Rolling Stones: Live At The Max 1991-Filmed In IMAX (Blu-ray) 2009 DTS-HD Master Audio

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1-16x9 Widescreen, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Rolling Stones: Live At The Max arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Music



1. Continental Drift

2. Start Me Up

3. Sad Sad Sad

4. Tumbling Dice

5. Ruby Tuesday

6. Rock And A Gard Place

7. Honky Tonk Woman

8. You Can't Always Get What You Want

9. Happy

10. Paint It Black

11. 2000 Light Years From Home

12. Sympathy For The Devil

13. Street Fighting Man

14. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll

15. Brown Sugar

16. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction 

 At the Max was the first feature length film ever to be filmed in IMAX format.

Imaging fed to the jumbotrons at concerts came from "bread trucks" switching live feeds from an army of video cameras. Midway through post, the request came to use some of this video that had been recorder on 3/4" tape in the final IMAX film. This began a crazy series of tests to improve and up-res this video to be shot on IMAX neg at the lens facility in Mississauga. Test neg was processed in New York, prints made, returned to Toronto for screening at the IMAX theatre at Ontario Place. After many tries, a process was created to improve imaging enough to be used. Final release included approximately 6 minutes of this footage.

Originally shot with 8 IMAX cameras outfitted with the first long load film magazines, for 5 concerts in 3 cities. The magazines were so huge and the ballistics of the loading so unpredictable, there was no guarantee of complete coverage of any song in any single concert. Eventually trying to cut this on a flatbed proved impossible. Recently re-released EditDroids were in Toronto on various projects and one was custom configured with the help of the folks at Lucas in Los Angeles. All 35mm "twist reduction" work print was reassembled in original rolls, transferred to video and recorded on one-off laser videodiscs. The 8-headed Droid could load all data bases and imaging for a single song in all concert locations. The editors could jump to any point in a song, see what was available (or not) then jump to the same spot in all subsequent concerts. The trick was tracing back from the Droid data through laserdisc data through video data back to 35mm stepdown print edge code and ultimately to the original IMAX neg - frame accurately to produce the neg cut list that needed to sync with the original 64 track digital recordings.

This is a tremendous upgrade over the old SDVD release by Image Entertainment, and Universal Music deserve a lot of credit for it. When blown through a digital projector, Rolling Stones: Live At The Max looks incredible. Detail is excellent, clarity very good and contrast consistent from start to finish. The large panoramic shots showing a sea of fans jumping up and down have to be seen to be believed - especially those that show the crowd and the band from way back are stupendous. The color-scheme is rich and vibrant. The terrific stage lighting is very effective, and, as cliche as it may sound, I am absolutely certain that many of you who already have the SDVD release of Rolling Stones: Live At The Max will be thoroughly impressed with how different everything looks in high-definition. There are absolutely no stability issues to report in this review. I also did not detect any disturbing flecks, scratches, debris, or dirt. 

There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0. I opted for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and later on did a few random comparisons with the LPCM 2.0 track for the purpose of this review. For the record, Universal Music have not provided optional English subtitles. 

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track captures and enhances a lot of the crowd noise. During "Start Me Up", "Ruby Tuesday" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", for example, at times it is very difficult to hear the guitars. Mick Jagger's singing, however, is typically quite convincing (there are no sudden dropouts). Dynamically the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does not disappoint - the music will fill up your room and you would truly feel as if you were at the show. 

The LPCM 2.0 track is also of excellent quality, but it is not capable of recreating the same type of atmosphere the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track can sustain. For example, if you compare the opening bars of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction", you would immediately notice that the LPCM 2.0 misses a wave of crowd noise that makes it one of the most exciting songs from the show. 




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