. The ambient sounds come up very well in the soundtracks and the music plays very nicely and quite lightly away in the background.

    The music comes from a varied assortment of classical composers, most well known, the odd one not so well known. All of the chosen music is in quite a light vein and suits the style of the programme very well indeed. The assorted pieces come from various recordings made by five of the ABC's symphony orchestras around the country, under the collective baton of seven conductors.

    There is nothing at all wrong with either soundtrack on offer here. The Dolby Digital 2.0 is a nice open sounding effort much the same as a CD recording with no obvious flaws. Obviously it lacks any sort of surround channel and bass channel use, but will more than suit the purpose of some background ambience. The Dolby Digital 5.1 is an excellent effort indeed, and is one of the best examples of ambient sound I have heard for a while. There is plenty of surround channel activity, although none of it is really overt and could perhaps be missed unless you switch back and forth between the two soundtracks, which really highlights the difference in the surround presence. Amazingly, after a succession of music DVDs where the bass channel mixing has not been the best, this displays some superb bass channel work. Again it is nothing overt and is not likely to draw attention to itself at all, but contributes just the right sort of low end support that this sort of programme requires.

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

Extras

    Nothing at all is not exactly a great performance in anyone's language. This is especially since the educational possibilities of this sort of programming have been completely ignored. Surely it is not too difficult to use a subtitle track to bring up the names of the animals and plants being shown on screen? Whilst there are plenty I could identify, there were many I could not and it is mildly infuriating not to be able to have this information included as a subtitle option. I do not consider the ABC advert before the menu to be an extra.

Menu

    Actually these are very well done, with the three menus featuring a short segment from the main programme complete with all ambient sound and movement. Rather nice looking indeed.

R4 vs R1

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

    To the best of our understanding this programme is not available overseas.

Summary

    Rainforest Rhapsody is another excellent blend of music and nature video that ABC Video seem to excel at. This time they have given the programme a very good transfer in most respects and it is only slightly disappointing that the transfer was afflicted with a few relatively minor problems. This is well worthwhile having a look at, although some qualms may be raised by the value for money here.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Friday, July 27, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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