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I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac

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Matthew Abourezk
I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 3, 2011 at 7:07:40 pm

Hi all,

A couple of clients have recently asked for blu-ray dvds from me... I guess it is time to bite the bullet.

I use a Mac Pro (Dual 3ghz) with all of the usual suspects (Final cut studio, DVD Studio Pro, Compressor, etc).

I primarily need advice as to the best/affordable Blu-Ray burner for my mac. Could be internal or external.

And maybe a bit of advice for workflow... (output from FCP as ???, compress in compressor as ?, etc)

Thanks in advance,
Matt

Talkingbox Digital Media Group, Inc.
http://www.talkingboxdmg.com
(203) 249-7718


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Michael Sacci
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 3, 2011 at 7:53:02 pm

The only thing you can do on a Mac is burn HD video so it can be played on a Blu-ray player, there is no real authoring. Compressor 3.5 can burn a playable BD. Adobe Encore do a little better but it is still very limited. Toast 10 with BluRay plugin is in-between the two. None of them can produce anything that can be replicated. (there is a 3rd party app that can convert the encore folder to be replicatable).

If you want to do real authoring you need to look at DoStudio which is Window's only.


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Daniel Ludwig
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 3, 2011 at 8:35:23 pm

nop,
there is a new application in town - EasyBD from DVD Logic (PC-app).

it´s about 200$ and if you would like to have nice IG-streams you need additional 500$, so you could get professional BD-authoring for 700$ for IGEditor.

finally if you need replicaton-master, you need to get blustreak premaster (mac-app) at about 400$.

so that´s a lot cheaper than Dostudio, and you can create professional BDs

cheers

danny


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Laura Weinstein
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:00:04 pm

I recently found a store that ordered me one from Lacie. (12x Lacie d2 Blu Ray USB2 and FW) It was about $500 so not very cheap. It's external and works well. It took 45 minutes only to burn a 45 minutes disc. From my experience they are very hard to find for macs. When I called the apple store they made me feel like I was asking them if they sold drugs! lol They definitely were not encouraging blu ray burning!


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Michael Slowe
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 5, 2011 at 12:19:19 pm

Absolutely, Apple and Sony do not seem like they are bedfellows! To preserve our HD quality we have to distribute on BD and the sooner Apple understand this the better for us all using Macs. I too use the Lacie Laura refers to, does a great job. Incidentally Laura, what drugs are you selling? (for the moderator - joke).

Michael Slowe


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David Eaks
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 5, 2011 at 12:56:57 pm

I'm currently burning and duplicating Blu-ray's. Using FCP, Matrox MAX in Compressor, Toast 10 Titanium, LaCie external BD Burner and duplication with a Microboards 5 drive tower.

My workflow is-

1- Export a reference movie of the edit from FCP with current settings. Wait ~3 minutes.

2- Open the resulting .mov in Compressor and add Matrox Blu-ray video and audio preset settings. Submit. Bask in the faster than real time glory that is MAX. (Happy to help with specific settings when the time comes, can't remember off hand what I used before Matrox settings, but I vividly remember the ~16hr encode times).

3- Right-click the resulting h.264 and select "toast it" (both audio and video automatically import if they have matching names). Burn.

4- Toss the BD in the Dup tower and deliver copies to clients.

I've delivered 100+ BD's like this without issue (well, except for the issue of initially figuring out the workflow). I sure wish Apple would release "BD Studio Pro" or something, I still author some SD projects, it's just painful to release "play on insert" BD's alongside the Authored down-converted DVD's.


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Michael Slowe
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 5, 2011 at 7:09:26 pm

David, some questions if I may.

What codec are you shooting in and then what for the edit?
Why such a convoluted workflow?

I shoot in XDCAM, import into Media 100 as ProResHQ 422 for editing. All I then do is export to QT .mov in the same codec and drag the file into Toast 10 which does the rest. The burner is a stand alone Lacie BD burner. Toast encodes to mpeg 4 , I thought it was better than H264, is it? My resultant BD's look pretty damn good anyway.

Michael Slowe


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David Eaks
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 6, 2011 at 3:05:54 am

Hi Michael,

Sure, on the field I shoot with 2 Sony NX5's (recording internally on 32GB class 10 sd cards as backup/b-roll), HD/SDI out's to my Panasonic AWHS50 Switcher, HD/SDI to MX02, Express 34 into 17" MBP. I capture the switched signal live in FCP as PRORES. So, I shoot in Matrox PRORES 1080i, transfer the capture's to my Mac Pro and am ready to edit.

I thought my workflow was pretty slick. I export a REF movie because it's fast and I don't need a "real" .mov taking up HDD space. Matrox MAX (Compress HD) gives faster than real time H.264 encoding. So a 2 hour show encodes in just under 2 hours. Using "Send to Compressor" from Final cut, instead of giving Compressor a .mov, results in slower encoding. It was my understanding that Toast's encoding is terrible, so Ive avoided it. A 2 hour show burns to BD in ~40 minutes. So, from the moment I'm done editing a 2-hour show, I'll have a finished Blu-ray in about 3 hours.

Out of curiosity, what's an average duration of your video, how long is the .mov export and how long does toast take to encode/burn it?


H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Wiki- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC


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Michael Slowe
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 6, 2011 at 10:30:00 am

Well David, since time is of no concern to me whatever I don't really notice how long things take but probably not much different from you. I'm making documentaries so my edit doesn't start until all shooting is done and that may be over a few months. I'm shooting 1080i at 25 fps XDCAM on the Sony S x S cards (expensive but reliable). If I'm running short of space I off load the folders to a small USB powered drive through a MacBook. Back at base I then back up all the camera material to another drive. Don't go near the edit drives until editing is due. Obviously clear all cards (only got 2 x 16 Gb's and 1 8Gb, that's about 150 minutes HD).

Then, as I say, I ingest and edit in ProRes HQ 422. If you are editing in that codec as well why go to all the trouble of going out of the camera SDI? I don't follow your switcher and Matrox complications. As to encoding BD's, well, you may be right about Toast but there aren't a whole lot of BD encoding options around. My BD's look really great so I'm not complaining. Obviously most people still want DVD's and my BitVice downscaled and encoded discs are good but not as good as BD. My films run from anything between 10 minutes to 1 hour, hardly ever longer. I take my time, film making needs a lot of thought and reflection, rushed stuff looks - well - rushed.

Michael Slowe


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David Eaks
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 6, 2011 at 5:33:02 pm

[Michael Slowe] "Well David, since time is of no concern to me whatever I don't really notice how long things take but probably not much different from you. I'm making documentaries so my edit doesn't start until all shooting is done and that may be over a few months."

I'd be very surprised if Toast encodes for Blu-ray anywhere near the speed of Matrox MAX. Almost all of my shoots are 2 hours, Compressor alone was taking something like 12 hours to make my H.264's, which was unacceptable for my workflow. I record High School plays, Ballet Recitals and Lectures/Meetings etc. and need to have a quick turnaround.

[Michael Slowe] " I ingest and edit in ProRes HQ 422. If you are editing in that codec as well why go to all the trouble of going out of the camera SDI?"

Well, it all just came together that way as I pieced together an HD setup. Started with one Sony NX5 and went from there. Not really going through any trouble for HD SDI. Is there a reason I shouldn't be using HD SDI? Or should be capturing in a different codec? I'm always open to suggestions and constructive criticism but I'm pretty happy with my setup. Eventually I'd like to get an AJA KI Pro Mini (or just something other than capturing on the MBP) for recording on the field though.

[Michael Slowe] " I don't follow your switcher and Matrox complications"

I shoot with two cameras, one at a wide angle of the stage and the other for closeup's, switching live during the show. Program out from the switcher goes into the MX02 which gives the signal to FCP for capture. My audio comes from a Mackie 1402 VLZ3 into the MX02 via XLR.

[Michael Slowe] " Obviously most people still want DVD's and my BitVice downscaled and encoded discs are good but not as good as BD"

Same for me, mostly DVD's still. I also use my MX02 for down-scaling (it is a HUGE multi-tasker for me). It's done in real time, playback off the HD timeline and record to DVD from the MX02's A/V output. Happy with the results. Yet another use for the MX02 is accurate monitoring while editing.

[Michael Slowe] " I take my time, film making needs a lot of thought and reflection, rushed stuff looks - well - rushed."

I can definitely understand, with certain projects I'll take hours with little things that should be done in minutes. Going back and forth, fiddling and deciding what to do with it. For the most part though, I shoot a finished product. Just throw title's in at the beginning and end, encode, burn and deliver.


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Michael Slowe
Re: I need advice for authoring blu-ray using a Mac
on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:50:22 am

David, I fully understand your needs. You are virtually doing a 'broadcast' on the hoof so to speak and are under constant pressure, I don't envy you! Also your Matrox downscale is probably even better than the one within BitVice. You are probably getting the purest signal out by using HDSDI from the camera, it's just that it all struck me as overcomplicating the whole process but I now see where you're going.

Michael Slowe


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