Distant Early Warning
Time Stand Still
Roll The Bones
Show Don't Tell
The Big Money
Ghost of a Chance
Where's My Thing
The Rhythm Method
Closer to the Heart
The Spirit of Radio
Finding My Way
La Villa Strangiato
The Spirit of Radio
Disc 1 md5
Disc 2 md5
|Average Rating:||Audio: 7.5|
|Video: 7.5 |
(Audio - 7.5, Video - 7.5)
WARNING: May not be suitable for family viewing due to some vulgar language used a couple times by an audience member sitting close to the taper. Not frequent, but present.
I was lucky enough to have the supplier of this video lend me his 1st gen video to work from. As an added bonus, this donor had also audio taped the show himself, and was kind enough to lend me his master cassettes. The inclusion of the audio recording was nice because the audio on the video itself was clipped and distorted. I decided to replace the video tape's audio with the audio from the master audio source. Actually, I had also considered doing a matrix with the scanner source for this show. However, I later discarded this idea due to the poor audio quality of much of the scanner recording, as well as speed difficulties encountered with the audio tape. As it turned out, the audio cassettes ran an average of 3% too fast. At first I tried to correct this by slowing the audio down by 3%. At this point I discovered that the speed problem wasn't uniform. In fact, at the first of each tape side, the music ran about 2.3% too fast, but by the end of a tape side it was running 3.1% too fast. Therefore, any attempt to uniformly change the speed was going to result in obvious sync problems when matched up to the video. At this point I figured I'd bitten off more than I could chew, and felt that perhaps I should just try to make the audio from the VHS tape sound the best it could. However, after a little time away from this project, working on Project R30 DVD, and seeing what an improvement a better audio source could make to a video, I came back to this project with renewed vigour. What I ended up doing was working a track at a time (and in the case of longer songs - dividing the track into two halves) and adjusting the speed of each track as appropriate to match up with the video. Although this was extremely time consuming, (as it involved numerous calculations as well as some trial and error to try to match up the audio speeds), this actually worked out very well IMO, with near perfect precision. I wouldn't recommend this type of project to someone who doesn't have lots of time and patience.
Unfortunately, the taper of the audio source had some problems after his first tape flip, so a portion of the show was not recorded. Therefore, right after Roll the Bones ends, I had to switch to using the audio from the VHS. I did some remastering of this audio to try somewhat reduce the clipping/distortion of that source. Luckily, by half way through Where's My Thing? the audio taper had things under control again, so I was able to go back to using his audio. There is also a 30 second period at the end of The Trees when I have to revert back to the VHS audio during a tape change.
The master audience recording was a fairly nice sounding recording. Some of the mid frequencies were a bit strong and harsh, but it had a nice bottom end, and a pretty good mix, as all the instruments came through clearly. I did some EQ to try to bring out the positives of the recording, and bury some of the negatives. Overall, I found it enjoyable to listen to as I reviewed the DVDs upon completion of the project.
There is a fair amount of crowd noise, but mostly just between songs. There is a very vocal concert-goer close to the taper who provides commentary during the show, but again just between songs. You can tell he is an avid fan, as he makes comments that show he is very familiar with the material. I love his comment right after the end of Time Stand Still. My kids made me play it back to them a couple times while they laughed. I even considered using this comment as the title for this release, but eventually went another way.
With regard to the video, it is fairly good. The source I used was a 1st gen VHS tape. The camera is handheld, shot from Alex's side of the stage. It is moderately steady for a handheld, with some shaky spots. There are very few obstructions, except for the occasional head in part of the frame. There were no security ducks. The filmer stayed focused on the stage for the most part, although he turns the camera occasionally to look at the audience. Show Don't Tell is the worst part of the video, where the taper is looking all over the place, moving from the stage to the audience and back and forth. I'm not sure what he was thinking there. The video alternates between full stage shots to knee up closeups, with the occasional shots of the screen behind the band.
Although I don't know the identity of the filmer, he goes by the handle of "Music From the Middle of Nowhere". He has this text set into his camera memory, and flashes this on the screen several times throughout the video, in fact, after every 2 or 3 songs. While I think its fine to have this info on screen at the first and end of the video, having it pop up on screen in different flashing colors between every 2nd or 3rd song became annoying. I felt the filmer deserves props for filming this, and thus left this screen message on the DVD at the first and end of the concert, but I removed it from the rest of the video, so that it would not be so distracting to watch the concert. I did this by simply overlaying black over these portions of the video. This happens only between songs, when the stage is dark anyway, so it is not really noticeable, and most people wouldn't notice if they hadn't read this review. Anyway, it's now much less distracting to watch the video. There is a very small, barely noticeable light spot at the lower right of the video, which I would say is a spot on the filmer's lens. I have a Marillion video by this same filmer, and this same spot is present, leading me to assume a problem with the lens. (The Marillion video also had the flashing "Music From the Middle of Nowhere" text throughout the video.)
The video is quite clear and well focused, with good color, although there was a small amount of ghosting when the red spotlights are on.
Overall, a nice DVD from this era, considering the technology available at the time.
Oh, and for those of you wondering about the significance of the title of this release, after watching the first few songs, you'll get the idea.
Note that the following md5 files will be fine for copies made by copying the files to the harddrive and then burning with Nero. However, for some reason, when making ISOs with DVD Decryptor, a few of the navigation files appear to be modified in some way by the software, resulting in files that don't match the md5. I'm guessing this has to do with changes DVD Decryptor does to remove Macrovision and Region encoding from discs. The discs are not really changed in any way, but just don't match the md5 completely. The main movie VOBS will still pass the md5. So, if you try to verify the files and see errors, just check to make sure that the main movie files (the multi-megabyte files) passed. If the menu plays OK, and the main movie files pass the MD5, then you have a good copy. (2004-07-28)