Blu Ray Baby
I originally started this with an appeal for help on the making of a Blu Ray disc out of Final cut pro and so choose the FCP forum as that is where my project began but now I am at the other end of this journey and fighting with Adobe Encore I am thinking this might be a better place to ask my questions.
I made a four minute test from fcp last week using Abobe media encoder and Encore which seemed O.K. up to the point of bringing in files and making menus and chapters. I don't have any discs as yet so have not tried burning anything. Then yesterday I encoded the full 2hr project which took over eight hours to convert in Adobe Media Encoder to MP4 file. It is 18 .5 gigabyte and I have just tried to bring it into Encore Cs5. The wheels spin around seemingly forever and I force quit it a couple of times thinking there might be a problem. I have now read somewhere it might take a while but have no idea how long. ( I now assume it's bringing in the whole file and not just a reference of it. ) Could this take another eight hours or could it be a lot shorter.? Will the output file be the same size as the input file ? It all a mystery right now so don't know whether I should sit here and wait or go in the garden and cut logs for the rest of the day. After that I don't know what size file I will end up with ( so don't know as yet what discs to order) or how long I should expect it to take to output a disk image. It's all quite worrying and painful not knowing what to expect or whether I am doing it right or wrong or whether after all that it might not work. I have searched everywhere for these answers but had no luck.
My idea is to make a disc image and use that in conjunction with toast to make several copies.
I have been told I can burn several copies out of encore and am quite happy to do that if it is as quick and easy as doing it with toast but what happens when I shut everything down and go back in the future to make another copy. Will it just as easily ( and quickly) burn another copy. Will I have to make a disk image to use with encore to do this or just use the normal output files. Finally , will toast burn a Blue Ray disc image file made with Encore to a Blu Ray disc in an external Blu Ray burner without the need for a plug in. - I would be testing right now if I had discs but as they are so expensive and i need to order about six I wanted to wait to see the finished file size in case I need more than a 25 gig disc to get it all on.
So many questions so few answers.
Any help is most welcome. Many Thanks - BRIAN.
First suggestion: get one Blu-ray re-writeable disk to test to. It's more expensive than a regular disc, but great for testing. The ordinary discs are not something to waste, but not all that expensive, either. I'm using Philips discs, at just over $1/disc ($35/25 for printables), The BR-RE (re-writeable is under $10).
Two: put the 'encode' part on overnight and don't sit and watch it. If it doesn't encode in 10 hours then there may be a problem, but my suggestion is just let it go until it fails.
Three: supposedly Toast will burn the disk image. I have not tried this, and am only burning individual disks out of Encore. Toast is not worth the $80 for me right now.
Four: Do you need the menus, et al? I submitted a couple films to festivals just burning the ONE file right out of Final Cut. It only works (I think) for a single file, but it works pretty well. In FCP find the Export menu item, then "Share..." and follow the prompts for a BR disc. No Encore, no Toast, no nothing and it worked like a charm for me.
For my latest project I'm doing the full menu thing, but it's mostly for fun and I'm not stressing - the festival already has my 'easy Blu-ray disk' (see last paragraph) with one button to click and 5 seconds of black 'leader'.
Red Camera Rental & Indy Features, Denver Colorado.
rockymountain4k.com * 303.506.2456
Thanks for your input and advice Nelson.
Unfortunately I need the menus as it is a wedding and the client wants chapters. The good news is after looking at the many and varied ways of doing this I ignored all the tutorials and figured it out myself logically and according to the test check everything was good to go. The bad news is that when trying to burn the project it said the file had been corrupted. I think it was because I accidently brought a reference file into the timeline ( 1.5gb ) which is why it was all going so well and working so slickly. Now for the really bad news.
When I brought in the correct file ( the full length MPEG4 file ) at 16.5gb it took about twenty minute to import. But the really really bad news is that after I did some work and closed it down for the night ( as it was late ) it took 27 minutes this morning to re-open the file. I can't really believe Adobe would build an authoring programme meant for making blu ray discs which hold 25 or 50 gigabytes which has to load the whole of an extremely large file every time it has to be worked on. I would have thought it might have referenced the file for the work to be done before committing it to the finished build. It certainly does not seem to be the case if it takes 27 minutes just to open a job. - Is this normal or do I have a problem somewhere. This is the second project I have made using the same full length MPEG4 file because I assumed I had not done it correctly the first time due to it not opening after fifteen minutes. This time I just left it and as I say it did open ( eventually ) after 27 minutes. Trying to move up and down the timeline to find places to put markers was painful too. In the end I had to re-open FCP then note in the timecode window where the markers should be then go back into Encore and type in the time rather than try and scrub through to find the correct places. Come on Adobe - what is this? Some of us have lives to lead. At this rate i'll be an old man before I get the job finished.
I'm pretty new to Encore, but have been trying to work through some of its arcana on a small (and unimportant) project just understand how the bits work.
Along the way I ran into occasional problems with files that, yes, you'd think Encore would just flag (one that wasn't 1920x1080 somehow, another that I'd forgotten to switch the audio encoding from PCM to AAC) before spending a lot of time trying to turn them into a BR.
The best luck I've had is exporting via Quicktime, setting the video to h.264, audio as AAC, size to 1920x1080. But I'd also managed to import ProRes 422(HQ) files with no problem (before I read a bit and settled on h264/AAC).
It may be that you are asking Encore to do work best left to other applications, and it's taking a lot of time to do it. What file formats are importing to Encore, and what is the actual length (in time) of the file?
Red Camera Rental & Indy Features, Denver Colorado.
rockymountain4k.com * 303.506.2456
I output an XDCAM EX reference file from FCP and from that made an MPG4 file using Adobe Media Encoder to take into Encore and the size of this together with the wav sound file is 18.8 gig when in Encore. The length of the video is approx. 1 hour and fifty minutes.
I have just remade the encore file with these two assets and put together two pages. The first has two menus entitled- "Play" (which is the full video) and "Chapters" which opens the second page. On that page is a menu of six chapters. Yesterday when I made these two pages using the reference file ( accidently ) which I shouldn't have done then everything opened up and played fine when tested. This time I used the correct MPG4 files which apart from taking 27 minutes to open has created another problem. Now when I go to the second page none of the individual chapters play in the preview. I went to 'menu', 'check project' and hit 'start' and it says there are no problems. Any suggestions as to why ? Only the full video on the first page plays which I selected as "first play"
It's so annoying especially as I know it was working with a reference file yesterday.
Any suggestions appreciated.
hi brain, hi nelson,
both workflows are "sub-optimal" -in other words NO GOOD.
the best way to start with encore is to encode your assets prior authoring!
if you both working on mac using FCP(7) you could encode your assets using compressor. it has a good setting for BD-spec-compliant H264-video.
alternatively you can use adobe media encoder using the h264 blu-ray-settings.
do NOT use MPEG4 presets, these are not BD-complient and your source will be transcoded again depending on encores project-transcoding-settings.
audio should be transcoded to AC3 and not AAC-audio, this is not BD-spec-complient.
be awared that your encore-project-transcoding-setting needs to be set to H264 and AC-3 (instead of PCM audio).
importing H264 will take a while, as encore creating meta-datas for the multiplexer while it´s importing the file.
let it keep on going - even if it will behave like it crash (spinning ball) - it will take quite a while.
note: menu-backgrounds (still- and motion-menus) will allways be transcoded to MPEG(HD), it doesn´t matter what input-file you´ll use.
Excellent information, Daniel. I'll print and save for my next project (and probably try a test as well). I'd noticed the Blu-ray settings in Compressor, but didn't know to use those to send out to Encore.
Of course, the AAC audio encoding did work, but I had the feeling that there was a better way of importing - giving Encore less work to do.
The maximum length of any of the pieces I was importing was 10 minutes (a short film) so I didn't notice that it was taking a long time, but what is the advantage of importing h264 (as most of my pieces were) over ProRes if both are going to take a lot of effort (ProRes to transcode, H.264 to 'create meta-data') and time to do? Is there a noticeable difference in quality?
And once I had my project laid out in Encore I went ahead and transcoded all of the files so that the application wouldn't have to do it on each burn. If I import in H.264/AC3 will that no longer be necessary?
Red Camera Rental & Indy Features, Denver Colorado.
rockymountain4k.com * 303.506.2456
as I stated: it´s allways good to encode the assets prior authoring. this wont depend on what authoring-application you use or what media you are authoring (DVD/BD).
of course encore could transcode assets itself, like DVD Studio as well, but this makes no sence and you´ve got a better quality-control, as you can create custom transcoding-settings.
adobe media encoder and compressor both doing good encoding-jobs. in fact these are no high-end-encoders, but they are really OK.
if you would like to avoid transcoding over and over within encore prior burning, the most easy way would be to create a disc-image once and burn this as often as you need within toast.
Thanks for your advice. It's all getting a bit confusing now so let me explain where i am with this.
The original advice from a "cow " member and I think from Ken Stone too was to choose the MPEG2 preset in adobe media encoder to encode my files from FCP. ( Ken stone said he had great trouble with h.264 ) Upon further reading and research it seemed that the quality was going to be better using MPEG4 rather than MPEG2. When I mentioned this in a posting I got a reply saying MPEG4 is H.264 The quicktime wrapped version is just called H264. Blu Ray can be either H264 or mpeg2.
Raphael Amador posted saying :- "Probably Ken Stone's article was written some time ago.
I remember that 2 or three years ago (search this forum) there were problems when trying to use h264 with Encore, so people had to stick with the MPEG-2. things have changed and you shouldn't have problem using H264 with the software that you have mentioned."
So I used Adobe Media Encoder and chose the h.264 preset. I have just checked the audio now after reading your post and it was set to PCM audio which you say not to use The only other alternative it seems to have is Dolby digital. Should I use that? What is wrong with PCM audio ?
After much trial and error with Encore, researching this and that way to do things and finding all sorts of other problems I finally got my first page and my second page (with menus) constructed and as a test made a dvd disc image ( not a blu ray disc image, that will come next ) To get everything down to a reasonable test size I cropped the timeline down to a 50 minute movie which when I hit GO! started transcoding. This was at 1:45 a.m. this morning. I eventually went to bed at 4a.m. and it was about half way through transcoding. I don't know how long it was in the end because I was asleep but when I awoke today it had completed everything successfully. The finished disc image is 3.32 Gig. and at a guess took four and a half hours to transcode. I tested it by putting the disc image into Toast and used the DVD player in my Mac to test the menus all of which seemed to work. I now have to make the full Blu Ray version and the file size is over Eighteen Gigabytes with a one hour and fifty minutes long timeline. Can you tell me which part of this workflow you would consider to be sub optimal ( no good ) and how to improve it. Is H.264 called MPG4 like Michael Gissing said in his post? Which is right and which is wrong ( I notice there are both in the AME presets list ) and if you say to use H.264 ( which I did ) then why all the transcoding last night. Is there always going to be a final transcoding in Encore no matter how it is set up it is set up ?
Any more help and advice would be most welcome.
Many Thanks - BRIAN
I guess this post will blow away your confusion.
yes - ken stones article is a bit older and things changed a bit! at these days he wrote the article there have been many bugs within encore (in fact there are still a lot), and there was big trouble with h264-files.
according to MPEG4-standart, pure (BD) H264 is a special part of the MPEG4-specs with very special technical requirements. but it has nothing to do with the (wrapped) quicktime-H264 (MOV)
blu-ray-spec allow MPEG2, H264 and VC-1 for video, and dolby digital (up to dolby true HD) and also DTS up to DTS HD Master Audio and uncompressed (multitrack) PCM-audio for the audio-files.
encore itself could only handle dolby digital sound (for stereo and multitrack) or PCM (WAV or AIF) stereo files.
IF you are talking about DVD-creation, you can only use MPEG2 (SD) and PCM or AC-3 audio or DTS-audio.
if you are going to author a DVD it would be good to post this at the start, otherwise you might get confusing answers! for example H264 is absolutly wrong for DVD, as it is no part of the DVD-spec - the main time I was thinking you would like to author a BD instead of a DVD.
transcoding could happen, if you have chosen a different project-setting/different transcoding setting as your assets are at the present time.
meaning: you got HD-files but need to create a DVD, or if you got H264-assets but your project-settings set to MPEG2, or you´ve chosen a 1920x1080p24-setting but your assets are 1920x1090i29.98.
you see, there are far too many reasons why transcoding could happen - I just could look into the crystal ball ;)
I hope all this will wipe away your confusion.
PS: think about line-breaks in your next posting - it´s a bit hard to read mate ;)
Thanks for clarifying things. Especially the H.264 / MPEG4 situation.
My apologies for causing confusion as to whether it was DVD or Blu Ray I was talking about. My whole series of posts were an attempt to discover a best working practice, from finishing an edit in FCP through to producing a Blu Ray disc with Chapters and Menus. However once I had fathomed out all of this I was still left with the dilemma of which Blu Ray discs to buy to guarantee quality, archival longevity and compatibility with the many players out there.
Whilst I was waiting for my chosen BD discs to arrive I decided to make a test of my menus by burning the project to DVD and had read so many times about how easy it was to do do that - for example some "expert" wrote ( " just go to Project Settings and change the checkbox from Blu-ray to DVD and that should do it - Encore converts it all for you." )
Obviously this is not quite the whole truth and I guess that's why all the transcoding had to be done.
However everything seemed O.K. so now I have made the blu Ray version which this time didn't have to do all the transcoding and was much quicker taking one and a half hours to write 20 gigabyte of data plus 1hr building a disc image.
The question now is should I bring that disc image into"Toast" and burn the BD discs from there as I would normally do with a DVD or can I ( and should I ) use the disc image to burn the BD discs from Encore. With toast it is a simple drag and drop and burn but I don't know about Encore as yet. Presumably the quality should be the same from both as the authoring has already been done and I am therefore only making copies of what already exists. Is this correct ?
Thanks to everyone for their contributions. In my initiation into BD authoring I have read and watched many different and sometimes conflicting ways of doing this. Like everything these days there are big learning curves and hoops to jump through at every turn. It has taken a lot of time and research but I think I can now go forward with more confidence and take what I know onto the next stage with motion menus and such like. It's easy when you know how, but getting the know how has not been easy.
With Regards- BRIAN.
P.S This project takes nearly half an hour to open in Encore. Is this related to the size of the file. ? ? ?