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Balanchine: Midsummer Night's Dream

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With the new Ferri/Bolle La Scala Midsummer Night's Dream scheduled for release on November 20, it may be even greater news that the Patricia Barker PNB (1999) version will be released on the same day, but in High Def!


If ever anything needed High Definition, it is ballet. Does anyone know whether there are other ballet vids in this format? (Would it make sense to open a high definition thread?)

Both versions are available with discount at Amazon.

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I just got my copy of the POB Swan Lake on HD-DVD yesterday, and it was interesting to watch it with both pluses and minuses. On the one hand, the detail and resolution is amazing, and on the other hand, the detail and resolution is amazing. You see everything! Every single detail of their skin, the dust on the stage, the seams of the sets. Everything. Couple this with the closeups of people's faces, and there's really nothing left to hide. Besides seeing muscle definition more clearly, I'm not sure that HD significantly improves the experience of watching dance on video.

I'm thinking that there is probably some acclimatization period, and I won't want to go back to SD afterwards, but the level of detail is overwhelming right now. The PNB Midsummer Night's Dream HD-DVD is coming tomorrow, and I've watched the DVD of that countless times, so it will be interesting to compare.

I know Art's been seeing the Met's live opera HD cinema broadcasts. I wonder how that compares on an even larger screen than a home TV.


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Well put, Andre. I know exactly what you mean! :wink:

:clapping: New technology is often a double-edged sword especially when people are learning to use it.

I got a chance to look at the PNB MSD HD-DVD last night, and the differences are interesting. I'm glad for the extra resolution here because it was really easy recognizing company members in the corps work. In fact, it was somewhat distracting at times --- oh, look there goes Gavin again.

But the high resolution also exposed production problems. The cameramen that night had issues with their focus. The director would cut to a closeup, and you'd see the camera hunting for its focus as the picture went into focus, then out, then in again. I never saw this on the regular DVD.

There was also an occasional weird blurry problem that looked like someone applied one of those 1960s blur around the edges glamour filters. I couldn't decide if it was more camera focus problem (at the end of the wedding march when the 3 couples are lined up for their bows, the audience left couple is out of focus, but the audience right couple is in focus, and both are the same distance to the camera) or if there's some technical issue. This HD-DVD is coded with MPEG4-AVC (AKA Apple's H.264), whereas the always sharp POB Swan Lake was coded with Microsoft's VC-1, but both are supposed to be good codecs.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to more HD releases, so at the very least I can justify my shiny new toy. :)


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