The THX Star Wars Trilogy & Quality Control

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_HR, Oct 25, 2002.

  1. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I received the set yesterday in the mail after winning it on eBay. What a great looking set it is! My happiness turned to partial dismay when I started watching "The Empire Strikes Back", I saw a lot of what I call sprinkles in the background of the picture. If I remember correctly one of the signs of poor quality control during the manufacturing process is the exhibiting of these "sprinkles" in the picture. I guess the "famous" THX processing is not all it is heralded to be! I would be very interested in hearing from other owners of this LD set. Do you see this artifact in your disks, or am I just unlucky with the set I won. I've yet to watch the "Star Wars--P4"
    or "The Return of the Jedi" LDs, so I cannot comment on whether they exhibit this problem.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    sounds like the beginnings of laser rot
     
  3. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    Thats has nothing to do with THX quality control. "Sprinkles" in the image on a laserdisc are usually a sign of the beginning of laser rot.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Jeff (HR, not K [​IMG] ) --
    1. Which version of the trilogy did you acquire, the original or the special edition? (It's the former that has had reports of laser rot.)
    2. App. how many "sprinkles" do you see at one time? If it's a few, it could just be analog artifacts, which are very common on LD. If it's hundreds, it's more likely to be rot or some other manufacturing defect.
    3. What color are the sprinkles? Laser rot typically exhibits a multi-colored "confetti" look. If you're only seeing white sprinkles, it's probably not rot.
    M.
     
  5. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  6. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Mr Reuben, the set I purchased is the one with the large black holding case which includes a large book about Mr Lucas. The sprinkles which varied in number from a few to a fairly large number in a couple of spots exhibited a multi-colored "confetti" look.
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  8. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Thanks for that bit of info. I unfortunately was not aware that there were two versions of this set or that the one I bid on & won had a history of laser rot. Hopefully these disks will not suffer from rot & if they do, I'll enjoy them as much as I am able for as long as I can.
     
  9. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I have the definitive collection also...and don't have any sprinkling problems...so my guess, like the others, is that you have a beginning case of rot on your hands.
     
  10. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Jeff, the Definitive Edition was indeed one of the sets that set the standard in rot -- Willow and Beauty and the Beast Work in Progress were a couple other major problems.

    While there weren't technically 2 sets of these discs though there were at least 2 pressings from 1992/1993 -- the first with famous missing 8 seconds of Leia (not)welding at the beginning of Side 3 ESB and the 2nd with those 8 seconds intact. There were several other minor differences b/w the the 1st and 2nd pressings with the outer box, the movie jackets, and some other audio/video changes. Both pressings were prone to Laser-rot which could be variable severity (colored snow, speckles in the picture, occasionally just a few dots), but as far as I know wasn't the type rot that was progressive after a certain point. Of all the sets (12-15 total) I've looked through over the years, I'd say at least 25% of the sides have a noticeable level though maybe only 5-10% are annoyingly bad.

    The 1997 SW Special Edition box and the Original Edition CLV discs from 1995 (so called Faces set) were never known to rot. Some factories seemed more problematic -- US Sony/TriStar, Magnetic Video, Discovision, and the many incarnations from the Technidisc plants. Even among the worst plants there were discs that rotted and some that didn't within the same run. Even best plants (3M, Pioneer Japan) seemed to have times where rotted discs showed up. Only the Kuraray Japan plant may be mostly immune though I've seen pressing defects from them. The K-plant was very late in the game and learned a lot from everyone else's problems. If memory serves, the Def Edition was pressed at the Japan Mitsibishi plant which was generally considered a pretty good factory.

    The causes of rot are debated and have been blamed on everything from poor quality plastics, dust and contaminants in the air infiltrating/oxidizing the data layer, and some even blame a chemical reaction related to the included book -- many people still refuse to store their set with the book in the box. Since the cause of rot was nebulous at best, I don't think the THX program was much help since it wasn't obvious until long after then discs had left the factory.
     
  11. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Thanks for the info David. I'll just have to hope that I don't have a case of progressive rot. It is too bad that the eBay seller was not honest enough to say that these disks had this defect. But it is buyer beware when using eBay.
     
  12. Declan

    Declan Second Unit

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    Thats ture about many of my Columbia Tristar lasers. I went through 3 different copies of Air Force One before i swapped it over for the Dolby Digital version of Ronin and then bought the DVD of AF1. Other Columbia discs that rotted as well were Men in Black and now my copy of 5th Element is going south as well. Whats preculiar about this is that all these discs were relased aound late 97 early 98 and maybe the factory pressing these was'nt the best. I had heard that Sony delayed the release of Starship Troopers because of this (all the Air Force one discs were rotting from day one). So by the time Starship troopers did come out they were pressing at a new plant. Consequently my Starship Troopers LD is still in perfect condition and i assume that it will stay that way. All my older CT Lasers such as Cliffhanger and The Fan are still going strong.
    I dont know if that story about Starship Troopers was true, but too me when I heard about it, it did seem to answer alot of questions.
    oh yeah, have the SpEd boxset of SW and there still perfect[​IMG]
     
  13. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    I would check the other discs and see what they look like.

    Whether some sellers intentionally sell rotted discs, don't recognize what rot is, or just plain haven't even watched the discs in the first place is hard to know. A lot of people bought SW just to say they had it or resell it for a profit or even bought it years ago and haven't watched it since 1994 when thery were OK.

    I've specifically asked people ahead of time about the rot issue and had them reassure me that everything was fine only to find a disc like you're describing -- this week as a matter of fact. Side 1 of ESB was bad, 2 was reasonable and 3-6 were pretty much OK.

    DeClan, I've heard the story about Starship Troopers as well though I don't have that disc and Sony/Tristar disc were perhaps the worst of all. I do unfortunatly have a few rotted Criterions -- Boyz in the Hood if I remember and possibly a bit on Chasing Amy. I almost hate to pull out some of my prizes just in case.
     
  14. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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  15. Declan

    Declan Second Unit

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    David, just as you mentioned some of Columbias Criterion releases (was Chasing Amy CT?, it's distributed by Disney/Miramax in the UK), my 89 criterion of Silverado is one of the cleanest discs I have, which is a surprise.
    Just thought i'd throw that in[​IMG]
     
  16. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Just a minor point: THX certification of LDs was a system by which there could be a guarantee of image quality through all the steps of transferring the film to LD -- making sure that each step in the chain was properly calibrated etc. With this in mind, defective pressings pretty much fall out of the scope of what THX was certifying. I'm sure that aside from the rot, THX has assured that you are seeing on your screen exactly what you were supposed to get. [​IMG]
    I've only had a few LDs rot on me, despite having some notorious rotters in my collection.
    Mary Shelly's Frankenstein was rotted right out of the shrinkwrap on the day of release; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (25th Anniversary box) rotted after about five years; Fargo was also bad right out of the shrinkwrap...I think that's it, out of nearly 300 discs.
    Pretty good odds.
     
  17. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    the only ld to rot on me so far is bottle rocket, and this includes the star wars definitive collection. hopefully the sw set wont start anytime soon. my fargo is fine, so far as well.
     
  18. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Miramax/Buena Vista Pictures does hold the rights to Chasing Amy, but licensed a release from Criterion in 1997 -- spine number 360 so it is among the last Criterion Collections ever done. I think Armageddon was the last though I'm not sure it was the last pressing at #384 in 1998. I can't find a non-Criterion release of Amy in the database.

    I'm assuming CT means Criterion in your message?
     
  19. Declan

    Declan Second Unit

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    No sorry Columbia tristar.
     
  20. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    That's what I get for assuming then. Sorry for the confusion.
     

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