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DVD Reviews: Scratch DJ Academy Semester 01

The Final Say!

Review Score
Reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: June 2004
Distributed by:





This was a highly informative disc covering different aspects of the DJ and his interaction with turntables and how different DJ's approach the art.

The DVD is comprehensive and features the amazing Jam Master Jay of Run DMC fame. This is his school and the disc is a forum on DJ'ing by his good self and other professionals in the field. Sadly JMJ is not with us anymore but this is a pretty neat insight into how he views his role as a musician. I can say from personal experience that I was lucky enough to see Run DMC live at Festival Hall, Melbourne years ago (about 17 or 18 years ago - in fact it was my first live show I went to, so even after all this time the gig stands out pretty much in my mind). JMJ was pretty much the party mover and you could say without doubt that in my mind a good DJ is just a much a musician as someone who picks up a guitar.

There a number of key areas in which the disc gets in depth and covers criteria in which anyone remotely interested in the topic will listen to carefully. Each segment is hosted by a different DJ and the panel members are experts in the area that is being discussed. The way that it's set up is for aspiring DJs to get helpful tips on how to work your turntable to best effect and the best ways to make sure that you are being entertaining for the crowd and not just self serving.

Areas covered are:

Slipmat Studies
Battle Class
Club Class
Mix Tape Class
Beatmaking Class

Overall, as far as being educational and interesting, I can give this disc full props as it's the first of it's kind that I've ever seen that goes into this level of detail and covers so many minute details comprehensively. Fans of Eminem might be happy as during the mixtape session, DJ Green Lantern is one of the panel members and is also Em's tour DJ and has collaborated with him on many a mix tape.

I can recommend this disc as it's meaty enough that anyone who listens to it is going to get something out of it. I found it highly entertaining and educational. It held my attention from start to finish and even though I have no aspirations to be a DJ, I do love hip hop and as such this was a great disc for me. Unfortunately the DVD itself has huge problems with audio which detracted from the overall enjoyment of the disc and I will cover that slightly more in the audio section. Be sure to read it as even though I recommend the disc, for audiophiles, it might be simply unbearable to get through it all.

All things said and done, this is a good solid piece of informative entertainment.


Full screen, this disc really isn't anything special in terms of technical achievement and there are quite a few faults to boot. The disc suffers heavily from low level noise and artefacts that show themselves on occasion. The low level noise presents itself throughout affect most deep colours but never enough to make you think that it truly sucks.

Artefacts show up on occasion but once again never enough to really annoy.


Aaaargh! Now this is the part that really annoys. You've got a DVD that so intrinsically deals with sound and they've given us a substandard audio mix that you'll have to turn your soundsystem up so high to hear clear that it's not funny. For the first segment on Slipmat Studios, crappy little mics were used that you could not even clearly hear the commentary and the panel has had to almost put the mic into their mouth to be heard.

There's hiss all the way through the disc and if it wasn't for the fact that the subject matter is so well presented and easy to understand, I would have slammed this disc as being substandard. I guess that is where we do differ a bit from other review sources, I think there is more good to be had owning the disc than not, however I really hope that if there is a second disc in this series they do something about the sound. Disappointing.

Sound levels are inconsistent and you'll go from low levels that suddenly switch to way too loud and you will be scrambling for your remote to turn it the heck down.


Extras are a pretty nice set of things to round out this package but as with the rest of the DVD they do suffer from errors in the sound quality. Personally the thing that got my pulse racing the most was A-Trak (Canadian DJ) showcasing slipmat techniques. His level of professionalism was amazing and was of good enough quality that I'll most likely be looking to see if he has any CDs after I've finished up this review.

Roli Rho goes to the trouble of showing us how he breaks down beats from two records in order to create a routine.

The rest of the extras are interesting, however these pieces are the standout ones. This is a good package that you will enjoy and compliments the rest of the DVD.

  • A-Trak's Mindblowing Slipmat Studies Set

  • Roli Rho breaks down his SUCKA routine

  • Business tips with Justo and Madsol

  • Interview with turntable pioneer DJ Logic


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