Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What I like BEST about the old LaserDisc. Remember them?

                  Ok, I know it's a DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflex, Digital Down Loading world out there.  Don't for a moment get me wrong, I love the picture quality that a Digital Flat panel provides me when I'm watching a HD broadcast or when I've fired up my LG Blu-ray player and it's either spinning a disc    ( The Remastered 4K transfer of "The Wizard of Oz on Blu-ray - WOW! )            or Streaming some Netflex HD content from over the net.

        I mean, like Holy Cow! Right? Seriously. Streaming 720p over the net without a computer? I mean, HD video without a disc in the player! 

        Who would have dared dreamed of that 16 years ago when the 1st Big Screen CRT rear projection HDTV's from Hitachi first hit the market ?

But hold on.
 Wait a minute.
 Where does the old Laserdisc fit into this?

  Well, they don't, right?
 Come on, lets face it,
 they are a throwback to the pre-digital era gone by, 
  left behind by current technology. Right?
 I mean a mere 400 lines of analog resolution !
 Who cares, right? 
They (sometimes) can look horrific
 on these new 1080p LCD displays,
 so why keep them?
 Throw them away, and leave then behind already. 
 Heck, LD's are barely a step above that old analog
 video recording system call VHS, so what's the big deal?
 Get over it. The industry is Moving on....Next.
Now, just hold on there. Wait a minute.
  Wait a minute....

 Not so fast there young whipper-snapper, not so fast.
 So, please tell me,  why is it , that,  to this day,
 I still find that I both want and desire them?
 I mean, I not only do I like them, but I actual like some of them
 more than their DVD and Blu-ray HD counterparts,
 even though the analog picture most certainly doesn't stand up 
on modern day HDTV's. ( Upscaling not included. ) 
 Why? - you ask. 

 Well, I was reading a response that some young adult posted
 in regard to a picture that someone else had posted of their CD, record and old reel to reel tape collection over on  Audioholics Facebook Page

In which he said: 

      “It's interesting how the notion of your own collection changes when you have it stored on an external hard drive. You tend to forget about the CD/DVD/LP object, as your relationship with it is through your screen; reading the scanned booklets, loading tracks to your player, ripping CDs, converting WAV to FLAC, etc.

      The real change happens when you start purchasing online.

      The entire chain of buying an the product at the store, carrying it home, opening it up and reading the booklet, while playing it on your DVD/ CD player or turntable, and then finding it a place among your personal indexing system, is now -          Forever Broken.
                   With just a couple of mouse clicks, now you can, without converting, embedding cover images, or even writing out track names when CD's have no tags, etc. Now you can simply drag and drop the file into the rest of your collection -                where it finds it's own alphabetical order, while you sit down   and read a book, either on your phone or tablet,                                       and sip your drink.
                     After a while, you're no longer grabbing DVD's or CDs or LPs to play.  You become accustomed to your collection on a screen and the DVD/CD player and the turntable have started collecting dust. Suddenly all you want is a DAC that will do everything, and you end up getting a Macmini - that exceeds the energy star requirements several times - to avoid plugging in your laptop and putting it on top of the CD player every time you want to jam.
                 Since the Macmini has now turned you into a believing minimalist,   you buy a super accurate pair of active studio monitors with DSP crossovers      in order to get the old Pre-Amps and Power Amps out of the way and to make room for your new HD 3D 42" ( or larger) 1080p  LED TV. And bang!      --                Without noticing it much, you've gone from HiFi to computer.
                 Now you can even start to brag about doing your part to contribution to helping to stop catastrophic climate change, and how small  your footprint has become- in both plastic and electronic components, not to mention the electric bill. 

Now you can finally enjoy the full size of your living room, as your collection will never grow beyond the size of your external drive, and you can comfortably select your track or movie from the remote App on your tablet without letting your Latte getting cold.

Welcome to the future.”

thought about this for a while and I've come to this conclusion:
 All the things that I like BEST about Laserdisc, 
are NOT digitized.
 Well, ok, shit-  truth be told , they can be,
 simply by using my scanner to digitally transfer the pics
 and store them on my computer's hard drive.
 ( which IS what I did )
 Oh sure,
 I can do a frame capture and share it with the world,
 But that's not it.
              NO,  what I like BEST about the Laserdisc is 
 the Gatefold jackets  and the artwork and letter's
 from the producer's and director's that came with them.
 I mean, just look at some this................................

     Now, another feature of the LaserDisc format  I like, just like a CD, is that “instant play” feature. I don't even have to turn on the monitor. Since I have a large collection of music on Laser, I just insert the giant shiny disc, and a couple of seconds later, sound erupts from my old school 3-way JBL monitors. No ads that Disney forces me to have to endure; no menus to deal with, no set up process is needed. No internet to verify if my copy is legal. No need to tell the government or an ad agency what I'm watching.
 No, not at all.  
             The disc just starts playing.
      It's like that moment when the needle 1st make contact with a record. Bliss. Another feature that seems to be going away with today's Blu-ray DVD discs, is the chapter listings in the paperwork. In some cases, like with the disc you will find in the Wal-mart / Dollar General $4 – 5 dollar bin, for example, all you get is the disc. Period! No booklet, or additional information comes with it. ( Yeah, I know, what can you expect for less than $5 bucks, right?)

Some of today's younger disc buyer's simply have never known or experienced the joy of opening a disc box that not only included some great color production photos, but also the chapter listings, some back ground info, and may included both a booklet and a letter from the director of the film included. ( like w/the Terminator Laserdisc box-set.)

Let's NOT even get started on the Star Wars Laserdisc Box sets, ok? 

Sure, they use to from time to time come out with some nice collector's DVD stuff , back when when these disc were retailing for $30 bucks for a new release of a Two-Disc “Special Director's Edition” of a film, this 2008 release of "Bonnie & Clyde" comes to mind ,  
  or even the 4 disc collector's set of Pearl Harbor.  However I'm not seeing these type of movie boxsets being produced anymore. Keep in mind I'm not discussing TV series box-sets here . Now it's the $5 – 12 dollar three to 4 pack of movies on DVD that are being offered, like with the Superman, Alien, and Arnold movies box sets, with all that extra stuff being left out in order to move a shit ton of back logged manufactured disc out of the vender's warehouses before it becomes out dated by the ever spiraling downward cost of the even more popular Blu-ray version, before the 4K Ultra HD BR Disc's debut in 2015 .

Now all the “extra's” are coming by way of the “BD Live” - internet streaming feature. Even Blu-ray Skynet Edition of T2 didn't have a “book” with it like what had come before with  both The Artisan Extreme  & Ultimate Edition DVDs.
Booklet insert T2 DVD

Much like Vinyl, you can frame Laservideo Disc covers and display them on the wall. If you hang a couple of them close enough together, they can be displayed like mini movie posters.
 Since I started working in the projection booth
 @ my local Carmike Movie theatre during the late 80's,
 I've really liked this.

That's why I own some of the disc in my collection.

those are the movies I have fond memories of,
 the ones that we showed while I was working in all those different movie houses, from that little Carmike three – screen hole in the wall named The Astro III ( which really wasn't a real “job”
 It was more like - party central) in a college town, to the Big AMC 10, 12, and 18 multi-plexes. From General Cinema to Fox to all the independents, once I had become certified to operate all the different gear, I then ran hundreds of films at dozens of locations.

Those frame disc jackets remind me of some great times I had screening those movies with some great friends on all those late Thursday nights.

One more thought, if I may ?

 Ever give a Laserdisc as a gift ?        

 I've received some of the best reactions from friends when I handed them their favorite film on a Laserdisc - even if they don't have a player ! They are just blown away ( Ever just given away A Star Trek Laserdisc @ a Trek Convention?)by a Laserdisc Box set that you know they have never seen before,and it's not in the store and they know they will never see it available for sale to the public again. Trust me - Laserdisc may be dead, but to this day - they STILL make the best gifts !