John Farnham-33 1/3 (2000)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-On The Inside (27:55)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(9:53)
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||46:49 (Case: 85)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Ross Fraser|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.20:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.20:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is the first music DVD I have seen that uses DVD as something more flexible than video tape or CD. Someone has been thinking, and I applaud the effort that has gone into this work. I am aware that there are other music DVDs that have gone further, but none are of the kind of music that I am interested in.
What's special about it? It has eleven songs on it, and a documentary. You can watch it that way, if you want - I did, and enjoyed it. But it is much more interesting if you watch it in a different way. You can choose to watch the documentary with the songs edited in. If you do this you will see a documentary segment describing the work that went into a song, then the finished song, then a piece talking about the next song, and so forth. Nice stuff.
By the way, this explains why the disc is not 16x9 enhanced. The documentary is black and white, and full screen (4x3). The songs are colour, and 2.20:1. If the songs were 16x9 enhanced, then we would be flipping from 4x3 for a piece of documentary, to 16x9 for a song, and back again - it would be quite annoying, so they chose to present the songs non-anamorphically - I think this was the right choice.
The idea behind this album is that John Farnham was tired of doing an album the standard way, where the performers are recorded one at a time, captured on separate tracks of a huge multi-track recorder, and only brought together in the mixing phase - too sterile. He wanted to return to the old ways, where the musicians performed together, and recorded together - a more natural approach. This approach takes too long to be economic in a normal recording studio. So they fitted out a factory in Richmond (Melbourne) as a studio, and rehearsed and recorded there. Once the songs were recorded, they performed them in front of the cameras, video-clip style. This whole process was captured on camera for the documentary.
|1. Tryin' To Live My Life Without You|
2. That Driving Beat
3. Man Of The Hour
4. That's What Love Will Make You Do
5. You Don't Know Like I Know
6. You're The Only One
|7. Everything Is Gonna Be Alright|
8. Can't Get Next To You
9. The Way
10. I Thank You
11. Soul Reason
The songs are presented in colour, in an aspect ratio of 2.20:1. This is not 16x9 enhanced, as explained above. The image is a little soft, which suits the material. Some of the lighting is a bit harsh, and a sharp image would have been inappropriate. I was pleased to see no trace of edge enhancement. When I watched the songs alone, rather than with the documentary, I tried zooming, blowing the image up to fill the screen. This was not a good idea - there is not enough detail in the picture to stand zooming. There were a few shots which were quite clear, and these made it obvious that the softness of the image was a deliberate choice, rather than a limitation of the original film used. The shadow detail was reasonable, particularly in context - we are supposed to be looking at the strongly-lit performers, rather than in the shadows. I didn't see any low-level noise.
There was no oversaturation of colour, which was good, considering the lighting. Most of the colours were a little subdued, but this was due to the clothing choices, rather than any lack of colour in the film - the bright red shirt worn by one of the performers in a couple of songs made that clear.
There were no MPEG artefacts to be seen, and no problems introduced in the film to video transfer.
The songs are presented in fairly normal music video fashion, with plenty of split-screen shots, and lots of cutting from one performer to another. At least they were simple cuts - there were no fancy zig-zag transitions. Some of the snippets were treated to look bad, with vertical scratching, plenty of grain, and what I'm sure were artificial film artefacts. I guess the director considered this style appropriate to the theme of the album. It was interesting to see a comparatively clean shot on one side of a split screen, with a badly scratched shot on the other side. It's not easy to spot real film artefacts in material like this!
The documentary is clean and simple 1.33:1 black and white. This is quite effective in differentiating the documentary footage from the songs. It is quite sharp and clear, and devoid of edge enhancement. Shadow detail is adequate, but fails in a few shots that were clearly taken in quite low light.
John Farnham's vocals were usually presented front and centre, and always clear. The backing vocals merged well with the music. The dialogue in the documentary and bonus interviews is mostly clear and distinct, but there were a few things said in the rehearsals that were a bit difficult to understand. There were no audio sync problems. The voice-over for the documentary was provided by the saxophone player, and he does an excellent job.
The sound is well spread across the front, and it curls around the sides to the surrounds. I mostly noticed percussion in the surrounds, but I suspect that is because percussion draws attention to itself. The soundtrack is well-integrated with the subwoofer - it never drew attention to itself, but it was definitely supporting the bass. If it weren't for a few tiny flaws, I'd be giving this full marks.
|Surround Channel Use|
There's some footage playing behind the menu, and some music over it. The music chosen is pleasant enough (it is the intro to Soul Reason), but it is quite a short clip, and it plays over and over. It starts to grate about the tenth time through. I recommend not spending too much time looking at the menu.
There is a pleasant feature to this menu, though. It defaults to the entry which plays all of the songs straight through. This means that you can drop this disc into your DVD player, press the Play button, then lean back and listen to the music, all without turning on your TV. I suspect I will be doing this on occasion, because I like the music.
I know this kind of extra is fairly common on DVD, but I normally don't like them much - they tend to be fluffy and promotional. This one is better than most, in that the members of the band say something meaningful, rather than mouthing the normal platitudes. Definitely worth watching.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video is fine, but it is not the main focus of the disc, anyway.
The audio is very good, with good surround use, and excellent use of the subwoofer.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-737, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics matte white screen with a gain of 1.0 (280cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|