Cyndi Lauper-Twelve Deadly Cyns... and Then Some (1994) (NTSC)
|Year Of Production||1994|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Cyndi Lauper is someone I like to remember from the days when music video programmes on television were rich, varied, and satisfying. It may surprise people with short memories, but getting to see a Cyndi Lauper promo video shortly after one put together for David Bowie was something of an occasional treat as far as I was concerned, and one that made getting up at the crack of dawn worthwhile. Of course, now the party is over, and the only place you're going to get to see videos like these again is on a good DVD-Video. Still, the inclusion of English subtitles will come as quite a bonus to those of us who were quite befuddled during the 1980s by Lauper's mile-thick Brooklyn accent.
Anyway, this programme is more or less a compilation of music videos that saw a lot of use in the 1980s to promote various singles that were released by Cyndi Lauper, complete with a retrospective by the woman herself between most of the songs (so the track listing doesn't exactly correspond to the chapters present on the disc). The footage of Cyndi talking about her music and her career was apparently filmed at Coney Island in 1994 or thereabouts, while the music videos appear to have been compiled from masters dating between the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s. While all of the essential pieces have been included here, some other pieces such as Hole In My Heart were left out, which will disappoint some fans (including me - I prefer that song to all those that were included here). While it is easy to dismiss Lauper as being just another pop starlet in an era that was drowning in them, her brief comments will make you think twice about that.
As a memento of the days when music that was specifically formatted for use on the airwaves was actually sold rather than pushed, Twelve Deadly Cyns is worth a look. Fans of Cyndi Lauper will have no trouble enjoying this effort, and the music itself isn't too bad for non-fans, either, at least not until the last couple of videos when that awful-boring drum pattern that seems to get used in pretty much every single that is released today kicks in.
|1. Girls Just Want To Have Fun|
2. Time After Time
3. She Bop
4. Money Changes Everything Live
5. Change Of Heart
6. True Colors
7. What's Going On
|8. I Drove All Night|
9. The World Is Stone
10. I'm Gonna Be Strong
11. Who Let In The Rain
12. That's What I Think
13. Sally's Pigeons
14. Hey Now (Girls Just Want To..)
Well, I have seen music videos with much worse video transfers, but I've also seen ones that look a lot better. A lot of the more recent footage suggests that either a composite master was used to create this disc, or the recording and editing processes were carried out on composite-format equipment.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 Enhanced.
The transfer is acceptably sharp a little under half the time, but some sections such as a shot of Cyndi Lauper in front of Big Ben during Change Of Heart at 27:03 look so washed out that this would even get the attention of viewers on VHS. Thankfully, I Drove All Night, which begins at 40:21, shows a dramatic improvement where sharpness is concerned. The shadow detail, when called for, is pretty ordinary. Low-level noise is occasionally a problem, with footage of several impromptu interviews with fans beginning at 58:10 during That's What I Think looking so grainy and noisy that it makes me wonder exactly what they used to record it.
The colours during the interview footage with Cyndi Lauper at Coney Island are generally well-represented, although one has to question whether the use of a sepia tone at 57:50 was really necessary. The occasional unnecessary alteration of colour crops up during the promotional videos, raising the spectre of bored cameramen in my mind, but the colours of the source materials are pretty faithfully rendered here.
MPEG artefacts were slightly problematic in this transfer, partly because the source material is in such ordinary shape. At 16:19, subtle macro-blocking became apparent around the edges of objects, and there are numerous shots that wear every bit of the compression that has been applied here. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of minor aliasing on car grilles and other such usual culprits, but the most noticeable instance in my mind was on the edge of a bass violin at 38:27. I think the reason this instance stood out for me is because the edges of this instrument shouldn't show this much aliasing, which raises the idea of edge enhancement in my mind. Film artefacts also litter the picture, with the promotional video for Girls Just Want To Have Fun containing enough nicks and scratches to fill every frame in a feature-length film. Thankfully, the more recent footage sees the level of film artefacts settling down to something more acceptable.
Fans will also be pleased to note the presence of English subtitles, so now you can finally understand exactly what Lauper is singing about.
There are two soundtracks on this DVD, both of them being mixes of the original English dialogue and music. The first and default soundtrack is a Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack with a bitrate of 1536 kilobits per second, while the second soundtrack is a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix with a bitrate of 448 kilobits per second. I listened primarily to the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, while sampling songs like She-Bop and Girls Just Want To Have Fun in Linear PCM for good measure.
The dialogue and vocals are variably easy to understand, and a lot of it will depend on your personal tolerance for Brooklyn accents. While the interview footage is very easy to understand, the lyrics in songs like Time After Time and Money Changes Everything can be extremely problematic without subtitles. This is more an issue with the vocal style, and not the fault of the transfer, unfortunately. There are no problems with audio sync other than the terrible lip-synching that is common to promotional videos of this era.
The music on this disc is primarily the work of Cyndi Lauper and various session musicians, all of whom are credited at the end of the programme. While this music will never replace my collection of Black Sabbath discs, it's a nice variety of music that will appeal to musical facets within all of us, especially if you also like creative promotional videos.
The surround channels are quite aggressively used to separate the snare drums, cymbals, keyboards, and other such high-frequency instruments from the more bass-heavy section of the songs. Hearing the drums and keyboards out of the rears was quite a startling experience at first, but having the extra separation more than compensated for the compression. The subwoofer was also used fairly aggressively to support the drums and the bass in each song, giving the songs an extra depth that was quite a revelation. Of course, neither of these elements of the soundstage are used by the Linear PCM soundtrack, which makes up for the lack of channel separation by throwing additional bits together.
As to whether the Dolby Digital or Linear PCM soundtrack was better, I'd have to call it marginally in favour of the Linear PCM soundtrack, as the more extreme frequencies in the songs had slightly more definition with this soundtrack. Given that the extra channel separation of the Dolby Digital soundtrack also helps a great deal with fidelity, as does the presence of a dedicated bass channel, this is really a tough call that will come down to personal preference in a lot of cases.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is based around a very hazy still of Cyndi Lauper, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.
This is a reasonably comprehensive biography that reveals a few interesting facts, although it also comes off as a bit of a sales pitch. It is worth reading if you want to know what Lauper is up to these days.
This is a listing of all the albums Cyndi Lauper has released, which is a surprising number compared to what most people are aware of.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The two versions of this disc appear to be fundamentally identical.
Cyndi Lauper has made some very interesting pieces of music, and it is such a pity that music television has devolved from what is presented on this disc into what it is today. As a bonus, the disc offers a few small insights into the artistic considerations that influenced the woman's music, although it would have been nice to have a little more.
The video transfer is acceptable.
The audio transfer is excellent.
The extras are very basic.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|