Pearl Jam-Single Video Theory (1998) (NTSC)

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Released 4-May-1999

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 45:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Mark Pellington
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Jeff Ament
Stone Gossard
Jack Irons
Mike McCready
Eddie Vedder
Case Brackley-Opaque-No Lip
RPI $24.95 Music Pearl Jam


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    From the beginning of this review I should make it clear that I am not a devoted fan of Pearl Jam. I quite enjoy their music, but as I only own one of their albums I am definitely not fanatical. If you are a major fan and would purchase any of their material regardless of content please skip now to the transfer quality section of this review. If you are a little more selective in the material you purchase please read on.

    Single Video Theory is a short documentary based around the band's work on their Yield album and their preparation for the associated tour. The material is presented as a group of disjointed interviews, comments during rehearsals and a number of live tracks performed in the studio. This material appears to have been collected over the period of a few months at the end of 1997 and the start of 1998.

    The main focus of the movie is a number of live tracks recorded during their rehearsals and tour preparations. These tracks are from the Yield album they were working on at the time the documentary was produced. There are a total of ten tracks presented and as you would expect, they compose the vast majority of the short forty-five minute running time.

    Spread throughout the movie are short interview pieces with each of the band members. During these interviews you are presented only with their responses while the interviewer questions have been omitted. Consequently the responses seen rather disjointed and lack a sense of direction. During the interviews, band members give short one line responses to their thoughts on the new album and what they feel the title Yield refers to. The band members express relief at getting over and working through some of the problems they felt the band had before this album, but at no stage does anyone provide any information as to what these problems actually were. The members also state that they enjoyed working on this album and that they were able to work collectively upon it.

    In addition to the short interview segments there are also numerous comments obtained during their rehearsals. These comments are usually brief and provide very little information or insight into the band or their work.

   At no time during the movie are any of the band members introduced or any titles of the tracks provided. This could be quite annoying at times because if you are not familiar with the members you will not know who is being referred to during the interview segments.

    Due to the relatively short running time and the lack of any insightful information from the band I would suggest that only serious fans of the band should consider purchasing this title. If you enjoy the band's music and would like to hear some of their tracks performed live I would recommend renting this title.

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Track Listing

1. All Those Yesterdays
2. Faithful
3. Brain of J.
4. Given To Fly
5. No Way
6. MFC
7. Wishlist
8. In Hiding
9. Low Light
10. Do The Evolution

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video presented on this disc appears to have come from a high quality tape master and considering the source and type of material is of acceptable quality.

    The movie is presented in NTSC at 1.66:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is quite sharp and shows no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail is generally quite good and provides reasonable detail in the darkly-lit studio. One of the few series of shots that provide a poor level of shadow detail can be seen at 40.45.

    Colour is fairly muted throughout with a palette of mainly grays and browns which are reproduced accurately.

    MPEG artefacts were not visible during the movie. On a couple of occasions, such as at 26.27 when overlaying video footage, a rainbow effect can be seen in the image.

    Unfortunately rather serious aliasing is present in a number of scenes, for example 21:30, concentrating on guitar strings and other instruments.

    There are also a few film artefacts that can be seen during the movie (eg 4:18 and 7:27), but these are rare and are not distracting.

    During the opening and closing credits it is obvious that this video was transferred via composite video at some stage. The credits are displayed in red over the top of the video and upon a black background during the end titles. During these sequences a massive amount of dot crawl is present and makes their viewing rather distracting. If you are unsure of what dot crawl looks like, these credit sequences offer a perfect example of this artefact. Surprisingly, other than during the title sequences and the first couple of minutes of the movie, dot crawl was not evident at any other stage.

    The material presented appears to have been composed from a mixture of film and video sources. When video sources are used the significant drop in quality is very obvious. As you would expect these video sequences exhibit a much higher level of noise and no effort has been made to reduce this effect. The camera work is all hand-held and often displays poor framing and focus. These problems with the camera work may be due to budget or may have been intentional to create the home-movie feel that is conveyed. Other problems with camera work include numerous flashes that occur when reflections from lighting are produced from the band's instruments or background items. In another series of shots at 3.43 you are able to see someone's fingers as they repeatedly pull photos from the frame.

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

Audio

    The disc contains two audio choices; a PCM 2.0 track and a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. By default the PCM track is selected and the Dolby Digital track must be selected via the audio button on your remote as there is no menu option to select this.

    At no stage did either audio track exhibit any problems with sync or dropouts.

    I listened extensively to both tracks on this disc and the Dolby Digital track is most definitely the superior choice. The 5.1 mix on this disc is concentrated across the front three channels with interview dialogue presented in the center and the live tracks concentrated across the mains. The surrounds are used throughout to reinforce the sound field but thankfully we do not have instruments appearing to wander around the room. This is quite an enveloping mix without resorting to creating an unrealistic sound field.

    Unfortunately the PCM track does not fare as well. I had initially expected this track to provide a more accurate presentation, but this track lacks any real dynamic range and always sounded quite compressed.

    The sub is used extensively during the Dolby Digital track and provides excellent support for the bass guitar and drums. Unfortunately due to the poor dynamic range presented in the PCM track the sub is not utilized to any extent during this track.

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

Extras

    There are no extras at all included on this disc; no menu, subtitles or even chapter stops are included.

R4 vs R1

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

    Both versions of this DVD appear to be identical and I therefore would have no preference for either version.

Summary

    Pearl Jam: Single Video Theory unfortunately does not provide any real insight into the band or their music and can only be recommended for serious fans, but may be worth renting for the live tracks.

    The video and Dolby Digital soundtrack are acceptable for the material presented.

    There are no extras provided.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Friday, March 16, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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