Rip, mix, burn?
August 22, 2004 7:22 PM   Subscribe

Ripping LaserDiscs to another format. Any ideas? [mi]

Let's say, hypothetically, that LucasFilm is releasing the Star Wars films on DVD in September, but that they are not the films of your childhood. And -- again, hypothetically -- let's say a colleague has the Original Trilogy (as well as the Special Editions, iteration #1) on LaserDisc. What do you think it would take to rip these at a sufficiently high-enough bit-rate onto one's hard drive?

I'm guessing that there's no real way of getting a digital signal, so is it just a matter of inputting the analog signal from the LD, and then editing the two sides together? Or is there a smarter way of doing this?
posted by John Shaft to Technology (8 answers total)
I don't think any computer interfacable laserdisc players exist, so you'll probably have to use the analog signal. S/Video output from the laserdisc player should give you the best signal quality.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:04 PM on August 22, 2004

Note that if you use S-Video, you'll want to get a laserdisc player with a really good comb filter, like a CLD-97 Elite or an HLD-X9 from Pioneer (since the single on the laserdisc is "fundamentally composite"). Depending on your post-rip skills, it might be better to rip from a composite signal and use a VirtualDub plugin to comb later. Also note that those Star Wars laserdiscs have sweet digital audio, so you might try to get that instead of the analog audio outs.
posted by j.edwards at 8:48 PM on August 22, 2004

quite right shaft, this is perhaps the only decent quasi-digital versions of the films available. (and I am
*soooo* glad I bought them when they were like $9 each at the impending death of laserdisc...)

agreed, analog-in is probably the only way to do this, even my old tnt2ultra card does a decent job of that.

/hacked my -909 to be an elite -91.
posted by dorian at 9:40 PM on August 22, 2004

Response by poster: If you were to spend the better part of a week downloading 4.2GB of files purporting to be the original trilogy, only to find they were the Special Editions, and that the sound on the ESB rip was a good 1.5 seconds out-of-sync, you'd be pretty cheesed off as well, I imagine.

Are the bit-rates between LDs and DVDs comparable? The bit-rate on the versions I downloaded is a bit sub-VHS, so I'm quite keen to see whether I can do any better. I should point out I live in the Canada of the South Pacific, so LD players are a bit hard to come by, so I don't really have the luxury of finding a high-quality player, nor are there any outlets offering to transfer them to DVD.

skallas -- ideally, I'd love to burn to a sufficiently high-enough quality that I can throw them on DVD. Let me know how your own efforts work out. Happy to organise some blank DVDs winging your way if need be!
posted by John Shaft at 11:22 PM on August 22, 2004

Are the bit-rates between LDs and DVDs comparable?

The concept of "bit-rate" applied to Laserdiscs is meaningless. DVDs are technically better quality for modern films (more chroma seperation, more lines), but having quite recently watched the THX Star Wars Laserdiscs, they are as good as it gets. I don't have any experience with the Virtualdub comb filter plugin but there are a good number of resources online for using Virtualdub to clean video. I'd say get a decent Pioneer with composite-out and Digital audio out and do the combing and dot-filtering in software.
posted by j.edwards at 1:15 AM on August 23, 2004

The video on Laserdisc is analog. So, like j.edwards says, the concept of bit-rate is meaningless. The audio can be digital, which can be captured if there were a way to input Dolby Digital or DTS over a high-end sound card's SPDIF port. Unfortunately, it seems that all one can really do is output DD or DTS.
posted by zsazsa at 5:57 AM on August 23, 2004

There are LD-to-DVD rips of the original trilogy available on BitTorrent out there in the voids of cyberspace... seek and ye shall find. Granted, they are big downloads at 4gigs+ but worth it.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:13 AM on August 23, 2004

I know a guy (online) who did just this. Probably the deciding factors:

1. The quality of the laserdisc player, and condition of the discs.
2. The quality of the capture/DVD encoding.

I also recall him bitching about the fact that the Empire Strikes Back laserdisc has a side in CLV format instead of the (higher-quality) CAV format...
posted by neckro23 at 10:45 AM on August 23, 2004

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