Midnight Oil-20,000 Watt RSL (Remaster) (1998)
Music Video-Redneck Wonderland
|Year Of Production||1998|
|Running Time||188:56 (Case: 186)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||None Given|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
English MPEG 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|
Midnight Oil have long been one of my favourite bands and in particular one of my all-time three favourite Australian bands behind Paul Kelly (Dots, Coloured Girls, and other variations thereof), and political folk outfit Redgum. In fact, after Redgum, it is Midnight Oil that have been at the vanguard of getting their message of political and social commentary expressed through their music. Songs like US Forces, Dead Heart, Blue Sky Mine, and Beds Are Burning despite being fine songs also pack a strong social message. This disc is a sort of 'Best Of' compilation featuring 20 songs in video clip form and 17 songs from live recordings.
It is an interestingly packaged disc that features some unique ideas in the way the menus are presented and selected but for some reason just misses the mark in it execution and becomes a bit confusing. As mentioned above, this disc was previously released as a dual sided disc. Side A contained the Midnight Oil videos (hereafter known as 'The Clips'), Side B contained several live performances from the band (hereafter known as 'The Videos" - is the confusion becoming apparent?). When you select 'The Clips' option you are taken to another menu that has two further options, these being 'Play the Clips' and 'The Clips' (again). Selecting 'Play the Clips lets you either play all the songs or selected ones. Selecting 'The Clips' plays the song but with a static background. Not sure of the reason for the latter and all the talk of 'Clips' and 'Videos' had me very confused.
Ian wrote in his original review that there wasn't an awful lot wrong as far as the music is concerned, but as for the rest of it...unfortunately little has changed.
|1. US Forces|
2. Power and the Passion
3. Read About It
4. Best Of Both Worlds
6. The Dead Heart
7. Beds Are Burning
9. Put Down That Weapon
10. Blue Sky Mine
|11. Forgotten Years|
12. King Of The Mountain
13. Bedlam Bridge
14. One Country
15. My Country
16. Outbreak Of Love
17. In The Valley
19. White Skin Black Heart
20. Redneck Wonderland
It would seem that the remastering so proudly claimed on the front of the case did not extend to the video transfer.
The transfer is presented in a full frame format (1.33:1), and is not 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness is pretty appalling. The original review used the term diffuse to describe much of the image. This definition still applies. It really is difficult to determine what other problems may be apparent simply because there is such a high level of fuzziness just about everywhere. With many of the videos approaching 15-20 years old, this may be understandable but the newer material such as Blue Sky Mine are among the worst offenders. There is also plenty of low level noise scattered throughout. Very disappointing and very difficult to watch.
Colours are fairly muted throughout. Some of the videos (sorry 'clips') feature nice strong and well-saturated images - One Country and the new release Redneck Wonderland are the best examples here, though this is the exception rather than the rule.
The blurry and diffuse nature of the video almost hides the MPEG artefacting that occurs. Although difficult to pinpoint, I believe there is consistent macro-blocking throughout that is basically covered up by the fuzziness of the videos. There are several instances of aliasing throughout, though apart from the menu for Dead Heart none is particularly annoying.
There are no subtitles present.
As mentioned above, this is a dual layered disc. Being unable to detect a layer change, I am pretty safe in the assumption that the clips are on one layer and the videos are on another. Despite being a single sided dual layered disc, the packaging has not been updated to reflect this. It still refers to Side 1 and Side 2.
There is no surround or subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
Same as the original release, except that instead of being repeated on each side of the disc, this now appears twice on the only side of the disc! The discography is still an abridged version of the one that appears under 'The Clips' submenu and the full version that appears under 'The Videos' submenu. All are accompanied by musical excerpts from a song off the album. It still shimmers pretty badly too.
Running for just on 25 minutes (though broken up into small chunks with each selectable from a submenu) these are short interview segments with individual members of the band covering a variety of topics, though mostly centred on a particular production aspect of certain albums.
This is the bonus track that has been added since the original release. It is the video for Redneck Wonderland. Running time is 3:02 minutes.
Link to the official Oils website www.midnightoil.com and Sony music.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
It would appear that this title in either its original form or this remaster is not yet available in Region 1.
While some effort has been made to improve this release, it only goes far enough for those of you that didn't purchase the original. It is really a shame that the same effort that was applied to the audio to bring it up to today's standard was not afforded to the video.
The video is still a below average transfer.
The audio now features a pretty decent Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that appears to offer substantially more oomph than the MPEG 2.0 original release.
The extras aren't much.
|DVD||Toshiba 1200, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|