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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Ambient Fire: Ultimate Video Fireplace
Ambient Fire: Ultimate Video Fireplace
Jumby Bay Studios // Unrated // October 25, 2005
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted September 9, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
Fire on your TV...without an insurance claim

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: My big-ass TV
Likes: White-noise machines, a nice fire
Dislikes: Being bored, being calm
Hates: Bad, "low-budget" design

The Show
Once in every man's life, there comes a time when he wants to see things burn on TV. When you reach that time, here is the DVD to turn to. Nine scenes of fire, all backed by a trio of songs or just the natural sound of things burning. Everyone seems to enjoy watching the yule log burn at Christmas-time, so why not experience that joy 365 days a year?

The answer: because it's boring.

Sure, the disc changes it up by changing from fireplace to campfire to candles to flames of an indeterminate origin, but it's still just fire on a TV. You've got to have a serious streak of pyromania in you to enjoy this stuff in, say, May. Thankfully, along with a jazz and classical track, a yuletide melody is included for the most wonderful time of the year.

While the fires in the fireplaces look nice on a big screen, like a virtual fireplace, the final scene is simply an abomination. It seems like even the people responsible for making this disc got bored of looking at flames, and broke out their video effects, creating a scene that's straight out of a late '80s wedding video. The flames are stretched, digitized, warped, distorted and any other buttons available to the editor.

The DVD
Packed in a standard keepcase with a Vat19 catalog, the disc looks pretty low-rent from the cover art. The DVD has an animated main menu, with a play-all option, scene selections, set-up and special features. Audio options include three music tracks, fire sounds, a mix of song and fire sounds or a randomly selected track. One of the best features is the option to create your own playlist of the scenes, with up to six slots. You can also select to play the whole disc randomly, watch the longer-burning fires or the shorter ones. These discs certainly do a lot with user options to make an individual experience.

The Quality
Shot on HD made be what it says on the case, but the anamorphic widescreen video isn't exactly cutting-edge, especially during fires with darker backgrounds, as some harsh digital artifacts are evident. For the most part, the color is pretty solid, and the level of detail is acceptable, but the distortion in the images can be distracting.

The audio is presented as Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks, which are strong, but not overpowering, maintaining a center-channel soundfield. The songs are clear, and the sounds of the fires come across crisply.

The Extras
The only extras are the actually helpful help section and a series of commercials for other Vat19 productions. There are fun in a very cheesy way.

The Bottom Line
In watching this DVD, I kept asking myself, "Why would you buy this DVD?" I could only come up with one legitimate reason, and that's to have a yule log on hand for the holiday season. If I didn't have the cheap-o $2.99 disc I bought a while back from Coconuts, I probably would pick this one up, as the variety of fireplaces is nice, and the music isn't half bad either. The quality isn't what one would call top-notch, and the extras are slim, but the disc does what's it meant to do, and that's put fire on your TV, without the unpleasant fumes. Whether you actually want that, is up to you.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

Check out 1106 - A Moment in Fictional Time or his convention blog called Conning Fellow


*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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