I am Jared and I could use a bit of help. I just recently purchased a laserdisc of a movie ("Halloween Tree") for the exclusive audio commentary (because I'm a bit of a Ray Bradbury geek) . I was looking around for a conversion/transfer service to see if they could transfer the movie on to a dvd or thumb drive with the commentary track on it (which the cover says is on "Audio Track 1"). I've talked to two services thus far, one that had no idea if he could do that and the other was rather rude about it when denying the service. I'm not trying to pull anything on anyone, I promise. Hahaha I'm just trying to obtain something I've been wanting for a long time. If you or someone you know can help me on my quest to transfer a movie onto a dvd/thumb drive with and without audio commentary, I would be so very grateful.
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Try PM to johnmeyer or lordsmurf on these forums. johnmeyer mentioned having/had a LD transfer service and lordsmurf my be able to point you to one. The issue with LD transfers is that many services won't do it because of potential copyright issues.
Sadly, don't expect a lot of replies to this post. I'm usually one of the few who does.
My name is Jared. I was referred to you by someone on this site, so I'm sorry to message you unsolicited.
I just recently purchased a laserdisc of a movie for the exclusive audio commentary. I was looking around for a conversion/transfer service to see if they could transfer the movie on to a dvd or thumb drive with the commentary track on it (which the cover of the laserdisc says is on "Audio Track 1"). I've talked to two services thus far, one that didn't have a firm grasp on what I wanted and then when I specified, had no idea if he could do that and the other service was rather rude about it when denying the service. So far, it hasn't been a particularly successful endeavor. Haha I know there are copyright issues involved with some of these, so I get it. I'm just a completionist and this movie with this audio commentary has been out of my grasp and the studio never put the commentary on the DVD release of the film.
If you can't assist me, I totally get it. But, if you or someone else you know can help, I would appreciate it and can pay for services rendered.
Thank you very much for your time and I apologize for any inconvenience.
I am surprised you can't find someone in St. Louis who still has a laserdisc player. Also, I don't understand the lack of knowledge about laserdisc: picking the audio track is trivial.
I did a laserdisc transfer for a client of "Songs of the South," the Disney movie that is considered politically incorrect and therefore never issued on video in this country, but Japan released it on laserdisc back in the late 1980s. I found one on eBay, transferred both audio channels (Japanese and English) and then mixed them. So, I am very familiar with the different audio tracks.
I still do about one laserdisc transfer a year, mostly of obscure sports video. My equipment is getting pretty balky and I had to repair it the last time I used it, but it was still working a year ago.
While I could do it for you, the shipping charges will be horrendous, probably $30 or more, each way, because they are not easy to ship, even though they are not heavy. I'd have to charge you something on top of that.
You'd be much better off finding a local service.
A quick Google search turned up these places that are somewhat near you.
http://greentreeav.com/laserdisk (across the river in Illinois)
The usual national transfer services, like yesvideo that services Costco and Walmart, or legacybox, don't do laserdisc because 100% of the material on laserdisc was copyrighted.
You might try contacting a few of the universities to see if they still have the equipment. Laserdiscs were used for instructional video and some schools invested in them.
I just did a quick search of Washington University, the one I'm most familiar wit,h since I spoke there back in the 1980s, and turned up this:
So their library still lists laserdiscs and therefore might have the equipment to play them. Public libraries are another possibility, although they have less money and incentive to keep the equipment operational.
AVSForum has a laserdisc forum and you could ask your question there.
Another alternative would be to buy a laserdisc player on eBay and do it yourself. You mentioned "good equipment," and while there are modest differences in quality between the really high end machines and the average ones, I doubt you'll see much of that in the final result. You don't even need to get a unit with S-video output because of how video is stored and then sent out the composite output (unlike VHS players where S-video provides a big boost in quality). I just did a quick eBay search and it looks like you can get a decent, operational laserdisc player, shipped, for about $50.
I have a Pioneer CLD-3070 which was at the higher end of their consumer line, but it was not in their "Elite" series. Also, I bought mine just before AC-3 digital audio output became available. I don't think this would make much difference, but if your disc has digital audio, you might get slightly better quality with equipment that could output the digital channel that way (usually through a coax connection).
Hope that helps!
Last edited by johnmeyer; 21st Jun 2018 at 22:36. Reason: typo; added PM quote
Good post and advice johnmeyer! FYI, the last time I checked the LD forum (about a year to two ago) at AVSForum it was years dead.
@Rakish. Just remembered. Check the disc for any spots or speckles (light or dark) before you go any further. The majority of LDs (especially if not stored in a cool, dry environment) have suffered laser rot, which can cause the video to be full of speckles or completely unwatchable.
I have a collection of almost 100 laserdiscs. The rot problem, thankfully, only affected dual-sided discs, and only those from a specific manufacturer (the Discovision discs were almost all prone to this problem). While I haven't played many of those discs in the past few years, the rot didn't take more than a few years to show up. It was caused by using a binding glue (used to bind the two sides together) that broke down and let oxygen get to the shiny surface, making the surface look like a mirror from the turn of the last century. It is still good advice to check for obvious signs of rot, but odds are that the disc will be OK. So, the only thing I question is the prevalence of the problem.
Here's a link to the section of a Wikipedia article that describes the problem with laserdiscs:
Last edited by johnmeyer; 22nd Jun 2018 at 11:18. Reason: Added Wikipedia link
The majority of LDs are double-sided as they they could only hold 60 (CLV) or 30 (CAV) minutes per side.* I sadly give up my collection last year when I moved, but was surprised that many of them, including discs from Japan (known for their high quality control) exhibited rot. Some defects were clearly visible, but other discs looked fine but exhibited rot (colored speckles) upon playback. Even some of my Criterion discs started to exhibit signs of rot.
Note that I live in Hawaii and while the humidity is fairly constant, the temp in the room where the LDs were stored could hit 100 degrees during the summer, so that was definitely a major factor.
*johnmeyer, my apologies, of course you know this. I'm posting this for those not familar with LDs.
Last edited by lingyi; 22nd Jun 2018 at 12:13.
lddb.com (Laserdisc Database) has an ongoing list of discs and manufacturers that have exhibited laser rot https://www.lddb.com/laserrot.php. The good news is that based on their data, ~1% of discs are affected.
The forum may be a resource for the OP to find someone, but the last time I checked (about a year or two ago, same time as I checked AVSforum), it was all but dead.
Last edited by lingyi; 22nd Jun 2018 at 12:09.
Anyway, no service will touch a Laserdisc. You need to network and connect to other LD members. I'm not one, but I know quite a few that have posted on LD. Some are here, some at www.digitalFAQ.com/forum, many at forum.lddb.com (the unofficial HQ of LD).
and while there are modest differences in quality between the really high end machines and the average ones, I doubt you'll see much of that in the final result.
Originally Posted by lingyi
Also, you did not have laserdiscs transferred, so your experience may not be relevant.
One final point is that beggars can't be choosers. At this point, unless you have some advice as to what the OP should do, he will probably be happy just to get the video (and audio, which seems to be his main concern) off the LD and onto something else. So, the two transfer houses I found for him (which he may have already contacted) and the advice on calling the university libraries are probably his best bet at this point.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 22nd Jun 2018 at 21:24.
This movie is available on DVD / VHS
But doubt if it has the audio commentary track.