on January 22, 2008
Method's first live concert video, in HD DVD of course, and I got my grubby hands on an advance copy! Before we get to the review I want to point out that this is a DVD put out by a small production company Fortress Entertainment. I like that. I like that Method went indi and I like the indi guys showing some HD DVD love.
Method Man gained fame as one of Wu Tang Clan's more popular MCs. He is musically gifted - whether or not you like rap, he's got a gift - and he can act. He has a recurring role in my favorite TV show The Wire. Method decided in 2007 to record a live appearance at the House of Blues in L.A. and this is what we got. Remember, my reviews look at the quality of the HD presentation, not the content. a run down of the tracklisting can be found here. otherwise, its all about HD.
The HD DVD is not jam packed with extras and crazy content. This is good in this instace as it lends itself towards easy clutter free menus. The menu is about the best looking HD DVD menu I have seen. It is clean, efficient and does not lag. Instead of the basic horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, the menu floats in the middle of the screen (in the middle of your room if ya smokin) and is comprised of stylized text and graphics. The menu in Lucky#Slevin is pretty unique and one of the best looking movie menus we have seen, however, it is slow.
The picture quality looked awesome at 1080. Indoor concert scenes can be tricky to shoot, however, here any obstacles at this show did not make their nasty appearance in the HD DVD. A testament to this production. Unlike movies, concert videos retain a constant scene. The trick is filming from different angles to keep the scenes from drying up and being boring. The production team here did a good job of keeping the scene fresh in a static environment for the whole show. Of course with Method Man bouncing around all over the place it would be tough to do anythign but keep moving around.
It is hard in video to capture the environment of a club during a show. When done properly a great dimensional aura of a concert (or sports event) can be enhanced by adding the ambient sounds heard at those events. I was eager to see how Method pulled it off on his HD DVD. To my satisfaction his HD DVD pulls it off amazingly well. as constant chattering and other sounds of the club can be heard in the surround channels. Such details allow this HD DVD to overcome the lack of a TrueHD track.
The audio options are Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Stereo. Both tracks sounded great with a perfect ambient sound mix from the rear speakers and a driving bass from the sub in the 5.1 mix. I prefer a TrueHD mix - but you can't expect everything from indi film makers. I checked the stereo mix but quickly went back to the Dolby 5.1 mix. stereo ... eww. My AVR settings are typically on "Direct", that is, no signal processing. Oddly, the audio from this video was muffled when my AVR played the track direct. When I went to Dolby Digital settings, it cleared up and sounded great. That has never happened to me before and I wonder if it is my receiver or the mix.
Regardless, its a good concert video and I am glad to see something other than easy listening bands on an HD DVD concert video.