Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition (35th Anniversary Collectors Edition DVD)
We reviewed the original release of this DVD back in 2002 (see review) and what we said then about the main feature, this live performance from 1970.
But this 35th Anniversary edition released in 2005 is not just a straight re-release.
A day after this DVD arrived, the screen that is part of my home cinema set-up keeled over and died. Choosing a suitable replacement took time but the review of this DVD (and others) had to wait as it is important to check all options, including those of sound, which can only be done through the A/V amp.
And sound is probably the most important issue with this DVD. The original release offered the choice of Dolby 5.1 or PCM Stereo but this version goes the whole hog and offers Dolby 5.1, Dolby Stereo and DTS. DTS is, in our opinion, the numero uno choice for those with suitable equipment. The clarity, when encoded properly, is, we think, a whole length in front of Dolby 5.1, and when compared to the 5.1 track on this DVD, that certainly is the case. Obviously, you may think differently but the beauty is that there is the choice.
The menu on this version is different again to the original release. The choices are well laid out and responses are quick. Gone are the biographies, discography and artwork features of the original but in their place is an audio feature of the whole of Mussorgsky's 1874 suite, Pictures At An Exhibition performed by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine. Like the main feature, sound can be in Dolby Stereo, 5.1 or DTS and in the latter it sounds superb.
Picture and sound quality are good, perhaps even impressive considering technology 35 years ago. As mentioned in my review of the original release, the main criticism would have to be directed at the overuse of projected kaleidoscopic psychedelic effects half-way through, which do date the performance somewhat. Obviously these effects are on the original footage and so cannot be removed.
The DVD case is packaged in a cardboard sleeve with gold lettering (showing as black-ish lettering on the picture above unfortunately - scanners do not like gold).
The animated menu offers audio selection. main feature, individual tracks and special audio feature of the classic rendition of Pictures. Click on the special audio feature and a further sub menu allows individual tracks from this to be selected.
The inside of the DVD tray provides full track listing.
The DVD is multi-region NTSC/PAL format, 4:3 screen ratio, with DolbyŠ Digital 5.1, Dolby Stereo and DTS options. The total running time including extras is around 80 minutes.
If you have DTS enabled equipment and like ELP this 35th Anniversary edition is well worth getting even if you already have the original release. Apart from the different special features, the DTS soundtrack brings a whole new clarity to the picture. Have sunglasses to hand to ease the sight of Keith's blue and green metallic suit.
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