Testing for damaged discs

Discussion in 'DVD' started by SteveSs, Mar 14, 2006.

  1. SteveSs

    SteveSs Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently had a run-in with Sony regarding a disc containing a manufacturing flaw. They blew me off due to my purchasing the disc 6 months ago and not playing it until now (way past any retail return period).
    Here's my question: considering the volume of DVDs we all buy, what's the best way to determine whether the discs are playable or not? I certainly don't have time to watch everything I buy immediately. Any tips?
     
  2. Dave GR

    Dave GR Stunt Coordinator

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    I always check each DVD I buy, usually on the day of purchase. Just takes a couple of minutes to skip through from chapter to chapter, so I can safely put it on my "to-watch" pile, knowing it's OK.
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Skipping through chapters doesn't always guarantee a flawless disc, as there may be a bad spot in the middle of one chapter. I got a computer program that scans discs for errors, but I'm not sure how accurate it is- I had one disc come up as "unreadable" even though I've played it with no problems, and another disc I did have problems with tested "good".
     
  4. MarkHarrison

    MarkHarrison Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like you need to find a new computer program. What's the point in using it if the results are flawed? Which program is it anyway?
     
  5. Todd Robertson

    Todd Robertson Second Unit

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    You watch them...thats it. And pray.
     
  6. SteveSs

    SteveSs Stunt Coordinator

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    Last night I did a little inventory analysis. I have 80+ discs that have passed visual inspection but have yet to be viewed. I guess I should consider myself lucky that I've only been stuck with one coaster.
     
  7. Gary Nash

    Gary Nash Agent

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    It amazes me how many times you see people admit they have huge collections and that some discs are still in the shrink wrap! Having encountered quite a few flawed discs (starting with the old LaserDisc days and continuing to today's DVDs), I wouldn't want to risk unwrapping a disk a few month down the line and find it was DOA.

    I run a quality check on each disc as soon as I get it.
    I make sure the DVD status display is on so I can verify the chapter skip does take me to the next chapter and doesn't jump ahead an extra stop.
    I also hit the rewind button directly after chapter skipping, then hit playback to ensure it reads smoothly over the transition (both audio and video). This also highlights the layer change on most discs (I find the majority are coded at/near chapter stops). The scan back also makes sure that seamless branching/Infinifilm and white rabbit type functins are working OK.
    For the Supplementary features, I verify Menus work OK, and as many features lack chapter stops, I run through in scan mode.

    For movies that I'm not familiar with, there is a risk of revealing plot points, so I try not to concentrate on the content, just the quality of presentation.


    This technique has worked well for my collection and I've identified a fair few corrupt discs this way. This has allowed me to exchange straight away and get a good disc.
    One of my suppliers is very good with boxsets and allows a single disc to be returned for replacement - not only does this keep the postage costs down, but it reduces the risk of getting a full replacement of all discs and finding one of the other discs is bad! It also saves time because you only need to check one disc that has been replaced.


    Admittedly this method won't pick up flaws mid chapter, but then it is only a quality-check. If you want to be absolutely sure you'll have to watch all the way through. This is not possible for most people when you've got a couple of 6 disc boxsets to view.
    I really just want the piece of mind that the discs are basically sound so that I can get back to them at a later date with some degree of confidence.

    Of course the one thing none of us can cater for is DVD-rot. I've also had discs that have been quality checked as above(or even fully viewed from start to end) that will, a few months later, either fail to play or show pixellation errors. In that situation you just have to bite the bullet and buy another one!
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Even if disc performs flawlessly the first time you play it, it is no guarantee that it won't rot over time. I have a number of discs that worked perfectly when bought, but now have disintegrated and are unplayable - you can see the deterioration on the disc itself.

    Depending on the company, some will replace faulty discs, no matter how long after you bought them. I don't think the major studios are among them though.
     
  9. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    Most of the time using DVD ripping programs to scan the discs content can reveal manufacturing defects (ie bad/broken blocks).
     
  10. JurgenV

    JurgenV Extra

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    Nero CD-DVD Speed , meant for CD/DVD drive analysis, includes a ScanDisc function with File Test & Surface Scan to verify the integrity of discs as well as several other tests. The ScanDisk function consists of two parts, the File Test which simply reads all files on the disc and reports all errors and the Surface Scan, which checks the quality of each sector and shows the results in a graph. This program is very accurate/sensitive. My copy of Kung-Fu Hustle reported a small number or errors but still played fine on my DVD player.

    I run all my "previously enjoyed" discs from Block Buster through it. Haven't been stuck with a bad disc yet.
     
  11. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    That's the program I used- I checked side 1 of Schindler's List and it showed it as unreadable, even though I've played it several times with no problems. A disc I did have problems with didn't rate as bad on it.
     
  12. Frank@N

    Frank@N Screenwriter

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    Just tried a disc that skipped badly during playback with Nero CD-DVD Speed.

    Nero surface scan says 90% of the disc is unreadable, should be 5% at most...

    Does copy protection throw off Nero?
     
  13. SteveSs

    SteveSs Stunt Coordinator

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    How long does it take to run a scan over a single disc?
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I use PlexTools Pro XL - it has a Q-Check SUM8 scan (PIE/PIF).

    It takes about 30 minutes - or maybe 24 minutes, to do a scan. I have it set up to scan at 2x read speed for the most accurate results - most DVD players only play at 2x speed anyways. 2x speed is more likely to read a disc with fewer errors than at a higher reading speed, which is why I think using Nero's scanning program is flawed unless you tell it to slow the drive down.
     

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