Monday, January 17, 2011

Review-- Pure Barre Original

This review is for the Pure Barre workout. Pure Barre is a specific type of workout designed by the instructor of the DVDs, Carrie Rezabek. She started a workout group and it became popular enough that they thought to release her program onto DVD.

The DVD is $20 on the Pure Barre website, and only $15 on Amazon. Let's see if it's worth the money!

I pop the DVD in and... is this menu screen for real? I am actually concerned that perhaps I have a ripped DVD or some sort of bootleg disc. Luckily I got this from the library so I don't have to worry about getting my money back.

The production has only one camera and will change occasionally so you can see what she's doing. But... the camera! I could do better. They often cut off important parts of her body. Instead of cutting and adjusting the camera for the shot, they'll just zoom in or move the camera... while still shooting. It looks like a bad home video. It doesn't help that when they change angles, the focus is off and does the infamous "shaky cam." There were some shots where they got her back and you could see where her mike was hooked up. Just unpolished and unprofessional.
The camera will cut off her feet, hands, or both.
 Speaking about her mike, The instructor's voice is muddled, but audible. This is probably because she has an attached microphone instead of a boom mike.

Also in regards to sound, the music is extremely repetitive. It wouldn't be too bad if it changed up a little more. One music segment has what sounds like children screaming. I had to stop the video to look out the window and see if kids were outside playing until I realized it was supposed to be part of the music.

I actually really like the setting they picked. I like how they tried to spice up a grey, dreary room with colored lighting. I just wish they did a better job hiding the cords. Seriously, black duct tape will do the job. The only big problem with the setting is that the instuctor is wearing all black, which is hard to see at times against the dark floor, but it's not too bad. Her pants cover her feet, which sucks for a exercise video. Several times I had trouble seeing if she was turning her feet out or not during exercises.
The camera goes out of focus sometimes, especially during close-up shots like this.
Still, she's not a bad instructor at all. She's not ridiculously happy, and it sounds like she knows what she's talking about. She's great at giving cues, too, which helps since I could sometimes not see how her body was angled. She also had some great similes for how to hold your body, but some of them she used and abused multiple times. She mentioned "like you're zipping up your tightest pair of jeans" three times, but I don't even know what that means. All my jeans are super lose. Still, at times, she could be very boring.

As for the workout, the most important part, I loved the mini-barre they had for her to work on. Where did she find that? I sort of want one. But during the barre work, the camera cuts off her feet. Those are sort of kind of important. It's also not really ballet except for the presence of a barre. There are some relevés, splits, and pliés, but that's about it. I don't think this is really a ballet workout, even though the name may imply that.

The workout is also disorganized. After doing some work at the barre, you go to your mat. You're there for at most five minutes before she cuts away and tells you to go back to your barre again. There was hardly anytime for a decent stretch on the ground before you have to get up, put your mat away, pull out your chair or whatever you're using in place of a barre, and then get into position. It was awkward and I didn't like it one bit. Plus, the workout could have used a lot more floor work. I don't like going into splits almost immediately after a couple short stretches.

The exercise is also repetitive and a bit boring. There's nothing to spice it up. You don't even switch legs; you keep working the same leg over and over and then finally switch to the other side. Though it's a great strength-building workout, it doesn't do much to keep my attention. I found myself analyzing the cat hairs on my yoga mat instead. That's forty-three minutes of dullness. But a tough dullness, which makes me say that this is probably not good for beginners. Also, it's mostly strength building. So if you want to build flexibility or have a cardio workout, this is not for you.

The workout really works your thighs and butt mostly. There are some stretches for back, abs, and arms, but it's mostly the butt and thigh area you workout. For a similar, more ballet-oriented workout, just use the Element DVD instead. Still, no to little ballet in this DVD. Just because there's a barre, doesn't mean I'm going to call it a ballet fusion exercise. Still, a decent workout, but something I would recommended passing up. I heard later sequels from the same instructor improve and maybe these have more ballet in them, but this one doesn't.

Workout: 7/10
Instructor: 8/10
Setting: 7/10
Camera: 3/10
Level: Advanced-Expert
Is it actually ballet? No
Overall: 6/10

I deducted points for the boring, repetitive workout, but it saved itself with it's challenging moves. The instructor was decent, but got boring later in the DVD and also wore the wrong type of clothing for an exercise video. The setting was okay, and I gave it credit for effort. The camera was terrible and zoomed in and out slowly to make corrections instead of just re-shooting the scene. But most importantly, there was little to no ballet incorporated into this DVD. From a DVD that said it was a pilates/dance fusion, I expected more. I recommend trying another video from this series.

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