in the beginning

here’s the deal: i’m going to watch movies on laserdisc and document both the quality experience of watching a film on laserdisc, as well as provide commentary on the films themselves. because yes, there are some obscure titles to be found within the laserdisc repertoire. 

this all came about due to my discovery of the original star wars (aka episode iv: a new hope) on laserdisc while visiting a record store in chicago. it was 5 dollars and the prospect of getting to watch the un-touched version was too much - i had to own it. but i didn’t own a laserdisc player. no matter. i told my boyfriend that maybe i should get a player and his exact words were “that is the stupidest idea ever.” oh really? ever?

i bought a new hope and return of the jedi that day (so yes, i still need empire strikes back). they sat on my shelf next to my vinyl for a few months, just hanging out, being a novelty for drunk friends, and reminding me of my inability to play them. until now.

i visited a friend at his office at a production company in santa monica a week ago and he has several framed laserdiscs on his walls. i asked him if he owned a player, as i was thinking about getting one, but i didn’t want to pay a lot - when i had researched earlier, i was finding them for 40 dollars. too much. he asked me how much i was willing to pay and i said 20. he was sitting at his computer and about 3 seconds later declares that he had found one and had bought it. so there you go. one week later, also known as today, i picked up my new-to-me pioneer cld-v2400 laserdisc player.

another friend in the office saw me carrying the player out and asked if i could do him a favor by taking a crate of laserdiscs off his hands (he had inherited them from an exec at paramount and they were taking up space under his desk). so i walked away with 33 new titles to add to my collection. it was an eclectic bunch of movies, let me tell you. 

then came the task of hooking up this beheamoth of a player to my new-fangled hd lcd tv. unfortunately, pioneer did not include an hdmi out on their state-of-the-art laserdisc player. this baby’s rca all the way! and something called an ‘interface connector’?

luckily, i carry an extra supply of rca cables, so i was good to go. i literally just plugged it all in and turned that bad boy on. i popped in star wars and voilá, we have lift-off, ladies and gentlemen. 

in all honesty, the quality is similar to standard-def. not as bad as some vhs tapes i’ve viewed, but no blu-ray either. text is obviously more pixelated-looking than the film itself - gotta love that 35mm resolution. and sound is a pretty standard, basic left and right mix situation. i’m only playing it out of the speakers on my tv, so i didn’t need to worry about hooking the player up to a surround system or what-have-you. i’d rate the quality an overall “not bad” mixed with some “pretty good”.  

so that’s it. now a cold beer and the masterpiece star wars by pre-overstuffed-walrus-wearing-plaid george lucas beckons.