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Nature: Legendary White Stallions Blu-ray Review

legendary-white-stallions-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60 (29.970Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit), English Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitle Color: Yellow
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Running Time: 60 minutes
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: PBS
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 4, 2013
  • List Price: $24.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

 Nature-Legendary-White-Horses-BD_01

This episode of the long-running PBS series Nature takes as its subject the Spanish Riding School of Vienna where the world famous Lipizzaner horses are bred and trained. The horses, which date all the way back to the Moors of Northern Africa when they conquered Spain, have come to be known for their milky-white coats, but are in fact a diverse species that can spawn various colors. It is the Austrian Hapsburg Archduke Charles who began this dressage horse riding tradition with the Lipizzaners, a blend of Iberian and Moorish cultures, taking horses that were well-suited for and initially bred as war horses, and turning them into the coveted show horses that they are today.

Legendary White Stallions follows the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna, the riders who train alongside the horses, from the time they are foals, showing us how they are coddled, made to trust humans innately, and bred, maintaing the pure lineage.

For fans of this stalwart of classical dressage, the episode also offers quite a few glimpses of the famous horse ballet, performed in the most lavish of venues. But this episode isn’t all pomp and circumstance. Nature, true to its name, gives us beautiful glimpses of the young foals at play in their “natural” habitat, before they are taken to “school” for the vigorous, but always loving training they will undergo to become show horses or breeding mares, once reaching the age of maturity.

What the episode fails to let us in on, unless I somehow missed it, is what happens to the horses that don’t make the cut as potential dressage horses (even the mares, who will never be show horses have to go through the same training as the colts, because their offspring must have the same traits that make them worthy dressage horses).

In all, this is an interesting, if slight on detail, episode for the elite crowd who get their kicks playing dress-up and watching horses dance ballet.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Nature-Legendary-White-Horses-BD_02

The AVC encodement of the original 1080i/60 source looks good, with only the slightest hints of softness and combing here and there, and some of the archival aerial footage of Vienna has an obvious drop-off in quality as well. Otherwise, the colors and detail are life-like, with a clean image.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Nature-Legendary-White-Horses-BD_03

Legendary Stallions gets LPCM 2.0 stereo (48kHz/16-bit) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes. The 5.1 mix is extremely subtle, offering only the vaguest sense of ambience and atmospheric effects in the surround channels, but an effective narration and dialogue in the center. The 2.0 sounds a bit more forward and less spacious, but either one will work for the material at hand.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0/5]

Nature-Legendary-White-Horses-BD_04

There’s zip offered here.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Nature-Legendary-White-Horses-BD_05

Nature takes a bit of a side step with Legendary White Stallions and offers us an episode of a thoroughly domesticated breed of horse, the Lipizzaner. They are gorgeous creatures, whether they are milky white, or one of the numerous colors they can occur in if left to breed on their own. Should be of interest to horse lovers.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Nature: Legendary White Stallions on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

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Nature-Legendary-White-Horses-BD_13

[amazon-product]B00BQI3VSI[/amazon-product]

Purchase Nature: Legendary White Stallions on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0/5]

 

 

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