A third-party developer needs to provide a "turn-key" Blu-ray solution for the Mac at DVinfo.net

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Old July 3rd, 2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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A third-party developer needs to provide a "turn-key" Blu-ray solution for the Mac

I was thinking about when Apple released (some time ago now) their turn-key DVD solution for the Mac.

1/ You could burn your DVD on your Mac. (Using the built-in DVD burner.)
2/ You could fully author a DVD on the Mac. (DVD Studio Pro and iDVD)
3/ You could play-back a DVD on the Mac.

And I remembered how great it was to be free of having to Print to Tape and then having to take my DV tape down to FATS (a local Film and Tape Service) and, not inexpensively, get them to provide me with VHS copies. And I remembered how great the quality was compared to VHS.

And the great thing about having DVD playback meant that I could fully scrutinize and quality-check my authored and burned DVD before I issued it.

That was an example of a company providing exactly what I needed and wanted. Perhaps even before I was aware of it!

Today, it's a different world and almost everyone I know now has their honking, great big 1080p plasmas and LCDs. It's been a couple of years since I saw a CRT television for sale in any of the major retailers. And the proliferation of Blu-ray players (now that the prices have come down) and PS3s means that providing 1080p Blu-ray discs to my clients is going to become a necessary part of my professional life.

I consider the difference in quality between well-shot and compressed 1080p Blu-ray and SD DVD to be quite considerable. (Not as great as that between SD DVD and VHS, but it's still pretty considerable.) For example, I've been super-impressed with recent 4K scans of old classics released on 1080p Blu-ray discs (such as Goldfinger, Doctor No and North by Northwest). I've personally considered watching those to be a superior viewing experience to 3D. (I reckon that it's the oversampling - 4K down to 1080p - that makes such a difference.)

So that's enough about why Blu-ray is needed and wanted. What are the resources I have on the Mac platform to meet my 1-2-3 listed above?

Apple is led by a brilliant CEO who has served me well with terrific products over the years. Currently he is running a company strategy where he is trying to pit his downloadable movie business against the "physical media" movie business (Blu-ray). It's the strategy he's chosen and, for once, it does not meet what I need and want (purely on the subject of Blu-ray). The one thing Apple have issued that fits what I need here is the ability for Compressor to encode Blu-ray assets. Also the ability to author a simple disc with a simple menu (but I want more than a simple menu).

So this is where I think a third-party developer could really "cash-in" on the current Apple strategy by filling in the gaps to make a turn-key solution.

1/ Can you burn a Blu-ray on the Mac?
You have to buy a third-party burner. LaCie has a burner for $565 (locally) and which also has the capability to "Play back high-definition Blu-ray movies (on Windows only)".

2/ Can you fully author a Blu-ray on the Mac? You can encode the Blu-ray assets with Compressor. But the menu authoring choices fall short (with FCS or Toast). Adobe Encore costs about as much as the entire FCS suite! Encore (as part of Premiere Pro) costs $1333 locally and you can buy the full FCS from a local dealer for $1,399.

A plug-in (ideally for DVD Studio Pro) or stand-alone application from a smart developer to take the asset from Compressor and then tailor-make your Blu-ray menu structure would really hit the sweet spot, especially if priced at around $200 or $300. (I reckon there'd be enough volume of sales to make this worthwhile.)

3/ Can you play back a Blu-ray on the Mac so you can quality-check your authored Blu-ray?
While your purchased burner has the capability to play back a Blu-ray (as evidenced on Windows), I'm not aware of any software for the Mac that gives you the capability to view it. (Does anyone know of any?) Meaning you currently have to purchase a Blu-ray player and possibly a plasma/LCD for your editing suite or take it home and watch it in your living room. A friend showed me his new PC laptop last week and showed me his built-in Blu-ray drive with playback capabilities on his screen. Boy, was I envious!

So, if the proposed plug-in/app also enables playback from your burner to the computer screen (as you can with Windows), then I would consider it an adequate solution. If EyeTV can take a signal from your TV antenna and show you an HD channel on your Mac screen, then I think that this can be done. As far as I know, Adobe Encore doesn't provide playback through the burner to your computer screen of your newly-burned Blu-ray disc. If it did, I would then seriously consider it. Because Blu-ray computer playback is no trifling point.

So a reasonably-priced app/plug-in that lets you design your own menu (and bring in a motion menu from Motion, etc.) plus allow you playback of your newly-created Blu-ray disc would fill a massive need for content providers on the Mac platform, in my opinion.

P.S. I, for one, would appreciate it if anyone posting in this thread could refrain from ranting against the Apple CEO (as has occurred, unfortunately, in certain other threads). He currently seems to have chosen his strategy on this Blu-ray issue and I'm purely interested in solutions to our needs. DV Info has done very well in the past with such "roadblocks" by solving rather than ranting. The first JVC ProHD cameras had terrible problems with tape capture through FCP. We had lots of forum discussions about workarounds and solutions, but the problems still persisted. So the forum moderator, Tim Dashwood, started lobbying Mike Woodworth of Divergent Industries and outlined the problems we'd all been having. As a result, Mike came up with the wonderful "ClipWrap" which felt like a "dream come true" for those of us that had struggled for years with the dreaded "mid-clip breaks". And it only cost about $50 at the time. (But I'm sure Mike had a massive volume of customers.) I'm hopeful that a developer might come up with a similar-type solution for our FULL Blu-ray needs on the Mac platform. I think there's certainly a market for it.
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Old July 26th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #2
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I agree with you 100%, but don't look for it to happen anytime soon, or ever from Apple. The current rumor is that the next version of iLife won't include iDVD, so DVD Studio Pro will probably never be updated again either.

The corporate mentality (or, more accurately, Steve Jobs' personal preferences) behind this bug me at a fundamental level. I always thought that pro apps should cover all bases, rather than using them to force changes in the market. You should be able to print to tape, make any type of disc you need for your specific application (even VCD if you have some bizarre reason to do so). Just because Jobs wants to sell movies through the iTunes store shouldn't mean that no one should produce physical media anymore.

If he opened up the iTunes store to independent/corporate/wedding videographers, I might change my mind, but I can't see them doing that even though it really wouldn't be that cost prohibitive.

(edit: sorry for the slight Jobs' rant, but he is the one who's behind all this from Apple's end. I really can't separate the two in my mind)
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 10:29 AM   #3
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Forget the Mac & Final Cut

I had Final Cut 2.5. I loved the stability of the OS 9.2.2. The only negative was its inability to edit H.D. & I was switching to H. D.

The solution; I build my own computers & was able to put together a duo core 3.1ghz machine for $600-.
Oper4ating System. win XP. Adobe CS4 Productuion Suite was my answer & it does Blu Ray. If you know how to shop you can get any programs you need from offshore source & it is legal; a monetary no brainer.

I have never looked back. Apple who? The only thying needed now is a good replacement for the windows operating system, other than Linux. The big problem w linux is that you have to spend time setting it up.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #4
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I just posted somewhere else here about this and then found this thread. It seems very odd that, with all the discussion, nobody has come up with a BluRay plug-in for the Mac OS10 operating system. What are the roadblocks? You can burn BluRays on a Mac, either simple thru Final Cut itself or complex by purchasing Adobe Encore. Why is viewing so difficult? I have a stand alone BluRay player to check my discs which works fine and is probably a better way to check discs anyway considering the compatibility problems BluRay players still have with burned discs. Still with a way to view nearly every video file on the Mac, why is BluRay an elusive goal?
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Old September 14th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #5
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Yes, I agree. I'm now thinking about buying Premiere Pro (as Encore is bundled with it) for more complex Blu-ray authoring, but it doesn't solve the mystery of no plug-in for Blu-ray playback. You'd think Toast, for example, would offer Blu-ray playback, at least. If it can work with OS X to do simple Blu-ray authoring, you'd think it would be a no-brainer just to add simple playback.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #6
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Back when HD DVD and Blu-Ray had its format war, I rooted for HD DVD, because authoring them were just like regular DVDs except with HD elements. [For making basic discs with menus]

I was able to create a 30 minute HD DVD format discs burned on regular old 4.7 gig DVD-Rs which played perfectly on my Toshiba HD DVD player..

Nowadays, with the advent of Western Digital and Popcorn Hour[Network Media Tank] Media players that can play back almost any flavor of HD files from either an attached USB drive or flash drive, I'm less interested in authoring Blu-rays.

I do have the Roxio Toast 10 Titanium and Blu ray plugin for the Mac but since the Blu-Ray standard is and was kind of in a flux, the resulting disc does not play on every player. [It doesn't play on my older BR player for example] I've given up on that piece of software until I invest in a new player.

For now, I really enjoy using the Western Digital Media Player to play back my finished .H264 files.

Isn't the reason why we don't see BR playback on the Mac because of licensing and copyright protection?
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Old September 15th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #7
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I have two Samsung BluRay players. One had to get a firmware update before it could play BD-R discs. I recently burned a BluRay disc to be played at a professional cinema. It played once there and then the cinema's player refused to play it. The cinema had two other players that also refused to play it. I got the disc back and it played fine on my Samsung. Fortunately it was a test screening and not for an audience. This disc was burned using Toast from a HD QuickTime file.

I have tried to use Encore to compress and burn discs from QuickTime files but the resulting discs had to be made at the lowest HD bit rate or the Samsung wouldn't play it. Burning from Toast or Compressor doesn't have that problem. Bringing in files that Compressor has made works fine in Encore.

A friend is right now trying to roll back the latest firmware update for his Samsung BluRay player as it no longer plays BD-R discs. Samsung acknowledges the problem. So for me Mr. Jobs is mostly right when he stated that BluRay is a big bag of hurt.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 03:13 AM   #8
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I believe Blu Ray has some pretty hefty licensing costs at the moment - I think when you look at the business side of things this is a big part of the equation for all smaller developers who are thinking at going down this route...
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Old September 18th, 2010, 01:42 AM   #9
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Hey you can still use your Mac to burn BD with menus, just load Windows and Sony Vegas.
Render out your mpeg for DVD Architect, build your menu in Photoshop or what ever program and there you haves a BD version. It's cheaper than PP Encore.

I have done this some time ago when a client needed a BD, since then not one client has ever asked for BD. In Sydney with my clients and fellow work colleagues BD is dying.

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Old September 18th, 2010, 08:02 PM   #10
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The only place I see BluRay making in-roads is in cinemas with their HD projection systems. The fact that most HD home video camera files can be played by BluRay players without rendering makes BluRay authoring software less important in the consumer market which stymies development in the low end professional market.
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Old October 28th, 2010, 01:11 AM   #11
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How are other Mac using wedding videographers creating Blu-Ray discs for their clients? Just through Compressor?
Candid female wedding videographers in Sydney, Australia
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 08:19 PM   #12
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Most likely Encore, I dont think compressor gives a whole lot of menu options. It sucks I use Mac & Windows I currently run Encore on windows for my DVDs because I needed blu ray I recently went back to DVDSP to make a SD DVD for a guy and forgot how much I liked it. I dont think we will ever see a bluray solution from Apple they dont care much about computers anymore. If its not portable and has headphones they dont mess with it.
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