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External BlurRay Burner advice!

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Mark Dalzell
External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Mar 21, 2009 at 7:19:04 pm

I'm in the market for an external BlurRay burner. I'm not too "savy" as to what to look for. Special brands, speed etc.

Also, what about the media? Cost, size, type...

Any help would be very appreciated.

Thanks.

Mark Dalzell / Las Vegas, NV


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Jon Geddes
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Mar 22, 2009 at 5:36:12 am

I personally went with the Lacie D2 external blu-ray burner because it supports dual layer burning. It has been working very well on our PC and Mac systems. As for media, we always get ink-jet printable discs, so we went with the verbatim (in stacks of 25 discs), and a Sony BD-RE rewritable disc to do test burns on. Cost of the drive is around $400 at B&H. If you only need single layer burning, then you could find something cheaper.

Jon Geddes
Motion Graphics Designer
http://www.precomposed.com


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Andrew Ford
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Mar 25, 2009 at 8:42:04 pm

I agree with the above post. I've used the LaCie d2 (bought from B&H) with TDK, Verbatim, and Sony media, both 25 and 50gb Blu-ray, and I've had perfect results thusfar using Encore CS4 and Toast 10.


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Jonathan Harris
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Apr 13, 2009 at 3:32:26 am

Andrew -
I am also using the LaCie d2 CS4 and Toast 9 - not 10.
I have been very frustrated trying to create a work flow that produces sharp Blu-ray discs. The BD disc when playing back appear VERY dark like the contrast has been knocked up and the image is NOT close to the original HD material. I am shooting and capturing into FCP HDV 1080i 60
footage as well as DVCpro HD media. Currently i am simply trying to output an HDV project to bluray and each effort either compressing via Compressor, toast or Encore results in horrible looking media.
Can you possibly email/post your current work flow with this external burner, toast and cs4 so i can try and duplicate your process.
ANY ADVICE would be greatly appreciated as this has been a frustrating few days...

Best


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Andrew Ford
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Apr 13, 2009 at 5:28:51 pm

I use Encore CS4 as my main means of making Blu-ray discs. Toast 10 is only used in my workflow for quick duplication or making data discs for backup. I have similar source footage to what you listed above, and I've also made Blu-rays out of 1920x1080 AE mographs. I don't use Compressor because I have had some trouble, and from various forum posts I gather I'm not the only one, with getting Encore to recognize/like a Compressor-made .m2v. Calls to Adobe tech support in December seemed to confirm that there is some type of issue, but there might be workarounds or solutions. I avoid the whole issue altogether by using another compression software, like Sorenson Squeeze. I have also let Encore do the compression when I first started doing Blu-ray. I got good results using both mpeg2 and h264. There were very slight color and contrast differences noticeable, but I didn't notice it to the scale that you are... and my discs have gotten a work out in many different monitors/viewing situations in many different countries. There are articles and posts about compensating for gamma and other shifts when using h264 differences if you are getting more extreme results that way.

Are you burning in Toast or Encore? Or both?
Are you using mpeg2 or h264 compression?
Is the darkness of the video the main problem you are experiencing, or are there more problems that that?



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Jonathan Harris
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:03:55 pm

Thanks for the fast reply -

I have tried everything you are asking. Including dragging in an uncompressed file per export/ quicktime movie via FCP.
With Toast 9 - I tried using it to compress and create the disc resulting with the image being too dark and very pixelated.
per some suggestions on this and other forums i turned off the Toast 9 recompress feature and compressed using Compressor
or creating a master quicktime file of the project.
Again Really dark image on all monitors and very soft/pixelated image.
I also tried CS4 encore - using it to compress the material and also bringing in previously compressed material via compressor. Again each video results in a very dark contrast image and very noticeable loss of quality.
I have tried compressing 1080i 60 HDV to dvcpro, 422 apple pro res,H264, mpeg2 and other formats before bringing into either toast 9 or CS4 Encore to compress with them and Compressed those various formats in compressor and imported those files to Toast and Encore.
Each and every time the image quality is greatly reduced and the image is very dark.
The only image that looked okay thus far on blu-ray was an HD template included with Encore. I built one disc using the animated menu with a play button. The menu appeared fine but the footage was horrible. All the media I am working with looks amazing on my HD monitor when i view from my editbay or an HD quicktime via output from my DVI port into HDMI input on an HD lcd tv screen. I know its not the footage. In fact i have had to screen all HD material for one client off my laptop into their HD projector in order to screen their media since blu-ray is not producing disc the way it should. And again all this footage appear perfect in that output.

Can you possibly tell me the exact process you take your media through - included the specific settings in the compressor software you are using. i would love to try and replicate that process and see if i can then adjust the gamma per the other thread you mentioned.
Thanks
Thanks again for the help -


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Andrew Ford
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:53:53 pm

If I bring in raw footage from my camera with the Sony Transfer software, I'm going to have 1080i60 HDV video. So, I'll edit in FCP with a sequence in that setting. When editing is complete, I'll export to a file similar to sequence settings and keep that as my master. If I'm in AE, I'll work in the HD 1920x1080 29.97 sq pix setting.

That master file is only going to get compressed one time from here to the Blu-ray disc. I am unclear if you are compressing twice more when you said:

"I have tried compressing 1080i 60 HDV to dvcpro, 422 apple pro res,H264, mpeg2 and other formats before bringing into either toast 9 or CS4 Encore to compress with them and Compressed those various formats in compressor and imported those files to Toast and Encore."

If you are doing it twice, you're going to get bad video. Also, if you are bringing in an already compressed file... make sure Encore is recognizing your already compressed file and not compressing it again. Check under the tabs and see if it says it will transcode or not.

I'll put the master in Sorenson Squeeze and tweak some of the stock BD settings to my liking. What I tweak to depends 100% on the specific video I'm working with, and it can be different in different situations. However, I just took a master file in Encore CS4 right now and let Encore do the transcoding with default settings and when I burned the disc, the video looked fine. There was a slight difference in gamma and it doesn't look exactly as clean as the master, but it was pretty darn close. You can adjust for the gamma shift. Also, if you view the Blu-ray video on a large monitor and stand a few steps back, it looks pretty crisp. If you stand 6 inches from it, it does not... but no one really does that.

I have no experience using Toast to burn a Blu-ray from scratch. I just use Toast for duplicating, and the duplicates turn out like the master disc, but that is to be expected. If you are still having issues with darkness and quality even when you compress only once and correct for gamma shift, then hopefully someone else will take a crack at solving this issue. Good luck!


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Jonathan Harris
Re: External BlurRay Burner advice!
on Apr 14, 2009 at 5:44:29 pm

Yes i am encoding just once - I was referring in the earlier email that i had tried each of those methods of compressing (one at a time) before burning the disc - the the option to recompress in encore or toast turned off in those specific test.
I am standing back from the monitor and the image is clearly pixelated and artifacts appear where there are non on the master footage. Even after adjusting for gamma the quality of the image is still unacceptable.
I am finding that people are stating similar quality acceptance as you are and I now wondering if i am just demanding Blu-ray to actually look like it should rather then accepting the obvious quality drop.

If anyone out there has thoughts please feel free to add to the post.
again i am currently trying to use FCP, Toast 9, CS4 Encore and LaCie external burner to create a HIGH QUALITY blu-ray disc. I am willing to try other compressor software but i am stuck with the burner.

thanks


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