So I've been told that Mac does not play well with BluRay. I now have an HD project that needs to ultimately be delivered on a BluRay disc with menus. Before I go out and purchase an external Bluray burner and software, I wanted to get some advice on what I should be looking for and some recommendations on what the best products out there are to do this?
Just for some additional info, I am editing with FCPS using Compressor and DVDSP (which I know does not support Bluray).
Indeed, as standard, Mac and BluRay are not the best of friends.
I was recently in a similar position in that I needed a BluRay of a short film I edited.
I ended up buying a pretty basic Samsung SE506 portable BluRay burner.
Luckily I already had software options so I tried all I had.
I tried the "one shot" BluRay option in Compressor, Toast 11 Pro and Adobe Encore.
Compressor actually worked OK but obviously no real flexibility with menus and also no way to re-burn a second disc, you have to do it from scratch every time. So OK for a quick one off disc but anything more or if menus needed forget it.
Installing Toast looked promising but had lots of failures with discs not completing the burn process correctly. They would get to within 30-40 secs of finalising then fail. I had all the current updates installed and pretty much gave up trying to trouble shoot it after a couple of hours and wasting 5 or 6 discs.
Encore by far the best of the three in terms of reliability and familiarity. If you know DVDSP then you can pretty much work out Encore.
Menus work - however the most complex thing I tried was a single menu with 4 options to play 4 seperate short films each returning to the menu after playing.
However I did get a couple of failures trying to burn direct to disc and found that making an image first then burning that was more reliable.
I am not a DVD author so I have only tried making fairly simple discs but for that and without looking at dedicated BluRay burning software, Encore would be my suggestion.
wondering if i maybe should use my PC to ultimately burn the final Bluray. Compress in Compressor to the proper format and bring that over to the PC for the Bluray authoring process. Hmmm.
I dont think there is any advantage to burning BluRay on a PC vs Mac - its just Macs dont come with BluRay drives as standard.
However if you already have a BR burner in your PC then that would save you buying another one. You still need some kind of authoring software though.
Encore works fine for me... a little buggy but works. Output your edit as a self contained full res quicktime, use compressor to encode at the correct file formats, and bring into Encore (as long as your encode settings are correct Encore won't auto transcode the .m2v file). People have suggested Toast but I haven't used it since I have CS5.5 Encore. Toast might be a more economical approach as opposed to buying CS. Or I think you might be able to purchase Encore stand alone?
I have an external Lacie BD drive, which is great, it connects via FW800 (don't do USB). However, I had to add some subtitle files to some projects and the Lacie FW800 bandwidth wasn't fast enough. Since I have a Mac Pro tower, I bought a new BD drive, a Pioneer, and installed it into the second drive bay. This allows a much faster throughput and now I have no issues with more complicated burns with subtitles.
If you think you will be doing this alot, with the possibility of doing more complicated burns, and you have a tower, get the Pioneer. It's much cheaper than the Lacie external and easy to install, and less clutter on the desktop. Otherwise an external BD burner via FW800 is totally fine.
Here are some tutorials about burning BD, two different workflows:
I'm looking to sell my Lacie if you are interested. Was gonna post it on eBay soon. Not sure if Cow lets people peddle their used equipment this way, sorry in advance Creative Cow!
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What file format does Encore like if an M2v is problematic?
I considered the internal drive but thought that maybe if I got an external drive I could potentially use it with my PC if I couldn't get decent enough authoring software to create nice menus for the Blurays for Mac.
The external is advantageous for portability for sure. But remember that FW800 won't kick it for certain more complicated burns.
You will be able to make professional quality menus with Encore. Just trawl the forums if you have questions, it's pretty easy to figure it out. Not sure about Toast's menu abilities.
It's not that .m2v is problematic. Encore is designed to transcode your audio and video files if they are not the correct format. So essentially you can drop in a ProRes file and Encore will transcode it for you. This lengthens your burn time by alot though, so I just do the transcode myself with Compressor. For long projects it's better to just let Compressor run overnight or something, instead of Encore trying to burn something overnight, because again, Encore is kinda buggy. I also feel Compressor allows you to customize the file more than Encore, such as average bitrate, a better algorithms for transcoding, faster transcoding times, etc. I don't trust Encore for that stuff. Works for me flawlessly.
Toast you will have to do the same Compressor workflow. Read those tutorials I linked. You can also burn BDs with H.264. I'm not sure if it's better than .m2v. I've never done it because my workflow works great without issue, and when I test it on my HDTV and BluRay player, the image quality is fantastic.
Remember to do this though: when you export your "master file" out of FCP, make sure you choose "with compression markers." This will add compression markers at your edit points, so that Compressor can transcode the cuts with a higher VBR for better compression and less artifacts. I sometimes also add compression markers in the timeline for fast action scenes, or scenes with high details that can tend to get the "pulsating pixels" artifacts.
In general, each project is different, so when I'm burning something new for the first time, I'll find issues in my QC step, and have to go back and retranscode with new markers, different VBR settings, etc. You can save time by checking your H.264 before importing into Encore, or use MPEG Streamclip to check your .m2v file before importing into Encore. You end up using up more BD discs than you want to, but that's just the nature of the process. Plan on having plenty of blank discs on hand, and schedule in plenty of padding before delivery to suss out QC issues you find.
Thanks for all the detailed info. The issue for me here is Encore... I believe Encore is only available with the Premiere package which is around $700 (I don't have any older version to upgrade from enabling me to purchase the upgrade version at a cheaper price). Not going to spend that money just for Encore so it looks like Toast may be my only option for the moment.
It seems the most recent posts about Blu-ray disc burning on Mac are in 2012, so I am revisiting this topic.
I have a festival requesting my short film to be on Blu-ray. I use Mac, FinalCut X, and Compressor. Fortunately, a friend was able to lend me his external Blu-ray burner/player (Pioneer BDR-XD05W). So, my workflow:
1. Compressor 4.1.3 allows me to create a Blu-ray disc image. I use the File-> Add Surround Sound Group, select Create Blu-ray for outputs, make sure the video (1080p) and audio output formats are as desired, and select the option to export the file to hard disk. Compressor creates 3 files: the .ac3 file, the .264 file, and the .img file.
2. Mac OS 10.9.5 Disk Utility lets me burn the image to the Panasonic. The burned disc has a folder with a BDMV file (with a QuickTime icon, weird) and a subfolder CERTIFICATE.
My question now is: How do I play this Blu-ray disc to test it?
I want to make sure that the festival gets a playable disc.
I tried VLC. If I use Advanced Open File to Open BDMV on the burned disc, I get error messages saying this is not a Blu-ray disc. The only way to get it to open the disc is to right-click from the BDMV file icon in the Finder and select to Open with VLC. VLC then produces this list of info:
VLC also automatically starts playing the 00000.m2ts file. This gives picture and sound. However, I cannot tell if it is playing the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound.
Meanwhile, for Media Information->Codec Details for the .img file, VLC shows Streams 0-47, which are several MPEG Audio layer 1/2/3 (mpga) and MPEG 1/2 Video (mpgv). All 48 streams have one or the other, so I am mystified why there are that many streams, since all I had were 6 Dolby Digital audio files and 1 video file (h.264 1080p).
Would somebody be able to annotate the list above and explain if this is a normal playable Blu-ray burned disc? Is playing the 00000.m2ts file and indication that everything went fine?
I just tried a different way of opening the disc with VLC. Instead of opening the BDMV file directly, I used Advanced Open File -> Disc -> Open BDMV folder -> and selected the home folder of the disc, instead of the BDMV file. This starts playing the disc.
However, Media Information gives just two streams for Codec Details:
Video, H264 - MPEG-4 AVC (part 10)(h264), 1920x1080
Audio, A52 Audio (aka AC3)(a52), Channels 3F2R/LFE, 48 kHz, 448 kb/s
So, I guess that means the Surround sound was successfully coded into the A52 Audio?
Really glad I can just use Compressor, Disk Utility, and VLC and don't have to buy any more software!
The festival is asking for a playable BluRay disc, and it sounds like you just tried to use the BD disc as a harddrive, and burned a disc image to it.
You have to author the BD disc for playable media, just like a DVD. Use Toast, Adobe Encore, DVD Studio Pro, etc.
To test it, you can buy a home entertainment BD player. Piece of cake. For awhile, home authored discs sometimes don't work in specific players, but that's becoming rarer these days. If you have to use the burner/player, there is software that you can download to playback the disc through your computer. VLC doesn't playback BD discs.
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Thanks for your reply, Joseph.
I did not need to buy Toast. I have Compressor, which exports a Blu-ray image (can select option to play on insert, or add minimal menu info).
Actually, VLC can play a Blu-ray disc on an external Blu-ray player/burner connected to a Mac.
The re-cap for any other readers who are trying to do the same thing on a Mac and who have Compressor, and who don't need fancy menus:
0. Get yourself a Blu-ray burner/player. I borrowed one from a friend.
1. Compressor: Make a Blu-ray disc image file
* File->Make Surround group
* Add your Dolby tracks (easy point and click), and your HD video file. Since the Blu-ray output is MPEG1/2 or AVCHD, I did a long render by adding an Apple ProRes file and let Compressor convert it.
* For Output format, select Create Blu-ray.
* Edit the file names you want output. There will be 3 files output: .ac3 (Dolby surround sound), .264 (video h.264), and .img (disc image).
* Select options to export to hard drive rather than to disc, and to play on insert or show menu.
* Wait a long time for the job.
2. Disk Utility: Burn the Blu-ray disc .img file
* Burn it just like you'd burn a DVD image file, but select the
Blu-ray burner for the output device.
3. VLC: Play the Blu-ray disc
* Select File -> Advanced Open File -> Disc -> Open BDMV folder, and then select the disc (not the BDMV file) to open.
I am using Mac Blu-ray Player to blu-ray files. Just like BDMV folder as example, I always launch Mac Blu-ray Player and drag the whole folder to the screen, click “Play Movie” button to play the movie directly.