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DVD Trips: Fesitval

$ 24.95
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Eric Christensen's documentary on a ground-breaking psychedelic happening held in San Francisco in early 1966 gets a simple presentation in this DVD edition. The Trips Festival Movie has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1; most of the new footage has been sourced from digital video and looks colorful and sharp, while the vintage newsreel material and images of the festival itself look very good given their vintage. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo and the quality is good without being particularly outstanding. The interviews and narration are in English, with no subtitles or multiple language options included. And as a bonus, the disc includes a panel discussion following an early screening of the film including several the participants in the Trips Festival, including Bob Weir, Carolyn Garcia (aka Mountain Girl), Stewart Brand, Ben Van Meter, Ramon Sender, Roland Jacopetti and more; the group discussion was shot with a single camera, and given that few of the speakers say much that they didn't cover in the film, it's good fun but not especially illuminating. More historically valuable is an experimental film Van Meter shot during the festival itself, using multiple exposures and varying shooting speeds to capture the kinetic energy of the performances. Van Meter's film is fascinating, but for some reason the audio mastering has isolated the soundtrack to the left channel only, lessening its impact. The Trips Festival Movie is an intriguing bit of cultural anthropology, but the DVD doesn't add much to its effectiveness beyond a good quality presentation of the film itself.