Better Living Through Circuitry (1999)
Audio Commentary-Jon Reiss (Director) & Brian Mcnelis (Producer)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||John Reiss|
Seventh Art Releasng
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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|
This is the tagline on the cover of the disc, and it is fairly accurate in describing its contents, although it also explores the rave culture. With no real plot to speak of, the makers have gone and interviewed a stack of DJs and ravers across America to find out their thoughts on some of the issues in raves and clubs.
Other topics that are covered are the evolution of techno as a music style, the equipment used, and also the digital age in music, where someone on a computer with software can create a better sound than having all the actual equipment. It shows that style has become more open and accessible to everyone - most of the artists operate out of their own studio normally located in a spare room or a basement.
As a fan of the style of music presented, this was an enthralling look at what has become the "Youth Culture of the New Millennium". However, for people who aren't fans of the music, stay away.
The transfer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.
As mentioned in the commentary track, the documentary was completely filmed on DV and then transferred to Digital Beta, except for one scene which was filmed in Super 8. This results in a transfer that is rather well-defined, but still has that documentary look about it. DV doesn't show as much detail as 35mm film does, so the transfer is slightly soft at times. This also may be due to the focus, which does tend to wander off the mark at times, such as at 9:02. Shadow detail isn't that great either, though since the footage is so "raw" this is exactly how it was meant to be seen. At least we get a perfect black level with no low-level noise as a result of the use of DV.
The colours are very bright as a consequence of the laser and other visual effects presented. The glow sticks and the like also stand out quite vibrantly.
As I learned from listening to the audio commentary, normally when using DV cameras the gain has to be set to around 1db, but the makers of Better Living Through Circuitry did not always know this, so some of the documentary has been filmed with the gain set to 18db. This results in what looks like grain, but really isn't grain, rather it is a digital artefact caused by the high gain level. Some examples of this can be found at 1:05, 10:02 and 21:32. As would be expected, no film artefacts were present. Some slight instances of aliasing were exhibited.
There are two soundtracks present, both being Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes. One is the documentary's soundtrack and the other is an English Audio Commentary. I listened to both tracks.
The dialogue is a bit variable, depending on who is being interviewed. Some of the interviews such as the one with Carl Cox are clear as day, while the one with Wolfgang Flur is a little harder to hear. Subtitles would have been useful in this situation.
Audio sync was perfect at all times.
The track itself excelled in the club and rave scenes. Bass was up to an excellent standard even though this is only a stereo mix.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is decent for what looks to be quite a low budget production.
The audio quality is deep but problematic.
The extras are low in quantity but high in quality.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Toshiba 34N9UXA. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player.|
|Amplification||Yamaha CX-600 Pre-Amp, Yamaha MX-600 Stereo Power Amp for Mains, Yamaha DSP-E300 for Center, Teac AS-M50 for Surrounds.|
|Speakers||Main Left and Right Acoustic Research AR12s, Center Yamaha NS-C70, Surround Left and Right JBL Control 1s|