Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music (2000)
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Alex Jamison|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/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|
The title of the DVD says it all really, and what we have here is a very enjoyable look at some great female artists doing what they do best: play some very fine music. Lilith Fair is an attempt to do something a little bit different in the music industry, by doing something that the industry men say will not work: an all-female show. On the evidence here, you would have to suggest that the industry men have no idea of what they are talking about.
The wonderful array of music of offer here is:
Everything comes from the concerts themselves, apart from Tried To Be True which is a dressing room rehearsal. The concerts were recorded at the Molson Amphitheater in Toronto, Canada.
The choice of songs represents some of the very best from the respective artists, and thus present a very strong overall programme. It is difficult to pick real highlights here, for none of this is weak in the slightest. However, a special mention should be given to the Indigo Girls Closer To Fine. This is one of their all-time best songs, almost their signature tune in some respects, but this version with the contributions of Meredith Brooks, Jewel and Sarah McLachlan, makes for a very memorable rendition indeed. The songs are separated by interview segments with the artists represented here, as well as other female artists, which tend towards a cloying nature at times but are occasionally of interest.
This is a very enjoyable concert video (or rather concert compilation video) and is nicely presented. It is a rare enough opportunity to see some of the very best of female music talent of the last decade, and it is well worthwhile considering this for inclusion in your collection.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and not 16x9 enhanced. Unfortunately I have been unable to find any definitive information as to whether this was shot widescreen, but I would be fairly confident in saying it was not and therefore the format is a Full Frame format.
This is a very nice-looking transfer with only the occasional live concert blemish to interrupt the general excellence throughout. Whilst there are the odd lapses in focus, this is a sharp transfer throughout, although the actual concert footage tends to be better than the interview material. Detail is generally excellent throughout, with shadow detail being uniformly good. This is a nice and clear transfer, with little in the way of grain-created problems, although once again the concert footage is better than the interview footage. There did not appear to be any problems with low level noise in the transfer.
Taking into account the usual proviso of the stage lighting occasionally playing havoc with the overall transfer, this is a very nice-looking transfer: plenty of deeply saturated colours that come up very nicely vibrant in the concert footage. Indeed, the concert footage is really gorgeous looking stuff. It possibly is not the most natural-looking transfer in the world, but then again I doubt anyone would expect that from a concert where red and blue stage lighting are used fairly extensively. As a capture of a concert experience, this is very good. The only real problems with oversaturation are under the intense stage lighting, but even then it was hardly an issue. There did not appear to be any issue with colour bleed in the transfer.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, apart from some loss of resolution in pan shots during the interview footage and Tried To Be True. There is a fair chance that this is inherent in the source material though as this footage is overall of a slightly lower quality than the actual concert footage. There were just a few little issues with film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, most notably some aliasing. The accordion used by Sheryl Crow especially gave the transfer some problems and is the main culprit, but strings and microphones were also their usual minor problematic selves. There is little in the way of film artefacts in the transfer.
There are two soundtracks on the DVD, being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I initially started listening to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack but eventually had to switch and stay with the Dolby Digital 2.0, due to problems with the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
The dialogue and music comes up well in the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, but is mildly problematic in the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Unfortunately, the latter soundtrack has slightly too much presence given to the bass channel and this tends to be overemphasised in the mix. This is not necessarily the best situation for the sort of music included in the concerts, although it does not affect all tracks. There are no problems with audio sync in the transfer.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is an excellent effort, unusually at the higher bitrate of 448 Kb/s. I do not recall having seen too many 2.0 soundtracks using this higher bitrate. This additional space gives the sound a wonderful clarity and presence that really is a terrific way of listening to the programme. There is not a blemish in the soundtrack and this is almost better than listening to a CD - really terrific stuff if you don't have 5.1 capability.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is only marred by the overemphasis of the bass channel, which tends to drown out the vocals a little too much. However, beyond that issue there is not much wrong here either, and if you are less bass-sensitive than I, you may well consider this a wonderful soundtrack. The surround channels are well-handled in the overall mix, although the rear channels could perhaps have been a little more noticeable.
|Surround Channel Use|
Absolutely nothing at all. This is very disappointing indeed, even if it can be accounted for by lack of space.
Reasonable theming but nothing to write home about.
As far as we have been able to ascertain, this is virtually identical in content to the Region 1 release.
Lilith Fair - A Celebration Of Women In Music is a wonderful collection of some of the best female music artists of the past decade. It is presented on a generally very good DVD that is only significantly let down by the lack of any extras package whatsoever. This will of course be due to the fact that there would not be that much space left available on this single layer, single sided DVD, but makes the lack of dual layer formatting even more perplexing. After all, there would be plenty more footage shot during the concerts than is presented here (several artists known to have taken part are not even included) and a three hour programme would have been well worthwhile. But this is what we have and it is good - buy it. Oh, and if the M rating worries you, it is the result of one f-word and one s-word as far as I can make out.
By the way, there is an error on the cover slick which Warner Vision Australia is correcting. It may be a small error, but I think it illustrates just how much this organisation is supporting the format and the consumer. The error? The slick says the DVD format is DVD9, rather than DVD5. No big deal but it is being fixed anyway. Kudos to Warner Vision Australia for doing the right thing over something as relatively minor as this.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|