DVD Rating: *****

Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Read Scott Macdonald's film review of Baraka

The first disc is devoted entirely to the feature film.

The transfer is the finest I have ever seen on DVD. This new video transfer is the first 8K scan of a feature length movie, and sampled to a standard definition master, which when upscaled looks marvellous. Not a hint of image noise, macroblocking or grain, but drenched in detail, I defy you to find a better looking DVD. I simply cannot wait to get a Blu-ray player, buy this film, and be stunned all over again.

Copy picture

The movie is presented with two soundtracks, one in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the other in the highest quality multichannel format available on DVD - DTS 96/24 5.1 surround. The 96/24 version is a digitally compressed, but high quality rendition of the multichannel soundtrack, captured at 96KHz and mastered at 24-bit. Once again, I was overwhelmed by its quality and transparency, taking advantage of the full frequency response and resolution, with a surprising bass extension. It is once again reference material.

Disc two has two bits of additional material. This might sound a bit stingy, but none of it is filler. It, like the movie, respects your time for watching it.

The first is a retrospective documentary Baraka: A Closer Look. This details the production from the genesis of the idea to the final delivered piece. Occasionally delving into the "talking heads interspersed with pieces of the movie" trap, this is an informative and enlightening piece into why the movie was made as well as how it was achieved.

The second is a six-minute Restoration vignette, explaining the technical challenges of restoring 65mm negative to high-definition and standard definition video masters. Comparison between the previous masters is presented, and it is night and day. Each frame has 8192 lines of horizontal lines comprising the captured image. This scanning process takes a great deal of time, and "There are no shortcuts", with the scanner taking about 12 to 15 seconds per frame. The entire movie takes up about 30 terabytes of storage space (about 500 times the capacity of this laptop I am using to type this review), even before doing any subsequent colour-timing or frame-by-frame cleanup. Project Supervisor Andrew Oran boasts that it is "The highest quality DVD that's ever been made".

That's about right.

Reviewed on: 18 Nov 2008
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A journey of rediscovery across the world.
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Product Code: 2NDVD3147

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.20:1 widescreen, enhanced for 16:9 televisions

Sound: DTS 96/24 5.1 surround, Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Baraka: A Closer Look, Restoration featurette

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