This thread is NOT a how-to guide.
I just want to share some of my strugglings with the capturing and reformatting of my pre-digital video material.
Why? Well, maybe I'm a bit like Mr.Toad, who couldn't stop boasting of his adventures.
So don't blindly follow my footsteps, but only read on with your feet comfortably in slippers on a couch, now and then shaking your head in amused dissaprovement.
Because I have lot's of time to spare and maybe you don't.
This time: adventures with ONE, my only ever, LaserDisc that I wanted to backup in some more contemporary formats. So, rather limited and... OK, this topic is myopic. And yet, from what I have read, the issues encountered are widely recognised. I will spread them over a few posts in an attempt to stop the reader from yawning.
In 1998 I was watching TV, when a rather ridiculous looking opera came on. I liked the music, so I started my VCR, but only at the end. After some years I rediscovered it and then really wanted the whole show, but - no DVD exists, it's only on VHS tape and Laserdisc and for years I couldn't find any of either. Suddenly there WAS one for sale, I couldn't believe my eyes and immediately ordered it. As I had no LD player, I also started bidding on the local "ebay", on a Pioneer 925, which was the best I could find. (I plan to sell it later on). For 300 euro it was mine, I made a daytrip to collect the big black box. Very happy moment when the big gold tinted disc (rather loudly) whirred into action and... played! The image had (very) few little specks though, as I learned later, that could be laser rot, for which a double sided LD like this one is extra susceptible. My TV only has HDMI, so I had to watch through a SCART-HDMI convertor. And as always, my TV refused to go into the appropriate 4:3 format.
So, now to rescue my, in several aspects golden, disc. Of course I could bring it to a professional service point, but I didn't want to separate from my precious and I may still do it after my own devoted trials. I read that my LD/CD player was sniffed at by people who own(ed) the HX-9 or other esoteric, costly oriental machines. But, though I wanted to preserve the image as best as I can, that seemed overkill to me, also because the "Opera" had a lot of rather vague images, possibly because of the old fashioned video trick effects (genlock?) that were used.
Before I visited fora like this one, I would have connected the player via SCART or S-Video to my old RDR-HX1000 Sony HD/DVD recorder, to make a decent copy on the HardDrive and after that, in the same machine, copy that to a DVD: "done and diddly-done". But now I'm converted and, even more honest: the DVD writer is broken.
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Last edited by Saleb Tuber; 27th May 2020 at 14:15. Reason: double layered must be double sided
I have two capturing devices, an external USB Terratec Grabster AV 300 MX (they now have the 350 mx) https://www.terratec.de/details.php?artnr=10599 and a PCI-card Black Magic Intensity Pro 4k. https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/intensitypro4k Both may not be the best, but it's what I have. Fortunately the card's fan isn't whining so loud as the older version seemed to do. Then I have a decent self assembled "photo-editing" PC with Intel i7, enough memory and four SSD's instead of HD's, quite fast and quiet.
I had already re-installed the Terratec drivers, not Terratec's own capture program because it made only dissappointing captures. The Black Magic card comes with a breakoutcable: a bundle of short wires and RCA jacks, a bit like beaded dreadlocks. It feels rather clumsy when I change wiring behind the large cabinet of my PC and the slanting roof of my video bunk.
For capturing I installed a number of the same VirtualDub program versions (64 bit) in their own maps, so I could switch settings easily. So I thought, but the settings in one map were taken by a specimen of VirtualDub in another map, so the settings seem to be stored outside of these maps (?) I used mostly the settings as given by sanlyn: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/video-capture/7427-capturing-virtualdub-settings.html
Immediately arose the puzzling question of the capture format. After peeping around on the web I settled for 720 x 576 and uncompressed, I thought that would yield YUY2, but many times it turned out to be UYVY when I checked the files with GSpot. More on that later. My Vdub version always reset the Capture Pin to the NTSC standard, and that while the PAL setting was marked as "(default)", weird. Another, not so important quirk is the Overlay pic during capture: it's much lighter then the captured movie.
I learned that, because video on the LD is stored as Composite, I'd best use the Composite Out jack. OK, fine, so I made some test captures with Composite In on my Terratec and on the BlackMagic. On the BM card, the Composite goes into jack 8 (green) marked "Y in". Then you have to start up Black Magic's "Video Setup" program to and there set Composite as "Input Connection".
In contrast with the results of my Hi8 tape captures, I liked BM Intensity's captures more than those from Terratec's Grabster. Though the last were a bit sharper, they had washed out highlights. Maybe the levels were just a bit off, but I had no means of tuning the Grabster, only the Intensity and on that one they were alright..
See below, first a whole pic, then at left details of BM and at right Terratec.
Last edited by Saleb Tuber; 27th May 2020 at 11:46.
I also wanted to know if the SCART of the Pioneer could do anything on the SCART of my Grabster. Well, only a Black and White picture which looked "dithered", like the chroma signal had entered the luma in(?) I skipped that further, it seems that the 925 has only a Composite signal on it's SCART (is that true?), never mind.
But then I read that the Composite Out on the 925 isn't a straight Composite Out, but a "mixed again" Y/C ...https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.video.laserdisc/Z5CBhCk5bf0
I found a service manual with the electronic schematics and yes, it's true. B*gger. Ah well, we'll see.
It's funny that a factory uses all it's knowledge and skill to build a complex machine, but then passionates try to hack the circuitry, believing to find lustrous dream pictures in the virginal bitstream that flows from the pits eldorado of their delicious platters. https://forum.lddb.com/viewtopic.php?f=53&t=8244
Then I tested the S-Video In of the Grabster vs the S-Video In of the BM card.
The S-Video cable for the card was in the package, it connects the S-Video plug via two cables that plug in jack 8 (green) and 9 (blue) which are marked "Y in" and "B-Y in" respectively. Again, you have to start up BM's "Video Setup" to set the input as "S-Video".
Last edited by Saleb Tuber; 27th May 2020 at 11:27. Reason: wrote Component instead of Composite
Results follow on short time....
Congratulations on your quest and adventure!
A few points as former LD lover.
As great as it is that you're here and it will interesting to read of your adventures, there's few posters who actively discuss LD here. If you haven't already done so, you might want visit and post at https://forum.lddb.com/index.php.
The good news is that if you post a short clip of your capture (not just images), posters will likely be able to help you to remove the specks and other artifacts that may be there.
Laserdiscs aren't dual layer, they're double or single-sided. And yes, the glue on some double-sided discs could result in laser rot, but in general it's fairly rare.
The specks could be laser rot or the player. One of the reasons the HLD-X9 and HLD-X0 are so revered, is that they reportedly give cleaner playback on troublesome disc. If you haven't already read it, a quick search on lddb.com brought up this interesting thread comparing the CLD-D925 against the HLD-X0
If you decide to have the transfer done professionally, do very careful research on the person/company. Few, if any reputable service will do the transfer for you because of copyright issues.
You're extremely unlikely to find someone with an HLD-X9 or HLD-X0 willing to do the transfer for you. Over the years, I've seen a handful of requests here and at digitalfaq.com, and have never seen anyone volunteer to do the work or anyone having any success. Two reasons. First, those who own them tend to be very private about it because of their extremely high price. Second, at over 20 years old, they have a very limited lifespan left. Those who own them probably use them only for their personal collection.
Edit: I see you made some additional posts while I was writing. Post some actual clips of your capture, don't reencode them, as pics don't allow full analysis of what could be done.
Have you tried the LD decode method? It'ss a new way of capturing the raw RF signal from the laser disc.
The software is available and constantly updated, but the hardware is highly specialized and much of it is DIY. As a contributor to the VHS decode thread and project, you're well aware that we're far, far away from an off the shelf solution, if ever.
Thank you both for your swift and kind reaction.
Yes, copyright is a thing, this recording once got a price in Italy 30 years ago, but EMI probably never saw bread in releasing it again, on a DVD. (The audio CD did get a new release on the Erato label). And that's exactly the reason I want a backup: it may well be that this will all go down in oblivion forever....
@dellsam34 It's a new way of capturing the raw RF signal from the laser disc. Sounds VERY interesting, would like to know more about it. Not afraid of some more tedious things...
I made a stroll outside in the fresh air to rethink the rest of this thread. I think of finalizing it by telling a bit on the HX1000 I tested as a sort-off-TBC and my JVC S9500 VCR in more or less the same way. The rest of these adventures are also applicable on my other 4:3 PAL material, so after that I'll end this thread with a link to a new, "non LD" thread and continue from there.
The momentary result of my rescue operations now is that I have satisfactory (IMHO!) results, meaning I am able to watch the vid and audio with pleasure.
Last edited by Saleb Tuber; 27th May 2020 at 14:17. Reason: typo and change in post 1
The domesday86 Project is a highly specialized project which as I stated uses very specialized software and hardware. The upside is that everything about it is open source. The software has been continually updated over the years, but AFAIK, no one outside the project has ever duplicated the results.
There's an offshoot project for VHS here on this forum that's made surprisingly (relatively speaking) progress. And unlike the domesday86 project, more "off the shelf" hardware is used, but there's still a lot of DIY to the project and years, if ever, away from mainstream.
Yes, definitely upload your sample clips as there are many here that can help with tweaking the captures. They'll probably offer advice on your capture setup too. If the CD syncs up to the video, you may be able to upgrade the audio too.
BTW, based on your pics, which I'm assuming you purposely chose to show the best part of the captures, don't show signs of laser rot. The second clip (the B/W one) in this clip shows what laser rot looks like. Ignore the audio. I don't know why it's so bad. I've had discs with worse laser rot and the audio was fine.
Thinking about it, have you tried to search overseas for the DVD? Particularly in Italy or Japan, where love for the arts is fairly high. Start with searching the various Amazon sites worldwide. Same with eBay. Japan doesn't their own eBay, but they do have Yahoo Auctions and Rakuten. Most of all, keep looking, even as you work on your Laserdisc. Its sometimes taken decades, but I've found things that "absolutely" were never released on DVD or Blu-Ray and there they were!
Also, Netherlands and Scart just clicked in my brain. You're in PAL country. The HLD-X9 and HLD-X0 were NTSC/MUSE only because they're from Japan. All the true high-end exotic players were NTSC only because Laserdisc didn't really take off in Europe, only Japan. A quick search lists your model as one of the top PAL models, of which there weren't that many of, so good going!
That Domesday project and it's siblings are o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-i-n-g. Ha, it's only since a year ago that I know what Domesday means in the UK, always thought it meant Doomsday. Those BBC (Acorn?) computers bring back memories, they were too expensive for me, so I went with the C64, and the Amiga after that. I soldered quite some of my own projects for those homecomputers, for example my own (huge) "slide flatbedscanner", eprom programmer and wrote my own assembler programs for them. So Domesday is very, very attractive. But I never managed to do SMD soldering and photobased etching of circuitboards. Don't seduce me
The CD of my movie is for parts different from the movie, probably different mixes ? Because it is often absolutely the same for about 4 minutes - and then suddenly there's more solo singing for example. I tried the optical output of the 925 in to my old Extigy card, but I think that card does not really capture the S/PDIF stream, but converts it, because the "twanging" of the big lutes was not so "graspy". I did manage to enhance the sound though: by saving the capture's .wav from Vdub, in Audacity synchronize a better, "audio only" capture with that and write a new .avi with that audio in Vdub.
Happy to read that in PAL country the 925 isn't so bad after all
You mentioned Japan, indeed the LaserDisk also came out there. You can find blocky footage of the whole TV show, with Japanese subtitles on Youtube. But I wouldn't know were to search for a DVD further, because I already spent hours Googling everywhere (I think it was everywhere). With a search for the LaserDisc, you'll find it in every language on Amazon: "momentarily unavailable". Because, yes, I have it...
Now, I'm just curious, but what is the name of this opera on Laserdisc?
The original from 1589 was a collection of intermediate musical drama pieces that were shown as connective parts of a theaterplay "la Pellegrina" (the Pilgrimess). It was on occasion of the wedding of "millionaire" Fernando de Medici and Cristina de Lorraine, a huge happening in Florence to which 600 people seem to have had more than a half year of preparation. Very unusual is that much of the music, lyrics and drawings have been saved! These intermedia had exceptional good performers and ingenious machineries to achieve effects of Gods on Clouds descending and a ship on a see.
After 400 years, Andrew Parrott and the Taverner Players/Choir/Consortium have revived this in a TV production movie with some added special effects. I (and many others) think it is a stellar performance and a shining role for Emma Kirkby and Tessa Bonner among others.
Unfortunately, it only appeared on TV once in a few countries and is only available on rare LaserDiscs and VHS tapes. I can fully understand that it will not be affordable to make a commercial DVD out of this, at first sight somewhat grotesque and boring, "pre-opera". Fortunately the (somewhat different) CD can be found on ebay and the Erato "remaster" is available as .FLAC for download for about 12 euro (which is way underpriced I think) at PrestoMusic
Another version of the music which I also like very much is that of the Huelga Company, but difficult to find.
The Movie itself is nowhere to be found exept some not-so-good version:
Hope it's not too much off-topic, but it emphasizes my great desire to rescue this rare gem.
EAC all the time to rip my CD's to FLAC and then put them on my NAS. With the Digital Out of my old Squeeze Box Duet, fed with a decent powerunit, they play better than on my QUAD Elite CD player...
I have been thinking of using the CD's .wav files for the video. "Alas" the video has extra sounds (wind, water) and it seems to have sort of "reverb" that adds to the idea of a theater. But I will definitely try it out, though I'm quite surprised about the quality of the sound coming out of the Audio Out of the 925 when captured on 48.000 Hz with the BlackMagic Card. But then after all it's also a CD player (and a rather decent one I think, when I listen with headphones). First I used 44.000 Hz - because that's the S/PDIF on a LaserDisc isn't it? But then I thought: once it's analog you might as well (or better) digitize it on 48.000, may also be easier if I want to fetch a DVD of the movie.
Now I'll try to isolate some of my small clips with "flies" - because I will be a week on a small vacation (yes, there is a little slack again in the regulations).
First a little boasting again: the last part of the LaserDisc capture adventure.
On this forum I read quite a lot on the magic of Time Base Correction. And then there's the story of the comb filter, (which I first thought to be a sort of de-interlacing enhancer). I got confused with 2D and 3D comb filtering and 3-line filtering. Seems the 925 has 2D 3-line filtering.http://notonbluray.com/blog/comb-tb-tests/. So, with the idea that while it's wise to consider the theory when testing, evenso theory should not be in the way of testing, I introduced my old Sony HX1000 HD/DVD recorder and my even older JVC S9500 VCR in the chain. And though the Composite Out of the 925 is just "it's S-Video mixed again", I tested both. While happily being busy with some of these tests, I suddenly realised that I had introduced quite some variables: 2 LD player outputs (Comp/SV), two capture cards with COMP/SV and... two extra devices in the chain with COMP/SV in AND COMP/SV out. And I never made a test plan. (D'oh!)
Well, the result for now is that, in my eyes, the chain Composite Out > Composite IN_JVC_S-Video Out > S-Video IN_Black Magic scored best. Here are some short clips,
First: Composite > JVC > S-Video > Black Magic
then S-Video > JVC > S- Video > Black Magic
and last: Composite > Black Magic (so without anything in between).
I also had the impression that the chain S-Video > HX1000 > S-Video > Black Magic also made (a little) positive difference.
I switched off the TBC on the JVC, because it's coupled with the DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction) and I remembered DNR giving an unpleasant "plastic people" look. (WHY did they not offer the TBC alone?). Anyway, I never had any dropped frame with my LaserDisc or my Hi8 material. So the positive effect of the JVC will come from it's 3 D comb filter (?)
I'll let others speak further to this, but since laserdisc is native composite, but in my opinion, you have nothing to gain by converting (thereby splitting) the signal into s-video, especially since you're doing it by running it through the VCR. If anything it may introduce additional artifacts and allow electrical interference into the capture.
And here are two short clips with a few "Flies on Rotten Laser"
(Composite > JVC > S-Video > BM)
(Composite > BM)
Most of my flies are "black flies" (met the real ones in New Zealand this year, nasty little creatures).
I already downloaded deSpot for Avisynth, but I'm a bit dazzled by the filters parameters.
I have Avisynth installed and used it in a test script to create masked, pillarboxed and QTGMC de-interlaced, mp4 with Hybrid. I think these tools are awesome and was quite pleased with the results. But I also want to make a DVD without de-interlacing. Do not know which tool is best for that....
lingyi and others, thank you for reading and giving good advice.
Last edited by Saleb Tuber; 29th May 2020 at 06:29.
Last edited by Saleb Tuber; 29th May 2020 at 06:27. Reason: typo
If your samples show the worst "black flies" it's either very early signs of laser rot or a mastering or pressing issue. I don't think it's laser rot because as I recall, it's usually multicolored specks like in this sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giyZdKmPLs8 and if it was laser rot, your entire disc would have deteriorated by now, not just certain certain scenes.
Glad to read that.
Indeed, the example vid on Youtube is quite worse...