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    Living Reef

    Boultons/Boultons . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . E . PAL


    After my last sojourn in to the wonderful world of "Fish on DVD" in the review on Aquarium, I thought my illustrious editor Steve K was having me on. I could not fathom (no pun intended) the thought of reviewing another bunch of fish.

    What was kind of funny though, was that this one was very, VERY good by comparison to the Aquarium disk. The disk tries the "hard sell" on the cover with statements like "Warning! This is so amazing you may never want to watch your other DVD's". I beg to differ, but nice try at marketing!

    There is 93 minutes of video taken on the Great Barrier Reef by Shane Batham. Two "Relaxation and Meditation" CD soundtracks, called "Dolphin Dreams" and "Rainforest Butterfly" by Christopher Buckman, accompany it. The DVD will loop automatically when it finishes for a continuous diet of fish for your screen.


    The video is all shot in 4:3 ratio for normal TVs. The footage is purported to be recorded as Digital Video, although I couldn't really tell. The video quality is pretty good, and as discussed in my previous review, underwater photography can be quite difficult. This video does not disappoint with vibrant colours and quite detailed photography. The transfer rates are quite adequate, but when there is a bit of fast motion when the cameraman gets caught in a current, then sometimes some small artifacting can be seen. This may be far more obvious on my 100" screen than it will be on a TV, and I was kind of trying to find something wrong with this production, so you may not notice!


    The audio channels are mixed as Dolby Digital 2.0. This is stuff transferred straight from CD. The music is very relaxing, and I fell asleep twice while watching this on different occasions (late at night!). The video is synchronised with the audio in a very pleasant manner, although there is never any music that changes tempo dramatically anywhere either! I had to question the use of "rainforest" music on the latter half of the DVD, but, it works okay, and there's only so much you can stand of dolphin and whale noises mixed in with your music. Speaking of which, the first few minutes of the Dolphin track has very pronounced dolphin whistles. For some reason, they are exclusively coming from the left speaker, which feels strange, as this does not happen anywhere else on the DVD. It's nothing worth worrying about, but odd nevertheless.


    There are no extras on this disk. I don't know what kind of budget these guys are on (check out the producers web site at http://www.boultons.com.au to see what they are about. Personally, I would love to have subtitles that change per "scene" describing what fish are on screen at the time. I sat with my girlfriend and several of her friends while watching this about the 3rd time, and the constant comments, other than "that's beautiful" were, "I wonder what that fish is?". Come on guys, a bit more effort!!!


    Would I buy this? Well, this is not something I would be scavenging for on the shelves. It's just not my cup of tea. BUT, if you want fish, and lots of INTERESTING fish, buy this DVD. Forget Aquarium, it's not worth anything compared to this one. This might make a nice gift for overseas relatives as it is not region encoded (as long as they can play PAL DVD's) or something you might want to get for the tourist who's come to visit.

    NOTE The DVD specifically mentions that it can be played on TV Receivers, IBM or MAC Computers & Playstation 2. I had originally attempted to play this on my PC DVD player, but the system froze at the end of the title chapter (about 2 minutes in) and I couldn't get the rest to play. It worked on my DVD player (of course), but those who are intending to have this going on their PC should perhaps give it a try before plonking down your dollars.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=419
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      And I quote...
    "Relaxation and Tropical fish together on a suprisingly well done DVD."
    - Rob Pascale
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-717 Gold
    • Projector:
          Toshiba TLP450 LCD Projector
    • Receiver:
          Denon AVR-3300
    • Speakers:
          Krix Euphonix
    • Centre Speaker:
          Krix Centrix
    • Surrounds:
          Mission Dipoles
    • Subwoofer:
          Aaron SUB-240
    • Audio Cables:
          Harmony Gold Coax
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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