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Converting Blu Rays?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by gilford, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    After recently getting a 2010 Mac Mini I am now looking to put all my BD's on my NAS :)

    Can anyone give me a simple walk through as to what I need to download, buy and instructions to convert?

    I'm presuming an external BD drive, MakeMKV and then Handbrake to compress it down to a reasonable size?

    Is there a specific drive I need?

    Thanks for the help :)
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Those are the three items I use (actually, I have an internal Blu-Ray drive I use on my W7 machine). But I use MakeMKV to rip the Blu-Ray and then Handbrake to convert. The only problem I have is subtitles, I don't bother with them, you may need another program or added steps if you want subs in your final mp4, but if you don't need them, you're good to go.

    I did have to use a beta version of Handbrake though, since there were a couple of random Blu-Rays that the stable release kept crashing on. I downloaded a nightly build and its working like a charm.
  3. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    1. Open disc with Make MKV and let 'er rip!
    2. Open the MKV file in Handbrake if you want and make it smaller.
    3. Enjoy movie!

    I have an LG Blu-ray burner/HD-DVD reader (SATA) in a Vantec USB2 enclosure. Together they're about $130.
  4. macrumors newbie

    I use the first two steps listed above - a Blu-ray writer and MakeMKV. I gave up trying to compress the 18+ Gig files as audio and subtitles always proved to be a pain (especially DTS) so I just left them at full size and simply bought another USB drive to hold them all. With 2TB drives costing under $150, it was a no brainer. Time is money afterall :)

    This solution only works if you are running a Mac Mini or the like and will NOT work for AppleTV. With AppleTV, compression is a must and I found an Elgato Turbo.264 HD to be invaluable when converting Blu-ray rips to a 720p format playable on AppleTV. Takes 3 hours as opposed to 10+ hours via Handbrake. Only problem is, it can not handle DTS soundtracks so you must either accept using 2 channel AAC or re-encode the DTS soundtrack to DD using another problem and then re-mux that file into your movie.
  5. macrumors member

    Cheers for the info :)

    I've just got a mid 2010 Mini so no hassle storing the full rip. My main concern is which drive to buy? I dont want to spend hundreds (the UK is pricey for these things) so which external drive would suffice? I have read certain one's dont work on a Mac??
  6. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I never buy canned drives; I always assemble them in case of a problem (so you can open them up without voiding warranties).

    Blu-ray burner (which would require Toast to burn):

    Blu-ray ROM (read only):

    Enclosure that I have (USB and FW400):

    Cheaper enclosure (USB2 only):

    You can get a drive and enclosure for less than US$100, but I'm not sure of the availability of these in the UK.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Kaiser Phoenix

    Guys, I have a tonne of Bluray discs, some of which I wanna keep as Bluray and some which I wanna encode.

    I know that I can rip a Bluray to MKV with the MKV tool and then encode that to mp4 with Hand Brake.

    What I wanna confirm is, can I convert in Handbrake, that looks something like the HD files I get when I buy an HD film on itunes? Coz I used the Apple TV preset and the file was like 1-2 gigs and quality was well, SD.

    How do I rip to HD level quality in Hand brake? thanks
  8. macrumors regular

    My Handbrake encodes are every bit as good as the ones I download from Apple -- if not better. At normal viewing distance they are every bit as good as the BluRay. My trick is to use the AppleTV preset, add this to the advanced line:

    Change the resolution to 1280 x 720

    Anamorphic setting: Custom

    Check: Keep aspect ratio
  9. macrumors 6502

    Kaiser Phoenix

    Thanks, gonna try it when I get home!
  10. macrumors 65816

    I do this, except set Anamorphic to "None" and let the picture height "float". Is there an advantage to using "Custom"? Or do you use this to force a 1280 x 720 picture on a file that may have a wider aspect ratio?

  11. macrumors 65816

    See above from tommylotto. If you are, like me, using the GUI version of Handbrake, you make these adjustments on the Picture Settings dialog box.

    I took the Apple TV preset, made these setting changes, and saved it a custom preset called "Apple TV HD". That way, I don't have to repeat the setting changes when encoding at HD resolution.
  12. macrumors 6502

    Kaiser Phoenix

    Guys, is there a better way to convert Blurays to appletv or itunes playable format?

    coz I tried Make MKV, and while it makes the MKV file ok, I cant get it to encode in Hand Brake. Always says video source not recognized or not found. Some MKVs actually work but then the encode stops half way...

    Are there any tools out there that is more lets say bullet proof? I have both windows and Mac so I can use any tool, just wanna get some HD content into my mac mini without using MKVs which take over 25 Gigs.

    Thank you very mcuh
  13. macrumors 68000

    Are you using the nightly build of Handbrake? It contains a bunch of fixes since .9.4 was released.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Kaiser Phoenix

    Sorry whats the "Nightly" buid? I got the latest one from the website I think.
  15. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

  16. macrumors 6502

    Kaiser Phoenix

    Ok thank you very much, will give this a shot.
  17. macrumors 65816

    As you may have seen from another thread, the "No Valid Source" error comes up infrequently in Handbrake. For me, I'd say it's less than 1 in 10. I've been told (but have yet to try) that running the mkv file through TSMuxer will yield an mt2s that Handbrake will gobble up. It might strip out the subtitles though.

    For the most part though, if you're using a Mac (without a Windows installation), you're "stuck" with MakeMKV and Handbrake. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
  18. macrumors regular

    I do that to preserve compatibility with AppleTV (1280x720p/24 max), which might not be a concern for you. It maximizes the number of pixels and takes advantage of the anamorphic feature. We have been doing in for years with DVD's. So, it makes sense to do it with HD content too. With widescreen movies you get an effective resolution of something like 1680x720p.
  19. macrumors 65816

    So it cuts of the sides and fills the screen vertically? I watch my HD rips on Apple TV too, but I like to keep the original aspect ratio and full frame width, which is achieved by the "None" option, setting the width to 1280 and letting the height be whatever it needs to be.

    Each to his own - just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing a wrinkle.
  20. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    If I understand correctly, if you have a 1080p TV you'll get a little higher resolution out of the Apple TV (1680 wide instead of 1280 wide).
  21. Guest

    so you can encode a bluray rip at 1680 width?
  22. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    That's how I understand it, but I'll let tommylotto chime in.
  23. macrumors regular

    With the custom anamorphic setting checked, you encode the entire movie frame at the correct aspect ratio at 1280x720. That is at a 16x9 aspect ratio, but the original aspect ratio, whatever it is, is preserved, because the pixels are not square. They are rectangles, in a ratio necessary to preserve the original aspect ratio of the movie. For a widescreen movie, your actual horizontal resolution with always be 1280, but instead of square pixels you will have rectangular pixels, which your AppleTV or Mac Mini will unpack as 1680 or so. This trick really does not improve horizontal resolution, it is just a trick. However, you do end up with a real improvement in vertical resolution.

    If you set horizontal resolution to 1280 and allow the vertical resolution to float, on widescreen movies, that resolution can be as low as 550 pixels. With custom anamorphic, you always get 720.

    An anamorphic encode with have 921,600 pixels, whereas a non-anamorphic encode will have about 704,000 pixels. That is a 30% increase in pixels in vertical resolution, and my understanding is that vertical resolution has a bigger impact on perception of visual clarity.

    I know that resolution is not everything with respect to encodes, but all this being equal, more pixels are better.
  24. macrumors 6502

    Kaiser Phoenix

    Guys, I am currently encoding MKVs ripped with MAKEMKV then just encoding it in HANDBRAKE.

    My question is: How do I also get subtitles? Is this possible? I try to click the subtitles option in Handbrake but it doesnt change anything, do I need another step somewhere?

  25. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Unfortunately, subtitles are a bit problematic still for Blu-rays. If you can find the SRTs (from various unscrupulous places :) ) then you can use Handbrake to add them during the transcode.

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