Sweeney on DVD

Dan Goldwasser Video Projects

I took my laserdisc player out of my living room today, and set it down on the floor next to my computers. I then plugged it into the Canopus DV Rex breakout box, which is installed in my old computer. That computer is hooked up to my NetGear router via Ethernet, and my new computer is connected in a likewise fashion. I have a 200GB FireWire drive plugged into the new computer, with file sharing turned on, sharing the drive to the LAN. Such is the setup that I used yesterday to digitize the 140-minute extremely rare Laserdisc of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street through my network to my FireWire drive in DV format. From there, I edited it together (removing the disc/side changes) and re-output it to DV. I then created a nice menu system for the chapters, and began the MPEG-2 encoding process.

The film runs 140 minutes. with 2-pass VBR encoding, it takes about 2.5-3 hours to encode the disc. I did it 5 different times before I got a file that would not only fit on the DVD, but looked good. (I had to remember that the AC3 file for the audio was going to take up some space too!) Once it was all figured out, it took about 25 minutes to generate the DVD in Scenarist, and then another 25 to burn it to DVD-R. Total turnaround time: 24 hours. Of course, next time will be easier since I don’t have to waste 18 hours compressing the film!

Update: I’ve now encoded the Early Pixar Animation side of the Toy Story laserdisc, which includes the original unedited version of “Knickknack”. Next up – the 2 hour long Jaws documentary!