> Can you expound on that a bit? What's the old vs new version? Aaron's blog posts in > '08 described the need to capturing the VBI region. Is that what would require custom > hardware?
The current format can be produced using a couple of specific ATI video capture cards and some custom software. It's not prohibitively difficult to do, but getting good results takes a lot of care and patience.
Custom hardware would allow us to capture the video before it has been converted from composite to component form. This is a lossy, imprecise process that is dependent on the decoding algorithms built into the video capture hardware. For archiving, we'd greatly prefer to keep it in composite format, and do the decoding in software using whatever algorithms people can cook up in the future.
Ideally, we'd take it a step further by capturing the combined audio and video signal coming off of the disc, so we can do the audio/video demodulation in software later as well.
> If you capture the modulated signal, you eliminate the non-linear FM decoder from the > player, so it only depends on the characteristics of the integrator, S/H and filter. > Do variations in these components affect the signal in a way that significantly > changes the demodulated video?
That is a very good question. Given that I've never seen two laserdisc players that look the same (even two of the same model), there's likely to be some variation. We really won't know until we have actual signal captures and a software chain to validate them.
> > The ultimate raw dump would of course be inter-pit distances, but the only way to get > an unadulterated copy of that would be from the data used to generate the pressing > masters.
This doesn't really exist as data anywhere, though, does it? I think this happens on they fly during mastering, and may not even be a digital process.
> Maybe you could answer a question. The current Cube Quest rip looks awful. I'm sure > that has nothing to do with the way it was ripped. I'm assuming it has to do with the > disc degrading over time. It would be curious to compare it to what it was like when > it was new. Am I correct with my assumption? Wouldn't "time is of the essence" for > accuracy?
The worst thing about this rip is the red text, largely due to NTSC's inability to handle deep reds. Even on the original machine it looks kind of grainy, though CRTs are a lot more forgiving than modern hi-res LCDs. The specific player and capture card settings used have an effect on this, too, though. (See previous comments about the desirability of capturing the signal as early as possible and tweaking algorithms in software.)
Regardless of the capture methods used, most LD rips are going to look pretty rough without any sort of noise reduction and enhancement algorithms applied after the fact.