All Us In
StarGaze might on the surface seem like a boring couple of hours
in the home theater. If youre into the wonders of the universe, however,
its anything but boring.
StarGaze, from AlphaDVD and DVD International, is a collection of
still photos from the Hubble Space Telescope, that orbiting wonder thats
regularly expanding humanitys view of the cosmos around us.
Its a widescreen set of pans across cosmic spacescapes that
are achingly beautiful, the sort of images you could imagine having been
created by the best space artists or the mind of someone on a heavy duty
StarGaze gives you two possible audio accompaniments: music
(performed by 2002) or background music/foreground narration. The audio is in
Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 6 channel, as well as Dolby Digital stereo. The
narration, which is the soundtrack preferred (because it gives information
about Hubble and the pics being presented so gloriously), is available in
English, French, German or Spanish.
Audio and video quality are superb, with the video presented in
widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 TVs.
Theres also a DVD ROM facility, which includes a terrific
screen saver you can use when you arent computing. It shows a selection
of images from near earth and far, far away.
Still, the plots a bit thin, but the visuals are first
StarGaze, from AlphaDVD and DVD International
StarGaze II - Visions of the Universe on DVD
If you liked the first version of StarGaze, and we'll freely admit that
its audience is a specialized one (though we like to think we're part
of that audience), you'll undoubtedly love the sequel.
It picks up where StarGaze leaves off, kind of, and features more than
an hour of stunning shots of the far reaches of space. Some of these pictures
are so good they almost look three dimensional, as if you're actually
witnessing stellar events from the comfort of your home theater.
Stargaze 2 is chock full of new scenes of star fields, nebulae, galaxies
and other neat stuff brought crisply and clearly to life thanks to upgrades
to the Hubble Space Telescope and other such high tech devices that thave
pushed back the boundaries of human knowledge so far.
So what we get are sharp and clean and crisp space scenes that look spectacular.
This would be an excellent DVD for stores to use as demo material for
their widescreen TV's.
The disc also features original 5.1 surround music composed and performed
by Opus 27, and as you're experiencing the glory of the universe you can
also access a "What's That?" feature that provides information about each
celestial object, including a brief description, location, object type
and distance from Earth.
Alas, you can't bring up the "What's That" feature without popping out
of the presentation itself, which can really destroy the mood (and when
you pop back in again your speakers suddenly fire up again, which can
be disconcerting). I wish you could have a picture in picture version,
or maybe a scroll of the information across the bottom of the screen,
but such was not to be.
Still, it's interesting info and we're glad they included it.
And how's this for a bonus? StarGaze II contains a High Definition version
of the program you can play on a WIndows XP -shod PC with Windows Media
Player 9 and a pretty hefty processor. It looks and sounds great on our
PC, though there's no substitute for a Really Big Screen and a good 5.1
surround system. I look forward to seeing a presentation such as this
once HD DVD's are readily available.
In all, mind boggling and mind expanding presentation!
Stargaze 2, from DVD International
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think