Sunday, May 15

Endless Echo Bridge Updates: Finally, some good news regarding image quality and cropping!

Sorry for another entry detailing my ongoing obsession with this unscrupulous distributor and their recent onslaught of cash-in horror re-releases. Although I've discovered good news on two fronts. First, upon checking out their Blu-ray of From Dusk Till Dawn last night, I can safely say that none of the image quality problems plaguing their DVD release are present here.

In fact, the 1080p AVC-encoded transfer frequently looks tremendous with any flaws seeming inherent to the original photography. Close-ups yield excellent texture, grain is a welcome constant, and the rich color palette is vastly superior to even the previous Canadian Alliance Blu-ray (which I also own). There's no compression issues, even in the CG-heavy bat swarms, and if it really matters the bitrate constantly dodges around to met the demands of the video on-screen. Surprisingly, there's virtually no nicks, flecks, or lines throughout the entire feature. Not just great quality for a budget BD; great quality for the format regardless of price bracket. If only they cared as much in their other releases so far...

Let me put it this way, "as is" this transfer would garner much greater praise if this controversy surrounding Echo Bridge's uncaring attitude wasn't happening. The audio, unlike H20, is full DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. No complaints and it sounds just as strong as the same spec'ed Alliance BD. And as with H20, all of the "little particulars" outlined in that entry are shared here. Same "old" case, fifteen chapters, simple menu, and cheap cover. Still zero supplements. Both Blu-rays fired up quick and without issue on my "fat" PS3.

Moving on to more good news regarding a new EB DVD release, Jim Gillespie's underrated bayou slasher programmer, Venom, has again seen the light of day. This is a re-release I personally welcome because Dimension's DVD has always been mysteriously expensive (still $16.98 on Amazon). After years of waiting to get it cheap, I finally found a used copy for a couple bucks awhile back. This new disc is only $5.00 at Kmart.

Yet there's danger here. The film was shot in Super35 and framed at 2:35:1. EB has already zoomed in The Yards, Equilibrium, and "opened" Halloween: H20 to 1.78:1. I feared another aspect ratio hackjob. Amazingly, EB let the film be, preserving the wide scope ratio. The transfer is unfortunately interlaced despite appearing to be a new scan and not just a straight port of the old disc. The picture is a little brighter, more solid, and the runtime has four more unexplained seconds over the Dimension. Like nearly every EBer, again the few prior bonuses aren't on this new release and the audio is Dolby stereo. Wait for the inevitable Blu-ray, I'll certainly be picking it up if the framing is maintained...

2006 Dimension DVD TOP / 2011 Echo Bridge DVD BOTTOM 


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for these post. It definitely comes in handy when thinking about picking any one of these up and at least I know what i'm in for

Craig Edwards said...

Yeah! Absolutely do not apologize for bringing this great information to light - can't tell you how much I appreciate it! I am a sucker for a cheap disc at a "-mart" type place - and it's so good to know when you're getting a crappy transfer. Please keep it up! you dare tread upon the staircase?

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