Kylie Minogue-Live in Sydney (2001)

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Released 16-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Booklet
Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Backstage (9 mini-featurettes)
Music Video-Spinning Around (3:28)
Active Subtitle Track-Backstage Links
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 102:52 (Case: 107)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (36:23) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Hamish Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Kylie Minogue
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $39.95 Music Kylie Minogue


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.0 (320Kb/s)
English dts 5.0 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, during backstage segments
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, during credits

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

Plot Synopsis

    Okay now, run that checklist again. Flameproof racing suit on, NBC combat suit on, crash helmet on, space suit on, running shoes on, isolated re-breather unit on - okay, I think I might be right to go. Fans of Kylie Minogue best head somewhere else such as the transfer quality section right now as this might get a little more than you really want to handle.

    Now before I go any further, yes I did indeed volunteer to review this particular title, so perhaps it is best if I explain why. As much as I really hate to admit it, I haven't minded some of Kylie Minogue's more recent material as served up on commercial radio. That fact, coupled with memories of some recent televised performances that did not seem to be too bad made me inquisitive enough to want to check out this latest offering from Warner Vision Australia. Now I know that I am not in the intended demographic of this particular artist, which from the audience at the concert seems to be females between the ages of 8 and 22, but that has never stopped me before.

    Now, the intended demographic might lap this stuff up but frankly it left me cold. Just to confirm that it was not me, this was also the opinion of several people who watched this with me at my sister's birthday party - some closer to the intended demographic than I.

    Problem number one: Kylie is one of those artists who insists upon a choreographed show basically from go to whoa, which means of course that there is a distinct lack of emotion here. Sure, Kylie glides effortlessly through and between numbers to the accompaniment of some dancing and competent musicianship, but where exactly is that frission of excitement, that emotion that lifts concerts out of merely watching a greatest hits package live rather than on a CD to something that can be felt to the core? Not here unfortunately. Indeed, so expertly executed is all the choreography and all the costume changes that you never really get a chance to get to know Kylie Minogue the performer.

    Problem number two: this exhibits all the usual problems of live concert videos in abundance. More on this anon.

    By now I suppose the vitriolic e-mails from disgruntled Kylie fans are already firing their way through the ether, so maybe I best find some positives from the whole concert experience. Whilst I am not a hard core Kylie Minogue fan obviously, the song selection here seems to represent a fair cross-section of her career output to date and handily demonstrates her chameleon-like ability to change with the musical winds of change. You certainly cannot knock the lady for her sheer perseverance in an industry where pretty faces with half-decent voices come and go with monotonous regularity. And when she does (rarely) ditch the choreographed musical routine, she does actually come across quite well as a genuinely likeable person.

   From a purely concert point of view, this is nothing really to rave over in my view. As an introduction to Kylie Minogue, it also is not something to rave over. But if you fit the demographic, you will be lapping this up at the same time as sticking needles in your voodoo doll of me. A little bit more personality from the lady herself though would have gone no small way to improving the worth of this concert. I certainly went into the review with more enthusiasm than which I ended the review, and that is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the whole DVD.

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Track Listing

1. Love Boat
2. Koocachoo
3. Hand On Your Heart
4. On A Night Like This
5. Medley: Step Back In Time...
6. Can't Get You Out Of My Head
7. Your Disco Needs You
8. I Should Be So Lucky
9. Better The Devil You Know
10. So Now Goodbye
11. Physical
12. Butterfly
13. Confide In Me
14. Kids
15. Shocked
16. Light Years
17. What Do I Have To Do
18. Spinning Around

Transfer Quality

Video

    Okay, a welcome back to all those Kylie Minogue fans who jumped right here to avoid my ramblings about the lady and the performance itself.

    Many, many times I have made mention in reviews of concert videos of the inherent problems in these sorts of videos. And with good reason, for as a genre it represents about the most difficult one to actually master well. The source material is usually hamstrung by all sorts of inherent problems, most notably issues arising from intense stage lighting. Well, I have to say that this particular effort demonstrates the problems especially well indeed.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. That is the good news. It tends to go downhill a little from there.

    Intense stage lighting? There is plenty of it and so we know what sorts of issues we can expect here: washed-out detail, variability in the definition, oversaturation of colours, and the list goes on. Now just to make it clear, most of the problem is in the source material itself: the actual transfer is quite reasonable. Detail really is just average here in many respects. The big problem is that on several occasions, the intense blue stage lighting really gets oversaturated and flares badly, which washes out huge amounts of detail. A good example is at 76:47, but there are plenty more (such as 22:12, 88:16, 91:32 - an especially bad one - and 94:15), where the blue lighting is so oversaturated that you have difficulty actually seeing the dancers. But just to throw in some variety, the intense stage lighting at times creates a decidedly overexposed look too, but with the same result - the loss of detail. Good examples early on in the concert are at 5:51, 8:00 and 9:00, after which I stopped keeping track of it. About the only good thing about the overexposed look is the fact that it still leaves more definition than the oversaturated look, but that is a relative thing. Shadow detail is also quite average at times, with several instances of foreground detail (such as dark hair) blending perfectly into the background. At one stage (62:09), the shadow detail is so bad on stage that the transfer almost goes completely black. The shots of the audience generally are quite poor and have no great amount of definition to them. In many cases, it would have been preferable not to have had audience shots. Apart from a number of places where the concert picture is slightly grainy (such as at 62:43), this is not too bad an effort as far as clarity goes (note though that some audience shots are quite grainy looking). There does not appear to be any low level noise issues in the transfer.

    The colours obviously suffer somewhat from the variation in the stage lighting, but overall this is not a bad transfer even if the vibrancy could have been a bit better overall. Saturation could have been a little better throughout, and more consistent too, but this comes across as a reasonably colourful concert. The usual flared look from the stage lighting is present, although there is not quite such an aura to the performers under intense blue lighting as I would normally expect. Obviously there are problems throughout the video with oversaturation and I can only imagine the words uttered by the mastering team every time one of those intense blue lit portions came up for mastering! There did not appear to be any colour bleed issues in the transfer.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfers. The big problem in the transfer is the presence of film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, mainly in the form of moderate aliasing. The main source of the problem is the stage itself and this frequently displays quite noticeable aliasing: 16:40, 23:39, 39:14 and 42:45 being amongst the examples. Other issues are in the steps (such as at 16:22). The cumulative effect of the generally mild aliasing is quite distracting - definitely once seen, never forgotten. There are no problems with film artefacts in the transfer.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD, with the layer change coming at 36:23. Another typical effort for a concert DVD, it comes during a break between songs and exhibits the usual silent pause in the crowd noise.

    Despite the impression that the back cover gives, there are no subtitle options on the DVD for the concert itself. The available subtitle options only apply to the backstage footage. The active subtitle track, used to highlight when backstage links are available, might however have something to do with the lack of subtitles for the concert itself. If it does, the trade-off is not worth it - I would have much preferred to have had at least lyric subtitles for the songs, rather than having access on-the-fly to the backstage stuff.

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

Audio

    There are three soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack, a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack and an English dts 5.0 soundtrack. I listened to the dts 5.0 soundtrack whilst sampling the other two soundtracks.

    The dialogue and lead vocals come up well in the transfers and are easy to understand. The backing vocals are not so well-handled and are generally slightly recessed in the mix. There is no problem with audio sync in the transfer.

    The English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 soundtrack is a typically good effort, and presents the usual clean open sound typical of these uncompressed soundtracks. At normal listening levels, this is a good match for the surround soundtracks. There is nothing wrong with it based upon my sampling.

    There was something not quite right about the Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack and I could not quite put my finger on what it was. It was only when checking the specs in preparation for the review that I noted that the soundtrack has the unusually low bit rate of 320 Kb/s. That loss in the bitrate might just explain the lack of openness in the Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack that leaves this soundtrack just a little wanting in the enjoyment stakes. The surround encoding was pretty decent overall, and the lack of a bass channel is not really noted. That lack of openness in the sound is, though.

    The dts 5.0 soundtrack has a slightly fuller sound than the Dolby Digital 5.0, and is a somewhat more open-sounding effort. But even so, it is still not a particularly terrific example of the art, which would suggest that the source material might also be contributing to the lack of serious, noteworthy quality in the surround soundtracks overall. Again, the lack of serious bass here is what makes this a more listenable soundtrack than normal.

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

Extras

    A relatively modest collection of extras has been assembled for the DVD release.

Menu

    Quite reasonable efforts with plenty of audio and animation enhancement. My main qualm is the fact that the animation enhancement seems to result in menus taking a little too long to become available for use. The highlight could have perhaps been somewhat more obvious and the mastering of the Backstage selection in the set-up menu is a little unusual: on is underlined by default but if you want to switch the backstage links off you have to use the enter button whilst backstage is lit - the off selection will then be underlined, meaning the backstage links are off. What was wrong with using the arrow key to move between on and off, as is the usual way of dealing with such things?

Featurette - Backstage (9)

    These nine mini-featurettes are accessed by hitting the enter button when the Backstage: Go option appears on screen (assuming you have not turned the option off as outlined above) or by selecting them from the menu. The mini-featurettes are:

    If you access the links during the concert, the mini-featurette will play and then you will be returned to the start of the chapter from which you had been taken. This means that to some extent selecting the backstage links during the concert will ensure you get to see some footage twice. In the case of Will Kylie Crack! you will get to see a lot of footage twice as the selection point is towards the end of that chapter, not towards the beginning like most. The presentation is the same as the main concert, with the addition of subtitle options. None of the stuff is really mind-bogglingly worthwhile, and whilst the presentation has novelty value, it does in no way replace a decent behind-the-scenes featurette.

Music Video - Spinning Around (3:28)

    A decent enough song given a fairly non-descript video presentation. The presentation is in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which is 16x9 enhanced and comes with the same audio options as the main concert.

Booklet

    Hardly deserving of the name - two pages of photos lifted from the concert, with a track listing on the back.

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 can ascertain, this has yet to be released in Region 1.

Summary

    Kylie - Live In Sydney, to give the DVD the short title that it shows on the slick, is definitely one for fans only. It is not an especially wonderful concert and has been given a not especially wonderful video transfer due to source material limitations and is blessed with an unmemorable audio transfer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Monday, October 29, 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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