Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review of ROCKETS Magazine LDRS-29 DVD set

The LDRS-29 video set is comprised of 4 DVDs, 2 with video and 2 containing a slideshow of over 4900 photos.  The 2 hours video is shot in HD and has a Dolby-surround soundtrack.  Both the video and slideshow discs are organized into chapters so you can navigate through them easily.

The video is of excellent quality and the ROCKETS crew does a good job of following the rockets under boost.  However, there is a little too much coverage of rockets under 'chute.  There are also numerous segments of on-board footage and I have the same complaint: the up direction is interesting but much of the down direction is either looking up at the sky and spinning wildly. This is pet peeve of mine and is not unique to ROCKETS' videos. The coverage of the early days starts slowly (just like the launch itself, I suppose) but the quality picks up quickly.  There were some really cool rockets launching!  I wish there were more interviews with the builders/fliers about the details of the rockets, however, there were several such segments.  I also miss Earl Cagle's 'pad cam' approach.  Earl would have three views of the bigger, more interesting projects - one far away, one showing just he early boost, and then one up close and personal.  This leads me to the most unique and interesting stuff.  Doug Gerrard, from New Mexico, is known for his video rocketry work.  He brought out a tower equipped with a slew of cameras that took launch footage from many angles and perspectives.  This was IMO the best part of the whole set and alone was worth the cost of admission.

The still photos are embedded in a  video slide show and are not individually available.  On my netbook with remote drive, the slide show did not start automatically.  I had to navigate to the directory and find a suitable file to double click.  I did so and IntervideoWinDVD started up.  I don't know if this is the native format of what's on the disk or not.  If viewed in real time, the slide shows themselves would take several hours to view.  Luckily, WinDVD has excellent fast forward capabilities so I watched them at 8x speed, stopping only occasionally.  I really would prefer a thumbnail view of stills but I can see why the owner would want it this way - you can't extract the individual photos. Although, WinDVD has a snap feature, it appears to be disabled.  There were many shots that I would like to have been able to zoom in on.  For example, there is a sequence of shots of a 'Rocket Gun' that someone brought out  and I could barely discern what it was and why photos of it might have been included.

Despite my minor complaints, I really like this set and you get a lot for your money.  If you want a rocket video, I recommend this one.