A few readers have been asking me about creating DVD version out of Blurays. Since I happened to be working on that very problem just recently, I thought I’d whip up a tutorial on how to convert your Bluray rips to DVDs using the free AVStoDVD. It’s a bit long, but it covers a lot of the strengths of AVStoDVD, including menu creation!
Okay, so I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’ve already ripped your Bluray to somewhere on your hard disk. If you haven’t done this already, jump to it!
Start up AVStoDVD.
Before we start adding any video files to the main project, we need to edit our project preferences, which will save us some serious time later and give us a chance to specify our output format for our DVD.
Click on the Preferences button that I have highlighted below.
Once the AVStoDVD Preferences window has opened, click on the Paths tab, and edit the Default Output Path to your liking.
Now, under the Encoding tab, make sure that your AVS Source filter is set to A2DSource. Next, choose your video encode profile. In this case, I decided go for the HCenc 2-pass profile, as I find it gives better quality when aiming for a specific filesize then the other two profiles.
Lastly, set the AC3 Audio Encoder to QuEnc, as this was the only audio encoder that I could get to work with our HD audio input on a consistent basis. You can try experimenting with the other profiles if you are so inclined.
Now, click on the Audio / Video tab. If you live in a NTSC-based country (ex: United States) then set your DVD Video Standard to NTSC. If you live in a PAL-based country (ex: most of Europe), then set your standard to PAL. You can pretty much leave the other settings at default or copy my own, as shown below.
If you click on the Authoring / Burning tab, you can edit your default audio and subtitle languages, in addition to setting a chapters interval if your source doesn’t have a chapters list or if your source has a chapter list that cannot be read by AVStoDVD. Last but not least, check the Save current Preferences as default box. This will force AVStoDVD to remember you setting for future projects, which can really save you some time if you are encoding several Blurays. When you are done, click OK and return to the main window.
Now that you have setup your main project preferences, choose your desired output DVD size. In this case, I’m shooting for a single-layer 4.7 GB DVD, but feel free to choose differently.
Now, select your output structure. In this example, I’m aiming for just a folder that contains the DVD structure, which I can then burn later using IMGBurn. However, if I wanted, I could have an empty DVD in my disk drive and tell AVStoDVD to automatically burn it using IMGBurn when it has finished. Definitely a handy feature.
Now it’s time to add our source! Click the source import button as I have highlighted below.
Navigate to where you have ripped your Bluray disk on your harddrive. Navigate down into the STREAM folder and select your main movie stream. This is usually the file with the largest size. As you can see my main movie is over 30 GB so it’s pretty obvious which stream I need to select. If your still unsure, open up the stream in your favorite video player (mine’s Media Player Classic Home Cinema) and check to make sure it’s the file you want.
When you are done, click OK.
Now, AVStoDVD will read your input file and present a window like the one below, which details all of the audio tracks it found in the file. Simply place check boxes in the audio streams that you want to include on the file DVD and then press the small X in the upper right hand corner. Again, it never hurts to preview the stream before hand to make sure that you know which audio track you want, but it is usually safe to assume that the top track is the main audio track.
You should now see the main window with an overall detailing of your source, including the video and any audio track(s) that you have chosen to include.
Optional: If you would like to include subtitles in the final output, make sure that they are already pre-ripped before adding them to the project. To add them to the project, simply click on your video file and select Subtitles->Add Subtitles. Select your subtitle file and it will be imported into the project.
If you cannot see the Advanced Project Settings dialog, press the Settings button at the top of the window.
Now that you have added all of your desired files to the project, it’s time to give it a name. Under the DVD Label section, enter the name of your project (“The Dark Knight” in this case for obvious reasons).
While your at it, check off any of the other options that you find useful. As you can see, I have enabled MultiThreaded Encoding since I have a multicore processor and it adds a nice speed boost. Also, I’m going to go ahead and have AVStoDVD delete any intermediate files for me, so I don’t have to deal with them later.
Note: MultiThreaded Encoding is on by default, so leave it be unless you have a good reason to disable it.
Okay, these next few steps are optional. We will be creating a menu for the project. If you don’t care about a menu then go ahead and skip to Step 18.
Still with me? Okay, let’s start up AVStoDVD’s Menu Wizard. To do so, go to Options->DVD Menu->Menu Wizard or just press F6.
You will see a window like the one below appear. For the most part, you can leave the defaults, but feel free to tweak anything if you want. For example, I want to change my Menu Template from the default Menu in Black to the cool Blue Rain. I do this by clicking on the Template tab and selecting Blue Rain from the Menu Template drop-down box.
After you have changed whatever you wanted to change (or if you are satisfied with the defaults) press the >>Run Editor<< button.
AVStoDVD will go about generating your initial menu structure, and give you this handy little progress bar for a few seconds.
You will be presented with the Menu Editor window. If you change the Mode to Edit, you will be able to change around the menu and edit it to your taste. The most important section of this window is the DVD Menu Items dialog.
Most of the items are pretty self explanatory, but let’s say that I want to edit the Play All Button. To do so, I simply select the Play All Button from the DVD Menu Items list. Then, I drag and drop the button to a new position that I find fitting, the center in this case. Next we will change the thumbnail and title label.
The program author (Mr. C) suggests turning on HL Links to get a better understanding of the DVD menu navigation. To do this simply press the HL Links button near the center of the window, next to the Lock button.
Okay, let’s say that we want to change the thumbnail displayed on our menu. Click the Edit button like I have shown.
You will be presented with a window like the one below. Simply move the slider and press the play button until you find a frame that you like (note: this can be slow, depending on your computer). When you have found a frame that you like press the little | button, as I have shown. This will mark the frame as your desired thumbnail. Exit out of the window to return to the menu editor.
Now, last but not least, let’s get rid of that nasty little number under the Thumbnail. Select Title Label from the DVD Menu Items list and edit the number under the Label dialog, as I have shown.
If you have edited your menu to your desire, simply go up to the Menu menu, and select Exit. AVStoDVD will ask you to confirm, simply press OK, and you should return to the main window.
If you have setup your project like you want (it never hurts to double check, right?), then save the project! This will save you loads of time later if an error occurs in the encoding process. To do so, simply press that Save button in the top left corner of the window and give it a name for your project file to be saved as (ex. “The Dark Knight”).
Now, let’s get encoding! To do so, simply click the Start button as I have highlighted below.
You will be greeted with one last confirmation dialog (it’s the last one, I promise!). Again, double check your settings are setup like you want, and then press OK.
Upon completion, you should see a familiar DVD folder in your output directory (you know, the one with the VIDEO_TS folder and all that). Or, if you told AVStoDVD to automatically burn it for you, then enjoy your swanky new disk.
If you want instructions on how to burn the disk your self using IMGBurn, see here. Enjoy your new DVD!