Wow, that's quite a collection! I'm trying to get this audio track issue ironed out right now, but once I'm done and have the Space Berserker videos online, I'll send you a message when I'm ready to accept loans of disks for dumping purposes.Anyways, if this project needs any hardware or software I have quite a bit that can be loaned out no problem.
In terms of hardware, I don't need any hardware loaned at this point, but one thing that does need to be done is to dump the bios from the NEC PAC-N1/PAC-N10. I don't have one in my collection, but I also don't really have the equipment to do it either. Not sure who would be up to the task, but I suspect the controller IC we're currently reverse-engineering the interface to will be the same in the NEC PAC, meaning there's probably no real testing that needs to be done on the PAC-N10 itself, we just need the bios dump, and combined with the LDROM2 game dumps, and the notes from reverse-engineering the PAC-S10, someone should be able to come along later and emulate the system if they put the time in.
Intercepting the video earlier in the pipeline is a good idea. I have a second LaserActive unit for parts that I can experiment on. I'll take a look and see if there's a good point to grab the signal. If it comes out cleaner, I can use that instead.Also, I had a thought... It might be better to tap the LD video before it even reaches the chip where it gets mixed with PAC video. I'll look at the schematic again, but we can probably wire up a system to tap video way before the composite out jack on the back. Might help with quality etc.
That might be only when the digital buffer is enabled? Most games turn the buffer on, so the video signal is converted to a digital image inside the LaserActive, and the video output comes from that. I have noticed the quality doesn't seem to be as good with the buffer on, but I don't have to enable the buffer when I play the video track.I have heard that when LD video (movie or game) is run through a PAC, the video is run in a different (lower quality) mode than when playback is done without a PAC (movies only of course) Maybe someone else can chime in on more details concerning this, but if its true, then maybe we can look into modding a system specifically for capturing this video.
One thing I've been thinking about over the last few days is how to capture video data in the "overscan" regions of the video. I noticed with Space Berserker, when messing around with some overlay bios settings, I triggered an invalid video mode which caused the video data in the overscan regions to be visible, and I noticed the overscan region contains time codes. The time code data could be very useful to capture. I'm going to try and figure out a way to get a stable image with the overscan regions fully visible, so I can rip the time code data along with the frame data.