III) Software

<-- Hardware Resources -->

13. Buying laserdiscs

13.1 What is the Criterion Collection?

From Timm Doolen

The Criterion Collection is a line of laserdiscs from the Voyager company that insist on the highest quality for source material, transfers and supplementary material. Criterion has set the standard as to how great a laserdisc presentation of a movie can be. Only in the last year or two have other laserdisc labels started to bring out collector's editions that are as good as, or better, than the standards Criterion has set.

For more information, refer to Bob Niland's (rjn@csn.org) article LD#06 Introduction to the Criterion Collection. Criterion also has a WWW-page at http://www.criterionco.com/.

A very short list of popular titles Criterion has given the deluxe treatment to:

13.2 What are cutouts and are they OK to buy?

From Timm Doolen

Cutouts are laserdisc titles that have been reduced for sale, and have been physically defaced to separate them from the full-priced versions. The defacement usually takes the form of a small hole cut through the laserdisc jacket in one corner. Occasionally I have seen a cutout take the form of a shaved-off diagonal section of the lower right-hand side of the jacket, about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch. In either case, no damage is done to the discs themselves, and the packaging/contents are usually different.

It is definitely OK to buy cutouts, and stories abound about what great deals people have gotten by buying cutouts. With that said, some caution should be taken when digging through the cutout bin.

First, one of the reasons that laserdiscs are discounted, is that a new (and usually improved) version of the movie is about to be released. If a letterboxed, or digital-sound version of a movie is eminent, the distributor might want to quickly get rid of the pan-and-scan or analog sound-only versions of the movie. Or there may be a collector's edition eminent, etc. If you don't care about such things, then it's easy to find a lot of good buys in the cutout section.

Second, some stores may have policies of no returns on cutout specials. Keep in mind that discs that make there way into bargain bins can be many years old, maybe from before the time when the bugs were worked out of the pressing process. Just be aware of what the store's policy is before deciding whether to buy a cutout. You may not want to get stuck with a lemon, or maybe for $10, you'll take a chance.

Personally, the majority of my laserdisc collection is composed of cutout discs. I have found several great buys in the bargain bin sections, including several Criterion releases that retail normally for $90-$100 for under $20.

13.3 I've bought used VHS tapes that are unwatchable. Are used laserdiscs worth the money?

Excerpted from Bob Niland's (rjn@csn.org) LD#01: ..but it can't even record?

Used video tapes have an aura similar to that of used cars. In the worst-case scenario, a flaky tape can wreck the heads in your VCR. More typically, the retailer may sell it because it is damaged or worn out.

Used LDs, on the other hand, are like used CDs. Laser rot aside, if they physically look OK, they probably will play like new. The random access capability of LD makes it easy to skip through and QA a used disc in the store (which I routinely do).

If you seek used or "cutout" merchandise, make sure you and the dealer understand each other on the matter of defects, which are more likely on older pressings. Most dealers will accept the return of any disc they sell, regardless of what bin it came from. But in the case of older titles, the dealer may not be able to replace it with the same title. Find out what recourse is available to you in that case.

13.4 I'm in Canada. Are there any problems in using UPS?

From: anonymous

If a shipment is sent to Canada via UPS ground, the unsuspecting shipper pays a fairly low and innocuous rate. Unknown to the shipper, however, the recipient can be zapped with as much as a 54% surcharge!

They have three surcharges: entry prep fee, disbursement fee, and surcharge.

Entry Prep Fee:     Value of Shipment in CDN dollars
$ 5.25                  0.01-$ 40.00
$14.20               $ 40.01-$100.00
$16.80               $100.01-$200.00

Disbursement Fee  Surcharge  Value of Shipment in CDN dollars
$ 3.14               $3.00    0.01-$ 50.00
$ 4.15               $3.00  $50.00-$100.00
$ 8.15               $3.00 $100.00-$200.00
Now the Entry Prep Fee and Disbursement Fee are also subject to our GST (8%).

Thus, assume that you order a $40.01 laserdisc ($28.00 US, roughly). (Very few laserdiscs cost less than $28US.)

You pay $14.20 + $3.14 + $3.00 +$14.20*0.08 +$3.14*0.08 = $21.73

Since $21.73/$40.00 = 0.54, this is a 54% surcharge!

Admittedly, this is the worst case. But it's pretty bad. Note that you will also pay GST on the $40.01, but this is charged by Canada Post (on behalf of the govt) in any case. As mentioned in an earlier, post their handling fee is only $5.00.

In my case, I paid $21.77 UPS "brokerage" on a $48.39 CND shipment, only a 45% "surcharge". (Wow.)

If you had chosen UPS air, the brokerage fee is included in the cost, and let's assume that is the same as Federal Express. But the key here is that no shipper will send air freight unless you specify so and incur the fee (at least from US to Canada: I have seen US firms that ship via Fedex "free").

Again, this 54% surcharge occurs only when the shipper chooses UPS ground over US post, because it is apparently about the same cost to him and he probably thinks that because it is faster, he is doing you a favor.

13.5 What is the 1-800 number for the Columbia House club?

Customer service: 1-800-457-0866
Orders: 1-800-262-2001
Laserdiscs: 1-800-538-2233

14. Aspect ratios and letterboxing

14.1 Can you go over widescreen, letterbox, etc. one more time?

One place to look for graphical information on letterboxing is http://www.iki.fi/leopold/AV/FilmToVideo/index.html.

From Bob Niland's (rjn@csn.org) LD#01: ..but it can't even record?

The television screen's width-to-height (aspect) ratio is 1.33 to 1 (or 4:3). This is very close to "Academy Ratio" (1.37:1), which is how films were composed and photographed until the 1950s, when TV closely copied that ratio, became widespread, and became a threat to motion picture theaters, or so Hollywood thought.

    +---------------+         .=========.
    | Projected     |         :   TV    :
    | Widescreen    |         :  Frame  :
    | Movie Image   |         :         :
    +---------------+         `========='
    1.50:1 to 2.8:1            1.33:1
Largely to compete with TV, Hollywood made films in "widescreen" processes like Cinemascope, Techniscope, Vista-Vision, Todd-AO, Technirama, Cinerama, Panavision, etc. They are all slightly different, but share one attribute: They are "hard" widescreen formats and their projected-image aspect ratios exceed 1.33:1. Some are as wide as 2.8:1.

Many directors, particularly during the '50s and '60s, filled the entire wide frame with important action or other visual material; some still do. When transferring "hard" widescreen movies to 1.33:1, there are two choices:

    1.                                2.  .===============================.
                                          :           Black               :
    +--.==================.-------+       +-------------------------------+
    |  :                  :       |       |                               |
    |  :   Panned         :       |       |                               |
    |L :   and            :       |       |                               |
    |O :   Scanned        :  LOST |       |     Letterboxed TV Image      |
    |S :   (Cropped)      :       |       |                               |
    |T :   TV Image       :       |       |                               |
    |  :                  :       |       |                               |
    +--`=================='-------+       +-------------------------------+
                                          :           Black               :
       <- TV frame moves ->               `==============================='
       <-  back & forth  ->
The most frequently encountered presentation on broadcast TV and VCR is cropped. The use of letterboxing on LD releases is growing rapidly. Often you have a choice of aspect ratios.

If you have not had a chance to compare a widescreen and a cropped version of the same film, you may literally not know what you are missing, except for a vague feeling of claustrophobia as you watch a "chopped and squashed" films. On the other hand, a letterboxed presentation like "BladeRunner" at 2.2:1 really requires at least a 25-inch TV with at least 350 lines of horizontal resolution.

However, not all theatrical widescreen formats are "hard" formats (where the letterboxed image borders are blank because there is nothing there on the print or negative). Some formats are "soft" widescreen:

    :    "protect for TV area"      :  <--Absent on "matted" LD
    |                               |
    |                               |
    |                               |
    |   Composed theatrical image   |
    |      (Matted LD image)        |
    |                               |
    |                               |
    :    "protect for TV area"      :  <--Absent on "matted" LD
Don't automatically assume that the film you saw theatrically at 1.85:1 six months ago has been cropped for home video. Video is now a bigger market than theatres for some material.

Many films are being shot "spherical soft matte" at 1:33:1 and are being *masked* (cropped) for theatrical presentation! When transferred to video, such works may be 1.33:1 full-frame, 1.33:1 zoomed-in, panned and scanned from the 1.7/1.85/2.4:1 compositions, or matted (leaving letterbox-like bands).

During principal photography, the masked-out areas are usually "protected" in that they are kept clear of microphones, cables, etc., but they contain nothing crucial to the composition. However, special effects for the film may only have been made to cover a 1.5:1, 1.66:1, 1.75:1, 1.85:1, 2.0:1 or 2.35:1 area.

Even when free of errors, inclusion of the image in the protection bands may diminish the impact of the composition, which is why some directors and LD producers mask it off (example: Criterion Collection "The Princess Bride"). Some VistaVision films were also photographed in soft-matte widescreen (although not in consideration of eventual TV use).

14.2 What are some of the terms I need to know when studying aspect ratios?

Excerpted from Wide Screen Film Processes, compiled by David Uy

Glossary of Standard Terms used in this section:

14.3 What are some of the popular widescreen film formats?

Excerpted from Wide Screen Film Processes, compiled by David Uy

This section contains technical information on many of the common photographic processes used to make wide-screen, wide-frame and wide- gauge films.

The material in this sectopn does not mention the laserdisc medium directly. This is because the definition of aspect ratio, with respect to this section, is in terms of the original source material; in this case photographic film. Understand that the original aspect ratio cannot be determined accurately either from a video source or from a theatrical projection because either can be improperly cropped.

A) 35mm format spherical aspect ratios
B) 35mm/55mm anamorphic formats
C) 70mm Formats
D) Bibliography

A) 35mm format spherical aspect ratios
         Standard aspect ratio: 1.33:1 (Academy Aperture)
         Eastern Block, Middle East, Far East standard: 1.37:1
         Matted format ratios: 1.66:1

         Industry adopted aspect ratio: 1.85:1
         Disney's adopted aspect ratio: 1.75:1

     Spherical Panavision

          Matted footage shot with Panavision cameras and/or Panavision
          spherical lenses.  Credits occasionally claim "Filmed in
          Panavision" or just "Panavision," but more often claim "Panaflex
          Cameras and Lenses by Panavision" or "Filmed with Panavision
          cameras and lenses."

B)  35mm/55mm anamorphic formats

     Panavision, CinemaScope, Delrama, Vistarama, Technovision, Todd-AO 35,
     AgaScope (Sweeden), Astravision, Cinepanoramic (France), Cinescope
     (Italy), Daieiscope (Japan), Dyaliscope (Europe), GrandScope (Japan),
     Hi-Fi Scope, J-D-C Scope (Joe Dunton Cameras, Ltd.), MegaScope (Britain),
     Nikkatsuscope (Japan), Regalscope (USA), Toeiscope (Japan), Tohoscope
     (Japan), Totalscope (Italy).

         2x1 Anamorphic compression ratio.

         35mm Anamorphic aspect ratios
         Initial aspect ratio: 2.66:1
         Aspect Ratio with the addition of MagOptical tracks: 2.55:1
         Final design aspect ratio: 2.35:1

         Aperture Aspect Ratio:                  1.175:1
         Release Print Aspect Ratio:             2.35:1

         16mm Anamorphic aspect ratio: 2.74:1
         8mm Anamorphic aspect ratio: 2.66:1

     CinemaScope 4x35 (CinemaScope 55)
         Negative size: 55mm
         Identical anamorphic 2x1 compression on larger film stock.
         Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

         Shot at 1.33:1 then masked equally on the top and bottom and
         anamorphically printed using a 2x1 compression.  The release
         print has an aspect ratio of 2:1.

	The film stock is exposed to the 2.35:1 aperture using spherical
	lenses (Hard Matte) and a 2-perforation pulldown, as opposed
	to a 4-perf pulldown in normal cameras, which halves the amount of
	film used in the cameras. The final version is anamorphically printed.
	One of the classic Techniscope features is Sergio Leone's "The
	Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".

         Aspect Ratio:                           2.35:1
         Release Print Aspect Ratio:             2.35:1

     Vista Vision

         The film in the camera passes horizontally to allow a wider frame.
         Frame size (without soundtrack stripe) is identical to the
         standard 35mm still camera people use to take pictures with.

         Frame ratio:                            1.50:1
         Release prints  Aspect Ratio (cropped): 1.66:1, 1.85:1
                                                    and 2x1
         Aspect Ratio (uncropped):               1.50:1 with squared

      Standard reduction format
         Aspect Ratio (cropped):                 1.66:1,1.85:1,
                                                   and 2:1
         Aspect Ratio (uncropped):               1.50:1 with rounded
      Anamorphic reduction format
         Aspect ratio:                           2:1 with squared
         Compression:                            1.5x1


         The film in the camera also passes horizontally for this process.
         The frame size is identical to a standard 35mm still camera people
         use to take pictures.  No soundtrack stripes were placed on the
         Technirama film area.  The difference between Technirama and
         VistaVision is the former uses an anamorphic compression during
         filming where the latter uses spherical lenses.

         Anamorphic Compression (horizontal):    1.5x1

         Release print aspect Ratio:             2.34:1

     Super Technirama 70

         The camera and negative process is identical to regular Technorama.
         The final release prints, however, are issued on 70mm stock.
         Because the negative is on 35mm stock and uses anamorphic
         compression, it is classified under the 35mm formats.

         Compression (horizontal):               1.5x1

         Release print Aspect ratio:               2.21:1 without
         Projected aspect ratio:                 2.05:1

C) 70mm Formats
     MGM Camera 65 and Ultra Panavision 70

         MGM Camera 65 used variable compression from 1.25x1 to 1.33x1.
         Ultra Panavision 70 used a fixed compression of 1.25x1.


         Compression:                            Variable from
                                                 1.25x1 to
                                                 1.33x1 (see above)
         Release Print Aspect Ratio:             2.94:1 without

         Projected Aspect Ratio:                 2.76:1

     Panavision 70

         Original anamorphic 35mm negatives are printed to 70mm film.  The
         process is called a 70mm Blowup.  Use of the Panavision 70 name was
         discontinued in the middle 1970's and advertised as 70mm films.
         Some films were incorrectly advertised as Super Panavision 70
         (Most notably Close Encounters of the Third Kind).  Spherical
         format films were often blown up to ratios of 1.66:1, 1.75:1 or

     Todd-AO, Super Panavision 70, Superpanorama 70, Sovscope 70,
     Hi Fi Stereo 70mm

       Release Print Aspect Ratio:              2.21:1 without soundtrack
         Projected aspect ratio:                 2.05:1

         Note for Super Panavision 70
         Aspect Ratios: 2.35:1 for 4 channel sound 35mm prints
                        2.05:1 for 6 channel sound 70mm prints

         Official 35mm reduction of Todd-AO format:
         65mm original running at 30 fps with an aspect ratio of 1.5:1

     Note Todd-AO prints were filmed using spherical optics.  The reduction
     to 35mm format was made using a 1.5x1 anamorphic compression to maintain
     the 2.05x1 aspect ratio of the original 70mm print.


         Aspect Ratio:                           1.338x1

       Release Print Aspect Ratio:               1.432:1

D) Bibliography

     Bordwell, David, Janet Staiger and Kirstin Thompson.  "The Classical
        Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960."  New
        York: Columbia University Press: 1985.  506p.  PN1993.5.U6B655 1985
        ISBN: 0-231-06054-8.
        Of interest in this book is a non-technical history of the processes
        which can be found in Chapter 29.

     Carr, Robert, E. and R.M. Hayes.  "Wide Screen Movies: a History and
        Filmography of Wide Gauge Filmmaking."  Jefferson, NC: McFarland
        & Company, 1988.  502p.  TR855.C37 1988  ISBN: 0-89950-242-3.
        One of the more thorough books written on the subject.  This book
        includes lists of many of the relavent widescreen processes, and a
        listing of films and their associated processes.

     Wheeler, Leslie J..  "Principles of Cinematography: A Handbook of Motion
        Picture Technology."  London: Fountain Press Limited, 1969.  440p.
        TR850.W49 1969  ISBN: 0 852 42080 3.
        This covers, briefly, the widescreen processes.

14.4) I heard that if a film is shot "flat" then you actually lose screen information when it is letterboxed. Is this true?

From Timm Doolen

This is actually a trickier question than it would appear. Many modern movies are shot on 35mm film, which has an aspect ratio of roughly 1.33:1 and are "matted" to appear 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 in the theater. This is also referred to as shooting the film "flat". Usually the matte is a soft matte, which means the print is 1.33:1 but an aperture plate is used in the theater to mask off the top and bottom portions of the picture.

The filmmaker often shoots the movie as if the extra top and bottom of the frame is not there, even though it will end up on the raw film (and often the prints of the film too.) Because of this, occasionally boom mikes or other cinema equipment will creep into these shots. Pee Wee's Big Adventure is a notorious example of this.

In any given shot, the extra information at the top and bottom of the frame can be:

At best, the unmasked portion of the screen that you get to see is not important to the composition of the shot. At worst, you can see microphones and other movie-making magic, or the composition of the shot is thrown off.

On top of that is another problem. Often special effects scenes are often composed in the aspect ratio that the final movie will be in. When these portions of the movie are transferred to a P&S, they are zoomed in and cropped. So even if you get all the side information (and extra top and bottom information) in an unmasked transfer, if there are a lot of special effects in the movie, you will not get to see all of the image in those scenes. One example of this is the full-frame version of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." Without special effects, safe areas are included. When cartoons are in the frame, it's panned and scanned.

Of course since the '60s filmmakers have realized that their films might end up on television someday. With the advent of the home rental market in the '80s this became an even more important concern. So now many filmmakers have started shooting their films knowing that the top and bottom of the portions of the frame will eventually be visible.

James Cameron (director of Aliens, Terminator 2 and The Abyss), has even publicly stated that he prefers the full-frame versions of his movies on television, and shoots the movies with the eventual move to television in mind.

Many other people prefer the full-frame, or unmatted, versions of movies because they get more frame information. Some people really don't like the black bands at the top and bottom of the screen, and an unmatted film is definitely better than a cropped film, in most people's opinions.

What is the answer to the question? Well, it is true that you lose information if a "flat" film is matted. However, this can throw of the frame composition, or even expose things not meant to be seen. Let's take an example: Spaceballs. In the full-frame video version, you can see the Mr. Coffee sign before it's supposed to be seen, which kind of ruins the joke. In the widescreen version the sign is shown as a punchline. Near the end of the film, in the full-frame version, you can see the metallic stand that guides the singing alien, which you of course are not supposed to see, and which you don't see in the matted widescreen edition.

So like most things in life, it's one of those things you'll have to decide for yourself. Some people prefer the full-frame, others prefer to see the movie as it was intended to be seen in theaters.

15. Lists

15.1 Popular titles never released on LD in USA

Aguirre, the Wrath of God	(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Art of Noise: Visible Silence	(Bobby Tribble - btribble@ocf.berkeley.edu)
Bad Timing/A Sensual Obsessions	(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Becky Sharp (restored version)	(timestaff3@aol.com)
The Bedsitting Room		(David Johansson - davidj@seanet.com)
The Black Cauldron
Brothers Karamosov		(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Cannery Row			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Charade				(Mark Hurt - markhurt@aol.com)
Day For Night			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Desperate Living		(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
The Devils (Ken Russel)		(David Johansson - davidj@seanet.com)
Eureka				(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Fantastic Planet		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
The Final Cut (Pink Floyd)	(Torc - torc@netcom.com)
Fitzcarraldo			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
The Fox and the Hound		(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Foxes (Jodie Foster)
Fritz the Cat			(Torc - torc@netcom.com)
The Girl Can't Help It		(Michael Gebert - MGMax1919@aol.com)
The Green Room			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
The Long Good Friday		(Norbert White - NHW3W@aol.com)
The Hill			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Hiroshima, Mon Amour		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
The Illustrated Man		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Invitation au Voyage		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Joshua Then and Now		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Kill, Baby, Kill		(Lon Huber - buzz@crl.com)
The Leopard (Visconti)		(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Little Murders			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Lucas				(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Mamma Roma			(Zachary Ralston-ralston@phoenix.cs.uga.edu)
The Man in the Glass Booth	(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
The Man with One Red Shoe	(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Modern Girls			(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
The Navigator			(Toonces T. Cat - toonces@toonces.vt.com)
O Lucky Man!			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
The Offence			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
One on One			(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Orb's Adventures Beyond Ultraw.	(Bobby Tribble - btribble@ocf.berkeley.edu)
Our Man In Havanna		(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
Patterns			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Pink Flamingos			(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Portrait of Jennie		(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
Powaqqatsi			(Torc - torc@netcom.com)
The Rains Came			(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
Red Sorghum
Rosalie Goes Shopping		(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
The Shadow Box			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Snow White and the Three Stoog.	(Stephanie Schiff)
Song of the South
Success (Jeff Bridges)		(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Sunrise				(Michael Gebert - MGMax1919@aol.com)
Tales from the Gimli Hospital	(Bill Chase - CPL_DIAL28@front1.cpl.org)
The Tenant			(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
A Thousand Clowns		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Three Musketeers (1974)		(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Trouble In Paradise		(Michael Gebert - MGMax1919@aol.com)
Weekend				(Zachary Ralston-ralston@phoenix.cs.uga.edu)
Who'll Stop the Rain		(Carl Shapiro - carl@lvsun.com)
Who's Life is it Anyway		(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
The Wild Seed			(Mark Hurt - markhurt@aol.com)
Woman in the Dunes		(Tom Winstead - RONINTOM@aol.com)
Written on the Wind		(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)

15.2 Popular titles now out of print on LD in USA

Alien SE			(Ron Pritchett - pritchet@america.net)
Aliens SE			(Leopold - leopold@cs.tut.fi)
The Black Hole
Eating Raoul			(Stephanie Schiff-sjs@hollywood.cinenet.net)
Gorky Park			(Hoon Shin - hshin1@umbc2.umbc.edu)
It's a Gift			(Michael Gebert - MGMax1919@aol.com)
La Dolce Vita			(timestaff3@aol.com)
Love At Large			(Hoon Shin - hshin1@umbc2.umbc.edu)
Meatballs			(Crandall Chow-cchow@gunfight.austin.ibm.com)
Ran [lbx] (Kurosawa)		(Tom Winstead - RONINTOM@aol.com)
To Live and Die in L.A.
Two for the Road		(Jeff Shirazi - 71564.1307@CompuServe.COM)
Yellow Submarine

15.3 Popular titles not released in letterbox format yet in USA

Adventures in Babysitting	(Hoon Shin - hshin1@umbc2.umbc.edu)
Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai	(Lee Geller - deckard@primenet.com)
Around the World in 80 Days	(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Atlantic City			(Michael Gebert - MGMax1919@aol.com)
Barton Fink			(Bill Chase - CPL_DIAL28@front1.cpl.org)
Better Off Dead			(Elbert Dah-Shiun Yen eyen@uclink.berkeley.edu)
The Birds
The Breakfast Club		(Elbert Dah-Shiun Yen eyen@uclink.berkeley.edu)
Catch-22			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Chariots of Fire		(Hal McMillan - hal@atl.hp.com)
China Gate			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Class				(Elbert Dah-Shiun Yen eyen@uclink.berkeley.edu)
The Company of Wolves		(Tom Winstead - RONINTOM@aol.com)
The Conformist			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Contempt			(Zachary Ralston-ralston@phoenix.cs.uga.edu)
The Conversation		(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
The Crazies			(Neil Dorsett - UNADORSETT@msuvx2.memphis.edu)
Crimewave			(Neil Dorsett - UNADORSETT@msuvx2.memphis.edu)
Don't Look Now			(Tom Winstead - RONINTOM@aol.com)
Drowning by the Numbers		(Bill Chase - CPL_DIAL28@front1.cpl.org)
Duck You Sucker! (Leone)	(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Edward Scissorhands		(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Elephant Man			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Equinox				(Hoon Shin - hshin1@umbc2.umbc.edu)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High	(Elbert Dah-Shiun Yen eyen@uclink.berkeley.edu)
Frantic				(Hoon Shin - hshin1@umbc2.umbc.edu) 
Full Metal Jacket		(Zachary Ralston-ralston@phoenix.cs.uga.edu)
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken	(RESRVORDOG - resrvordog@aol.com)
The Grifters			(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Hell on High Water		(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
The High and the Mighty (1954)	(Brent W. Moll - ol6@ornl.gov)
House of Bamboo			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
In Cold Blood			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Jeremiah Johnson		(Billmyers1@aol.com)
Juliet of the Spirits		(timestaff3@aol.com) 
The Key				(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
Knightriders			(Neil Dorsett - UNADORSETT@msuvx2.memphis.edu)
The Last Man on Earth		(RESRVORDOG - resrvordog@aol.com)
The Magic Christian		(Torc - torc@netcom.com)
The Man Who Knew Too Much ('56)	(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Martin				(Neil Dorsett - UNADORSETT@msuvx2.memphis.edu)
Miller's Crossing		(Bill Chase - CPL_DIAL28@front1.cpl.org)
Monty Python's Meaning of Life	(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
My Girl				(Gregory Steven Vaughn - gvaughn@ucla.edu)
Nashville			(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
Parallax View			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest	(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Out of Africa			(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org) + (fynulee@aol.com)
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure		(Chuck Kahn - odin@io.org)
Popeye				(David Johansson - davidj@seanet.com)
Prince of Darkness		(RESRVORDOG - resrvordog@aol.com)
Prospero's Books		(Bill Chase - CPL_DIAL28@front1.cpl.org)
Repo Man			(Ken Wald - kwald@beckman.uiuc.edu)
Rosemary's Baby			(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Season of the Witch		(Neil Dorsett - UNADORSETT@msuvx2.memphis.edu)
The Shining			(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Somewhere in Time		(Richard Ruffner - richardr@meadata.com)
Spider Baby			(RESRVORDOG - resrvordog@aol.com)
St. Elmo's Fire			(Elbert Dah-Shiun Yen eyen@uclink.berkeley.edu)
A Star Is Born (1954)		(jbond@netcom.com)
Star Trek:The Motion Picture-SE	(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
That's Life!			(SerendRec serendrec@aol.com)
They Live			(RESRVORDOG - resrvordog@aol.com)
To Catch a Thief		(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
To Live and Die in LA		(Wolfgang Demmel - demmel@coteam7.cup.hp.com)
The Trouble with Harry		(John R. Holmes - john.holmes@yale.edu)
Twins				(Terry Morgan - terrymorgn@aol.com)
Vengeance Is Mine		(Zachary Ralston-ralston@phoenix.cs.uga.edu)
Wings of Desire			(Paul Siu - upsiu@mcs.drexel.edu)
Witches of Eastwick		(Christopher Elam - HALQ16A@prodigy.com)
Yellow Submarine		(Torc - torc@netcom.com)

15.4 What animated Disney movies are available?

Here is a short list of Disney animated films that are available at this moment:

16. Specific titles

16.1 Explanations of different versions

16.1.1 Blade Runner

From Jeremy Bond Shepherd (jbond@netcom.com)

There have been SIX distinct cuts of Blade Runner exhibited theatrically. THREE of these cuts have been released on laserdisc in the US. Following are descriptions of the four laserdisc editions of those three cuts:

There are three version of Blade Runner which have been exhibited theatrically but have never been available on laserdisc:

16.1.2 Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

From Andrew Hall (ahall@ichips.intel.com)

16.1.3 Lawrence of Arabia

From Bob Morris (morris@sce.carleton.ca), Bill Vermillion (alfred!bilver!bill@osceola.cs.ucf.edu)

16.1.4 The Terminator

The Terminator is, has always been, and most likely will always be a mono film. The new THX version is superior to all previous versions both visually and aurally.

There has been a fake-stereoided VHS version of The Terminator, but it's not real stereo, just phase error stereo like the "Spatial Stereo" button in cheap boomboxes.

16.1.5 Terminator 2: Judgment Day

There are at least 6 versions of this movie out (and more are coming):

16.1.6 Bram Stoker's Dracula

All three versions are matted to 1.85:1 and are superb in both sight and sound, though the Columbia and Criterion versions differ slightly. (Leopold's comment: I've seen the Columbia CLV version, and it had excessive amounts of chroma noise and crosstalk between chrominance and luminance. Didn't like it).

The transfer for both Columbia versions is from the orignal interpositive and was supervised by cinematographer Michael Ballhaus. The Criterion version was transferred digitally from a low contrast interpositive, was supervised by visual effects editor/second unit director Roman Coppola, and given final director's approval from Francis Ford Coppola.

The audio for the Columbia version comes from a Dolby Surround Spectral Recording (SR), whereas the Criterion audio was taken from the Dolby Stereo Digital (DSD) master. For the most part they are the same soundtrack, though the surround sound on the Criterion/DSD version is more distinct.

16.1.7 2001 - A Space Odyssey

There are six versions of this film (in chronological order of release):

The first two pan-and-scan versions are not worth bothering with, as 2001 was shot in SuperPanavision 70, which should have an aspect ratio of about 2.20:1.

The two Criterions are apparently the same transfer, and both are approved by director Stanley Kubrick.

The two MGM letterboxes are both taken from 70mm sources, but they are different transfers. From everything I've read, the 25th Anniversary box is a much better video transfer than the MGM CLV version, and even slightly better than the Criterion transfer.

The aspect ratio on the MGM CAV version is apparently more accurate than the Criterion transfer.

16.1.8 Star Trek movies

Star Trek 1-7 have been released in both pan-and-scan and letterbox for each. Star Trek:TMP has the additional 12 minutes in the pan-and-scan version only. I believe none of the laserdisc releases of any of the movies have chapter stops, which is a major complaint about the laserdisc series. None of them include trailers or any other supplemental materials, except a version of Star Trek IV mentioned below.

There is a "director's series" version of Star Trek IV which includes 15 minutes with Leonard Nimoy discussing the movie. The cut of the film is the same as the non-"director's series" version. The main complaint about this special version is that the 15 minutes are BEFORE the movie starts, and there are no chapter stops, which means you must scan forward or program in the time to skip it. It also forces a second and unnecessary side break in the movie.

There was a box set of the first 5 movies in widescreen that was released, but is now out of print. There is a recent box of all 7 movies.

16.1.9 Babylon 5

Babylon 5 is shot in a 16:9 aspect ratio, with the exception of the pilot episode, which was shot in 4:3. The existing four seasons of the show have been shown in the USA panned-and-scanned to 4:3. In some European countries at least season 3 has been shown as anamorphic 16:9. I have seen myself And the Rock Cried Out, No Hiding Place in 16:9 from TV Norge, so I can verify this as true (and it looked really cool).

No episodes are available on laserdisc in the USA - at least yet. The pilot episode The Gathering and the 1st season double episode A Voice in the Wilderness have been printed in Japan with Japanese subtitles. Both are 4:3 versions with Japanese subtitles.

The first two seasons of B5 has been published on PAL videotapes in Europe. They are now publishing the third season. The episodes are in 4:3. Rumours are that War Without End will be published in widescreen as a test. We'll know if this is true before the end of 1997.

The producer of the show, Joe Straczynski (JMS), has stated that he wishes the show sometime to be published on LD as a letterbox edition. Lately there has been some talk about publishing B5 episodes on DVD. However, Warner is unwilling to publish discs or tapes of any TV series in the United States.

News: Columbia house is going to publish Babylon 5 tapes in the USA. They will probably start in late 1997. No news on B5 on disc, though.

16.1.10 Roger Rabbit discs

Contrary to many rumors, the Who Framed Roger Rabbit CAV Widescreen disc has never be censored. I bought mine from Ken Crane's in November -96, and all the scenes rumoured missing are intact:

The Best of Roger Rabbit disc is a different case. It has several offensive frames (offensive to someone at least), and after it was published in summer -96, Disney quickly recalled all discs because of "glue problems". The disc has not been repressed, and it's probably the most expensive 16 minute disc in the collector market.

In the new VHS tapes and Japanese LDs the offensive portions have been airbrushed away.

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