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Dance in America: Choreography by Balanchine DVDout of synch sound...?


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#16 Jack Reed

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 07:08 PM

Having watched the last video (Walpurgisnacht) some more, I thought I'd make clear I meant your devotion to the delight of our community as well as the Davidsbuendlertaenze performance were awesome, but FWIW I thought the last clip less so, although still a valuable thing to make available for people to see. Overall that last one shows me much of the tameness that came over NYCB after about 1986, Nichols still being a very interesting dancer, like the eight in "DBT" as I like affectionately to abbreviate the name, although even she seems to me a little subdued here compared to any of them there. (Granted this comparison is not between two performances of the same ballet.) Continuing -- some would say, maundering -- on in this direction, I wonder if the text of Walpurgisnacht itself has been tamed. I recall from performances by Farrell and Luders that she would begin her run at the end from all the way upstage, audience right, through an aisle in the corps, in response to Luders' entreating gestures (arms extended toward her, the left one raised) downstage, our left; at the last, he would turn away from her, and catch her in jete on his left hip, extending his right arm before him. (You can imagine the audience reaction; we thought, had they missed this, she would have landed in the pit.) But some experiences do become "burnished in memory", as kfw has said (elsewhere), and I may have this wrong.

#17 California

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 08:35 PM


I'd like to have the Balanchine Celebration gala on DVD, too, while we're at it. Assuming, of course, the sound is synchronized properly. And everything else sitting in the "Dance in America" vaults.

Do you mean the one they did in 2003? I had that on Tivo, but then the Tivo died :( I loved the "Liebeslieder Walzer" excerpts from that.


The Balanchine Celebration, Parts I and II, was shown on PBS in 1993, on the 10th anniversary of his death. According to the Balanchine site, it was released commercially by Nonesuch.
http://www.balanchin...videography.jsp
I don't know if it's still for sale, but perhaps used copies will show up on e-Bay

From the Balanchine.org site:
The Balanchine Celebration, Part One
The Balanchine Library. Nonesuch, 1996.
Selections from live performances (1993) at the New York State Theater. With members of the New York City Ballet and guest artists. Includes Scherzo la Russe and excerpts from Apollo, Square Dance, Theme and Variations, Union Jack, Vienna Waltzes, and Walpurgisnacht Ballet.
The Balanchine Celebration, Part Two
The Balanchine Library. Nonesuch, 1996.
Selections from live performances (1993) at the New York State Theater. With members of the New York City Ballet and guest artists. Includes excerpts from Agon, Stars and Stripes, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?

Part 2 ended with the vodka toast with Martins, Kirstein, and Robbins served vodka by Baryshnikov.

An entirely different release is still available on DVD, the two-part Balanchine documentary first aired on PBS in 1984. From the Balanchine site:
Balanchine
Kultur, 2004.
A two-part documentary film telecast on the Dance in America series on May 28 and June 4, 1984. Includes excerpts from more than thirty Balanchine ballets, including appearances by him as a Tartar Nomad in Jealousy, in the film Dark Red Roses, in 1929 and as Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker in 1958.

The two programs have very different selections, although nothing is complete. For the Balanchine Celebration, everything is in excerpts, usually the last movement or two.

#18 SimonA

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 08:40 AM

Thank you Helene and Jack. Now I'm a little confused, as the sound complain seems to refer only to the DVD that contains Tzigane, Four T's etc...I wonder if the same happened to the other one-(Chaconne, Ballo...etc). If not, then I would get the VHS set of the first group of ballets and the DVD of the second one.
Thanks also for the info on Davidsbuendlertaenze. See...I'm building my own Balanchine collection Posted Image .

So to make sure...would it then be safe to buy the 2nd DVD-(Chaconne, Ballo...etc...)-without the risk of having the sound problems of the first one...?


Apologies for bumping this thread, but I don't think this question was clearly answered here: does the sound synchronization problem affect both Balanchine Nonesuch DVDs, or just the first volume (with Tzigane, Four T's, etc.). Thanks so much!

#19 Jack Reed

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 07:28 PM

I've just played Chaconne from the DVD, Nonesuch 79839, and the synchronization looks exact to me. Conceivably, the other ballets might be different, and I'll try to get to them over the next few days and report back, but the effect of this Chaconne is such that I just can't go on right now, I'm too gobsmacked with the beauty of it. Beautiful to the point of exciting! Overwhelming!

I haven't had this experience for too long, I guess, even though the DVDs are right here. Ballet of this quality, both choreography and performance, are not to be seen onstage these days, as far as I am concerned, and for my money, you'd be getting a good deal, SimonA, even if the rest of the disc happened to be unwatchable, especially considering the relative prices of DVDs and tickets these days. I think this one ballet is worth "the price of admission" (unless, of course, like a friend of mine, you cannot abide Gluck).

#20 SimonA

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Posted 25 June 2012 - 11:14 AM

Jack,

Thanks so much for taking the time to re-watch Chaconne and report back. So generous. You've almost convinced me that I should just go ahead and order the DVD ... though if you do have the time to watch the rest of the DVD, I'd, of course, love to get your thoughts.

I recently had the chance to watch several NYCB videos from Balanchine's day at NYPL, and, you're right -- there's nothing like it to be seen onstage these days.

#21 Jack Reed

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:54 AM

Jack,

Thanks so much for taking the time to re-watch Chaconne and report back. So generous. ...


No, SimonA, thank you for prodding me to watch that video! Experiences like that do my spirit good! POB is here this week, though, so I expect to continue my "Balanchine's Balanchine" festival next week.

In the meantime, though, thinking about the synchronization problems of some of these videos, I wonder whether it might now be possible for computer-adept fans to correct a copy for themselves. I've read of using video-editing software where exactly this problem may occur and be corrected. Keeping legality in mind, I'm no intellectual-property lawyer, but I think someone who obtains this kind of material legally is entitled to make a copy of it for their own use. (If they distribute it to others, questions come up.)

Are there any amateur video restorers lurking out there who will chime in here?

#22 cantdance

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:43 AM

The free video player VLC has in it's advanced options the ability to speed up or slow down the timing of the audio to the video. I use this program to play all my video files and dvds. Here is the link http://lifehacker.co...-audio-with-vlc

Next week I will audition as a super for POB Giselle at the Kennedy Center. Wish me luck.

#23 emilienne

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:42 AM

Are you after a temporary fix or a more permanent one for non-computer playback devices, Jack?

It can be done very easily. The process goes as follows:rip the original video segments from DVD, separate the audio and video tracks in an editor, resync them by the correct time offset and finally burn the corrected files to a DVD for your musical enjoyment. I've tried to do this with a Rubies recording that I have (off the air from Dance in America), but I shuddered once or twice at the thought of dictating where on the beat is to Patricia McBride.

It's probably less musically dangerous with the Choreography by Balanchine DVDs, as we could use the original, correctly synchronized, video tapes as a quality check.

#24 bart

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:27 PM

Next week I will audition as a super for POB Giselle at the Kennedy Center. Wish me luck.

Merde , cantdance. What an opportunity! You may have to change your BA name to CANdance after that. I hope you'll report to us about the experience.

#25 Jack Reed

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 08:38 PM

emilienne, your outline is just what I was thinking, for a permanent fix; what I lack are the names of Mac-compatible software. For example, Handbrake for the first step? iMovie '06 for the second? iDVD '0x for the third? The second step seems the most complex of the three, conceptually anyway.

#26 emilienne

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:28 PM

I'm actually not sure about copyright in this case. While software programs often allow you to install one backup, I'm not sure about modifying purchased media programs. Anyways, to speak in the hypothetical, and we often have need to modify owner-generated media...

It's a bit of a headache to edit .VOB files on Mac OS X. I'll outline the steps below...

Handbrake is not desirable for the first step. Handbrake compresses any video that it extracts, which you don't want as it'll look horrible once burned back to DVD. Instead I'd recommend something like Mac the Ripper to extricate the uncompressed MPEG2 contents of the DVD to a folder.

Unfortunately iMovie HD (also known as '06) does not directly recognize VOB files for editing, so there's an intermediate step to take up more of your precious hard disk space. You'll need Quicktime's MPEG-2 playback component (20$, argh) for importing, or it's already available if you own DVD Studio Pro or Final Cut Pro.

Download MPEG Streamclip, then convert the desired VOB clip to DV. Then, import as usual into iMovie, split your source into audio and video tracks, and play "match the musical accent with the leg" as needed. You can then burn the resulting DV via iDVD to a new disk.

However, if you want a little more complication in your life...

Export the edited DV from iMovie and open it once again in Streamclip. The application should be able to convert the DV clip back to .VOB (or MPEG-2, as it's called). If everything is done correctly, then you can simply replace the original VOB file with the new VOB file, and then use LiquidCD to burn a copy of the complete modified DVD, complete with the original menus!

Well, now that I've said all that, I'll sit in this corner and wait patiently for my copper friends. Posted Image

#27 Jack Reed

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:55 AM

All I need is a little more complication! But in the interim, thank you for disabusing me about Handbrake. Finding out the hard way, like I did with iMovie '08, that it compromises picture quality, is some complication you've saved me from. And I already seem to have MPEG Streamclip. I can hardly wait to try this, but there are those existing complications...

(Oh: "copper friends"?)

#28 SimonA

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 06:22 PM

Just came across this passage from Nancy Goldner's chapter on Chaconne from More Balanchine Variations: "The performance Farrell gave for the television program 'Dance in America' shows her, alas, as a dim reflection of her own self."

Anyone with first-hand knowledge here care to agree or disagree?

#29 Jack Reed

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 08:21 PM

More specifically focused memories may soon come, but at the moment I recall that in general, Farrell could be rather different on successive nights in the theater, for instance; and I also recall reading dancers testifying that the days in the television studio in Nashville were long and harder than usual, running until midnight some days. In her autobiography, she writes of those sessions

... I did not think the final results were a very fair representation of either me or the ballets. Any excitement of the moment was lost in the editing and splicing... I have often felt that if the choice were mine I would keep all filmed footage of my dancing under lock and key...


It's hard to disagree with both these ladies, and I won't, but I would offer that seeing even a dim reflection of a dancer of Farrell's rare caliber can still be a changing experience.

#30 Jack Reed

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 11:20 AM

Well, it took me longer than a few days, but it seems that all the ballets on my copy of Nonesuch 79839 are in synch, although in the female variation in Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux the synch looks a bit uncertain; I take this to be a characteristic of this particular McBride performance. I'm not complaining; considering what these performances still have the power to do for me, I'm grateful to have them.

On the other hand, in fairness to our community, it should be said that the sound on the VHS tape editions is not only in synch (in synch with a softer, fuzzier image, that is), it's sweeter and has more body than the thinner, piercing sound from the DVDs. *sigh* (If you haven't explored the audio controls on your TV for a while, this may be the time: For these DVDs, I move the treble setting down halfway from neutral, the bass setting up 2/3 of the way from neutral. As with any meal, season to your taste, and bon appetit!)

Edited by Jack Reed, 21 July 2012 - 08:35 PM.



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