Tuesday, May 4

Prom Night (1980) DVD Comparison - Echo Bridge U.S. vs. Network U.K.

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Here we have the same source treated badly by Echo Bridge and correctly by Network. Since the U.S. disc arrived two years after the British disc, I suspect Echo Bridge simply took the PAL video standard transfer of the Network and sloppily converted it to NTSC for their release. The Echo Bridge presentation is in anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen (like the Network), but exhibits massive amounts of image doubling or "ghosting" from the poor video conversion (example #3). Image quality is also damaged by interlace combing artifacts (seen around the edge of Jaime Lee below) and an incorrect resolution. Instead of the usual 720x480 for anamorphic NTSC, somehow Echo Bridge have vertically smashed that into the lowest 640x480 resolution seen in crappy "full frame" NTSC discs. A DVD player should be able to correct this, but the cumulative effects of everything wrong the U.S. presentation will reek havoc on a HDTV for even a player with great performance. Also note that because of the bad PAL-to-NTSC transfer, the slight audio "speed-up" of the PAL Network disc is there.

The Network presentation is much better, but still not perfect. The correct 1024x576 PAL anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer doesn't have any ghosting, stretching, and combing from being properly authored in progressive scan. The image does have some MPEG-2 block artifacts from a low bitrate due to the single layer DVD and the film being shot mostly in tougher-to-encode soft focus. This edition has the film's theatrical trailer and liner notes from the original press notes on the reverse side of the cover. Both Echo Bridge and Network are releasing Blu-rays and this existing transfer would look great in high-def if treated properly.


Echo Bridge U.S. (R0/NTSC/"anamorphic") | Network U.K. (R2/PAL/anamorphic)



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5 comments:

Tower Farm said...

I've seen many different prints of this movie and none have ever looked too good. Does a clean print even exist? Several scenes appear to have been shot through the billows of smoke coming out of a nuclear factory. Then again...to see Jamie Lee disco dance, I'd watch a film transfer that had been dragged through mud.
-Billy

Jayson said...

Those billows of smoke on the Network captures are the MPEG-2 artifacts. A good DVD player should be able to mostly "correct" them. Though the Echo Bridge disc really looks like ass in motion.

Buscemi said...

In both versions, Jamie Lee's cleavage looks fantastic.

Carl (ILHM) said...

Neither version beat out my $3.99 copy that was shat out by Leslie Nielson, himself

Shane said...

Any word on a release date, regarding the Echo Bridge Prom Night Blu-ray?

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