Blu-Ray HD Blues 

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the July, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]


Pamela Beaty writes:

Please excuse me if I get long-winded.


We recently did a trip to the Delta, Botswana and I got some really nice photos and video footage of game, taken with my Canon 5D Mark II.


Instead of using FCP, I used iMovie to edit everything due to the easy acceptance of photos, the map showing the route, etc.


The footage and photos looked great and came to 35 minutes, after much editing. I then transferred to footage to iDVD (not at all great).


I then decided to produce a QT movie and my settings were as follows:


Compression: Apple ProRes 422 HQ


Dimensions: 1920 x 1080


The results : Fantastic…..True HD


Followed your DVD Studio Pro lessons on, did some fantastic menus…transferred everything to Toast and got … problems.


Please could you give me some advise with which codec to use to get the great HD quality on a 4.7GB DVD. Have I missed something? (maybe doing something wrong)

Larry replies: Pam, you are asking the $64,000 question.

Basically, you can’t get there from here.

Currently, the only HD format supported on optical media is Blu-ray Discs. And the Mac does not support playback of Blu-ray Discs. (Though you can purchase drivers that support it, the built-in DVD player won’t play it.)

Worse, DVD SP does not create Blu-ray Disks. At all. Period.

You have three options:

Option 1. Using Compressor or Final Cut Pro, you can burn a single movie in a format called “AVCHD” — which is media encoded into Blu-ray format, but burned onto a standard 4.3 GB DVD. The good news is that you can do it. The bad news is:

Option 2. Export your project as an HD QuickTime movie, then burn it to Blu-ray Disc using Roxio Toast. Movie quality is great, however menus are only templates. You don’t have the authoring ability you have in DVD SP. Not even close.

Option 3. You can use Adobe Production Premium. Adobe Encore, which is part of the suite, allows you to create both standard-def DVDs AND Blu-ray Discs, with full menus and everything. Works great.

For now, creating Blu-ray Discs on a Mac are a very awkward situation.

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2 Responses to Blu-Ray HD Blues 

  1. Larry,

    Great info, I was thinking that Option 4 to obtain HD quality on a DVD could be the DIVX CODEC if the recipients have compatible hardware / software.

    I’ve never tried this myself, but it seems cheap and easy.

  2. Lewis Wilson says:

    Some relevant information:

    1.)This my current Platform: 15″ MacBookPro with internal superdrive, with 2.7 Ghz quad i7 processor, 8 GB RAM, 1 terabyte 5400 rpm hard drive, 1680×1050 screen, Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics processor with 1000 MB VRAM.

    2.)My source footage for the video editing and Blu-ray Disc authoring project is all in DV and HDV formats on Mini DV cassette tapes, so I need the firewire port that my system has.

    3.) This project should have some commercial value. I will probably offer it as a download on iTunes and other such download service and On Demand service; but I also want to offer it in Blu-ray disc form–with copy protection built in the diskette.

    Hi Larry,

    I just read your article above. I want to author Blu-ray Discs. I have NOT YET purchased pro editing software for my new, non-retina display, 15″ Mac laptop. My plans have been: To Edit in FCPX, then Export as HD Quicktime movie, do the limited authoring in Roxio Toast, then burn to a Blu-ray Disc on an external Blu-ray Disc burner/reader drive, (Maybe an external drive from Buffalo Technologies that burns and plays Blu-ray Discs)

    It appears that I need to go to Adobe Production Premium to use Encore for sophisticated DVD authoring options, but Adobe wants me to have a 7200 rpm hard drive, and there are doubts that I could get the Adobe software to utilize my graphics processor–not to mention the $799 cost of Premiere Pro bundled with Encore.

    How about this: I buy Final Cut Pro X and edit the project on it. Then export the edit as an HD Quicktime movie file and then put that file into a platform that is running Adobe Encore well. Then do the Blu-ray authoring in Encore and then Burn it to Blu-ray Disc from that platform, (A friend of mine has such a system.)

    The copy protected Blu-ray disks part of things can wait a bit. First I need some nice Blu-ray disc burns for submitting to film festivals and for showing to special gatherings.

    I hope you find some guidance for me coalescing in your mind Larry.

    Best Regards and thanks in advance.


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