With the impending release of the 2007 Drum Corps International World Championship DVDs this week on Thursday, Nov. 15, DCI.org's Michael Boo and Mat Chavez got together for a sneak peek and review of some of the highlights that these DVDs have to offer both longtime and newbie drum corps fans. With Dolby Digital surround sound, multiple video angle options, show designer commentary, off-the-field vignettes, and more, the 2007 World Championship discs – as they have done since their first release in 2000 – push the limits of DVD technology and will put you right inside the action of all the top 2007 World Championship performances from Rose Bowl Stadium and Pasadena, Calif. Boo, a DCI.org columnist, has been involved with and written about the drum corps activity for more than a quarter century while Chavez has volunteered his efforts since 2005 putting his fine tuned audio and techno skills to the test each summer prepping and quality controlling DCI.org's Audio Performance Downloads.
Michael Boo: It was a great privilege to get a hold of an advance copy of the 2007 Division I World Championship DVD set and play around with many of the different camera angles and audio tracks. From the work of the camera crew through post-production, these discs honestly made me feel a little like it was August again and I was back in Pasadena. Mat Chavez: You're right Mike. I know this DVD production crew has been perfecting this product since Drum Corps International started producing DVDs in 2000, and I think they have mastered the medium. For all the videophiles out there, this is about as clear as you can get on a standard definition DVD. Watching on a Hi-Def monitor, you can see the detail as finely as a DVD can allow, with minimal picture differences. It makes watching from the high-camera angle more than just watching the forms – it really comes close to replicating the experience. MB: Since the World Championships, I know a hot topic among fans has been the humming of the lights at Rose Bowl Stadium that could sometimes be heard over the performing corps. I know I don't have enough of a background to fully understand, but it seems like this situation was addressed and the final DVD product is much improved audio-wise over what might be expected. MC: I had the opportunity in Pasadena this summer to work by the production crew when we were processing the Audio Performance Downloads, and I know there was great care given to how the audio would be presented on the DVDs.
Santa Clara Vanguard
Legacy stadiums like the Rose Bowl can create a huge challenge to audio engineers. Older lighting systems create harmonics that are spread throughout the audio spectrum, making them impossible to "clean" without lots of hard work. The DVDs this year are a testament to the effort that Drum Corps International and Tom Blair, Inc. put forth to create a world class product. Is the hum still there? If you listen very carefully, you can still hear it in the quietest parts, but the masterful mixing job has minimized it to where it's not a distraction. It is a better result than I thought would even be possible. MB: I especially had fun exploring the different video angles and audio tracks, including the commentary from the percussion and music general effect judges. However, it's the comments from the show designers that proved to me how much more there is to know about the creation of these drum corps shows. These tracks alone are worth the purchase price. These are a few of my favorite moments from the top six corps that fans can look forward to on the DVDs: Blue Devils Show Designers Scott Chandler and Dave Glyde discuss many aspects of this World Championship winning program. The evil laugh heard at 2 minutes 35 seconds (2:35) into the show really jumps out on the DVD. The drum battery feature at 3:15 allows us to watch the drummers' legs and body movement, reveling in all the simultaneous demands placed on the performers. My favorite moment on the DVD is at the end of the show. The multi camera video angle lets us see the drum major from the corps' perspective. He almost loses it when he expresses his gratitude to the corps, then instantly puts on his game face as he turns around to acknowledge the cheering audience. The Cadets In his commentary, Director George Hopkins provides some unexpected insights to the corps' 2007 program, such as why the last movement never made it to the field. At 2:20 we learn what he didn't like about the show and why it stayed in, and he addresses the audience reaction to the "Athlete of God" comment in the show's narration.
The high camera angle proves just how fast the corps continually moved. Hopkins gives us a cool trivia fact about a trumpet soloist and he explains why the narration in the closer was adjusted between Quarterfinals and Semifinals. You'll want to relive the audience reaction at 6:30, when the corps member vocalist says, "Alright, let's do something with no voice." The Cavaliers Corps director Jeff Fiedler points out hidden meanings to many elements of the show, how it reflected things people go through every day and how putting this show together was like burning a mix CD of hits. He explains why the horn players are choreographed to roll on the ground, and several other visual moments. Until I listened to his commentary, I had no idea about the timeline that pushes through the corps at 6:40. Phantom Regiment Phantom Regiment's program advisor Dr. Dan Richardson points out that at the beginning of this bird-themed program from Phantom Regiment, that the "birds" flock and then land as if on a telephone wire before flying into the sunset. This makes watching the high camera angle so much more meaningful. Little things like the corps' kick halt at 3:19 and the chevron formation at 3:30 are caught in the multi-camera view, but only by listening to Richardson did I catch the birdcage form. He further explained how the "birds" were often flying in formation. Santa Clara Vanguard Did you know the beginning of a classic movie inspired the opening spinning cymbal drill, or that the drill continuously put together pieces of a puzzle? Did you know about the form hidden on the guard costumes, or the iconic Santa Clara Vanguard tune at the end of the show? The designers explain all this in their commentary. You'll want to watch the high camera angle at 3:20 to see how a soloist floated around the field to become the center of the exclamation mark dot when the audience yells "Eureka."
Carolina Crown The show designers provide insight into this crowd favorite production. At 1:30, the drill form as explained requires an on-the-fly switch to the high camera view in order to experience the "aha" effect. (The form at 10:27 facing the end zone is another one of those spots.) A star is born at 3:28, when just for a split second, a most humorous and unexpected camera shot occurs. At the end, music judge Dallas Niermeyer in his audio track proclaims, "How could you not be entertained?" Finale and Vignettes The Division I, Volume 1 DVD set also includes several off-the-field vignettes and coverage of the World Championship Finale. One is a wonderful vignette about the Blue Devils' Odello family – three generations that have been instrumental with founding and marching in the corps for the past 50 years. It's fun to hear the crowd reaction in the finale when they realized how incredibly small the scoring spread between fifth place and seventh place was. And you can't possibly miss feeling like you were there when the crowd realized a home state team won the very first World Championship hosted in California. And there's a hidden gem – an entire show long – that fans will have fun searching for and watching repeatedly. It provides a rare insight into what goes into the product you'll enjoy when you receive your DVDs. There is so much more to rave about in the DVD set, but there is only so much bandwidth on the Internet. If you haven't yet ordered your copies, now is the time to do so in order to have something to enjoy over the coming holidays. There are so many features and memories; you'll have trouble finding enough free time to enjoy them all. Check out other features of these DVDs and order today.