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Using Blu-Ray Footage

Blu-ray offers a number of advantages over DVDs, most notably the higher resolution. However, it also has a number of advantages for AMV editors, most of which mean that it is even easier to work with than DVD footage!

First off, you have to rip the disc. First, the good news--you can use the exact same software that you use to rip DVDs, DVDFab HD Decrypter. Now, the kinda not so good news. Because of the protection on Blu-ray discs, DVDFab adds support for new Blu-rays after they have been released. This means that if you have a brand new disc that was just released, DVDFab might not be able to rip it for a while. Also, the updates to the free version of the program generally lag about 1-2 months behind the commercial version, so if you don't want to pay, then you generally might not be able to rip some discs until a few months after their release.

Since the ripping process is generally the same as that for DVDs, you can just take a look at the DVD Ripping guide, if you need some help with the process.

When ripping Blu-rays, you don't get VOB files like with DVDs. Instead we get .m2ts files (which should be located inside the \BDMV\STREAM\ folder). After ripping the files, we can load them directly through AviSynth using the DSS2() command, like so:


Note: the DSS2 command requires the AviSynth plugin "avss.dll", which is included in the AMVapp.

Now, some very good things about Blu-ray footage: it generally has square pixels, so you don't have to bother doing any resizing calculations! Also, they tend to be progessive, which means no interlacing!

Of course, note the usage of the words "generally", and "tends to". You should double check the aspect ratio of your footage to make sure that it really does have square pixels (it's not uncommon for some material like extras to be 720x480, like on DVDs), and I suppose its not all that uncommon for the footage to be interlaced, especially if its a release of an older show.

If you need to resize or remove interlacing, you can use the same guides that have been written for working with DVD footage, although keep in mind that, especially with the resizing guide, these were written with DVD resolutions in mind:

Making your footage progressive
Dealing with aspect ratios

Even if your footage does have square pixels, you might need to crop it a little bit. As to whether you do this before or after you edit, that is entirely up to you. If you are only using one source, I would recommend that you just wait and crop after you finish editing. If you are mixing lots of different sources though, you might find it better to crop and then resize first.

Finally, we come to the last little caveat of using Blu-ray footage. The DSS2 source filter that we use to load the files into AviSynth isn't entirely frame-accurate, so that means editing the AVS files directly is not an option. You need to convert your scripts to lossless files, and unfortunately, the higher resolution of Blu-ray footage means that these lossless files can be absolutely HUGE. However, it's a small price to pay for being able to use some beautiful HD footage.

On a final note, remember that since HD footage has such a high resolution, everything is slower. Editing, filtering, etc. The good news is, that most Blu-ray's should generally look pretty nice to begin with, so they probably wont need a lot of heavy filtering like some older DVDs used to need.