Unlike so many other audio commentaries where producers and artists too readily gush praise about each other, May's and Taylor's observations are both fascinating and frank. Although much of what they discuss about the making of the promos is replicated in the accompanying glossy DVD booklet, it's illuminating to hear them chat about their dislike of Dennis De Vallance's video for "Fat Bottomed Girls" (principally because the final cut focused almost exclusively on Mercury). Their stories about the making of the videos also add some much-needed panache to these basic low-budget promos. For instance, their account of the making of "Spread Your Wings", on a freezing winter day in Roger Taylor's garden, brings an added dimension to an otherwise flat video.
On the DVD: Queen's Greatest Video Hits 1 reflects the limitations of pre-digital recording; much of the visual material looks tired and dated even though the original footage is now presented in 16:9 format. Closer attention has been paid to the remastering of the audio soundtrack, which includes DTS 5.1 versions of the favourites (the multi-channel audio experience of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is stunning). The opening menu sequence is also impressive, with state-of-the-art animation that incorporates the designs of early Queen record sleeves. --John Galilee
Definitely a worthy purchase for any Queen fan.
The sound quality is magnificent. Really, you will not find better versions of these tracks anywhere. All the tracks have been remixed with Brian and Roger's close supervision in DTS 5.1, and tracks which sounded pretty good to begin with are given a whole new lease of life. There are excellent use of surround channels, which embellish the music rather than just create an ambience. Queen recognise that each channel is seperate and discrete, and the result is very very impressive indeed.
Aside from this, why else should a Queen fan buy this DVD? Well, there is a 30 minute 'documentary' with Brian at the mixing desk, armed with none other than the original 2" tape of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. From here he proceeds to show in detail the construction of the track, from how the operatic sections were built up, to the layered guitars, as well as littering his speech with little-known facts about how Queen actually went about writing music at that time. It's fascinating, and for any musician, its a goldmine of information.
So much for the good. Now the bad.
The videos are presented in 16:9 widescreen. Which is curious, since none of the videos were shot using this aspect ratio. They achieved this by cutting the top and bottom off and zooming in. The result (particularly on film this old & worn down) looks dreadful. It's blotchy, you can't see all the information that was originally filmed, and there are even a few synching problems. The quality is only marginally better than the VHS version, and given that the VHS version is presented in the original aspect ratio, I would actually prefer that. WHY was this put into widescreen when it wasn't intended for that??
Despite these shortcomings, I would reccommend this DVD to all Queen fans and those who are curious about what Queen were all about. Die-hard fans will buy it anyway, just because it has Queen on the cover and also to get the sound recordings & Brian's retrospective documentary. I just hope that when Volume 2 is released, they don't make the same sorry mistake again with the videos.
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