Pioneer Entertainment

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Pioneer Entertainment began as a spin-off of the Japanese electronics firm Pioneer. Although the company made releases in various genres (including music and special interest), it became best known as an anime producer and distributor. At varying times, Pioneer's LaserDisc distribution unit had licensing deals with RCA/Columbia, Universal Pictures Home Video, Paramount Home Video, and LIVE Entertainment. In 2003, Pioneer sold its entertainment division to another Japanese conglomerate, advertising giant Dentsu Incorporated. Dentsu renamed the company "Geneon Entertainment".

1st Logo (June 1980-Mid 1980s)

Visuals:

  • Opening of Side 1: It starts off with a zooming starfield. After several seconds, a greenish image of a rotating Milky Way galaxy appears. Then, the Pioneer logo, consisting of a combination of a tuning fork and a capital Omega symbol "Ω" with "PIONEER" to its right, appears and zooms up. As the word focuses closely on the letter "O", the Milky Way fades out, and the logo begins to give off a blue light trail effect. Zooming through the trail, several sparkles appear on the walls and a white circle zooms out, which turns into a rainbow-colored cycloid shape. It disappears off-screen as a laser forms the words "LaserDisc" in a metallic italicized font. Then, a laser comes in from the left and carves a line through the word as it flashes many different colors before turning back to silver.
  • End of Side 1: On the same starfield as before, "SIDE 1" appears on screen, followed by "END" flashing in below "SIDE 1". The text fades out, and then the starfield.
  • Opening of Side 2: The opening logo for side 1 plays again, but this time, instead of a green Milky Way galaxy, "SIDE 2" fades in. Then after a little bit, the logo fades out.
  • End of Side 2: Essentially, a reversed and abridged version of the side 1 opening logo: the LaserDisc wordmark is seen. A blue line shoots through from the left, remaining on the screen. Then, it disappears as the sparkles zoom toward the screen, showing the Pioneer logo (with the blue light trail) zooming out. The green Milky Way galaxy appears again.

Variant: On most LaserDisc players, the opening logo starts at the Pioneer logo zooming in. The full opening logo can only be viewed on a LD-660, or by setting your player into test mode and rewinding to before the frame 0 flag. Same goes for the Side 2 intro, where the "Side 2" text has already faded in.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio:

  • The side 1 opening features a gentle synthesized tune that gives off the feeling of being in space, which gets faster and louder as the logo zooms forth. This ends with a weird flourish sound as the cycloid appears, followed by a 9-note synth fanfare.
  • The end of side 1 variant has an ascending "wooga-wooga-wooga" sound that repeats 4 times, along with ascending synth notes.
  • The side 2 opening had an extended version of the first part of the side 1 opening music.
  • The end of side 2 variant has a similar sound to the side 1 opening, ending with an 8-note synth fanfare.

Availability: Seen on Pioneer LDs of the time, such as White Music and The Tubes Video.

2nd Logo (Mid 1980s)

Visuals: On a black background, the LaserDisc logo is seen on screen, with the usual Pioneer logo underneath. A red line draws from left to right, then sends off a big flash.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: A thumping and whining Moog synthesizer jingle with a "whoosh/ding" at the end.

Availability: This can be found on the LaserDisc LaserDisc: What It Is, How It Works.

3rd Logo (Late 1980s-1993)

Visuals: On a black/blue gradient background, the words "PIONEER ARTISTS" in the Pioneer font are seen at the top, with a blue TV tube shape containing a white Pioneer logo on the left. The LaserDisc logo is seen below it, and below all that is a red line with a "digital SOUND" logo at the bottom right with the line in between.

Variant:

  • If side 1 on the disc comes to an end, the logo appears with the words "End of Side 1" appear in the bottom left.
  • On the intro of a specific line of Pioneer releases (titled Compact LaserDisc), the logo would fade in, a few effects would scale some text, and then a line would draw though the "digital audio" logo in the corner and would then spin to show the album cover. The outro version would just fade in with the logo text but with the line and the "digital SOUND" replaced by "End of Side", then spinning to show the copyright warning.

Technique: A fading effect.

Audio: None.

Availability: Seen on Pioneer Artists LD releases from the time. The "Compact LaserDisc" variant can only be seen on the series of the same name, of which there are only seven titles known to exist.

4th Logo (1990-1998, 2003)


Visuals: On a black background, a ring of yellow, lime green and orange sparkles moves to the center of the screen to encircle a gold tuning fork. Then, the ring and tuning fork turn into the Omega symbol (in golden orange) and zoom out to the left to make room for "PIONEER", and the whole thing turns periwinkle. It then fades into another screen which reads "presented by PIONEER ENTERTAINMENT (USA) L.P." (for North American releases) or "presented by PIONEER LDC, INC." (for Japanese releases).

Variants:

  • A few Japanese releases would have in the second part, the word "PIONEER LDCA" or "PIONEER LDCE".
  • Variants with the logo colored gold and blue with white outlines have been used. The blue-colored variant has "The Art of Entertainment" below the logo.
  • On Pioneer Special Editions Laserdiscs like Platoon and The Doors, the words "Special Edition" appear in gold 3D lettering below the logo.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A whimsical synth tune.

Availability: Can be seen on American and Japanese Pioneer Entertainment VHS tapes, Laserdiscs and DVDs of the era. It appeared on the 2003 DVD of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released in association with MPI Home Video.

5th Logo (1991-1998)


Visuals: On a space background with purple clouds, a large star, made of multicolored extrusions, flies towards the screen and off to the bottom right corner as a comet passes by. As this happens, the word "PIONEER" scrolls among the screen, along with an silver bar behind it being another word. When they both scroll offscreen, a flash happens, revealing the star-like object and it moves upwards, with the Pioneer logo appearing in the bottom left. "PIONEER" then returns, with "ARTISTS" being in the same font, both flying into place, along with "The Art of Entertainment". The star then produces a spotlight and reveals a spinning LaserDisc. The logo shines until the end and another comet flies through.

Variant: On some releases, a "Side 1" or "Side 2" caption is also included on the top left corner of the screen if there is more than one side to the disc.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A dreamy synth tune.

Availability: Can be found on the LaserDisc of Pet Shop Boys: Various, Thomas Dolby: Golden Age of Video and other Pioneer Artists releases of the time.

6th Logo (October 1, 1998-2003)

Visuals: On a white background, the new Pioneer logo fades in maroon. The logo here is completely different, with no tuning fork/omega combination, and instead is in a more streamlined italicized futuristic font. It then fades into the same screen from the end of the last logo.

Variant: In 2001, the background was changed to black and the logo was slightly moved upwards. This was used on American releases.

Technique: A fading effect.

Audio: None.

Availability: Can be seen on Pioneer Entertainment VHS tapes and DVDs of the era from 1998 to 2003.

  • The black variant can be seen on DVDs such as Akira, and the white variant can also be seen on the 1999 Japanese LaserDisc, DVD and VHS of Tenchi Muyo in Love 2: Distant Thoughts (with the Widescreen version of said variant on the DVD) and the 2000 Japanese LaserDisc of The Phantom Menace.
  • Also appears on Viz Video releases, such as later Pokémon: Indigo League and Pokémon: The Johto Journeys VHS and DVD releases.

7th Logo (December 13, 1998-January 18, 2000)

Visuals: Just the text "EXCLUSIVELY DISTRIBUTED BY" or "PRESENTED BY" at the top of the screen, and "PIONEER ENTERTAINMENT" at the bottom.

Variant: In the "Distributed by" version, it has "(USA) L.P." next to the bottom caption.

Technique: None. [possible misuse]

Audio: None.

Availability: Seen on early Pokémon videotapes and DVDs from the era.

8th Logo (Early-Mid 2000s)


Visuals: On a black background, a silver "P" from the Pioneer logo from the time descends from the top left of the screen, in which it also flips to become a "s" as lines of the word "sound" come in. More letters and a single "sound" form briefly before changing to a shot of many "vision" words as well as a single one and the letter "v". The letters then shift to an "s" again, but with the word being "soul" as a silver, flipped Pioneer logo appears near the top right corner of the screen. The logo then suddenly shifts out of position and flips around as bands of the word "sound" reappear. The "P" then takes up the screen, with the logo then fading in on a illuminated silver background. Below it is the italic text "sound.vision.soul" in maroon.

Trivia: The logo is actually a long version of the "sound.vision.soul" tail end logo seen on their commercials at the time.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A bump is heard at first, leading into a 4-note guitar theme. A female voice says the words as they come across the screen and xylophones fill the ambiance. As the Pioneer logo flips into place, a piano tune is heard before a whoosh happens. The same 4-note guitar theme plays again before ending with a man saying "Pioneer."

Availability: Appeared on sample DVDs brought with Pioneer DVDs from the period.

Pioneer Entertainment
Geneon Entertainment
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