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DVD image comparison: Profondo Rosso


On Christmas Eve, my copy of Medusa’s R2 Italian 2-disc edition of Profondo Rosso arrived. While the first disc contained in the package is exactly the same as the underwhelming single-disc (standards converted) edition released by the company the same year, the second features a high definition (1440x816) presentation of the film encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media Video 9 format. Playable only on Windows PCs and featuring only a 5.1 remix of the audio in Italian (with no subtitles of any kind), it’s understandably less than ideal, but what it does do is hint at what a hypothetical Blu-ray Disc release might eventually look like.

Anyway, click here for a full comparison featuring the US Anchor Bay DVD, the recent Danish release from AWE, and the two Medusa discs - the standard DVD and the WMV9 version.

Profondo Rosso in standard definition Profondo Rosso in high definition

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008 at 10:41 PM | Comments: 17
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | DVD | Dario Argento | Gialli | Technology



Thanks for the comparison! D'ya know of a good place to pick up the Medusa version of PROFONDO ROSSO?

Posted by: Carlo's Mother, December 30, 2008 1:34 AM


wow. WMV9 version looks amazing. Too bad it only plays in PCs, otherwise i'd buy it. They need to release this on Blu-ray.

Posted by: pixelcide, December 30, 2008 3:51 AM


Thanks for doing the comparison! WMV9 is definitely sharper but it's also too bright and a bit yellow in the skin tones.

Posted by: tw, December 30, 2008 4:58 AM


Carlo’s Mother:

I got mine from, which was pretty expensive once shipping was factored in, but I get the impression there aren’t too many retailers selling this 2-disc version any more.


Yeah, some colour correction would need to be done, but I wouldn’t imagine this would be a huge undertaking.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 30, 2008 10:17 AM


Good work indeed Michael. And the price is good too: after a long hunt I got mine by pure chance in a shop (apparently only copy in town, very hard to find) and it costed 29.

WMV9 was never a real competitor in HD field, but it was an easy way to get some HD without changing all your hardware.

Posted by: MCP, December 30, 2008 11:28 AM


Using Media Player Classic you should be able to use SRT/SSA textsubs with the WMV9 version so it's not that bad. Then you just need a PC with HDMI out and a graphics card supporting HDCP. Isn't DRM great?

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, December 30, 2008 11:35 AM


Actually, I’m afraid Media Player Classic refuses to play it due to the DRM situation.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 30, 2008 11:42 AM


I guess I'll order something else then.

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, December 30, 2008 2:59 PM


The HD windows version looks pretty good but like others have said the colour of people's skin and especially on their faces is not that good which probably means the whole movie needs some work to get the colours right.

It would be nice if they got Argento or his usual cinematographer to supervise a future HD Blu release as it's one of my favourite Argento films.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, December 30, 2008 3:59 PM


>> The HD windows version looks pretty good but like others have said the colour of people's skin and especially on their faces is not that good which probably means the whole movie needs some work to get the colours right.

Strangely the picture looks like the new Suspiria disc from Italy.

Posted by: Peter von Frosta, December 30, 2008 6:28 PM


“Strangely the picture looks like the new Suspiria disc from Italy.”

Not really, in my opinion. At least here this is little in the way of blown-out contrasts. There may be some boosting, but it’s not on the same level as Suspiria, or indeed the recent German BD release of Léon. Really, the only significant issue seems to be the yellow/orange push, which could easily be corrected with some tweaking of the colour gamut.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 30, 2008 6:30 PM


So I take it *this* was the transfer that the MTI system was used on?

A shame it's got that nasty yellow tint, as the level of detail blows the old AB transfer right out of the water. That first example is like night and day. Even just shifting the yellow/blue balance up in photoshop seems to help pretty dramatically. I'm really surprised Medusa didn't think the whole thing looked off... was it color corrected via projection onto a light blue wall, maybe?

Just to be safe, are the actual Medusa and AWE encodes the same? The screens appear to be (same file name and everything), so I wasn't sure if that was intentional or not.

Posted by: Kentai, December 31, 2008 12:25 AM


The midtones on the wmvhd version are all jacked up and unnatural as well as having a warm/yellow color cast. The other transfer IMO looks much more pleasing and film-like in terms of color timing.

Posted by: Kram Sacul, December 31, 2008 12:58 AM



Yes, the encodes appear to be identical. I checked each frame in the comparison in Photoshop with a heavy level of magnification, and there wasn’t even a single difference in the dispersion of the compression. I can only conclude that they feature exactly the same encode.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, December 31, 2008 7:24 AM


Thanks for the clarification. I wonder if most of AWE's transfers are 1:1 copies of pre-existing transfers? I've never understood why some contracts forbid porting a finished transfer in the first place, but then, there's a lot of thing about contracts that have never made sense to me...

Having spent more time with these caps, it dawned on me that example 2 seems to have some details present on the DVD, but not the WMV HD transfer. Check in particular the veiny hand of the man in the background: despite the HD transfer generally looking clearer, that relatively crisp on DVD hand seem to clump together and get lost in a layer of noise. The man in the foreground's jacket is also missing some shadow detail, so this shot in general just seems really "off", for whatever reason. The eyes and lips and everything else in the foreground shows a dramatic improvement, so I'm not sure what's going on here.

I'm not really familiar with WMV HD, so maybe this behavior, sort of vague noise, is as normal as blocking artifacts on MPEG-2? Or could there be some minor temporal smoothing?

Posted by: Kentai, December 31, 2008 8:49 PM


I just finished looking at example 2.

Are we talking film grain here and not noise ?

The different color timings and contrast changes probably account for the issues you see with the hand but as for the film grain i would expect that in motion the grain which you think is bad in that shot would be free flowing and beautiful and the detail in the hand would be more visible in motion.

Grain in still shots often can make people think an image looks noisy but when in motion it's nothing like that at all.

Posted by: FoxyMulder, January 1, 2009 10:12 AM


Don’t forget that the WMV version is very heavily compressed. A DVD-9 really isn’t enough for a 2+ hour film in high definition. The grain does have a tendency to go smeared and mushy - shots like Example 14, where the grain is more or less perfectly resolved, are something of an exception to the rule.

Posted by: Michael Mackenzie, January 1, 2009 10:34 AM

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