The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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LightBulbFilm
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The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#1 Post by LightBulbFilm » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:20 am

Hi CriterionForum!

I posted a query on the laserdisc page of the forum wondering about a comprehensive archive of the laserdiscs and their supplements, and after years, and my presumption that someone had made something by now, I discovered still: there's nothing. Stuff exists here and there, but nothing complete or together.

Luckily, in response to my post DRW.mov mentioned he's wondered the same thing and would be willing to put his efforts forth to create a preservation project of sorts.

We talked to cdnchris, admin, who mentioned he's been working on a list for CriterionForum.org for some time and it was something he'd thought about to.

So we'd like to announce the beginning of said effort, the public preservation and archival of all Criterion LaserDisc titles' supplements (at least).

We're going to need everyone's help too!

This literally has happened in the past twelve hours or so, and with that, things are still fresh, in development, and open to suggestion and new ideas.

The main obstacles:
- Hosting the files
- What files exactly will we host? (All supplements? Only supplements that have no re-appeared on future editions, elsewhere? The LaserDisc transfer in whole?) [Obviously there's a lot to unpack here, especially involving rights--this is for educational and archival purposes though.]
- How are we going to get all of them?
- How do we transfer the LaserDiscs?
- Setting standards for transfer.

Some of these things have answers. DRW.mov has the ability to transfer LD's and could presumably start immediately, provided we have a place to host the files (as for hosting, immediate considerations were SoundCloud and Youtube depending on format). If we could set a standard for the transfer of audio/video, then perhaps others with the same set-up and abilities as DRW could help on a separate end in transferring different titles. Ultimately everything would end up on the same server/account, and be linked through the directory on CriterionForum.org.

This brings to light that we could use all the help we can get. We really would love for this to be a community effort. Between myself and DRW we surely don't have all the LD titles, I only have around 10... So we're going to need to find access to many, hopefully all. this may involve some type of lending scenario, and donation of shipping/ time, and effort. Ultimately trust. Perhaps we can figured out a way to establish a process, and said trust. But beyond just titles, we could use helping hands. Neither of us are super familiar with web stuffs, so knowledge of hosting and such is out of our realm. I'm sure I could figure it out, but if we could employ the volunteered talents of a developer, or web guru that would be amazing! Someone generally tech savvy would be great for figuring out the transfers and the best way to preserve them, and present them digitally. Anything, and everything else could be helpful--even press, and reaching out to help find missing titles and supplements and such. So don't think you couldn't offer something. We could make a veritable A-Team of amateur archivists.

With all this noted, I ask for any and all suggestions, contributions, and help. Let's work as a community to bring film-school-in-a-box to our humble forum, for us and all the world to reference!

We've set up an e-mail for anyone with questions, comments, suggestions, offers, leads, etc outside of this forum post (CCLDArchive@gmail.com), but please let's generate discussion and see what we can do together to make this longtime desire for many of us a reality.

Love,
LightBulbFilm

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Gregor Samsa
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#2 Post by Gregor Samsa » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:35 am

This is great to see, and important work in documenting the early era of not only Criterion, but of curated home video editions in general. I'd suggest perhaps putting up the LD-exclusive features first as they have the most value on grounds of their scarcity, but it could be expanded upon in future.

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DRW.mov
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#3 Post by DRW.mov » Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:29 am

Very excited to see this formalized! I've created a detailed spreadsheet and linked it to the email account posted above that we'll be able to add to and track.

Currently I have copies of:
Citizen Kane (1991 3 disc edition)
Magnificent Ambersons (1991 2 disc edition)
Help! (2 disc)
It's a Wonderful Life
Secret Agent
Scaramouche
The Producers
Forbidden Planet
The Adventures of Robin Hood (2 disc)
West Side Story (3 disc box set)
Some Like It Hot (3 disc box set)
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (3 disc box set)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
From Russia With Love (2 disc gatefold)
Goldfinger (2 disc gatefold)
Bad Day at Black Rock
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Boyz n the Hood
Letter From an Unknown Woman
Blackmail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Confidentially Yours
Edward II
Get Out your Handkerchiefs
Polyester
Othello
The Last Laugh
She's Gotta Have It
Short Cuts
David Holzman's Diary
Halloween (2 disc gatefold)
The Atomic Cafe
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
Flesh for Frankenstein
I Am Cuba
Se7en
Tristana
Dead Presidents
Diva
Swept Away
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
Shine
The English Patient
Nostalghia
Five Corners
Crash
Victim


But as we said we don't have all of them, and we're going to need help from some who have the following titles:

Boogie Nights
Pink Flamingos
Olympia
Evita
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
El Cid
Once Were Warriors
The Prince of Tides (gatefold)
Menace II Society
Bodies, Rest, and Motion
Damage
Jason and the Argonauts
Akira (three disc)
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dr. No (gatefold)
Carrie
Silverado
Raging Bull
Taxi Driver
The Great Escape
The Wizard of Oz
2001: A Space Odyssey (boxset)
Singin' in the Rain (gatefold)
A Night at the Opera (gatefold)
The Princess Bride (special edition)
King Kong


And of course any and all of the titles are a huge help.


This is a little off track and down the road, but I would love to also see full Laserdisc reviews on here as well, but one can dream.




And, just as a quick sidebar, I'm a woman so "she" and "her" are preferable I guess hahaha.

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dustybooks
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#4 Post by dustybooks » Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:15 am

Just want to say that I'm very excited for this.

I'm not sure if any of the missing titles are particularly rare or pricey but if so, inter-library loan may still be an option, especially for anyone with access to an academic institution.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#5 Post by matrixschmatrix » Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:15 am

I'm assuming this is being limited specifically to Criterion editions just to reign in the scope of the project, but there was non-Criterion LD of Welles' Macbeth with a Bruce Eder commentary I would love to have available.

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Ashirg
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#6 Post by Ashirg » Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:38 pm

Some helpful links -

Laserdisc Database of Criterion titles (you can also check there for laserdiscs for sale)

Widescreen Review (a few laserdiscs reviewed here)

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LightBulbFilm
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#7 Post by LightBulbFilm » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:59 pm

Thanks for the compliments and resources, y'all!

DRW.mov is working on transferring a few now, and we've set up a few platforms for presenting the assets.

As of now, we're wondering if there's any particular titles everyone would like to see first.

DRW mentioned she already had The Magnificent Ambersons done, and was going to move on to the next. With consideration the community that's been wanting these for years, we'd love to provide the most desired as soon as possible as this will be a long process from technical process to basic human time constraints.

Let the voices be heard! What do y'all wanna see first?

(DRW provided a list of what she already owns, and immediately could be a working-list of what we have access too.)

We've already heard from one passionate member regarding help from personal collection, and library loans in their area. This is exactly the type of assistance we're looking for! There's a lot of titles to go through.

On another note: We're wondering how far everyone would like to see the archive go. Of course we've already committed to presenting printed materials, audio commentaries and video supplements (though those repurposed for future editions that remain in print will not be offered through the archive, at least until they are made out of print again by the manufacturer/owner.) Some cuts of the films are not available on new editions, and while ripping the entire film may be a legal issues, those scenes not available could be offered. As well, some transfers are drastically different than new transfers on DVD and Blu-ray, which we'd like to provide at least image samples from. Does our community have any specific thoughts on all of this, or more? Perhaps other ideas or suggestions?

Stefan Andersson
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#8 Post by Stefan Andersson » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:33 pm

Criterion´s Sansho Dayu LD has a great audio commentary by Tom Gunning.

Well worth preserving. Don´t have it myself, I just borrowed and listened to it once.

Will this archive be freely available?

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Yaanu
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#9 Post by Yaanu » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:52 pm

On the subject of standardization for transfers, one person who is spearheading a preservation project is using the following specifications:
The format used (as an ideal) is: AVI, 720x540(4:3) or 960x540(16:9) (yes, the actual math for aspect ratios), H264 or XVID (depends on usage and original format), bit-rate of 3000kbps (does vary at times when the source was lower), mp3/192kbs. This allows it to be played on the widest range of equipment possible (yes, 15 year old Windows 98 AND most modern smartphones will BOTH play all of this).

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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#10 Post by LightBulbFilm » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:28 pm

Yaanu wrote:On the subject of standardization for transfers, one person who is spearheading a preservation project is using the following specifications:
The format used (as an ideal) is: AVI, 720x540(4:3) or 960x540(16:9) (yes, the actual math for aspect ratios), H264 or XVID (depends on usage and original format), bit-rate of 3000kbps (does vary at times when the source was lower), mp3/192kbs. This allows it to be played on the widest range of equipment possible (yes, 15 year old Windows 98 AND most modern smartphones will BOTH play all of this).
Awesome! Thanks for the reference. Is this another person preserving Criterion laserdiscs, or LD's in general?

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Yaanu
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#11 Post by Yaanu » Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:39 pm

LightBulbFilm wrote:
Yaanu wrote:On the subject of standardization for transfers, one person who is spearheading a preservation project is using the following specifications:
The format used (as an ideal) is: AVI, 720x540(4:3) or 960x540(16:9) (yes, the actual math for aspect ratios), H264 or XVID (depends on usage and original format), bit-rate of 3000kbps (does vary at times when the source was lower), mp3/192kbs. This allows it to be played on the widest range of equipment possible (yes, 15 year old Windows 98 AND most modern smartphones will BOTH play all of this).
Awesome! Thanks for the reference. Is this another person preserving Criterion laserdiscs, or LD's in general?
It only took me a month to get back to you with an answer, but that answer is "No."
It's a project to preserve episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as well as clean/unriffed copies of the movies in each episodes as well as any other supplementary material (DVD/BD bonus features, for example).

vadermccandless
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Re: The Criterion Collection LaserDisc Archive

#12 Post by vadermccandless » Mon May 21, 2018 4:00 pm

Any update on this? I just got the Vinegar Syndrome Blu of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and was wondering if I could download the old commentary Melvin Van Peebles did from the Criterion LD.

I have a few LDs with supplements not available elsewhere, including Out of the Past, with a commentary by David Thompson.

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