DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

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DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby DNA » Tue May 22, 2018 3:29 pm

I've been doing some research in terms of different audio sources and different extras included in home media, and then I suddenly remembered that there were laserdiscs for all original 13 Dragon Ball Z movies.

So to anyone who actually owns them or has watched them, is there a difference in audio and/or video compared to other more common releases?
What about extras? Any unreleased stuff? I know Movie 3 has a special karaoke version of Cha-La Head Cha-La.

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby Robo4900 » Tue May 22, 2018 3:51 pm

I don't own them myself, but here's what I know:

They're a non-anamorphic 16:9 closed-matted transfer, the main audio track is a PCM version of the audio master used on the Dragon Box Movies set, and an extra audio channel containing isolated music is included.

I believe the 10th anniversary movie from 1996(Saikyou E No Michi/The Path To Ultimate Strength/Path To Power) was also released on Laserdisc, but none of the other OG Dragon Ball movies were.
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby DNA » Tue May 22, 2018 4:39 pm

How does that compare to the Dragon Box Movies?
I mean, I'm not very experienced with audio or video but for example I just discovered the staggering difference between broadcast audio and the audio used on Dragon Box.

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby Robo4900 » Wed May 23, 2018 12:30 am

DNA wrote:How does that compare to the Dragon Box Movies?
I mean, I'm not very experienced with audio or video but for example I just discovered the staggering difference between broadcast audio and the audio used on Dragon Box.

Well, first thing you've gotta know; outside of most of the bonus features(Plan To Eradicate The Saiyans, the GT TV special, various TV commercials), everything on the Dragon Boxes comes from film. Unfortunately, this extends to audio too; Toei doesn't have good masters for the audio of the Dragon Ball or Z TV shows, so we get the crappy optical film audio track, and Toei either ignored or forgot their good masters of GT that exist on its tape master, instead electing to go for the crappy optical on the film.
If the master audio for DB or Z did exist, it would be on the form of magnetic cinetape, basically a film reel that's an audio tape. For all 17 of the movies, this magnetic cinetape master does exist, so the audio used comes from that. It's crystal clear.
The Laserdiscs use the exact same audio master as the Dragon Box, the only difference being that the Laserdiscs store it as PCM(Lossless/uncompressed), while the DVDs store it as 384kbps AC3. No practical difference there, but PCM is technically superior, and is preferable, because audio nuts go crazy over it, while casuals won't notice a difference.
The Laserdiscs do get one big advantage over the Dragon Boxes, though, in that they include a second track containing the isolated music score. The Dragon Boxes didn't do this at all.

The video on the DVDs is an anamorphic, 16:9 closed-matte transfer, while the Laserdisc is the same, just non-anamorphic. Essentially, this means that the DVD version is a 16:9 video squashed down to fit to 720x480, with a flag on the DVD telling the player to stretch it back out to 16:9 for playback, while the Laserdisc simply shrinks the entire 16:9 video down to fit the 4:3 video frame available on a Laserdisc, giving it a lower overall resolution, and adding black bars to the top and bottom. Why they didn't just transfer it open-matte to fit the full 4:3 frame for the Laserdisc version, I'll never know. In any case, this means the DVD version has a strong advantage in terms of video resolution.
I'm unsure how the two transfers compare; I presume they are different transfers, but I've never seen -- or been able to make -- any detailed comparisons between the two.
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby HakkaiBills93 » Wed May 23, 2018 1:06 am

Robo4900 wrote:
DNA wrote:How does that compare to the Dragon Box Movies?
I mean, I'm not very experienced with audio or video but for example I just discovered the staggering difference between broadcast audio and the audio used on Dragon Box.

Well, first thing you've gotta know; outside of most of the bonus features(Plan To Eradicate The Saiyans, the GT TV special, various TV commercials), everything on the Dragon Boxes comes from film. Unfortunately, this extends to audio too; Toei doesn't have good masters for the audio of the Dragon Ball or Z TV shows, so we get the crappy optical film audio track, and Toei either ignored or forgot their good masters of GT that exist on its tape master, instead electing to go for the crappy optical on the film.
If the master audio for DB or Z did exist, it would be on the form of magnetic cinetape, basically a film reel that's an audio tape. For all 17 of the movies, this magnetic cinetape master does exist, so the audio used comes from that. It's crystal clear.
The Laserdiscs use the exact same audio master as the Dragon Box, the only difference being that the Laserdiscs store it as PCM(Lossless/uncompressed), while the DVDs store it as 384kbps AC3. No practical difference there, but PCM is technically superior, and is preferable, because audio nuts go crazy over it, while casuals won't notice a difference.
The Laserdiscs do get one big advantage over the Dragon Boxes, though, in that they include a second track containing the isolated music score. The Dragon Boxes didn't do this at all.

The video on the DVDs is an anamorphic, 16:9 closed-matte transfer, while the Laserdisc is the same, just non-anamorphic. Essentially, this means that the DVD version is a 16:9 video squashed down to fit to 720x480, with a flag on the DVD telling the player to stretch it back out to 16:9 for playback, while the Laserdisc simply shrinks the entire 16:9 video down to fit the 4:3 video frame available on a Laserdisc, giving it a lower overall resolution, and adding black bars to the top and bottom. Why they didn't just transfer it open-matte to fit the full 4:3 frame for the Laserdisc version, I'll never know. In any case, this means the DVD version has a strong advantage in terms of video resolution.
I'm unsure how the two transfers compare; I presume they are different transfers, but I've never seen -- or been able to make -- any detailed comparisons between the two.


color aren't the same for those two, you can also check deagostini ita dvd for that, they use laserdisc transfer with same colors (more or less degraded) if it's just to check
about movies they also have been release on drama cassette tape (1-13 don't know for db) but nowhere to find them (i just have seen some covers from another members here

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby DNA » Wed May 23, 2018 3:14 am

Is the video shrinked by default or is that a process of playing the laserdisc? Would that mean that hypothetically the laserdisc would also have superior video if it wasn't shrinked? Would it be possible to extract unshrinked video?

I compared a YouTube video of a laserdisc (obviously not the best source) to a Dragon Box, the only big difference I noticed was the colors were darker in laserdisc. But YouTube compresses audio, right?

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby Bruma rabu » Wed May 23, 2018 7:16 am

I have 5 DBZ laserdiscs but haven't been able to view or listen to them yet, but I have herd the audio drama for movie 11 in a wav codec. It is better than the audio on the DVD. The difference isn't as big as the BA audio but it is better. This could mean that the laser disc audio is better than the DBox audio.
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby HakkaiBills93 » Wed May 23, 2018 7:26 am

Bruma rabu wrote:I have 5 DBZ laserdiscs but haven't been able to view or listen to them yet, but I have herd the audio drama for movie 11 in a wav codec. It is better than the audio on the DVD. The difference isn't as big as the BA audio but it is better. This could mean that the laser disc audio is better than the DBox audio.


the same as dbox but in PCM it's better as dbox is compressed but nothing really extraordinary

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby AnimeMaakuo » Wed May 23, 2018 9:27 am

DNA wrote:How does that compare to the Dragon Box Movies?
I mean, I'm not very experienced with audio or video but for example I just discovered the staggering difference between broadcast audio and the audio used on Dragon Box.

I’ve digitized all 13. There’s no audible difference between laser disc and Dragon Box: The Movies. The drama CD for movie 11 is remixed in stereo and surpasses both Dragon Box: The Movies and laser disc, however movie 6 remixed in stereo on cassette is degraded and not worth your time.
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby AnimeMaakuo » Wed May 23, 2018 9:37 am

Robo4900 wrote:
DNA wrote:How does that compare to the Dragon Box Movies?
I mean, I'm not very experienced with audio or video but for example I just discovered the staggering difference between broadcast audio and the audio used on Dragon Box.

Well, first thing you've gotta know; outside of most of the bonus features(Plan To Eradicate The Saiyans, the GT TV special, various TV commercials), everything on the Dragon Boxes comes from film. Unfortunately, this extends to audio too; Toei doesn't have good masters for the audio of the Dragon Ball or Z TV shows, so we get the crappy optical film audio track, and Toei either ignored or forgot their good masters of GT that exist on its tape master, instead electing to go for the crappy optical on the film.
If the master audio for DB or Z did exist, it would be on the form of magnetic cinetape, basically a film reel that's an audio tape. For all 17 of the movies, this magnetic cinetape master does exist, so the audio used comes from that. It's crystal clear.
The Laserdiscs use the exact same audio master as the Dragon Box, the only difference being that the Laserdiscs store it as PCM(Lossless/uncompressed), while the DVDs store it as 384kbps AC3. No practical difference there, but PCM is technically superior, and is preferable, because audio nuts go crazy over it, while casuals won't notice a difference.
The Laserdiscs do get one big advantage over the Dragon Boxes, though, in that they include a second track containing the isolated music score. The Dragon Boxes didn't do this at all.

The video on the DVDs is an anamorphic, 16:9 closed-matte transfer, while the Laserdisc is the same, just non-anamorphic. Essentially, this means that the DVD version is a 16:9 video squashed down to fit to 720x480, with a flag on the DVD telling the player to stretch it back out to 16:9 for playback, while the Laserdisc simply shrinks the entire 16:9 video down to fit the 4:3 video frame available on a Laserdisc, giving it a lower overall resolution, and adding black bars to the top and bottom. Why they didn't just transfer it open-matte to fit the full 4:3 frame for the Laserdisc version, I'll never know. In any case, this means the DVD version has a strong advantage in terms of video resolution.
I'm unsure how the two transfers compare; I presume they are different transfers, but I've never seen -- or been able to make -- any detailed comparisons between the two.

They were actually 4:3 until DBZ movie 3, and then switched to widescreen from DBZ movie 4. At the same time, Toei video started releasing Laser Discs of DBZ movies, which were in 16:9 because LDs were for videophiles (as they preferred something "original", "intended" and "theatrical").

After that, they started using the same masters for VHS. They also re-released the first six movies in widescreen in the late '90s as widescreen CRT TVs were becoming popular. I know for a fact that they showed them in 4:3 at theaters. DBZ movies were often shown at small non-cinema facilities like local community halls which have only standard size screens, so from what I've gathered, they were meant to be seen in 4:3 since the beginning.
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby DNA » Wed May 23, 2018 11:05 am

AnimeMaakuo wrote:I’ve digitized all 13. There’s no audible difference between laser disc and Dragon Box: The Movies. The drama CD for movie 11 is remixed in stereo and surpasses both Dragon Box: The Movies and laser disc, however movie 6 remixed in stereo on cassette is degraded and not worth your time.

Ok, so audio hasn't got much to be gained. And video is superior on Dragon Boxes. What about extras? Is everything the same?

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby Robo4900 » Wed May 23, 2018 4:42 pm

DNA wrote:Is the video shrinked by default or is that a process of playing the laserdisc? Would that mean that hypothetically the laserdisc would also have superior video if it wasn't shrinked? Would it be possible to extract unshrinked video?

I compared a YouTube video of a laserdisc (obviously not the best source) to a Dragon Box, the only big difference I noticed was the colors were darker in laserdisc. But YouTube compresses audio, right?

You misunderstand.

Effectively, the laserdisc contains a 640x480 video(Practically speaking, this isn't how it works, but for simplicity, let's say this is how it works). In order to fit the 16:9 video within the 640x480 4:3 frame, it has to be stored on the Laserdisc at 640x360, with black bars at the top and bottom to pad it out.
So, the video is already shrunk. No way to unshrink it.
Even if it wasn't shrunk, I think it's either the same transfer, or an inferior transfer to that of the Dragon Boxes. So, I doubt it'd be superior even if it was a proper, anamorphic video signal like the DVD.

And yes, YouTube lossily compresses audio. Only way to actually compare the LD and DVD audio is to rip the original PCM data from one of the LDs, and A/B compare it to the original AC3 data on the DVD.

AnimeMaakuo wrote:
Bruma rabu wrote:I have 5 DBZ laserdiscs but haven't been able to view or listen to them yet, but I have herd the audio drama for movie 11 in a wav codec. It is better than the audio on the DVD. The difference isn't as big as the BA audio but it is better. This could mean that the laser disc audio is better than the DBox audio.

The drama CD for movie 11 is remixed in stereo and surpasses both Dragon Box: The Movies and laser disc, however movie 6 remixed in stereo on cassette is degraded and not worth your time.

So, I'd have to look into this to double-check I'm remembering this right, but the way I understand this situation is that Z movie 11's drama CD used the original mono voice and effects tracks, but used the music in its original stereo form(For those unaware: Aside from a handful of cues, all of Kikuchi's score was recorded and mixed in stereo. You can hear the original stereo forms of most of these cues on the various CDs that most of the Kikuchi Dragon Ball scores have been released on). This basically ends up meaning it sounds a lot better overall, and gives the illusion of a proper stereo mix, despite the fact it's only really partially stereo.
The "Stereo" mix of Z movie 6 is also a case of this.

It is, however, worth noting that DBZ movie 13 and the 10th anniversary movie were actually properly mixed in stereo, and that's what's on the Dragon Box(Almost certainly on the LD too). Z movie 12 also had a proper stereo mix produced, but it was never released.
I believe, starting from movie 12, they started properly mixing in stereo, and then they realised that since all the music exists in stereo anyway, the movies prior to that could get stereo releases if they wanted to do that simply by putting the stereo music on there. It seems they ended up only bothering with this process for audio drama releases. A shame they didn't do it for all the pre-Z movie 12 stuff on the Dragon Box, and that they only used the mono mix for Z movie 12; it would've been really nice to have all the movies in a nice, stereo format.
If we want to go into full-on speculation mode, one possible reason why movie 12's stereo mix was never released may be that since it was likely their first foray into stereo mixing in Dragon Ball, it may have simply ended up not as good a mix as the mono one.

(I realise AnimeMaakuo wasn't quoting Bruma rabu here; I'm responding to both Maakuo and Rabu, and Maakuo's bit here seemed to be addressing that idea, so I thought it'd come off best if I put the quotes together. Apologies if this causes any confusion)

DNA wrote:Ok, so audio hasn't got much to be gained. And video is superior on Dragon Boxes. What about extras? Is everything the same?

Each movie on the Movie Dragon Box contains a teaser, a trailer, a description of the movie by Goku, and an image of the poster.
Each movie on the Laserdiscs includes a music-only audio track, and I believe some sort of trailer or teaser.

AnimeMaakuo wrote:They were actually 4:3 until DBZ movie 3, and then switched to widescreen from DBZ movie 4. At the same time, Toei video started releasing Laser Discs of DBZ movies, which were in 16:9 because LDs were for videophiles (as they preferred something "original", "intended" and "theatrical").

After that, they started using the same masters for VHS. They also re-released the first six movies in widescreen in the late '90s as widescreen CRT TVs were becoming popular. I know for a fact that they showed them in 4:3 at theaters. DBZ movies were often shown at small non-cinema facilities like local community halls which have only standard size screens, so from what I've gathered, they were meant to be seen in 4:3 since the beginning.

I always suspected this, but never saw any solid evidence of this. Thank you for corroborating my theories.

Any chance you have any sources on this that I can point to and/or look into for my own research?
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby DB1984 » Thu May 24, 2018 11:43 am

Did the laserdiscs and VHS tapes have the Goodbye cards at the end of each film?

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby DNA » Thu May 24, 2018 12:17 pm

Ok, so basically we're not missing much from the Laserdiscs. It still is a very interesting piece of Dragon Ball merchandise and history.
From what I've been researching and asking around, the Drama Cassettes and CDs are the ones that actually have some better audio. DBZ Movie 1, 6 and 11 were released in stereo. I'm not sure if the episodes were as well.

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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby Robo4900 » Thu May 24, 2018 6:16 pm

DNA wrote:Ok, so basically we're not missing much from the Laserdiscs. It still is a very interesting piece of Dragon Ball merchandise and history.

I would argue the isolated scores are a big deal.

DNA wrote:From what I've been researching and asking around, the Drama Cassettes and CDs are the ones that actually have some better audio. DBZ Movie 1, 6 and 11 were released in stereo.

I'm pretty sure it was just 6 and 11. And 6 was only on cassette, so getting its semi-stereo audio is a bit of a bugger.
I'm curious what your source is on movie 1 getting some kind of stereo audio release.

DNA wrote:I'm not sure if the episodes were as well.

I believe Z episode 2 was released on cassette in mono, and episodes 237 and 229 were released on CD, also in mono.
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Re: DBZ Movies on Laserdisc

Postby tronk21 » Fri May 25, 2018 12:53 am

Robo4900 wrote:I'm curious what your source is on movie 1 getting some kind of stereo audio release.


Well, there's a book as a supplement to the tape, which has about 80 % of audio of "Dragon Ball Z" (or as some like to call it "Dragon Ball Z: Return My Gohan"). Here's a photo of it:

Image

You can see the text that says "STEREO" in the upper corner.

If the text was referring to only songs being in stereo and the actual movie was in mono like it is in the case of the tapes with DBZ episode 2, DBZ Movie 2 and Movie 4, then the label would say "MONO-STEREO" or "STEREO-MONO" like in those cases:









But when a cassette is solely stereo in its entire presentation then the sign reads "STEREO" on the covers as in the case of DBZ Movie 6:



To further prove that the movie 1 tape is probably in stereo are the texts on those tapes themselves. When a tape contains both mono and stereo material, it also is labelled as such. The "MONO" and "STEREO" words are in different lines there along with the line that specifies the year of release of any given tape. So we've got 3 rows of text in the lower part of the tapes themselves when movies or episodes themselves are in mono. Like in these cases:







In the case of DBZ Movie 6 on tape, you can only see the stereo text so 2 lines of text altogether there:



Now I don't have a big picture of DBZ Movie 1 tape itself as I don't own it (only the book supplement for the cassette). But I only have this picture on hand:

Image

However, this is big enough to see that there are clearly 2 lines of text there. It must say "STEREO, 1989" in them. When both the book and the tape is labelled as "STEREO", I don't see how it can be in mono. On the other hand, one guy says that it's impossible for it to be in stereo because the music for the movie isn't in stereo on any release. If the stereo masters of music were created for this cassette then it would have been released in this form later in 1992.

So there really no way for sure to tell what number of channels the sound on this release has unless one actually buys the tape. Good luck with that... It's extemely rare, showing for sale on the Internet once every 6 years or something. So I think we probably won't ever know.

If you required a proof on something, I will ask for one: what do your have to support your theory that DBZ Movie 12 was produced in stereo? You read that in some interview or article? I'm sure you're just misinforming people. Out of all the original DBZ movies only Movie 13 was released in stereo in its entirety. If you say that Movie 12 was produced in stereo, but never released as such then the logical question appears... How can you know about it then? We can only know whether something exists or not if it was released at some point. Otherwise, you have to know the behind-of-scenes stuff to tell. Unless the movie aired on TV in stereo, there's no way to tell.


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