TT3D: Closer to the Edge Blu-ray Review
The Blu-ray of TT3D: Closer to the Edge comes with the 2D and 3D versions on one disc, both versions are framed at 1.85:1 and the 2D version has an AVC encode whilst the 3D version has a MVC encode. Whilst both transfers are excellent, since this documentary was shot in native 3D, that is the preferred viewing format. It was actually shot using two Red One cameras and the disc is a direct digital transfer, as a result the image is beautifully clean with lots of detail and almost no grain. Thanks to the digital source, the transfer also has no obvious banding or compression artefacts, with natural colours and deep blacks. The 3D photography is excellent, with well framed shots that make effective use of the depth and plenty of positive parallax that draws you into the screen making you feel like a spectator at the race itself. Since the majority of the action takes place in sunlight, the 3D images have plenty of brightness which really helps in delivering a sense of depth that immerses you in the action. The use of 3D also helps to show how incredibly fast these racers are going and thanks to the added dimensionality you also realise just how close they are to side walls and spectators. There is some 2D footage within the film that is the result of using footage from previous races and in at least one instance the filmmakers convert a series of 2D stills into 3D. However the majority of this film was shot in 3D and the resulting images are beautifully composed to take advantage of the added depth, as well as the incredible scenery. If you’re a fan of 3D filmmaking, then TT3D: Closer to the Edge is definitely worth buying.
Both the 2D and 3D versions of TT3D: Closer to the Edge share the same very impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack. The sound mix is highly aggressive and perfectly compliments the excellent 3D images to produce an incredibly immersive visual and sonic experience. The entire soundfield is used very effectively with the music at the front, the narration and interviews anchored to the centre and the surrounds used to create atmosphere with the noises of the crowds. The sounds of the motorcycles are highly directional, with the mix steering the engine noises all around the room as the racers roar past the camera. The LFE channel is also used very effectively, giving the engines a deep bass response that puts you right in the middle of the race. The interviews and narration are well recorded and nicely integrated into the soundtrack and the overall sound has a good level of fidelity and an impressive dynamic range. Overall this is an excellent soundtrack and when combined with the 3D images it creates an incredibly visceral experience that will transport you right into the very centre of the Isle of Man TT.
The Blu-ray release of TT3D: Closer to the Edge is Region B locked 2-disc set and comes with both the 2D and 3D versions of the film on the first disc and a DVD on the second. There is a reasonable set of extras, the majority of which involve additional interview footage but it would have been nice if there had been a feature on the 3D photography or perhaps a commentary track to explain how they made the film.
- Contributors' Interviews (16:17, HD) - This feature is a collection of unused interview footage which gives you further insight into the lives of the racers, with greater emphasis on how their chosen sport affects their families. There’s also more of Guy Martin, which is always a good thing.
- Guy Martin (05:16, HD) - This feature includes yet more interview footage, this time concentrating exclusively on the never boring Guy Martin and we get to see him playing with a motorised Lego truck.
- Richard 'Milky' Quayle Describes The TT Course (21:52, HD) - This feature involves a combination of footage shot from a camera attached to a bike as it races the entire course, coupled with shots of Richard Quayle in his car and footage from the races themselves. As we go around the course ‘Milky’ describes how you approach each bend and what the rider needs to do to navigate them successfully. It gives you an amazing insight into just how incredibly difficult and dangerous the TT really is.
- Bridget Dobbs Reflecting On TT 2010 And The Future (14:53, HD) - This feature includes more interview footage of Bridget Dobbs, whose husband was killed racing in the TT. It is interesting to see her stoic attitude towards her husband’s death and the acceptance of the risks involved in being a professional racer. However, given that they have children it is also very sad and makes you realise the terrible price that the racers' families might have to pay.
- Stephen Davidson, Photographer And Author (05:58, HD) - This feature includes an interview with photographer Stephen Davidson, in which he describes where he stands to get his amazing photos of the TT races. The feature includes loads of his photos and you realise just how ludicrously close to the bikes the spectators are. Frankly it’s a miracle more people aren’t killed each year.
- John McGuinness And His Father (04:21, HD) - This feature includes a short interview with John McGuinness and his father in which is father discusses his pride in his son’s achievements and all the sacrifices made when John was a child to support his racing obsession.
- John McGuinness' Home Movies (02:08, HD) - This feature includes John McGuinness’ home movies showing him as a child riding motorcycles and acting as a nice follow up to the previous feature.
- Jenny Tinmouth (04:02, HD) - This feature includes more interview footage with Jenny Tinmouth who is one of the few women racers in the TT. It’s quite encouraging to see an attractive young lady holding her own in the testosterone fueled world of motorcycle racing.
- Nick Crowe, Sidecar Champion (02:53, HD) - This feature includes more interview footage with Nick Crowe who is a TT Sidecar Champion and he talks about side car racing and how he got into it. There are actually two side car races over the course of the TT race week but obviously they tend to get less attention than the main motorcycle races.
- Conor Cummins, Back On The Bike (10:34, HD) - This feature covers Isle of Man local Connor Cummins’ efforts to recover from a terrible crash at the TT which left him with a broken back. It includes him discussing the use of a hyperbaric chamber to aid his recovery and there are also interviews with his family and friends. When you see footage of his actual crash, you’re amazed he’s even alive, never mind able to walk again. Quite why he would ever what to get back on a bike is something of a mystery but gives you a good idea of the mentality of these guys (and girls).
- Charge: The Electric TT (54:45, SD) - This is a nice extra feature and is a full length documentary about the first TT race for electric bikes. The documentary is narrated by self-confessed bike nut Ewan McGregor and includes interviews with the engineers, riders and spectators, some of whom aren’t too keen on the idea of electric bikes at the TT. It is certainly an interesting documentary but even though the bikes can reach speeds of 100mph, it just isn’t quite the same without the roar of an engine.
In the end, TT3D: Closer to the Edge is a fantastic documentary that gives you a fascinating insight into the world of professional motorcycle racers and the kind of mentality that is prepared to take these incredible risks. It also shows you, in no uncertain terms, just how fast, exciting and ultimately incredibly dangerous the Isle of Man TT really is. This is undoubtedly as close to being in the actual race as most people would want to be but thanks to the use of 3D cameras we are afforded a rare opportunity to see what it’s like from the comfort and safety of our sofa.
The Blu-ray comes as a 2-disc set, with the 2D and 3D versions and the extras on the first disc plus a DVD version on the second disc. The documentary was shot in native 3D using Red One cameras and the disc is a direct digital transfer, as a result the image is beautifully clean with lots of detail and almost no grain. Thanks to the digital source, the transfer also has no obvious banding or compression artefacts, with natural colours and deep blacks. The 3D photography is excellent, with well framed shots that make effective use of the depth and plenty of positive parallax that draws you into the screen making you feel like a spectator at the race itself.
The excellent 3D images are complimented by an equally impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1-channel soundtrack that is highly immersive. The entire soundfield is used very effectively with the music at the front, the narration and interviews anchored to the centre and the surrounds used to create atmosphere with the noises of the crowds. The sounds of the motorcycles are highly directional, with the mix steering the engine sounds all around the room as the racers roar past the camera. The LFE channel is also very effectively used, giving the engines a deep bass response that puts you right in the middle of the race.
The Blu-ray comes with a reasonable set of extras that mostly consist of additional interview footage but there is an extra documentary about the first TT race for electric motorcycles. Sadly there is nothing about the actual shooting of the documentary, nor is there any commentary track which is a shame. Still overall the Blu-ray release of TT3D: Closer to the Edge is a great all-round package and the excellent 3D images and immersive sound will put you about as close to the edge as any sane person would want to be. Highly recommended.
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