As promised, now that I’ve had a chance to review 25 Animal Techniques, here’s a review. First – some grains of salt:
- Jesse’s a friend, so take that into account.
- I broke my rule – he gave me a copy as a gift.
With that out of the way, here’s how it played out. First, the specs:
- 41 minutes of playing time
- 25 techniques
- $25 for the DVD
It’s not often that I have such access to the person who created the product I’m reviewing, so I took advantage of it to get a little ‘back story’. There were basically two purposes behind this DVD. First, the DVD serves as a handy reference for Dragon-Phoenix students to help them practice their required animal techniques. Second, it is hoped to be a convenient supplement to Animal Technique seminars, where you can take a set of video notes home to ensure you get the most out of a seminar.
Based on that, I’d say the video achieves both goals pretty well. Jesse’s congenial personality carries well on video, and that combined with the pacing of the video makes it very watchable. Minus credits, it spends an average of a minute and a half on each technique. It’s easy to digest it in one sitting, and doesn’t bore you with 23 slow motion re-runs of the same technique. My DVD player has a rewind button, and I know how to use it. He shows one side, the reverse angle, in the air maybe, and moves on. You aren’t going to get a nuanced look at every single movement pattern relevant to the animals, gain a deep and abiding knowledge of the history of animal kung fu and its place within the development of Shaolin Kempo, or a lengthy dissertation on using the philosophy of the animals in modern life. However, about 40 minutes from pressing play, you will have added a bunch of animal techniques to your repertoire, or at least refreshed your memory on the 25 he presents. I don’t mean to understate the benefit – I have some great videos filled with information from people I respect that I don’t watch – because if a video requires me to sit for two hours to get to what I want to know, I won’t use the video that much. This isn’t that kind of video.
Picture Quality: The video has very good image quality. It’s hard to tell from this photo from my laptop screen, but the quality is excellent.
Navigation: The menu organizes the techniques into groups by animal (mostly – I’ll explain later).
Clarity: Both the visual presentation and verbal instruction are excellent. It’s easy to see what he’s doing and he changes sides to make sure everything is captured on camera.
Things I didn’t like:
Navigation: I said mostly. One of the techniques got left out and was added in later. When the video producer returned for a re-shoot, he didn’t really get it continuity-wise. Different camera, lighting, white balance, etc. Because the rest flowed so well, the editing didn’t happen to get the technique with the others of its kind, so it’s a bit of an orphan at the end. Not a huge crisis, but a bit of a flaw given the otherwise good production.
Camera Work: Again, mostly good but there are a just a couple shots where you lose a foot. A couple of re-shot scenes would have really put a shine on this one.
All in all, a strong debut video, meeting its objective of a handy quick reference for animal techniques. I’d give it a thumbs up. Pick it up via the Dragon-Phoenix website.