Wednesday, December 2

Ringu DVD Comparsion: Japan vs. South Korea vs. America

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Back in August, I wrote some thoughts on this Japanese classic and its VCD edition from Hong Kong. It's a must for a horror fan of any ilk that still shines brightly today even after the mania spurred in its native country and the excitement of its arrival stateside has long subsided. The VCD is an interesting curiosity but definitely not the way to experience this film.

So here's three DVDs spanning the globe; the American Dreamworks (R0), Japanese Pony Canyon (R2, in its original CD jewel case), and South Korean Spectrum (R0) editions. All three 1.85:1 transfers are anamorphically enhanced for widescreen displays and natively progessive. All three also include 5.1 Dolby Digital tracks in Japanese. The Dreamworks edition is the only one featuring English subtitles. The extra material comprised of the film's trailer and TV spots are identical on the Japanese and Korean discs while the U.S. disc only has three trailers for other unrelated Dreamworks films.

Both the Pony Canyon and Spectrum transfers are virtually identical with noticeable contrast boosting making blacks appear more grayish (and blowing out highlights, sunlight in second set) in a bluish color cast. The Spectrum is a touch brighter in this repect. Both also exhibit healthy film grain, but are compromised by so-so encoding which produces very mild block artifacts. The Dreamworks transfer has a black level closer to NTSC standard. Though colors appear "normalized" leaning towards a rather sickly greenish hue. The finer detail seen in the two Eastern discs is completely absent from the American disc. All three editions have mild edge enhancement with the Dreamworks having a little more than the other two (halos apparent on the top and bottom of the frame).

Out of these, the still flawed Japanese transfer is the best. There are other DVDs of this film floating around, including "Hi-Bit" editions with DTS audio, so there might be an edition that mates the detail of the Pony Canyon with the deep blacks of the Dreamworks to create the best image quality on DVD. The below captures were captured as .pngs (Picasa sometimes visibly degrades .jpegs) and not resized from their native 480i NTSC resolutions.

Pony Canyon Japan (16x9) / Spectrum South Korea (16x9) / Dreamworks America (16x9)


2 comments:

Drunketh said...

From the pics. The top of each one is what I would say looks the best. That's the jewel case, right?

Anthony1138 said...

Nice comparison. Out of these three, I like the appearance of the Dreamworks disc best. Since this is the only one with Eng subs, it's a no brainer. Hopefully Ringu will get proper treatment in HD sometime soon.

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