Were Japanese Laserdiscs superior to their US counterparts?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MarcusUdeh, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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    My uncle (who owned LDs in the mid-eighties) and I were discussing the pros and cons of DVD. How this damn, region code thing really sucks to the both of us. He used to collect Japanese import discs. Although, since he has no desire to spend the extra money to seek out a multi region player. Looking at some of the American titles he had in their Japanese incarnations, I got to thinking. Were Japanese Laserdiscs superior to their US counterparts?



    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    most of them were yes esp. towards the end of laserdisc's life span
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Laserdiscs, CD's, automobiles, ...not much that isn't superior.
     
  4. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    Some LD's were only printed over there, such as:

    1) Song of the South
    2) Conquest of Space and alot of others.

    Some animation ones had different cuts, such as the Tom and Jerry Box Sets.

    The list goes on and on. I still have my 350 and some have never been opened and some still haven't been watched. [​IMG]
     
  5. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Comparing American and Japanese LDs, eh? Well, I'll give you a few thoughts of my own.

    Title Availability: many things were released in Japan which simply didn't make it to market in this country. Total catalogues reported by LDDB so far are about 25 000 Japanese, about 10 000 United States [no separate Canadian editions], and about 1000 European, plus a smattering of Hong Kong and Taiwanese and one lone Korean disc. There were also more rereleases, by and large, in North America.

    Aspect Ratio: Particularly with older discs, imports are more likely to be letterboxed, while American releases are cropped.

    Language: Japanese releases are likely to be subtitled in Japanese if the original language was anything else. Rarely they will be bilingual, with a Japanese dub track in addition to the original dialogue, mostly for childrens' programmes. Virtually never are they presented wholly dubbed into Japanese. Foreign film releases in the U.S. of course are most likely dubbed.

    Packaging: More gatefolds rather than single sleeves for 2-platter releases. Almost always an informative [well, to the Japanese reader anyway, and the artwork is nice] 30*30 or 30*60cm four-colour glossy insert sheet. Not rarely a book.

    Rotation Format: More CAV Special Editions, more final CAV sides, very few Image Entertainment-style sub-30-minute CLV sides.

    Audio Format: More Digital audio [Redbook] soundtracks on older discs, mostly Analog only in U.S. More AC3 [Dolby Digital] and dts tracks on newer discs, including surround rereleases.

    Special Features: LD+G [same system as CD Text], and the MUSE high-definition LaserDisc format were Japan exclusives. Early commentary tracks and featurettes are generally on Japanese discs.

    And, obviously:
    Picture Quality: Generally more care was taken with source material and mastering, and replication in Japanese plants was typically superior [some U.S. companies made use of Japanese pressing, particularly Image discs pressed by Mitsubishi or Kuraray]. Also, the Japanese implementation of the NTSC format uses a 0 IRE black level, rather than the 7.5 setup used in the U.S., so more dynamic range is available [on uncorrected American sets, blacks will be richer and contrast higher]. For reference, DVD component uses native 0 IRE black.
     
  6. John Sparks

    John Sparks Screenwriter

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    ...now that's a response!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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  8. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    ^^ ah my holy grail [​IMG]
     
  9. Ben_@

    Ben_@ Stunt Coordinator

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    i believe he was referring to double dipping on new other-region discs, thus requiring a multi-region player.

    I've said this before, but I still maintain that other regions get better DVD presentations by-and-large (just look at any of the amazing gift sets/cases in some other threads).
     
  10. MarcusUdeh

    MarcusUdeh Supporting Actor

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  11. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Funny you should say that, around here many automatically gravitate to R1 discs which are perceived to have better PQ/SQ.

    Of course, I wouldn't dispute that the Japanese and Koreans have come up with some pretty interesting packages.
     
  12. WarrenM

    WarrenM Stunt Coordinator

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    Region-Free DVD Players are very cheap these days. I got a good one that is region-free and does PAL to NTSC conversion for less than $50 Canadian.


    Actually, check out dvdrhelp.com as you might be able to change your current DVD player into region free with a remote control code.
     
  13. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

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    To add to John's earlier post, I've seen some Japanese LDs that were better than their American versions.

    The "Dune" box set, for example, was really generous in that it had both the theatrical version and the "Alan Smithee" extended TV cut in one box set. I would have loved to have seen that set!

    The "Superman IV" laserdisc from Tohokushinsha Home Video is a prime collectible as opposed to its U.S. counterpart, not only because it's the longest known cut of the film (93 minutes as opposed to 90 minutes) to be released on LD, but it was also in widescreen format (as opposed to the U.S. version, which was released in fullscreen format only). I found that one on eBay a few years back, and even though I've upgraded to DVD, I still hold onto that LD.
     
  14. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    Coincedently enough, I just watched my Japanese Mary Poppins this past weekend after some years of not watching it. The presentation was close to window box, rather than letter box. At the time I bought it, there was no wide screen Mary Poppins available.

    This edition is spread over two discs with nicely timed turnovers, a stereo track and subtitled in Japanese. Interesting to note that the Japanese moved the image of the movie higher to give more black bar room below for sub-titles, thus, never once covering the image. The transfer is quite good but I expect a future Disney remastering would be better.

    As a bonus there a re a few Disney previews as well as large cardboard inserts the buyer is suppposed to cut, put together and display.
     
  15. Mattias_ka

    Mattias_ka Supporting Actor

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    I agree that many Japanese LD's have better picture quality than the US version.

    I also like to say that there is over 30 000 LD's released in Japan (according to Nicolas that have a exclusive japanese database for this), around 18 000 in USA and more than 1000 in Europe (Germany was a big LD country). Hong Kong and Taiwan also did release a lot on movies on LD, how many, I don't know, but I would THINK that it's at least as many as in USA, because they released many on rental.
     
  16. Mark_Wilson

    Mark_Wilson Screenwriter

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    Probably just as many bootleg LDs released in HK as legit ones.
     
  17. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    The LD market in HK was "mostly" a rental one. There were very few bootleg LD. I think that the only one I heard a rumor about was Jurassic Park if I remember correctly. There were others but it had a very small presence because of the high cost pressing disc.

    There are not that many places that press LD, there was only like 10 places at at time that pressed disc. The biggest being Pioneer Japan and USA, followed by DADC Japan, USA. Mitsubishi, Kurray, 3M/Imation (mostly for smaller runs and a lot of eudcational/interactive titles).
     

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