Question about Laserdiscs

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AaronMan, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. AaronMan

    AaronMan Second Unit

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    I bought a laserdisc player about three years ago (talk about getting in on the end of something!) mainly for the awesome MGM/Warner Brothers animation box sets. Now I know that laserdisc is quite different from DVD, and I know about laser rot. My question is, just buy watching them a lot, can laserdiscs deteriorate like VHS? I mean, it is analog, right?

    Since it is pretty much a dead format and most titles are out of print, I handle my laserdiscs like they are precious artifacts! I'm extremely scared of ruining them, and almost scared to watch them.
     
  2. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    I'm not too technically knowledgable, but I don't think they deteriorate like VHS. I think it's due to the player using a laser to read the disc, so there's no contact with anything, so there's no heavy wear and tear, like there is with any tape format.
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    The laser beam doesn't "touch" the surface, neither does anything else. Laserdisks may go bad from internal corrosion but not from wear. In other words, they potentially may go bad from age but not from "mileage".
     
  4. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    LaserDisc is an optical format, meaning there is no physical contact with the read-device and therefore no wear: the fact that it's analogue isn't a factor (DVHS and DAT are both digital, but both will eventually wear being tape-based).

    Tape-based systems' read-devices actually touch the recording surface, leading to wear: this doesn't happen with LaserDiscs as they are read by laser.

    Handling LaserDiscs won't lead to wear either, but like any optical medium they should be handled with care to avoid damage to the playing surface. LaserDiscs are large, so dropping one on a hard surface could damage it; as could exposure to heat. Other than that, they're quite resilient.

    Adam
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Hard shots to the disc's edge, where the glue seals the disc's two sandwiched halves, is what you should worry about. A split there and rot can start. Someday the glue will fail, but that could be far off in the future. LD's can last a long time. I have LD's from the mid-80's that play like the day they were bought. Best wishes from Laserland![​IMG]
     
  6. Charlie Essmeier

    Charlie Essmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    Unlike DVD, which is manufactured in a single piece, laserdiscs consist of two halves, glued together. It is speculated that a poor seal joining the halves allows oxidation to take place on the metal surface of the disc. That is the cause of "laser rot." Rot occurs over time, but since most laserdiscs are now at least four years old, any disc that's going to have rot probably already has it.

    Play and enjoy. I've got close to 500 laserdiscs in my collection and I don't plan on replacing any of them.

    Charlie
     
  7. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    I got back in the laser world right at a year ago after selling all my ld collection and gear for nice little dvd stuff....only to re-buy everything again!!!! Did get a much better player though.

    One question. What effect do you get when watching a laser that has suffered laser rot? Speckles? Distortion? Thanks.
     
  8. Patrick Mirza

    Patrick Mirza Supporting Actor

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    Speckle-City.

    The only Laserdiscs I have that have ever exhibited rot were the Beauty and the Beast Work-in-Progress (a notorious title for rot), The Police Around the World (couldn't even watch side 2; It was like a bad antenna reception), and a little bit of speckling and line crawl on Criterion's Raging Bull (such a fantastic set that even a little bit of speckling knots up my stomache when I see it).

    I have also heard through the years that if any one studio was prone to LD Rot, it was Columbia/TriStar. Can't attest to this though, because out of my 600+ lasers only those three have exhibited rot.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Tim, the speckles get worse and worse over time and eventually the disc will freez up in places and get assorted, distorted visual deffects. Additionally, the sound will eventually be affected. Pops and crackling will develope and other deviations can and will develope. Eventually an LD can get so rotted that it has no apparent sound or picture, on most players. I have a 1981 LD that plays like blank tape, on most players. I keep saying on most players, eh. That same 1981 disc will play in my HLD-X9 with the red laser. It looks nearly black & white and the sound has pops and a whirring occasionally. I have several DiscoVision discs (1978-80) that I'm glad I saved because the X9 plays them reasonably well. Some years ago I actually was considering shooting skeet with the whole DiscoVision lot, really! And, filming it for my cable-access TV show. I stille may shoot a couple of 'em! The video tape will roll. I'll proably shoot some VHS tapes too....[​IMG] The only other players that can see through rot to some extent are any of the Nipponese Muse players, the LD-S2, and I'm told the Runcos can too. I have no experience with the Runco myself. Rot isn't as prevalent as some folks presume. If it wasn't 'fer thu Soo-ny plant it would be fairly rare on post 1985 releases. Best wishes![​IMG]
     
  10. Declan

    Declan Second Unit

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    Air force one, Men In Black and 5th Element are ones that are very prone to LD rot. All of these are in and around 1997 and are columbia Tristar LD's........


    I bought As Good As It Gets today......... hope it works!
     
  11. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    Yep, my sealed copy of the fifth element was rotted. I also recently picked up a copy of Doctor detroit on LD, and side one had rot to the point where the audio is even distorted. Side 2 played just fine.
     
  12. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Off topic, but I'd hold on getting those laserdisc sets.

    I've seen examples of how the Technicolor restoration looks on one of the Turner-owned Looney Tunes...and the color is miles ahead of previous editions.

    As for the cartoons always owned by WB (post-1948), the quality is outstanding. Get the Chuck Jones DVD and you'll see what I mean.
     
  13. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the rot explanations. Think side 4 of the Def. Collection Star Wars laserdisc is getting rot then. Only at the beginning of that disc...of course it's during the Vader/Obi Wan duel! [​IMG] [​IMG] It improves slowly then gets great again.

    Not really bad though...just glad I have an extra A New Hope laserdisc for backup!
     
  14. AaronMan

    AaronMan Second Unit

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    off topic..

    Hey Patrick, I agree that whenever the Looney Tunes finally come out, they will probably look great. However, there are some cartoons on the laserdisc sets that will never be released again due to some of the content.

    My Art of Tom and Jerry Vol. 1 set has a lot of questionable cartoons. Same goes for the Compleat Tex Avery set. It seems every year more and more get pulled due to racial content (a tough issue for another thread) or the violence. Those Screwy Squarrel cartoons are extremely violent! I wouldn't have it any other way!
     
  15. Declan

    Declan Second Unit

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    "Songs of the south" anyone[​IMG]
     
  16. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Since there is a separate dts laserdisc thread I'll post my question here.

    More & more I am realizing that nearly all of my Dolby Digital laserdiscs sound stronger--more full bodied than their dvd version. I have about 15 of the same titles on both formats.

    Twister and Saving Private Ryan on dvd (DD and dts) sound close to the ld, but not as good.

    Has anyone compared The Mask of Zorro Dolby Digital laser to the dvd sound? Of course the dvd has been released 3 times now! Thanks!
     
  17. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    This seems to be the most broad Laserdisc thread currently out here...(there's a dts ld thread too).

    Within the past 3 weeks, I've recieved 10 laserdiscs from ebay and 2 of them have laser rot! [​IMG]

    Outbreak -great pic and audio
    Rob Roy -great audio and noisy picture (have to use the variable noise reduction set to max to get a clean pic)
    Clear & Present Danger -great audio & video..blows the audio of the dvd away)
    The Relic -good video despite a dark picture, audio is very good, with a little overcooked bass)
    Hunchback of Notre Dame -great vid and audio
    The Lion King Box Set great vid & audio
    Absolute Power great audio and vid
    High Anxiety good audio for a disc pressed before dig sound arrived.

    Rotted:
    The Man In The Iron Mask lines everywhere (like a bad antenna)
    Top Gun great video until climax of film[​IMG] then lines everywhere. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY over cooked bass.

    I guess 2 of 10 is not bad for these older titles but disappointed in Top Gun and Iron Mask, especially since I just sold my Top Gun dvd!
     
  18. Daniel L

    Daniel L Stunt Coordinator

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    Two things...

    Charlie,

     
  19. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Thanks Daniel for clarifying that. I'm going to to try and get a refund from the ebay seller first.
     

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