- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080i/60
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD High Resolution 2.0
- Subtitles: English
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: Not Rated
- Discs: 1
- Studio: BBC/Warner
- Blu-ray Release Date: August 24, 2010
- List Price: $24.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
The Great Rift is a three-part television series that is a co-production between the BBC and the US cable network Animal Planet, set to debut on the latter this August 22nd, 2010. The series focuses on the wildlife that has sprung up around the Great Rift Valley in East Africa.
Split into three episodes, “Fire”, “Water” and “Grass,” The Great Rift journeys across several countries and examines a plethora of wildlife and never before captured on film sights, such as mastiff bats suckling their young. From the heights of Kilimanjaro to the depths of the coral reefs of the Red Sea, viewers will witness the Great Rift Valley’s abundance of living creatures, such as lions, cheetahs, antelope, elephants, crocodiles, and baboons.
“Fire”: In episode one, how life has adapted to the volcanic highlands of the rift valley is examined. The side-striped chameleon, augur buzzards, the mountain hyrax, and of course the majestic mountain gorillas, different from their lowland jungle dwelling cousins, are some of the animals shown living along some heights such as Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.
“Water”: The fresh water and marine habitats are explored in the second episode. Seasonal rains and prolonged dry seasons influence life along the rift valley. For the first time cameras capture footage of the bottom of Lake Malawi luring bottom-dwelling crabs and Bathyclarias catfish with fish bait.
“Grass”: Finally, the African savannah is examined in the final episode of The Great Rift. Giraffes and gerenuks graze on Acacia trees, the only trees capable of surviving the droughts. Antelope use the tall grass to hide their young from preying lions and cheetah, and baboons and chimpanzees are also shown, retreating into the trees at night for safety.
The Great Rift arrives on BD with a 1080i/60 high definition VC-1 encoding. Originally captured in high definition, the image looks generally good despite differences in quality that appear due to the various sources. There is, however, an overall smoothness to the picture that makes the picture lack a little sharpness and detail.
There is one DTS-HD High Resolution 2.0 lossless stereo mix provided for The Great Rift. It would have been nice to hear some of the wildlife, rushing waters and such in surround, but the mix provides spacious stereo imaging with full and clean narration in the center.
At the end of each episode there is provided a brief, 10-minute “making of” featurette entitled, Inside the Great Rift. These provide an interesting look at the difficult work that went into capturing some of the splendid images in the series.
The Definitive Word
Although The Great Rift may not be as vast in scope as a series such as Life or Planet Earth, the BBC have another winner on their hands with The Great Rift. This is thoroughly entertaining and educational, filled with crafty camerawork and jawdropping imagery. Recommended.
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