50 Years of Ferrari (1999)

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Released 1-Feb-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Notes-Fact Files (109)
Booklet-4 pages
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 238:07 (Case: 240)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Bruce Cox
Duke Marketing
MRA Entertainment
Starring Ian Norris
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $29.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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

    As the name of this DVD would suggest, 50 Years Of Ferrari is about Ferrari; the cars, the name, and the man. Rather than calling this DVD a documentary, it should be called an encyclopaedia of Ferrari. Every main model that Ferrari has ever built up until 1997 is included on this disc along with the slight variations on them. This four-part documentary was first screened on TV but has now made the transition to DVD. The four sections are as follows:
The Grand Prix Winners
    This showcases Ferrari's wins in the Formula 1 championship and the advances they made in Formula 1 technology.
Champion Sports Racers
    This section covers the Mile Miglia (a 1000 mile race), Le Mans, the Targo Florio and a couple of other races. All of the cars that have competed are talked about here.
The Great GT Cars
    All of the classic roadcars are covered, particularly focussing on the 250GT and all of its variants. A nice inclusion is a race extract with accompanying commentary.
Sportscars And Supercars
    The final section is about the road cars; the Testarossa, the F40 and the other classics.

    The disc is narrated by Ian Norris who keeps his tone of voice up and cheerful whilst still telling you of the inner workings at Ferrari. Although sometimes boring since the content is very similar, 50 Years Of Ferrari is an informative and interesting disc that will keep Ferrari fans happy...but it is definitely one for fans only.

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Transfer Quality


    This is an acceptable transfer that is, however, not without its flaws.

    50 Years Of Ferrari is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is somewhat soft, at no times showing a well-defined picture. This is caused by the source material and the fact that DVD really exaggerates all the minor flaws in a video transfer. Shadow detail is lacking in most scenes although it is hardly shown due to the content of the disc being mainly filmed in bright, outdoor areas. Low level noise was apparent in some scenes - this is a sign that the disc was taken from a analogue video tape master which explains the other problems.

    The colours were bright and vibrant at most times, one of the good things about this transfer. The reds of the Ferraris stand out well against the backdrop of Goodwood and other race tracks. Something that surprised me was that not all of the racing Ferraris were red - some were blue which stood out even more.

    Some moiré effects were apparent on people's shirts, especially plaid ones. Shimmer is present in a couple of scenes during the third and fourth hour. Additionally, some analogue tape tracking errors were spotted  at the start of the first hour, showing that the original source was not in the best state possible. Having said all that, grain is the most common artefact. It is apparent in most scenes, especially later on in the disc. 

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is merely an average audio mix, but no more nor less than is to be expected considering the content of the disc.

    The only audio track on this DVD is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

    In an odd move, the narrator is mixed into the left channel at all times instead of being centred within the sound field. It's like someone is taking you through a tour standing on the left side with a microphone. Dialogue is clear for the most part, although at times it gets a bit muffled due to louder background noise from the cars.

    Audio synchronization was perfect at all times.

    The music was very mellow and unobtrusive. At times it did have a bit of bass in it, however it was very reminiscent of elevator music.

    The sound that emanates from the cars' engines is the high point of the audio track. Whether they originate from the Ferrari F50 or the F355, engine tones are realistic and have depth. 

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The only extras on this DVD are fact files and a booklet.


    The menu is a static picture of a Ferrari with text typed onto it. It is not 16x9 enhanced. This must be the worst menu I have ever seen, showing no creativity at all. It looks like it was created in MS Paint - even I could do something better. Very disappointing indeed.

Fact Files (109)

    These are static screens showing information on specific Ferrari models. The categories are Car Category, Year of Manufacture, Stylist, Engine Designer, Engine Size and Type. This is only for the die-hard fans who need to know the exact statistics on the car in question.


    A 4-page booklet describing chapters. Good when you can't find the car you're looking for.

R4 vs R1

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

    This disc is similarly featured worldwide, so the Region 4 version would be the way to go.


    50 Years Of Ferrari is a very informative look at the evolution of Ferrari, but due to its length and detail it would be for fans only.

    The video quality is acceptable, but only because it is a documentary.

    The audio quality is decent but is nothing special.

    The extras are boring but would be useful in a trivia contest on Ferrari.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Andrew Siers (I never did my biography in primary school)
Thursday, September 07, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-626D, using Component output
DisplayToshiba 34N9UXA. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha CX-600 Pre-Amp, Yamaha MX-600 Stereo Power Amp for Mains, Yamaha DSP-E300 for Center, Teac AS-M50 for Surrounds.
SpeakersMain Left and Right Acoustic Research AR12s, Center Yamaha NS-C70, Surround Left and Right JBL Control 1s

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