Out of Sight appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Although the picture looked excellent at times, it featured enough problems to result in a moderately problematic presence at times.
For the most part, sharpness seemed good. Most of the movie appeared acceptably crisp and distinct. However, some scenes looked somewhat soft. I don’t include those that were intentionally out of focus; instead, a few shots were fuzzy for no apparent reason. Jagged edges caused no concerns, but I saw a few instances of shimmering as well as mild edge enhancement at times. In regard to print flaws, the image showed a little grain at times as well as some other concerns. I noticed periodic grit and speckles as well as a few hairs and nicks. While not rife with defects, the movie seemed dirtier than I expected.
Steven Soderbergh often favors overblown colors, and that came across during Out of Sight. Most of the time the hues kept from becoming too saturated, but on occasion, they seemed a bit too heavy. The DVD did handle colored lighting well, however; for example, the red tones seen during the trunk scene appeared tight. Black levels were nicely deep and rich, while shadow detail appeared appropriately heavy but not excessively opaque. Frankly, much of Out of Sight presented a stellar image, but the mix of small issues meant that I felt comfortable with a grade no higher than a “B-“.
Though not a killer piece of work, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Out of Sight offered a consistently solid auditory environment. Most of the time it featured a fairly strong forward bias. The front channels showed good stereo presence for the music and also added a nice sense of atmosphere. Elements blended together cleanly and also panned convincingly. Most of the time the audio remained ambient, but it created a good sense of place.
Surround usage seemed modest but effective as well. More active scenes - mainly those that involved gunfire - came to life well, as the blasts flew all around the spectrum. In addition, quieter sequences such as the one in the trunk also demonstrated a fine sense of atmosphere. The soundfield won’t dazzle you, but it worked well as a whole.
Audio quality was positive. Speech sounded natural and distinct, with no problems related to intelligibility or edginess. Music showed clean highs and reasonably good bass, though I felt the latter could have been a bit deeper. Effects were also clear and bright, and they lacked noticeable distortion or other flaws. Again, the audio for Out of Sight didn’t stand out, but it accomplished its goals.
While not one of Universal’s best “Collector’s Edition” DVDs, Out of Sight does include some good extras. Best of the bunch is the terrific audio commentary from director Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank. The two were recorded together for this running, screen-specific track. It's quite easy-going and relaxed, with an atmosphere of two buddies getting together to watch and discuss their film. It also provides an informative and relatively detailed over-view of the creative processes behind the flick. We learn about changes between script and book, various technical processes, and quite a number of other elements. Overall, this is a very entertaining and useful commentary.
Next we discover Inside Out of Sight, an original 25-minute documentary about the film. It combines the standard mix of movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews with principals. We hear from Soderbergh, Frank, novelist Elmore Leonard, and actors George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, and Steve Zahn. Though “Inside” lacks the depth of the better Universal CE documentaries, it still packs some good info into its relatively brief running time. In addition to some goofing from the cast, we learn about a variety of issues, with a particular focus on the trunk scene, color schemes, and character development. Some of the material repeats from the audio commentary, but it remains a good little program.
On a positive note, “Inside” boasts English subtitles. Unfortunately, none of the other extras include such text.
Of the remaining supplements, the deleted scenes are the most compelling. The eleven segments run as a continuous piece that lasts 22 minutes and 10 seconds; the scenes themselves go from 52 seconds to six minutes, 11 seconds. In an odd move, no chapter stops appear here, which makes it hard to access favorite scenes.
Referring to these as "deleted scenes" seems somewhat misleading, as most of them offer extensions of scenes that appear in the final film. In addition, we have an alternate take of the trunk scene that receives mention in the audio commentary. All in all, the extended scenes are interesting to watch and they include some good character information as well as some entertaining bits.
In what seemed to be a brief trend for Universal - they also did it for Fast Times at Ridgemont High and American Pie, among others - we get an option called Music Highlights. This lets you skip straight to any of 14 songs featured in the film. It does little for me, but it’s still a thoughtful addition.
Next we discover a few text pieces. The Production Notes provides some solid information about the project, while Cast and Filmmakers adds comments about the participants. We find fairly perfunctory entries for actors George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Dennis Farina, and Albert Brooks as well as director Stephen Soderbergh. An unusual extra, Technical Information tells us about the picture and sound transfers. Swelltone discusses that program and also offers their video logo.
Also included is the hapless trailer that I mentioned earlier. The fact that the DVD contains only this one trailer is a disappointment. During the audio commentary, Soderbergh mentions that he didn't care for it the US promo but that the foreign trailer worked much better; he even says that he hopes the ad in question will pop up on the DVD. Well, it doesn't, and while it may sound petty, I regard that as a negative omission. An additional trailer appears within the “Cast and Filmmakers” domain. Inside Soderbergh’s filmography, you’ll discover a promo for The Underneath.
While not Steven Soderbergh’s most celebrated movie, Out of Sight may well be his best. The movie offers strong characters whose interaction makes the flick a consistent delight, and it paints them in such a way to make them more complex and intriguing than usual. The DVD provides decent but moderately flawed picture along with good sound and a nice selection of extras. Out of Sight is a great choice for a purchase, as the movie holds up well to repeated viewings.