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(90 min DVD, Prog-Resiste)
TRACK LIST (LINEUP): 1. Beyond Belief (Karma Depth) 2. Meme Peau Meme Destin (Nemo) 3. Alien Sphere (Hamadryad) 4. Still They Laugh 1&2 (Hamadryad) 5. Cassiopee (Lazuli) 6. Ominous (Hypnos) 7. A Love Story (Beardfish) 8. Mon Mari M'Bat (Lazuli)
Prolusion. PROG-RESISTE is a Belgian non-profit association with the aim of promoting progressive music in Belgium, seemingly set up in the same manner as the French record label Musea Records. Prog-Resiste stays clear of releasing music though and instead concentrates their efforts on producing a high quality quarterly magazine catering to a French reading audience. Since 2002 they have collaborated with the club "Spirit of 66" to hold a yearly two day convention for fans and bands alike to meet, and from 2003 they have produced a DVD with excerpts of the happenings of the event. As the title states, this DVD covers the 2007 edition of this event.
Analysis. Looking at this DVD makes me think of how fast technological development has come in the last couple of decades. 20 years ago this would have been seen as a rather good production, but as a strictly commercial venture this release has too many weaknesses compared to so many other DVDs issued these days. The premise of this DVD is pretty simple: Each band present at the convention of the year covered is given about 10 minutes each on the DVD, in most cases this comes down to one track from each band. In between highlights of past conventions are showed, with about 1 minute of footage from each band, and then the next artist from the 2007 edition gets his 10 minutes or so in the limelight. Although hardly showcasing the scope of the individual artists, it's still a nice way of documenting the happenings of Prog-Resiste 2007, to enliven the memories of those present and to show ones who couldn't make it what they missed out on. The sound is pretty decent as well. The mix is slightly muddy, but each instrument comes across pretty clear. However, when comparing the sound to the recorded footage it seems that at least on occasion the mellower parts of the sound register hasn't been picked up. The main negative of this production, besides what has to be regarded as a very short running time for a DVD, is the quality of the footage and the overall production of the DVD. The menu system for the DVD is simplistic, with play move and scene selections as the only choices: pretty basic functions and pretty basic looking as well. There's cheap DVD production software available that could have given the menu set-up a much more visually pleasing look, adding the bells and whistles that a DVD-buying audience expects these days. Similar weaknesses appear in the editing of the footage – the black screen followed by a test screen that opens the DVD, the direct cut-offs to black screen and sudden stops in audio when the DVD shifts from one scene to the next. It is basic, simplistic – and could have been done in a much more professional looking manner without too much effort. The quality of the movie footage here isn't the best either. According to the credits there are four cameramen involved, but we're basically only treated to three different types of footage: Close-ups from a handheld video camera on stage, close-ups from a camera just beneath the stage and full stage shots from a camera in the back of the audience. The two former settings give the best quality footage – somewhat grainy and diffuse but with adequate color balance and overall resolution. The full stage shots are of pretty low quality though; stripes and distortions make them come across as really low grade – to the point that I would suspect faulty equipment or electronic interference are to blame. On the positive side, they have made a good job of utilizing the limited scope of footage available. Even if some of the shots do come across as ones of a less than professional quality there's enough movement and switching from one camera to the next to keep the watcher interested, as long as one can appreciate this DVD for what it is rather than focusing on technical weaknesses.
Conclusion. Those looking for another high quality DVD production to add to their collection can safely let this one go by. But those present at Prog-Resiste 2007, those who would have liked being there or those curious about what this is should find this production satisfying many of their needs, with those present at the event as the ones who'll get most value for money, as the memories triggered by watching this DVD will overcome many of the shortcomings of this effort for that particular crowd.
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