Bond on Laserdisc

quantumofsolacequantumofsolace England
edited June 2012 in Merchandise Posts: 279
Anyone else remember good old Laserdisc, the forgotten format? It was the father of DVD and subsequently the grandfather of BluRay. The picture quality was variable (sometimes superior to VHS, sometimes inferior), the discs were big and bulky (same size as a LP but considerably heavier) and certainly here in the UK they were very hard to get hold of. But what really scuppered the format was the staggering cost. Leaving aside the price of the player itself (£500-£600 - a heck of a lot of bread back in the 80's/90's) the discs generally cost at least £35-£40... and often a lot more. In fact I got this 'Thunderball' US box set for "only" £60 in a sale. Other box sets I collected ('Seven', 'Evita', Branagh's 'Hamlet', etc.) set me back a whopping £130-£140. And when I say box set we're talking about just ONE film! Nevertheless, back in those pre-DVD days getting a film you loved in it's correct widescreen ratio and complete with bonus materials was so damn cool!

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Comments

  • X3MSonicXX3MSonicX https://www.behance.net/gallery/86760163/Fa-Posteres-de-007-No-Time-To-Die
    Posts: 2,635
    I didn't even heard about that Laserdisc. Of course, i'm a NewGen guy

    But did it worked well on its time? Or it was any failure?
  • Posts: 4,731
    I've heard of LaserDisc but never actually have seen it before, or a LaserDisc player for that matter. I'd love to find one though, and a Bond LaserDisc to go with it!
  • edited June 2012 Posts: 3,001
    I bought exactly the same one but I paid about £80 for the Thunderball box set. I still have it but got rid of the player as it took up too much space. They also produced a Goldfinger and FRWL laserdisc set aswell.
  • Posts: 1,856
    Wasn't that the illegitimate love child between a LP and a VHS? or should i get back to by blu-rays?
  • Posts: 1,142
    I think the biggest drawback for the laser disc was that it was too big. Not at all practical and not a step forward enough on the VHS format. Thankfully along came DVD which until Blu-ray was the only way to then collect movies.
  • ChevronChevron Northern Ireland
    Posts: 359
    I can remember seeing the big LP sized disks in shops like the Virgin Megastore, but the price of the technology ensured my lack of interest, especially as you could pick up a video tape in the sale for a fiver.
  • quantumofsolacequantumofsolace England
    Posts: 279
    It certainly never took off here in the UK. It was only hardcore film buffs like myself who were seduced by the format. It seemed to do better in the US and Japan. The final nail in Laserdisc's coffin was "disc rot". It was discovered that some element used in the discs caused them to deteriorate months or even years after manufacture resulting in speckles across the picture that swiftly increased to the point that they were completely unwatchable.
  • Posts: 232
    I actually used to have all the Bond films in widescreen on Laserdisc! I sold them all around 2004, when I worked at Amoeba records in San Francisco (they sold used laserdiscs there) so that I could upgrade to DVD. Before DVD, this was really the only way to see the Bond films letterboxed. I distinctly remember that Man With The Golden Gun was the last to be released in widescreen, and because of this it had a different illustration on the cover from the others. I remember that MGM released two different Connery collections that had just the Connery Bond films. Believe it or not, the Criterion Collection released the first three Bond films, and I had those as well. I never got around to buying the Thunderball deluxe collection, because it was so expensive, but I remember renting it from a video store and I taped all the extras on a VHS tape (which I can no longer find). I think the last Bond film that was released on LD was Tomorrow Never Dies, which I think was a very limited pressing, due to the beginning rise of DVD. I know that The World Is Not Enough never had a release, because I had to buy that one on VHS (I had not yet made the leap to DVD). Laserdiscs were the first format to contain extras for the Bond films, and because of this, you were usually able to get the trailers for the films. Sadly, some of the versions of the LD trailers actually look better than the DVD trailers. I'm not sure why? But some of the exact Bond trailers look more beat up on the DVD version than the LD??? After all these years I kind of regret selling my Bond LD collection, for I really like the gatefold and art packaging. I actually still have a working Laserdisc player!
  • quantumofsolacequantumofsolace England
    Posts: 279
    My Laserdisc player is still alive and kicking too. The only LD's I buy nowadays are rare music ones. I've still got all my old discs but never play them. Whilst most have been superceded by DVD 'Seven' has got some terrific bonus material that has never appeared on DVD or Blu and none of the 'Evita' extras made it onto the DVD which is shamefully vanilla. I think the only other Bond's I've got are LTK and GE. At the time they were the only way to see the uncut versions of both films here in the UK, being US releases.
  • I remember renting a laserdisc player for my birthday when I was about 13 and being blown away...but there was one huge drawback that kept it from being popular. Aside from the cost, you couldn't use them to record TV shows like you could with a VCR. To me that was the real problem with them.

    Some of the younger members here probably can't imagine what a gigantic leap forward VCRs were - to be able to watch a show any time you wanted to, and to be able to see a movie anytime that you wanted to (as long as it was about a year after it left theatres!). Suddenly we could do so many more things outside the house; we weren't tethered to our TVs and a slave to the schedule anymore!
  • quantumofsolacequantumofsolace England
    Posts: 279
    Whenever I bought a Laserdisc from the US the seller would include a glossy booklet detailing all the new LD releases and I remember at the bottom of one of the pages at the back they started mentioning this new fangled format called DVD. It'll never take off, I declared confidently. Um...
  • Still have my LaserDisc player with a good 30 odd titles including the GF Boxset, GE SE, TND.Powered it up a couple of weeks and it still works. Still a marvel to see an LP like disc being swallowed up with better than VHS picture quality and Dolby Digital Sound.The THX certified copies were superior than the norm but the format was an expensive hobby. Wanted to part with it, but it's worth more in sentiment than hardware / software value.
  • Posts: 5
    Snap I have this box set as well but bought many years ago when I was on holday in Tel Aviv. I have two working laserdisc players, an epic Pioneer CLD 1450 and a Sony MDP850. just over 200 discs - got quite a few Bonds, including TND (I thought there was a release of TWINE in Japan on Laser?) - I remember Hong Kong in the early'90's Laserdisc heaven! - DVD is great but loading a Laser and hear it spin is just magic!
  • Had them all on Laser back in the day
    the inner gate fold of my OHMSS cover is signed by George Lazenby and hanging on my wall
  • Posts: 343
    Sam90 wrote:
    Snap I have this box set as well but bought many years ago when I was on holday in Tel Aviv. I have two working laserdisc players, an epic Pioneer CLD 1450 and a Sony MDP850. just over 200 discs - got quite a few Bonds, including TND (I thought there was a release of TWINE in Japan on Laser?) - I remember Hong Kong in the early'90's Laserdisc heaven! - DVD is great but loading a Laser and hear it spin is just magic!

    TWINE was released on LD. Good luck finding a copy!

  • I had Tomorrow Never Dies but not TWINE
  • I've been making collection videos of my Laserdisc hobby and finally uploaded extensive Bond portions because that's what got me into collecting them. I just finished by doing a review of some rare Japanese imports loaned for review and finally my white whale, the uber rare Japanese only TWINE Laserdisc!

    So if you've ever wondered how the old video masters were made, or where they originated and how Bond used to be on video..look no further because I get super nerdy. Pretty much every master originated on LD and made its way down to VHS, Beta and then eventually the LD materials prepped for special editions were used on the DVDs.

    Unfortunately the sad truth is that due to the remixing of audio tracks these days, there are many cases where the LD digital PCM audio tracks are still better sounding than technically superior releases. I'd argue that the original mixes are still best heard on LD for DN through TND, NSNA and CR '67 becuase they are uncompressed and digitally tampered with in any way.
    GE and TND sound great on the Blu-ray Dts-hdma, but I give the nod the the DTS Laserdiscs for sounding just a tad bit more dynamic. GE also had the old Dolby mix with the very heavy bass LFE on the Laserdisc and first DVDs.

    https://youtu.be/aKcxiAuzoAQ

    https://youtu.be/d4DqMYUVZ8Y

    https://youtu.be/QL8xaFFRKEE
  • Posts: 10,824
    I've been making collection videos of my Laserdisc hobby and finally uploaded extensive Bond portions because that's what got me into collecting them. I just finished by doing a review of some rare Japanese imports loaned for review and finally my white whale, the uber rare Japanese only TWINE Laserdisc!

    So if you've ever wondered how the old video masters were made, or where they originated and how Bond used to be on video..look no further because I get super nerdy. Pretty much every master originated on LD and made its way down to VHS, Beta and then eventually the LD materials prepped for special editions were used on the DVDs.

    Unfortunately the sad truth is that due to the remixing of audio tracks these days, there are many cases where the LD digital PCM audio tracks are still better sounding than technically superior releases. I'd argue that the original mixes are still best heard on LD for DN through TND, NSNA and CR '67 becuase they are uncompressed and digitally tampered with in any way.
    GE and TND sound great on the Blu-ray Dts-hdma, but I give the nod the the DTS Laserdiscs for sounding just a tad bit more dynamic. GE also had the old Dolby mix with the very heavy bass LFE on the Laserdisc and first DVDs.

    https://youtu.be/aKcxiAuzoAQ

    https://youtu.be/d4DqMYUVZ8Y

    https://youtu.be/QL8xaFFRKEE

    Completely loving your Bond laser disc videos. I'm always fascinated by previous video transfers of the Bonds. Never had a laser disc player myself, but remember watching some of these discs at a friend's house. I always felt the laser disc transfers looked more true to the cinematic prints in terms of color.
  • Thanks!!! Indeed they are in a good number of ways and in spite of the format limitations and ntsc standards they can be quite accurate. They certainly are better than the Lowry color fiascos.
    Some like DN are actually print sourced and most seem to have been from vaulted interpositives. They became the basis for all the tape and broadcast releases so it is like seeing something closer to the video master and properly letterboxed. Additionally the final runs were new remasters that tweaked color and added extras. Some improved and some were probably slightly less accurate. A boxset for each film was planned but this was abandoned due to the format ending and all the materials then became the Special edition DVDs. If you’ve ever seen those for the few titles that came out on the last THX Laserdisc run (DN, FRWL, GF, TB,TSWLM,MR) then you have essentially the same master digitally.

    I too am fascinated by the older releases and have even seen some Beta and CED examples. LD is the way to go for quality and the letterboxed ones are the only way to do it properly. While it’s nice seeing the oldest releases and they are quite surprisingly watchable-it’s not recommended due to pan and scanning and hysterically bad time compression on the cbsfox initial LD releases.

    One of my biggest wishes is to see a properly preserved original print of every film at least just for reference but sadly I’ve only gotten to see a handful and then a number of varying reissue prints.

  • As much as I love these for the more untouched approach, it goes double for the audio. The digital audio tracks of the letterboxed discs are still the best sounding releases anywhere.
  • Posts: 50
    I took the Japanese plunge and bought a massive lot that included most of the early 1982 Evergreen Laserdisc releases and the entire letterbox run from DN through to TND. I've been going through each disc at a time making detailed comparisons and hope to get a video about the Evergreens uploaded soon.

    It's really a interesting experience looking at copies that pre-date even the 1982-3 CBS/Fox USA VHS/Beta/LD releases. For the most part they are the same source but some have a few quirks and differences.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited April 20 Posts: 29,587
    TND was the first Bond film that I missed seeing in the theatre upon release since OHMSS. I ended up renting it on laserdisc. So that was my first experience with that one.
  • Posts: 1,287
    I took the Japanese plunge and bought a massive lot that included most of the early 1982 Evergreen Laserdisc releases and the entire letterbox run from DN through to TND. I've been going through each disc at a time making detailed comparisons and hope to get a video about the Evergreens uploaded soon.

    It's really a interesting experience looking at copies that pre-date even the 1982-3 CBS/Fox USA VHS/Beta/LD releases. For the most part they are the same source but some have a few quirks and differences.
    I'd be interested in reading a few of those observations if you get the time or inclination to share with us. It's always fun to reminisce back to when those grainy, less than ideal pan-and-scan releases were exciting to have and to find them improve with each new format.
  • Posts: 50
    Absolutely! I'm going to make a video about them for my youtube channel like I did for all the USA releases.
    Birdleson wrote: »
    TND was the first Bond film that I missed seeing in the theatre upon release. I ended up renting it on laserdisc. So that was my first experience with that one.
    I'll bet it was still a great experience. That is an amazing disc in every regard and still holds up today. It's astonishing for an analog composite video transfer as it looks better than the subsequent DVD!
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,587
    It was okay. I still hadn't gotten it into my head that this was the same Bond that I had grown up with. I was going through a divorce, I barely focused.
  • Posts: 50
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=dFs8VeTcI_Q
    My video on Japanese 1980's Bond Laserdiscs
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,587
    Great video at @hegottheboot_ , I'm only about a quarter of the way through and it inspired me to pause and get out my old LD collection for the first time in over two decades. The only Japanese import I seem to still own is THE PHANTOM MENACE. 20th Century Fox, so no Green Leaf. Anyway, back to it.
  • Posts: 3,126
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=dFs8VeTcI_Q
    My video on Japanese 1980's Bond Laserdiscs

    I'm curious about one thing regarding TLD. You brought up that the Fox release looked like it was based off of an actual print. I only have the VHS, but I assume that used the same transfer as the LD. During the sniper scene the point of view from the night vision sniper scope isn't bright green on the Fox video like it would be from the MGM LD up to 4K. It looks like it's just the raw footage of Kara on the balcony before they applied the night vision filter effect. Is it the same case with the Japanese LD or does it have the night vision filter?

  • Posts: 10,824
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=dFs8VeTcI_Q
    My video on Japanese 1980's Bond Laserdiscs

    I'm curious about one thing regarding TLD. You brought up that the Fox release looked like it was based off of an actual print. I only have the VHS, but I assume that used the same transfer as the LD. During the sniper scene the point of view from the night vision sniper scope isn't bright green on the Fox video like it would be from the MGM LD up to 4K. It looks like it's just the raw footage of Kara on the balcony before they applied the night vision filter effect. Is it the same case with the Japanese LD or does it have the night vision filter?

    I was going to ask the same thing. I remember thinking the CBS/Fox VHS release looked quite a bit like the cinematic prints. I would imagine it's the same source used on their LD. I don't have a LD player, but It might be worth me tracking down an old CBS/Fox VHS copy of this film just for the accurate color timing, even if it was pan and scan.
  • Posts: 3,126
    It does make me wonder when that filter was applied exactly. The 1992 MGM LD and VHS releases were supposedly the first to feature that change. If I were to make a wild guess, I'd assume it was done then because by that time there had been blockbusters like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and PATRIOT GAMES that featured notable sequences involving night vision perspective. I doubt it, but that's where my mind went to when speculating. That theory would be debunked if the Japanese LD did it first.
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