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 Post subject: Fantasia: Special Edition (1991) [1236 CS] NTSC/CAV
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2017, 01:54 
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This is the 50th Anniversary Box Set. A friend who knows I collect LDs gave me a bunch of Disney LDs that he ran across. In the group were two of this box set, which I started watching with my daughter.

Fantasia: Special Edition (1940) [1236 CS]

The Box Set - Compared to every other Disney (or non-Disney) box set, the box is an oddly large shape that is ~25% larger on one side than a normal LD. The label is on the long side, so due to the extra length it makes it difficult to store with the label facing out. The long side is just too long to put into the correct orientation along side of other normal sized laserdiscs. Besides 3 discs, the box includes a commemorative program, and a matted lithograph of Mickey as the sorcerer's apprentice. The box quality is very good, but the plastic insert that holds the discs is a little too easy to crush or bend when putting discs away after use.

Picture Quality - Of the 500+ laserdiscs I own, this is probably one of the better movies for scaling to 1080P (using VPS3800). The PQ is top notch, and is a real treat to watch and had an old school film grain texture that did not detract from the movie and felt right. I personally enjoyed the PQ through all of the animated scenes. The only time I noticed scaling artifacts was during rapid movement of smaller objects. However, the visuals were just as good and is probably one of the better laserdiscs I have seen PQ-wise. I am certain that being CAV animation helped with scaling. Regardless, very enjoyable.

Discs - In order to make the chapters work, they split the movie into chapters at the end of a given music piece so as to have a natural stopping point. A total of 5 sides of discs were used for the main move and a 6th side (CLV) contains supplementary content. The choice in chapter splits created an interesting oddity in the set. Side 2 of 6 was dedicated to the sorcerer's apprentice scene for a grand total of 10:31 of run time. Very confusing the first time you come to the end of the disc, and say to yourself, "didn't I just put that in there?" I had check that I didn't somehow start midway through a disc as I expected run time to be closer to 30 minutes.

Finally, sound quality. The movie discs have a digital and analog tracks. There is a significant difference between the two tracks. The analog track is in mono and sounded muddy compared to the digital track. The digital track is in stereo (or limited surround) which is used to great effect for sound staging. During many of the early scenes of the movie, the left to right movement in sound stage was well placed and added an extra dimension to the movie I don't think would be there in mono. The digital track also had a considerably wider dynamic range compared to the analog track. If playing back the movie, I would recommend the digital track along with properly set up stereo system to fully take advantage of sound staging. From a historical perspective, I was able to find that the original movie was largely released in Mono, but if you want an interesting read about the history of surround sound, google FANTASOUND.

All in all, I would recommend this disc set to someone who enjoyed the original Fantasia. No frills with the audio compared to many more current movies. However, I think for its time, the audio showed well, and is a byproduct of its original release date of 1940 and subsequent audio renditions.
I would say the biggest negative I can say for the disc set is the stupidly oversized box. It just doesn't fit well into my storage, and imagine woudn't for most collectors. If they had just put the label on the short side instead of the long side of the box, I may have found it more acceptable. Clearly the creators didn't think much about how people would store it, or how it compared to other box set offerings.
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