‘Ice Road Truckers: Season 3’ is presented in widescreen 1.78:1 with MPEG-4 AVC 1080i coding.
Filmed in HD, the outdoor, well lit portions of the series look very impressive indeed. The primaries are bold and clear, perfectly recreating the crisp environ of The Arctic. There are plenty of scenic shots of The Dalton and its surroundings, which generally display reasonable depth (weather permitting!). The contrast ratio is strong, with whites that dazzle on occasion (but never bloom).
However, the vast majority of the series is presented from within the cab, as we ride along with the truckers as they traverse the treacherous highway. This means that low light conditions are prevalent, as obviously we want to see the truckers trying to drive on a sheet of ice at night time (!), when the danger element is highest. With no light to illuminate the picture, the image quality drops drastically, with a resultant loss in detail (although the individual swirling flakes of snow can still be seen). The night vision cam, which is used often, causes image quality to drop a little more in a shroud of grainy green.
Overall, this transfer has its good points and it’s also got its bad points. The latter is a direct result of the poor filming conditions of the wintry Arctic, and so I won’t be detracting any points for this obvious negative aspect of the production. Whilst not the best looking television series’ migration to BD by any stretch of the imagination, ‘Ice Road Truckers’ gets the job done with enough clarity and detail to earn a solid seven.
‘Ice Road Truckers: Season 3’ comes with a dts HD Master Audio stereo track.
While bonus points are granted for the inclusion of an uncompressed track, I was not expecting much in the way of sonic magnificence from this release. Stereo separation is spot on for the duration, with the rumbling of massive engines and the whistling wind transitioning from left to right soundfield with precision. The vocals are always crystal clear and never lost amongst the other effects. Speaking of which, there are plenty of “arctic aurals”, which are reproduced with perfect treble. The low end of the sonic spectrum is handled primarily by the almost constant rumbling of trucks or the odd avalanche bursting missile eliminating a snowy threat.
The score comprises a lot of dramatic orchestral type tinklings that match the overhyped dramatised nature of the series to a tee. There’s nothing memorable here and at times the score can seem a little repetitive (much like the core content). Ideally I would have liked to have heard a little more in the way of separation but the impressive bass (for a stereo mix) and solid overall presentation means that this release scores well, especially for a television series.
Disappointingly, there are zero additional supplements available on this release. There is some bonus footage but this is already included in this “extended edition” on BD and to be honest the content is not worth watching in isolation.
‘Ice Road Truckers: Season 3’ premiered on The History Channel in 2009. It charts the busiest season of the year on The Dalton; a 400 mile stretch of road, which stretches from Alaska to the Prudhoe Oil Fields. With a death registered for almost every one of its many miles, this is the most dangerous highways on the planet. As such, the truckers who are brave enough to make the journey across sheet ice, 12% gradient inclines and finally across the frozen Arctic Ocean, stand to earn huge pay packs. This season follows Dalton veterans and ‘Ice Road Trucker’ veterans as they race to complete as many hauls as possible before the highway literally melts away. Although the initial episodes inspire danger and the promise of a thrilling ride, the entire series goes out with a fizzle rather than a bang. Sure, this road provides some of the most ridiculous driving conditions known to man but the truckers whom we follow are so experienced that they rarely put a foot wrong. In a series that really could have been covered in one episode of ‘The World’s Most Deadliest Jobs’, there’s not much here recommend (especially after one viewing).
The transfer appears crisp, clear and detailed during the well lit outdoor scenes but during the night time segments there is a distinct drop in detail and sharpness. The atrocious weather conditions also make filming difficult but overall an admirable job has been done with this transfer. The uncompressed stereo track also makes the most of a limited situation, with nice treble and some impressive bass. The extras department is sorely lacking and as such I can only recommend this release for fans of the series (or indeed other History Channel productions), as there’s not a whole lot here for the casual viewer.
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