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Derek Carter’s blog » DVD

Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

TRAINS sent me a free DVD - four years too late

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

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A few days ago I received a DVD sent to me by Kalmbach Publishing, which publishes TRAINS and CLASSIC TRAINS, among other magazines. I was rather surprised to get it, as I hadn’t ordered it. The title is “Big Power”, and is apparently the first volume of a new series called “Ultimate Railroading DVD Series”. The idea behind it is to get people to buy more of the series: if you like it, send ‘em money and every few months they’ll send the next disc in the series, which you can decide to keep or return as you see fit. Of course, since this one was unsolicited, I have the third option of keeping it for free.

The DVD itself is rather mediocre. The content, while perfectly accurate, is not only old news to me (and to most of the other people Kalmbach has sent the DVD to) but also doesn’t go into any kind of depth. There are Wikipedia articles more detailed than this DVD. Making things worse, despite the 2007 copyright date on the box, the program was apparently produced in 2003, so everything is four years out of date. It discusses SD70MACs and Dash-9s, while for the last two years TRAINS has been discussing their successors, the SD70ACe and ES44DC.

As a side result of being filmed four years ago, the DVD has a 4:3 aspect ratio. Not too thrilling when everything is moving to widescreen. Video quality varied throughout the program. Some shots were normal DVD quality, but others looked like they were made with low-end cameras. Overall it looked no better than some of my 20-year-old VHS tapes. The footage itself isn’t particularly interesting either. In general the scenery wasn’t interesting, and most shots were close-ups of the locomotives anyway. While not necessarily bad, an entire hour of such shots is kinda boring. The only particularly interesting footage was that taken inside General Electric’s factory in Erie, PA, and some of a locomotive with a stack fire.

I’m not inclined to recommend this DVD to anyone.