Attn: LD people - how does widescreen look zoomed on a 16:9 set?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brett G, May 22, 2002.

  1. Brett G

    Brett G Stunt Coordinator

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    I was pondering picking up a LD player mainly to watch the original Star Wars trilogy. I own a Toshiba 65H80 and a Panasonic RP-91 (I only mention my DVD player so can you understand what kind of picture quality I'm used to). I am wondering what kind of picture quality I can expect from a widescreen laserdisc that is zoomed by my set? I am talking about a basic player (like a CLD-S104) using the composite input (I'm assuming the comb filter on the 65H80 is better than such a player - correct me if I'm wrong). Since it's really only for SW, I don't want to go all out for the player.

    For reference, I watch a lot of DirecTV on my set and have it stretched and zoomed. That usually doesn't look very good at all, but is something to compare to. I would hope that the PQ would be much better than that. How would it compare to a non-anamorphic DVD?

    Also, I have absolutely NO previous experience with laserdisc at all.

    As always, many thanks in advance for any input on this.

    -Brett

    p.s. As an aside, if anyone could tell me what is the best LD version of the ORIGINAL SW trilogy (non-SE), I would be grateful.
     
  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    To get a good idea of how widescreen LD will look before you buy it:
    Connect up your DVD player for a few minutes using composite video, and play a non-anamorphic widescren disk.
    This is a rough test. If you get a high grade LD player, it might look almost as good as the DVD player connected up using S-video.
    After getting the LD player, if it has S-video, try it both ways (composite, S-video cabling) before finalizing things.
    I have two low end LD players both costing under USD 100. secondhand. The second is to replace the first which is giving evidence of being on its last legs from age and use.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    And LD won't look quite as good as non-anamorphic DVD in Alan's experiment. But it will look much better than VHS, and probably better than sattelite since there won't be banding and other MPEG artifacts that can get disruptive on DSS. You definitely want to use composite unless you spring for a megabuck player like a CLD-99.

    The only versions of the trilogy you must own are the "Faces" THX movie only discs. These are in the CLV format (max 60 minutes per side - no special effects like slo-mo and step view on loweer end players). The older widescreen discs have an abomidable transfer that is probably inferior to the THX VHS tapes.

    If you really love the films the Definitive Collection box set is a nice addition, but since it's CAV (max 30 minutes per side - special effects like slo/fast-motion and step are incredible) there are a million side and disc breaks. It's very difficult to actually watch the movies in this set, but they're nice to study.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Allan offers an excellent suggestion. However, since you are using a Panasonic RP-91 player, make sure you defeat the player's built-in zoom/scaling and use the TheaterWide zoom on your Toshiba instead for a more fair comparison.

    ***EDIT*** Since you would be using an interlaced video output (composite or s-video), the built-in zoom/scaling is not active. Therefore, ignore my dumb suggestion above. Duh!
     
  5. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    When watching a Laserdisc on a 16:9 TV, what method is best for filling the screen? Do you need a TV with a zoom?
     
  6. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    I think all 16:9 TV sets have a zoom that works for letterbox widescreen 1.77:1 and greater, when you feed in composite video.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. BobMcD

    BobMcD Auditioning

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    ...and to help answer the original question: The laserdisc versions of Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI will look the best of the available versions.

    Better than video tape, better than DVD ('cause there AIN'T no DVD). At least until 2005, or whenever the DVD's are available. And you might not be able to get the "as released" version of them ever again.

    I'm quickly replacing my favorite laserdiscs (regardless of how good the pressings) with DVD, and my laserdisc player is turning into a "Star Wars and Indiana Jones" machine.
     
  9. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    Brett if you setup the tosh for theater wide 2 it will almost correctly scale the picture up to fill the screen. I say almost because it's close, not perfect. I think it will look pretty good if you get a player with good output.
     
  10. Michael St. Clair

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    Hey, I'm the one who always tells people to perform this experiment. [​IMG]
    Some nice discs to test this way are 'The Abyss' and the classic 'Planet of the Apes'. But some 'taller' frame discs like 'Nightmare before Christmas' (1.66:1) work fine, and you'll get something closer to the original theatrical framing.
    As far as quality goes, some say that the really pricey import players like the LD-S9 paired with really well-mastered discs can beat non-anamorphic DVD. But it is not wise for us mortals to dream of such things.
    Regardless, if you do not find watching a DVD this way (composite, zoomed, letterboxed) acceptable, you will not find watching LD this way acceptable, either.
     
  11. David King

    David King Stunt Coordinator

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    Why not just find/make a laserdisc quality movie file, burn it on a cdr as a vcd/svcd and pop it into the panny and see for yourself without buying anything.
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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  13. David King

    David King Stunt Coordinator

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  14. Michael St. Clair

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  15. Larry Schneider

    Larry Schneider Second Unit

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    Laserdiscs look good on my 40 inch Toshiba, from a pretty good LD player (CLD-704)...but on a 65 inch set? And a basic player? I dunno.
     
  16. David King

    David King Stunt Coordinator

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  17. Tony Richardson

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    Brett.

    I have the same set as yours and I watch laser disk on it often. My player is a Panasonic Prism, it was top of the line in 1991 when I bought it and it's still going strong today. Most laser disks look much better than satellite or cable. The colors are more accurate and the resolution is slightly better. The sound quality is really one of the biggest differences. The laser disks PCM tracks or DD or DTS tracks blows satellite out of the water. The sound tracks on most laser disks is better than on dvd's, in my opinion.

    I use the Theater Wide 2 mode for satellite and laser viewing.I use the composite connection for the laser disk player.

    I have done several side by side comparisons of movies that are on satellite and that I have on laser and there is really no comparison. The laser disk blows it away in picture and sound quality.

    I can remember when laser disk was king of the hill, there was a reason for that! The picture is not as good as dvd, but it is still very good if you have a good quality player.

    Tony
     
  18. Michael St. Clair

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  19. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

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    Wasn't MPEG-1 developed 5+ years after LDs came out? I thought so...

    And I'm not sure the RP-91 can play SVCD over AVSForum we were discussing that and decided it couldn't... I haven't checked.
     
  20. David King

    David King Stunt Coordinator

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