Very Poor Quality Still Images + Marginally Acceptable Narra
John Alexander | Glendale, CA USA | 09/01/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD was purchased based in part on the one existing review and its modest price. Regretably, it is entirely disappointing, representing a nearly worthless purchase. The visual images are still photographs which have all the appearance of color illustrations from 1950's and 1960's travel books: they are faded, blurry and the colors are tired and dull.
Most images of art objects, like statues and those of building facades, are so blurry that details cannot be seen. "Motion" in the DVD consists of the camera zooming into these old photos or panning across them, only making the visual quality worse - and the antique automobiles and everyday clothing worn by people in outdoor scenes leave no doubt about the age of the original photos. The narration is equally tired and old-fashioned: simplistic statements about the "dark ages" and the artists sound like they belong in a boring art history lecture from the 1950's and would never stand up to today's more lucid, informed, and balanced interpretations of events and artists. The classical music selections in the background only add distraction to an already poor quality soundtrack.
This DVD is so cheaply produced, it really painful to watch, even though there is a modest amount of useful, factual information included in the narration. In short, don't buy this DVD if you are thinking of using it for instructional purposes unless you intend to put a class to sleep or as an introduction to - or a souvenier of - a trip to Florence. In fact, don't think of buying it at all. With shipping charges included, the lowest price you can purchase a copy for is between $9.00 and $10.00. At this price point, a far better purchase would be the "Florence" DVD from Naxos.
Unlike the DVD under review, the Naxos DVD is nearly twice as long (about 54 minutes) and consists of very high quality, professionally produced color videos of various buildings, sites and historical locations in Florence, accompanied by classical music which is very well chosen to accompany the images. While this DVD has no narration, it does come with a very complete booklet with notes on each "Chapter" (Naxos' choice of words for "Scenes"). This DVD + a good guide book would be more than adequate to prepare anyone for a first vist to Florence."
A Florence museum guide rounds out this unforgettable voyage
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 05/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Part of the Museum City Series, Florence: Cradle of the Renaissance is an amazing DVD tour of Italy's cultural center, known for being the epicenter of a cultural rebirth in art, architecture, and philosophy during the 15th century. Taking the viewer on a tour of Florence's most well-known masterpieces, including Michelangelo's David, The Bapistry Doors, Giotto's Bell Tower, the Pazzi Chapel, the Medici and Uffizi palaces, and the Birth of Venus, Florence: Cradle of the Renaissance celebrates both great art and landmark history. A Florence museum guide rounds out this unforgettable voyage, especially recommended for armchair travelers, and surely the next best thing to flying to Florence to see its great treasures in person. 33 minutes, digitally mastered audio & video."
vladimir998 | Home town of a fine Lutheran synod | 04/05/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Buyer Beware! This is not really a video so much as a string of still photographs - often blurry or of otherwise poor quality - out together like a 1970s public school filmstrip. Stereotypes abound in the narration: for 1000 years before the Renaissance everyone was stupid and lived in ignorance, for instance. There are also some poor interpretations and decisions in the video. Brunelesschi's dome is NOT the beginning of the Reniassance.
I was just shocked that the whole video was nothing but stills. Honestly there's no real difference between watching this "video" and thumbing through the pages of a guide book. A severe disadvantage of this method is that you rarely if ever get to see the full scope of a work. Large paintings? For most of them you see only small portions. Large statues? You seem them at only one angle usually and rarely from a perspective where you can take in the whole thing.
Just how old are these sills? Well, judging by the clothes on some of the people who sometimes show up in the photos (women wearing hats; sleeves two-thirds long; men with really thin ties, etc.) these photos are DECADES old. Even the copyright date says 1992 while this is supposed to be a 2007/2008 DVD.
The narration is tolerable. Towards the end of the "video" the female narrator, Grace Jackman, waxes poetic. Spare me! There is additional narration - horribly done - by a man named Richard Levine.
The DVD is said to be written and produced by Leah Jay with photos by Ernest Jay. Am I wrong in thinking this is probably a husband and wife team who took pictures on their vacation to Florence or took photos out of guidebooks? The video has that much of an amateur feel to it. They also did some or all of the other videos in the series. I would not be surprised if they were of the same low quality.
Save your money."