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Info Wanted: Buck Rogers In The 25th Century - HD Widescreen Theatrical Cut?

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Has a widescreen hd version of this ever aired anywhere… and been saved for posterity?

I have the bluray set, which is great. Interested if the above even exists? Thank you all for your hoped-for replies!!!

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Buck was originally intended as a tv miniseries and the switch to feature film came very late in production. Open matte full frame is probably best for it.

It’s too bad the stereo mix on the old Discovision Laserdisc hasn’t been carried over to modern releases.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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The DVD set of the series has the theatrical version, not the 2 part episodic version which features some different scenes.

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Universal reissued Buck as individual season sets in 2012. (Single sided discs this time.) Season One has the two parter now. Not sure if they kept the movie version.
Uni’s double sided discs seem to go bad so often I dread revisiting my complete series set.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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SilverWook said:

It’s too bad the stereo mix on the old Discovision Laserdisc hasn’t been carried over to modern releases.

Oh? Can you elaborate about this, please? Is it better/different to that on the DVD and the uncompressed 2.0 LPCM stereo on the Blu-ray?

JEDIT: Ah, the Blu-ray is actually mono. Bill Hunt seems to have misreported the specs.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/item/buck-rogers-25th-century-complete-series-regb-brd

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SilverWook said:

Universal reissued Buck as individual season sets in 2012. (Single sided discs this time.) Season One has the two parter now. Not sure if they kept the movie version.
Uni’s double sided discs seem to go bad so often I dread revisiting my complete series set.

I’ll have to look into that. With Battlestar Galactica they issued the multipart in the box set and they issued the movie version separately. I saw both the BG and BR movies in the theater.

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The BSG Blu Ray is a significant upgrade, but Universal deserves a Cylon invasion for bundling it with cropped for widescreen versions. You can’t get the full frame set separately unless someone breaks up the set on Ebay.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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JayArgonaut said:

SilverWook said:

It’s too bad the stereo mix on the old Discovision Laserdisc hasn’t been carried over to modern releases.

Oh? Can you elaborate about this, please? Is it better/different to that on the DVD and the uncompressed 2.0 LPCM stereo on the Blu-ray?

JEDIT: Ah, the Blu-ray is actually mono. Bill Hunt seems to have misreported the specs.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/item/buck-rogers-25th-century-complete-series-regb-brd

There was a thread over at the LDDB forum where it was discussed in detail.
http://forum.lddb.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=3104
As it’s an early title the discs are prone to the same defects and rot as most Discovision pressings are. I have two copies, and the rot affects the sound on both.
Is it possible somebody could work some digital magic cleaning the audio up?

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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SilverWook said:

The BSG Blu Ray is a significant upgrade, but Universal deserves a Cylon invasion for bundling it with cropped for widescreen versions. You can’t get the full frame set separately unless someone breaks up the set on Ebay.

I think the UK release is just the 4x3 versions…

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Sorry for arriving late to this party. Yes the packaging for the Australian Buck Rogers Blu-ray set indicates 2 channel LPCM stereo, but all the audio is actually 2 channel mono (center channel/subwoofer only when DPL processed). The blu-rays have the broadcast version of the pilot in HD with the mono audio as expected for a television show of that time. It also has a PAL upscale of the theatrical cut, but again with mono audio. The region 1 DVD set has the theatrical cut with mono audio as well.

I recently tracked down a “Discovision” laserdisc to hear the stereo mix. The image on the disc was mostly OK - a bit of white noise dots, but nothing like badly rotted discs that I have encountered long before. The analog, non-CX audio on this disc is like what others here have stated - a lot of crackling noise. The audio is definitely stereo though - typical of a matrix encoded stereo track of that time. I had thought about trying to remove the noise, but this would probably be a huge task. An ebay search turned up a European laserdisc release. I don’t have an LD player that will play PAL laserdiscs. Then there is also the issue that PAL transfers speed up standard 24fps movies by four percent so they play back at PAL’s 25fps with noticeable difference in pitch for the audio and temporal motion for the video. Finally, I don’t know if the PAL disc would fare any better after all these years when it comes to laser rot. I was hoping there was a Japanese LD release (as there was with Mission Galactica - 1987-ish release for the LD) as this would readily play in US NTSC laserdisc players, but I have not found any evidence that Buck Rogers was ever released on Laserdisc in Japan.

I decided to try one other legacy format. I found an old VHS tape (yellow box). The side of the box was only marked “Hi-Fi” - without the word “stereo” which normally would mean that the audio was two channel mono. The cassette itself only had the Dolby “double D” mark; which alone only means that the linear audio tracks have “B-type” noise reduction. However the tape tracked and played back well through an old industrial Hi-Fi VTR and the audio was the same stereo as the Discovision LD. Unless someone can find a laserdisc without rot, this VHS Hi-Fi stereo may be the best audio available for the theatrical cut of Buck Rogers. This was also released on Beta back in the day as well, but those tapes are harder to find and I have never had any Beta decks.

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Interesting! I always thought the tape releases were mono for some reason. Alas, my betamax is in storage with all my other gear for the foreseeable future.

Tapes were sometimes mislabled in the early days of Hi-Fi, or not all the duplication facilities had upgraded their equipment. (Hi-Fi could actually be switched off on some industrial recorders.) I even had an LD of an unrelated film with no digital tracks even though the jacket had digital sound markings. A second copy I later found of similar vintage had digital sound as advertised.

The LDDB has a PAL copy for sale, but the tech specs say that release was mono.
https://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/39163/LVG-1015/Buck-Rogers-in-the-25th-Century

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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Vhs hifi tracks can be quite good. It’s a pure analog recording with 20-20000 frequency response. I think that noise is also quite low.

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Oh yes, they sound great. I was able to track down a factory sealed VHS Hi-Fi of Grease to capture the original Dolby Stereo mix a few years back.

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Monolith149 said:
Unless someone can find a laserdisc without rot, this VHS Hi-Fi stereo may be the best audio available for the theatrical cut of Buck Rogers. This was also released on Beta back in the day as well, but those tapes are harder to find and I have never had any Beta decks.

Hey great post Monolith149, and thanks to everyone else for keeping this thread alive.
The Buck stereo audio has been on my media bucketlist for a while now, having read the same info from Disclord that Silverwook mentioned. I would be willing to pitch in if a decent capture can be made.

Just a thought, but has a bad print or mastering already been ruled out i.e. the noise isn’t identical on all discs, it’s definitely rot?
Does anyone have a section on their LD that is more or less noise-free, so it can be compared to the same section from VHS? I would love to hear samples just to get an idea of how much improvement the LD offers over the vhs.

Assuming noise on everyone’s LD copy is different, and the crackling isn’t continuous on every disc, a complete copy might be possible using the different discs, and possibly patching with the vhs if necessary.

Another approach could just be to go directly to the LD community and see if anyone has a clean disc to sell or at least capture the audio. I used to be in a facebook LD group but don’t have an account any longer.
-T