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 Post subject: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 24 Jul 2018, 22:49 
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Good day everyone. My name is Michael, aka modernzorker, from good old Indiana in the middle of the United States. While I've had an interest in the LD format ever since I was a child, I've only owned a player for about fifteen years. I was well on my way to a decent-sized library until the day my dogs decided they would taste good and ate their way through the sleeves of about half my collection one afternoon when I took a nap.

After that, I 'shelved' my 'disc collection habits up until a couple of months ago when a large lot of discs came into the place where I work, and I got the itch to re-build (one does not see the Japanese "Millennium" LDs all that often, and I didn't even know they existed at the time--needless to say I couldn't NOT buy them, and things spiraled out from there). I stumbled across this site when looking for a way to catalog and keep track of my haul, but now I've hit a snag: something that not only doesn't seem to be in the database, but also that I can't find anywhere else online. I figure it's time to turn to the experts to see if anybody knows what on earth this disc is. It came as part of a bulk lot of discs I purchased at a yard sale last month, and I only just now got around to cataloging.

The disc itself came in a plain white sleeve with no artwork, although across the top of the front, someone had originally marked it as "The Elephant Man" in red pen. This was later written over in black ink with the words, "M.I.T. Summer 1981."

Inside the sleeve is a plain white paper sleeve holding the disc. Notations on one side of the sleeve have been made in pencil, and they appear to be frame references of some sort:

Quote:
27373 - Blondie
27325 -
29840 - b&w photos


On the bottom part of the sleeve is more pencil writings:

Quote:
Video/Optical Disc
Background and Developments > 31509


The disc itself has two sides (A and B), sports a Disco Vision label, reading, "M.I.T. Summer Session 1981", and has what I assume to be a catalog number as well: 07708. The copyright on the label gives a year of 1980.

I figured I'd stick it into the player and see what happened. The disc is NTSC, in CAV format, but the quality is very poor, something like you'd get from a multi-generational VHS copy--it doesn't appear rotted as far as I can tell. I pressed play and discovered it opens with a series of what appear to be French animated short cartoons, just a minute or two each. After several of these play in succession, there's a commercial for an old magazine called "Technology Illustrated". Following that comes a news story about the launch of a new satellite. The news presenter is cut off as the recording switches to a video of the launch as recorded from the ground as the shuttle ignites engines and takes off into the sky.

Following this was a seizure-inducing array of images that flashed by faster than the eye could perceive. It took me a few seconds to realize this was obviously a slide show, meant to be stepped through using the remote. There are thousands of images here, all of them roughly grouped into different categories: photographs of nature, works of art, pictures of wild animals, what look like candid shots from a college campus (one with references to the Dartmouth College Glee Club), bits of technology, faces of a whole slew of people I don't recognize (faculty/staff at MIT?), and it just keeps going from there into what look like someone's own personal vacation pictures, still frames captured from the video from an old handheld movie camera, and even a few, uh, 'candid' shots of somebody's wife/girlfriend that she'd probably prefer remained out of the public's eye, if you catch my drift...

Side B is even stranger: an array of video clips, each with a short title card, identifying where the material came from and what it's intended usage is. The first is a clip from the TV show "All In the Family", from the episode, "Archie and the Computer." The second is a video from England showing how to assemble the fuel pump for a Jaguar. From there it just gets stranger: a juggling demonstration which starts off using balls but progresses to using laserdiscs(!), a sales promotional video from the Avon corporation entitled "Avon Goes Disco At MIT" presented by the Avon Success Network, a video from AT&T, and more.

It's one of the weirdest things I've ever run across, in any format, ever. I cannot fathom what purpose any of it could serve, beyond just being a sort of tech demo for all the things one could do with a laserdisc. Without any accompanying materials or paperwork, or even a table of contents, I feel ill-equipped to suss out its true nature. Thus I'm hoping the community is up to helping me solve a mystery. :)

Does anybody out there have any idea what this is, why it was made, or what purpose it may have today beyond sheer curiosity value? Has anyone come across similar pieces in their travels? I can post pictures of it later tonight if there's any interest. In the lot I purchased, it was sandwiched in with a number of other sampler-style discs: Pioneer Laser Optics, Paramount Sampler, and a couple of MGM/UA samplers. Guess the previous owner didn't know what to do with it either. :D

In any case, thanks so much for building up this awesome community and being so welcoming to neophytes and novices such as myself.


Last edited by modernzorker on 25 Jul 2018, 19:34, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 01:25 
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You don’t have a picture?

It’s absolutely not retail and probably totally unique. I’d wager each clip had some use of its own. Discovision era, 1981, means there were no recordables at the time and therefore this was very expensive to make. In 1981 the format was still being very actively developed and there were some unsolved issues with the format. I would assume they were at MIT for a technical reason. Summer 81 was the format’s first wide-ish launch, or some time in 81 anyway. This was probably work done in preparation for that.

Please digitize and preserve it as well as possible and quickly.
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 02:39 
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I can totally provide some pics, just didn't want to clog up the board with a bunch of images as my first post here. :)

Here's the sleeve:
Image

Here's the inner jacket:
Image

Side A Close Up:
Image

Side B:
Image

While I'd absolutely love to digitize this for archival, I lack the means to do it. Is there anywhere (or anyone) the members of the forum would recommend, preferably in the US, that I could entrust this disc to for that purpose? I'm a huge advocate for preservation and distribution of weird stuff like this, since it doesn't do anybody else any good if it's just sitting in my collection.
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 04:58 
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I'm very interested in digitizing it :)
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 17:49 
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Hi to you modernzorker.

Also thank-you for posting this & in such detail - it looks to be a rather special disc you have bagged.

Please let us know if you get this running to view at any time as I for one would really like to see the contents.

Again thanks for such a (very well) detailed post & the pictures, to say the least very interesting indeed.

Happy disc hunting & if you grab any more like this let us know & if you can please update the discs on here as it would be most helpful.

Cheers,

John
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 20:17 
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happycube wrote:
I'm very interested in digitizing it :)


This is the guy to do it, no question.
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 20:29 
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signofzeta wrote:
happycube wrote:
I'm very interested in digitizing it :)


This is the guy to do it, no question.

Good enough of a recommendation for me! I'll get in contact with happycube then. Stuff like this needs to be preserved, no question. Looks like I came to the right place. :)

Also as requested, I've submitted the title for cataloging:

https://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/submit/56031/

My first time doing this, so please let me know if anything looks out of whack or I messed something up. :)
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 21:00 
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Hope it can be posted on youtube for others to see once transferred. :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 25 Jul 2018, 22:30 
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Definitely :)
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2018, 03:27 
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modernzorker wrote:
Also as requested, I've submitted the title for cataloging:

https://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/submit/56031/


Thanks!

Made a few edits and added your description of the contents.

Are you sure about the CX encoding?

Julien
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2018, 03:32 
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admin wrote:
modernzorker wrote:
Also as requested, I've submitted the title for cataloging:

https://www.lddb.com/laserdisc/submit/56031/


Thanks!

Made a few edits and added your description of the contents.

Are you sure about the CX encoding?

Julien

Thanks so much, Julien!

I'm not 100% positive of anything, I just know that I can turn CX off and on via the remote, which is something I don't think you can do on non-CX discs. But this is all still new enough to me that it may be a quirk of my system. I'm using a Pioneer CLD-D701, if that helps. Once happycube has the disc, hopefully he can double-check my work and update/fix anything I got wrong. :)
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2018, 04:07 
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modernzorker wrote:
I'm not 100% positive of anything, I just know that I can turn CX off and on via the remote, which is something I don't think you can do on non-CX discs. But this is all still new enough to me that it may be a quirk of my system. I'm using a Pioneer CLD-D701, if that helps. Once happycube has the disc, hopefully he can double-check my work and update/fix anything I got wrong. :)


Gotcha.

Added => M.I.T. Summer Session 1981 (1981) [07708]

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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 27 Jul 2018, 21:35 
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For those keeping score, the disc has been packaged and sent to happycube so he can work his magic! :D
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 29 Jul 2018, 18:16 
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Unfortunately there's just snippet view here, but I'm pretty sure this is a ref to the disk:

https://books.google.com/books?id=4nQfA ... AQ6AEILTAB
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 29 Jul 2018, 20:55 
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Awesome!

RIP Disclord, btw. He would have loved this, assuming he didn’t know about it already.
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2018, 07:33 
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I've got the disk! The signal quality is a bit off - there's a sort of internal staining effect that might be affecting SNR/signal quality quite a bit, but it's playable. (I saw a very similar effect last night on a Toshiba/EMI BGV demo disk which had a stained cover - I think it might be a water stain effect. water-rot?) I've got a rough DVD-R .zip I made using a Panasonic DVD recorder that's on it's way to Google Drive right now. It'll be a while until I have something better.

Link here (for a few days @ least): https://drive.google.com/open?id=1trZxS ... MHvDKfI9xR

And yeah - I think Disclord would've loved this too.

Also, a couple of 1981 era MIT papers I found (not about this, but other stuff they were doing):

http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/ ... sequence=2
https://www.media.mit.edu/speech/papers ... indows.pdf
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 Post subject: Re: De-lurking With A Question!
PostPosted: 31 Jul 2018, 10:32 
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Really odd and interesting disc, thanks for bringing it to our attention, modernzorker, and thanks to happycube for digitising it! You could spend days pouring through all those still images. Looks like there's a lot of technical stuff about laserdisc on there, and I think I spotted a CED disc at one point. Loved the laserdisc juggling!
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