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4.4 out of 5 stars
Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
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67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2010
This short BBC series of only 3 one hour long episodes show as the title suggests, the things we cant see with the human eye. This is presented in some wonderful graphics and real films with Richard Hammond of the Top Gear fame narrating along the way. It helps that he is enthusiastic about the material, the narration emphasises what you are about to see as opposed to you being dragged through the program with a boring guide.

The first episode comprises of things we cannot really observe well with the human mind because of the differences in time scales in which the event occurs, either super fast or super slow. Using hi-speed cameras catching hundreds of frames a second we are treated to some wonderful slow motion presentation of natural phenomena, from insects, to the fastest thing in the natural world, a fungal spore! We also get to see extremely slow things sped up to more observable speeds just as the Attenborough Life Documentary showed things like coral grow from start to finish using faster frame rates.

In the second episode the focus is on the light spectrum, and while we only perceive the visible spectrum through our eyes, there are several other spectrums to consider to gain a more holistic view of what is happening around us, ultraviolet and infrared are the two most prominently discussed here but attention is also given to the outer spectrums such as for space telescopes. The highlight here was learning about one of the weird effects experienced post cataract removal surgery concerning UV light filtering.

The final episode centred around the very small that we could only see with microscopes and other even more precise imaging devices. Nanotechnology was given strong focus here and gave a glimpse of our recent new found abilities to tinker with things on the smallest scales, working in spaces only several atoms wide. What the refreshing punch line here was that we are still playing catch up with the natural world, the example given was the coating on a leaf being the source of inspiration for the modern generation of space suits to combat corrosive dust.

While many of the images and films are real captures, I got the impression there was a lot of CGI touch up done to backgrounds. Things like watching a sneeze in slow motion were CGI though the program seemed to generally indicate it was all filmed using the latest technology. This ultimately isn't a big problem as the presented touch ups only enhance further the principle we are trying to learn about.

My only other complaint might be that this high quality series was simply too short. While some episodes could have been split out, like the super fast and super slow, there are still further programs that would have been a nice addition. The Slow motion shots of many explosions could have formed its own episode and the natural kingdom kept in another. One episode about actually trying to make things invisible and the current work to attain cloaking devices and Stealth gear would have been a nice compliment to the rest of the series. Dark matter would also make an interesting candidate for something potentially invisible yet known about through deduction

If you have a general scientific, natural science or technological interest almost everything in this series will appeal to you. Even if not, there is plenty of picturesque imagery to appeal to everyone. Hopefully this series will have highlighted to viewers of all ages that what we see in front of us, with our limited ability eyes, only scratches the surface of what we can learn of any given environment.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 28 July 2010
The footage in this series when you watch it for the first time is truly amazing.

Well worth buying it on Blu-ray over DVD.

Well presented by Richard Hammond, and the set out of the 3 episodes is very good. Each episode has a number of different areas covered that link into each other seamlessly.

Yet another top quality production from the Beeb!

Episode 1 - Speed Limits: Shows high speed events that happen too fast for the human eye, they are slowed down so you can see what happens in split seconds.

Episode 2 - Out of Sight: Shows what lies beyond our visual cability, X-ray, infared...

Episode 3 - Off the Scale: Shows what is to small for the human eye to see.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2010
This is an excellent series. Unlike other educational projects that present the usual subjects like nature and wildlife or astronomy, dinosaurs, etc., Hammond takes you on a tour of a brand new area of discovery. The world of time-lapse photography. The world of the very fast, now slowed down, and the world of the very slow, speeded up, so we can understand different realities existing with us side by side. Absolutely, well done, bravo. You will want to watch it more than once, and well worth adding to your library. Highly recommend.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2010
Don't expect much science content on this Blu-Ray, and let's just ignore the repeated claims of something being filmed for the first time ever. What's left is an entertaining sequence of stunning clips filmed using all kinds of special cameras - be it high-speed, infra-red or x-ray. There isn't much of a story being told, but the scenes are all brilliant and amazing to watch, definitely worth to be seen in HD.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Richard 'the Hamster' Hammond (he's not even a real hamster) presents three interesting shows each dedicated to an aspect of the invisible to humans.

Hammond presents many of the pieces in a very similar manner to the way he presents on Top Gear.

On a couple of occasions he perceptively misjudges the separation of sentences creating apparent non-sequiturs but all is forgiven as generally his narration is soothing and ostensibly interested in what he is talking about.

Being able to purchase these programmes in high-definition is fantastic and I hope that more shows begin to follow suit. The images are regularly stunning although a few scenes appear blurry at the edges (this may be done for artistic effect).

The best thing about this show is that, even though I didn't find it even a bit dumbed-down or patronising, it still managed to hold the attention of my young children who watched it with me. That's no mean feat.

I would like to see Richard presenting more shows like this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2011
If you are a Top Gear fan, or have enjoyed other series presented by Richard Hammond, then despite the flaws with the series you will like his presenting style, very simple.

The series makes a lot of claims, around being 'the first' or 'the best' at something, and the science is not all that sound. Having said that, if you do not care to much about science then you will find this a very interesting educational series.

The Blu-Ray itself is good(unlike some other BBC BDs), the picture quality is fantastic, particularly on close-up and high-speed photography shots. HD really makes a difference with this.
The audio quality does let it down though, being an okay stereo soundtrack. This series was produced with 5.1 surround so why don't the BBC use this soundtrack?

Good generally, though!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 April 2011
If your a fan of Time Warp, this is for you!!!. Video and Audio is excellent, Worth every pound.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2011
First off, this is in 1080i not p. But most of the imagery is stunning, so if you buy it for that alone you won't be too disappointed...

What is a disappointment, however, is Hammond's presence and narration. He is constantly 'in the picture' (of course I could've guessed that from the title). But while I like him in Top Gear, I do find him very annoying here. You get to hear him say invisible world every ten seconds with a tone of voice which is just so overdone... it gets on my nerves, but again hence the title...

While I also think the subjects were a little underwhelming, in all it was an interesting series, just probably not worth the buy on Blu-ray. I honestly was expecting more after all the great comments and wanted to let people know that it really isn't all it's cracked up to be...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 August 2011
Certainly not overly scientific but some of the filming and shots were extremely brilliant.
For anyone who wants to see things that would otherwise be invisible or far too quick for the human eye, this must be as good as it gets.
This is optics and electronics at their best.
For the money it is simply brilliant!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2011
I bought this for my boyfriend, a brilliant DVD. Because of the nature of the DVD, the fact it was in blue ray made for even better viewing. Very interesting, I wish this was about when I was at school, it would have made science a lot more intersting than it was!!
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