Springsteen, Bruce-The Complete Video Anthology (2000)

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Released 17-Jul-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Animation
Discography-with Audio Clips
Music Video-Secret Garden (with strings)(4:30)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 164:40
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:27)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Bruce Springsteen
Roy Bittan
Clarence Clemmons
Danny Federici
Nils Lofgren
Patti Scialfa
Garry Tallent
Steve Van Zandt
Max Weinberg
Case Click-Double
RPI $39.95 Music Bruce Springsteen


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   There was just something so special for me about the 1970s as far as music is concerned, and amongst the high points of that decade was the emergence of some of the greatest talent of the rock and roll era. Amongst the talents that came to the fore during that period was Bruce Springsteen and I will admit that the appearance of each of his albums was an eagerly awaited event. From his debut with Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, through Darkness On The Edge of Town, Born To Run, The River, Born In The USA, Nebraska and beyond, in my estimation this man produced some of the most relevant albums of the last great era of rock and roll. I wore out more Bruce Springsteen albums than I care to remember and the advent of compact disc was a boon in this regard - I could play the albums to my heart's content without ever wearing them out. And listen to them I did! I will never forget the day The River came out on CD - I zoomed into Harmony Music in Garden City, Booragoon and picked up the CD, charged home and proceeded to listen to it for the rest of the day and well into the night. I must have listened to it about eight times that day.

   So, to be able to return to these videos of the man is very welcome indeed, despite the fact that age has been less than kind to some of them. No matter what age might have done to the videos, the music is what it is all about and the music of Bruce Springsteen has a timeless quality about it that makes these videos very much akin to returning to old friends.

   If you have any interest in great music of the 1970s and 1980s in particular, there is plenty here to enjoy. Bruce Springsteen, along with The E Street Band was responsible for the some of the greatest albums of the rock and roll era in general and of this era in particular. This is a good indication of the very best of the best.

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Track Listing

1. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)
2. The River
3. Thunder Road
4. Atlantic City
5. Dancing In The Dark
6. Born In The U.S.A.
7. I'm On Fire
8. Glory Days
9. My Hometown
10. War; Fire
11. Born To Run
12. Brilliant Disguise
13. Tunnel Of Love
14. One Step Up
15. Tougher Than The Rest
16. Spare Parts
17. Born To Run (Acoustic)
18. Human Touch
19. Better Days
20. 57 Channels (And Nothin' On)
21. Leap Of Faith
22. Streets Of Philadelphia
23. Murder Incorporated
24. Secret Garden
25. Hungry Heart
26. Dead Man Walkin'
27. The Ghost Of Tom Joad (x2)
28. Highway Patrolman
29. If I Should Fall Behind
30. Born In The U.S.A.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Since we are talking about promotional music videos dating back over twenty years in some instances, it is perhaps not surprising to see the sorts of problems that we have here. It is also not surprising that there is a very wide range in the quality of the music videos. No matter how good the mastering might be, it simply cannot do much about the inherent quality of the source material.

    The transfer is presented in a Full Frame format that is not 16x9 enhanced.

    At best this can only be described as a reasonably good transfer, with sharpness varying from decidedly average in some of the earlier live video recordings to very good in the later "proper" music videos. Detail in the latter videos is obviously as good as the artistic choices will permit, but the former are decidedly lacking in any serious detail at all. Indeed, they are so lacking in shadow detail that you often have little more than Bruce Springsteen against a black background. Indeed, the darkish nature of these earlier videos does little for the overall impression of the package at all. Clarity is fairly good throughout although again the earlier videos have a distinctly grainy look to them. There appears to be little issue with low level noise in the transfer.

    That, however, is the general picture, and some specific videos are actually worse than the general trend. Fire is a good example, and is basically terrible looking. Diffuse, with some ghosting of the image at times, it aliases quite badly as well as suffering from flaring and oversaturation.

    The colour is also well over the range and varies from poor to quite good - again a reflection of the age and style of the videos presented here. At no stage would I consider this to be an excellent display of colour, and that is partly as was expected. Some of the earlier videos are quite prone to oversaturation issues, which again does not aid the overall impression created here. Thankfully, there did not seem to be any indications of colour bleed in the transfer. Overall however, I would have hoped for something a lot better than we have got in the way of a bright, vibrant colourscape.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, other than loss of resolution in pan shots which I would attribute to source material limitations. There was a reasonable sampling of film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, mainly comprising aliasing (no big surprise there), as well as some moiré artefacting and cross colouration issues at around 89:05 of Disc 1. There is plenty of evidence of film artefacts in the transfer, but that is hardly surprising considering the age of some of the source material.

    The first DVD of this two DVD set is an RSDL formatted DVD, with the layer change coming logically in the black break between two songs at 45:27. Excellently placed and completely non-disruptive to the flow of the programme. Disc 2 is a plain old vanilla single sided, single layer DVD.

    It should be noted that there are regrettably no English lyric subtitles on the DVD, so our Hearing Impaired readers will have a problem here.

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

Audio

    I am beginning to wonder whether I should start referring to the way the music is mixed on Sony Music DVD-Videos as The Sony style. The sheer consistency of the problem they have with mixing Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks is just plain astounding to me, and an issue that does not seem to blight any major distributor so consistently as it does Sony. One can only hope that they get the situation rectified before they start issuing DVD-Audio, or is that why they are strong proponents of the SACD format?

    There are two soundtracks on the DVD, namely an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and only sampled the English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack.

    The dialogue and music comes up well in the Linear PCM soundtrack and there are no real problems with the clarity and understanding in that soundtrack. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a little worse in this regard but still is reasonably clear and relatively easy to understand. There are no serious problems with audio sync in the transfer, although once or twice it seemed the audio was just a little bit awry to the video, which may be a source related issue in some of these reasonably old videos.

    The main issue with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is once again the fact that the vocal track is mixed a little too recessively in the overall sound. The result is something of an unnatural balance to the whole soundscape, and ensures that there is a slightly muddy feel to the sound overall. Whilst thankfully they seem to have gotten all six channels to work in this mix, they don't necessarily work exceptionally well. The bass channel is just a little on the thumpy side on Disc 1, although still quite listenable. On Disc 2 however, it really gets too thumpy and I simply was not able to listen to the full 5.1 soundtrack on Disc 2 for any length of time at all. It basically gave me a thumping headache and the bass was far too overpowering for the vocals on most on the tracks on this DVD. Rear channel use is nothing exceptional but at least there seems to be action out of them, which balances up some reasonably decent front surround channel use quite well. It is not the cleanest soundtrack I have ever heard and tends towards a congested sound rather than a nice open sound. There are no obvious glitches in the soundtrack.

    The uncompressed Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack is again a much better effort, as is quite usual for these soundtracks. Clear, quite open sound that really gives all aspects of the music a chance to be heard. As is typical for this sort of soundtrack, it is very reminiscent of a compact disc recording, with just enough presence if you crank this up a little. Overall, there are no complaints at all with the Linear PCM soundtrack.

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

Extras

    At least something of an improvement over the package afforded the earlier DVD release featuring The Boss, not that that is any really great commendation, but still lacking biographies.

Menu

    Nothing especially wonderful. Perhaps something a little more exciting could have been thought of than this. There is some animation but only the decent audio enhancement is especially noteworthy, as it is different on the two DVDs.

Discography

    Sadly missing on the earlier DVD, this is a welcome inclusion here especially with the audio clip from one song on each CD in the discography. That means that multi-CD sets get audio clips for each CD. Decent album cover and track listing, but perhaps a catalogue number might not have gone astray. It does include a couple of videos in the discography but not the DVDs - seems a tad odd.

Music Video - Secret Garden (with strings) (4:30)

    Presented in a Full Frame format with Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 sound, it is not 16x9 enhanced. Whilst there really is not that much difference to the version of the song included on the second DVD of this two DVD set, it is a decent enough song to suffer twice in the package. Nothing wrong with it technically.

R4 vs R1

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

    As far as we have been able to ascertain, this is identical to the Region 1 release.

Summary

    Bruce Springsteen - The Complete Video Anthology 1978-2000 is a terrific look back at the music of one of the most influential musicians of the past century. Unfortunately, since he was never considered a singles artist early on in his career, the early videos comprise a lot of live performances and the quality is not the best. However, that is no fault of the mastering and simply is a statement of fact. It was really only after the huge success of The River that The Boss emerged as a major singles artist too and started producing music videos in the true sense of the word. One we get to those, the video quality generally improves enormously. Unfortunately, it is a Sony Music DVD and therefore suffers the seemingly usual problem from them of weak audio transfers. If you stick to the Linear PCM soundtrack, then there are no complaints, but the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is once again quite problematic. Another worthwhile addition to the collection for fans of The Boss, but the rest might want to give this a rental first.

    Whilst I am no great fan of the click case, this two DVD version used here is actually quite an elegant effort: quite rigid and quite transparent. Now if they could just do an Amaray version like this, with spine clips to allow the insert of a booklet, I would start to be a lot happier about DVD packaging options in Region 4.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, August 01, 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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