I am going to part from my normal blogging today and post a technical walkthrough on how to successfully create a beautiful HD Blu-Ray disk using Apple Compressor, Mpeg Streamclip, and Toast 10. This is something I discovered through much trial and error while working on creating a Blu-Ray screener disk and thought it would be a good idea to share my experience. Hope this helps others trying to find the best workaround.
Apple has yet to get totally on board with Blu-Ray. You can create the proper mpeg2 (not h.264) stream in Compressor but cannot use DVD Studio Pro to burn. If you are working with Toast 10 to burn your Blu-Ray, more often than not, Toast will re-encode the stream leaving artifacts. One big element I discovered is that although Toast says it will handle and burn 5.1 audio, it downmixes and re-interprets the ac3 file sending streams to completely wrong channels.
No matter how I paired the mpeg2 and ac3 file together, the outcome audio mix was always the same. Don’t be fooled by Toast. On the burn screen it will say “Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital,” but it will always remux.
After much trial and error, reading through every forum and piecing together little bits of information, I came to the following workflow which worked great and produced a beautiful HD Blu-Ray with it’s Dolby 5.1 mix in tact.
Update: If you can get your hands on Abobe Encore CS4, you can easily avoid the steps below. I was finally able to locate it on a friends computer and created a disk image I can burn anytime in Toast. The problem is Encore is a product not many people own on Mac, so in the meantime, check out the workaround below.
Apple Compressor - Although Blu-Ray can handle mpeg2 and h.264, Compressor can only create a Blu-Ray compatible stream with mpeg2. First, import your media and under Settings>Formats>Mpeg2> choose ‘Program Stream’ and drag to your media. Secondly, in your inspector under the ‘Encoder’ button, click the drop down menu for ‘Stream Usage’ and select Blu-Ray. Next, click the quality tab and bump your maximum bitrate to 38mbps and your average no higher than 33. Make sure your encode destination is heading to the right place and hit submit. My film is Apple ProRes, 80min long, and it took about 8 hours to encode on a 2.8 Core 2 iMac.
**Blu-Ray can handle up to 40mpbs, but I wouldn’t risk that high data rate on all players.
Mpeg Streamclip – I am assuming that you already have a dolby 5.1 ac3 file created. If you’d like me to post a walkthrough please let me know in the comments below. Typically, Mpeg Streamclip is used to separate an Mpeg and Audio file from a TS folder found on any DVD. We are going to reverse this process, taking our mpeg2 and dolby 5.1 ac3 file, and creating a TS folder that will later be brought into Toast to burn.
To begin, locate the newly created mpeg m2v file you made with Compressor. Make sure the file is in a folder by itself. Next locate the corresponding ac3 file and copy it into the folder with your m2v. Now you want to rename the ac3 to match the same file name as the m2v. For example, if your m2v is mymovie.m2v, then rename your ac3 to be mymovie.ac3.
Now open Mpeg Streamclip and drag the m2v file onto the application. It will take 3 or 4 minutes to connect everything, but once it’s finished, you should see your video in the browser and ’128 AC3 3/2′ under “Audio PID”. The one change you need to make here is adjust the “Audio Mode” to the ‘Surround’ option. Your final step is to create a TS file by going to FILE>CONVERT to TS>CONVERT to TS and choosing where to save it.
Once the conversion is complete (should only take a couple minutes) we are ready for Toast 10!
Toast 10 Titanium
Open Toast 10 and navigate to the video button. Under Blu-Ray video, drag your newly created TS file onto the Toast application. Toast will recognize the Mpeg2 and Dolby 5.1 ac3 file. Under “Options” click the “more” button.
- Under “Disk,” name your disk and select “Play all items simultaneously”.
- Under “Menus” choose Menu style “no menu.”
- Under “Encoding” choose “Mpeg2″ and max out your bitrates to 26mbps. Set Reencoding to “never.” Under “Audio” choose “Dolby Digital.” Everything else should be automatic.
Finally, make sure you are set to burn to BD-R, click the red burn button and let it go. It might say encoding, but worry not, your encoded work will remain untouched.
If you have any questions please leave a comment and I’ll try to help.