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Post #1134990

The Dark side of the force
Parent topic
Archiving Star Wars 1997 Special Edition laser discs...
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Date created
25-Nov-2017, 3:07 PM

Greetings, I hope this is the right section (and the right forum, even), for this. I’m going to preface this with a small introduction explaining myself, as I feel the need to justify what I’m doing before I’m laughed out of here.

So, I’m one of the heretics who quite likes the 1997 special edition versions of the original trilogy (they’re the versions of the films I grew up with). Whilst I do now own DVD versions of the original trilogy (2006 versions), they appeared to have various differences from the ones I remembered, and even the original theatrical cuts included with the 2006 DVDs are rather different. The VHS copies of the films that I do have from when I was younger have aged rather poorly, what with them being much-used VHS tapes and all, so I resolved to try and get a hold of a decent copy of the 1997 versions of the films. I discovered the 1997 special editions were never released on DVD, and that the best quality available of them was the laser disc version (which also would have aged much better than a VHS tape).

As a result, I ultimately decided to try and do the whole thing properly. I acquired the laser discs (they appear to be in good condition, no apparent laser rot that I can see), I acquired a laser disc player (a Pioneer CLD-D925), and I’ve got a ‘VideoMate C200 Pro’ USB capture stick that I can use to connect my PC to the player (no idea if this is any good or not, my Dad used it for converting some other VHS tapes a while back, but it seems to do the job).

This is where I start to hit some hurdles.

I’ve recorded video from the player with VirtualDub. I’ve tried both S-Video and Composite video, and ultimately used Composite, but to be honest I couldn’t see any significant difference between the two. The audio comes out fine (provided I use the x86 version of VirtualDub; the x64 version appears to introduce crackling on capture, but not on preview), however I’m stumped as to the equipment I need to capture the AC3 audio (I do have a ‘Yamaha Natural Sound RF Demodulator APD-1’ that came with the laser disc player for this purpose, but my Googling has yet to find the hardware I can use to get the audio output from the demodulator itself to my PC).

Another issue is that the colours seem slightly off; blacks are more grey, and there seems to be a slight amount of noise, which is most noticeable in the black-ish bars along the top and bottom. Ultimately I suspect I’d probably want to crop out these bars, however before I do that, I want to actually get the colours and noise sorted out.

In addition, the video looks like it’s got a lot of lines in it (most noticeable when there’s movement). Research suggests this is interlacing, and I need to use deinterlacing to take care of this. However, when I’ve tried to do this, results have varied (some curved edges look a bit jagged, almost like aliasing in a video game), or alternatively the video becomes somewhat…blurry?

Anyway, the bottom-line is, I’m fairly clueless on the correct way to go about doing this, but I’m having at it. I’m okay with buying more equipment IF that is necessary, but I suspect my issues mainly lie in what I’m doing with the software itself (settings and the like, although I am aware that filters and so on should apparently be applied after the initial recording is made, not during the recording process). For the software in question, I’ve mentioned VirtualDub above, but I’ve also been using something called HandBrake for encoding the video into a format that doesn’t take over a hundred gigabytes to store, and also in my attempts to deinterlace it.

Am I going about this the right way? I work as a software developer, but it’s worlds away from understanding video-encoding and the like so I’m feeling pretty stupid here!


  • Trying to rip laser disc versions of the 1997 special edition versions of the Star Wars original trilogy for childhood nostalgia reasons
  • Have acquired Pioneer CLD-D925 laser disc player, ‘Yamaha Natural Sound RF Demodulator APD-1’, laser discs, and ‘VideoMate C200 Pro’ USB capture stick
  • Am stumped on getting the AC3 audio out of the player and onto my PC
  • Am stumped on how to properly colour correct the video
  • Am stumped on how to properly remove the noise in the video
  • Am stumped on how to properly deinterlace the video