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Convert Home Videos to AVCHD and Bluray

Okay, so you just bought that brand new TV and your shiny new Bluray player. But your wondering what good is it actually for when you only watch movies every now and then? Ah, but then you remember all those home movies that you have recorded over the years. You know, the ones of the kids on Christmas, or when little Timmy first learned to walk. If only you could keep these in one place with an easy to navigate menu. Well now there is, through the use of your shiny Bluray player and multiAVCHD.

Okay, I’ll cut the phony sounding advert speak. But honestly, it is quite easy (and don’t forget cool) to have your family’s home videos on an AVCHD or Bluray disk.

For one, the quality is way better than DVD. For another, you can fit a lot more content on one AVCHD or Bluray disk than you can on a DVD and still have spectacular quality.

Plus, for those of you with newer HD cameras, you will be able to watch your videos in their original, hi-def resolution. Way better than downscaling to DVD, right?

The secret to all of this is that wonderful little program that some of you may have heard of called multiAVCHD. I know it’s a bit of an intimidating title, but don’t be scared! This is one powerful program.

For one, it can take up to 252 separate video clips (yeah, that many) and encode them with an accompanying menu that you can use in your Bluray player with your HD TV. Now, truth be told, it can output these clips to DVD format as well, but it doesn’t have a menu and you lose a lot of quality. You don’t want to do that right? I didn’t think so.

Getting Started

First off download and install multiAVCHD. Secondly, make sure that you have all of its required tools.

Thirdly, make sure that you have your video clips in an easy to access location. An example would be a folder on your desktop.

Open multiAVCHD.

The main window of multiAVCHD.

Create A Compilation

Begin by adding your video clips to the compilation using the Add Video files button. The resulting files will appear in the source file list and corresponding titles will appear in the compilation title’s area. As you can see below, mine are red. Hoving your cursor over the titles will give a description of the color codes, but in this case this means that my input files are not AVCHD compliant and will need to be converted.

The input sources used in the multiAVCHD compilation.

Output Settings

Before we go about editing our titles, we should set some of the basic settings for our generated AVCHD. Using the tabs at the top of the window, surf on over to the Author tab. Set your output video format (NTSC for me), and your desired output media/split size. You can see my settings below.

The output video format selection dropdown in multiAVCHD.

Menu Settings

After setting your output settings, edit the menu specifics. The defaults are usually just fine, but I went ahead and added some “extra” bits

First off, I enabled a simple XMB style top menu:

A checkbox list of the desired menus to be generated.

Second, I wanted a motion menu ( you know, “movin’ pitures” and all that). So I jumped over to the Menu tab and switched the menu type to “motion”. You can adjust the motion menu specifics under the Advanced sub-tab of the Menu menu.

Where to enable the generation of a motion menu in multiAVCHD.

Here are my menu settings:The motion title thumbnail option in multiAVCHD.

Title Transcode Settings

Note: This portion of the guide is optional. You can just hit “Start” and select your output format if you would like to keep things simple. The following documentation is provided for those who want to delve deeper and tweak their titles’ specific output settings. I just wanted to let you know.

Okay, we are pretty much good on the project settings. Let’s work on each title. I’m only going to do one here, as it’s just for information purposes.

So, return to the Media tab and click on one of the titles. You will see a window like the one below.

To begin, let’s go ahead and edit the Transcode settings for this title.  Click the button that I have highlighted below.

The title details plus highlighted Transcode button.

You should now see the title’s transcode settings, like those below. You will notice that my source video is not the proper resolution for a compliant output. So, I tell multiAVCHD to “uncrop” the output to the proper resolution. What this means is that instead of resizing my input video, I want to pad the video with black boarders, thus leaving my source in its original size, but still ensuring a compliant output.

The desired output video resolution and cropping settings.

Next, I pick my encoding profile. Feel free to select whichever preset you desire, but as you can see below, I have selected a simple 2-pass preset.

Setting the quality preset for the title's output encoding.

After I am happing with my transcoding settings, I return to the title properties.

It’s time to edit some of the specifics of our media. In this example, I changed my title name to “A Cool Clip”. Then, I generated some chapters, like I explain below.

Setting the title details for our clip.

Now, I like chapters in my home media. By default there is only one chapter that spans the entire media. But multiAVCHD can auto-generate chapter points for us. So in the main title properties window, you may see the original chapters list like the one below.

A relatively empty chapters list before auto generation.

Now, after I run the chapter auto-generation (by pressing the button under the chapters tab like I have shown you above), you should see a chapters list like this one:

Video Chapters list in multiAVCHD

Okay! I think we are done with this title! Now go back and edit your other titles until they reach your satisfaction. When you are finished, you title list should look like this one:

The final title list in our multiAVCHD compilation.

Finishing Up

Okay, now that we have designed our menus and edited our title settings to our liking, we can start the final encode. You can set the output directory/name settings at the bottom of the main multiAVCHD window, but I don’t think I need to walk you through that part.

So, without further ado, press the Start button!

The start button to begin the encoding process.

Ah shucks! Had you going there! That’s right, there is one more thing to do. Select our output format. I leave this up to you.

As you can see below, the output formats are pretty self explanatory. If you want an AVCHD, push the AVCHD button. If you want a Blu-ray, push the Blu-ray button.

A window displaying the variety of options available for output in multiAVCHD.

And with that, we are off! That’s it! Nothing else! We be done!

Well, your computer will be cranking away getting all the encoding done (which you can track via multiAVCHD’s log window), but now you just need to sit back and make some hot cocoa. Or 50, as encoding to Blu-ray can take a while. Good luck!


  • http://videohelp.com cacman

    Is this similar to making a blu-ray back up of a blu-ray disc?

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Sort of yes, sort of no. For a Blu-ray backup, I’d usually suggest you use BD Rebuilder, as it is built for the job of Blu-ray to Blu-ray backups.

    But, multiAVCHD does support Blu-ray to Blu-ray with blanking features. In order to use this, simply load up the Blu-ray using the “AVCHD / BDMV / DVD folders” folders button. multiAVCHD should recognize the Blu-ray format, and adjust its output options for you. You should be good to go from there, and this and my other guides should be able to help you out with figuring out the rest of the steps.

  • maverick

    i only wont to know haw i can burn music videos fron youtube to a dvd disk my english is not so goog mekeit liptle plain so i can undertsant i apresiate verry much if you do that

  • Marc

    How large of a file will a two hour, 4.33 GB home video converted to blu-ray end up being, 25-50GB?

  • Jeff C.

    However, this article fails to take into account on how to get the best quality from home video AVC encoding. NTSC home videos are often captured to computers as DV video streams and our interlaced. Encoding interlaced material must be taken into account. From what I can see, this article does not do that.

    See this link here for more info:
    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=158407

    At the very least one should use the flags tff/bff for the x264 encoder to correctly encode interlaced material of which many home videos are.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    @maverick
    Simply use something like AVStoDVD or multiAVCHD. Just load up your downloaded videos into the queue, select your output as DVD and go! I have a guide on AVStoDVD here on the blog, so take a look at that if you are interested.

    @Marc
    It depends. If you keep the original resolution, chances are it will actually be smaller than 4.33 GB. I assume that your original file is encoded in MPEG2? In either case, the size of the output video is completely dependent on the bitrate that you give it.

  • Melissa

    This is great if you have your video files saved to your computer, but if you’re starting with old video tapes, how do you get them onto the computer? These were recorded before video cameras came with the option of plugging them in to download them. Thanks.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Melissa,
    If you are starting with video tapes, you will most likely need a VHS player and a capture card in order to record all of your tapes onto your computer. One alternative is to send it to a recording service, as they will usually have the highest quality hardware available. Usually.

  • sinusss

    @Jeff C.
    Interlaced NTSC DV video from our camcorders is the best to leave interlaced. The best thing is to just encode it to mpeg2 interlaced for DVD , and keep resolution the same, leave it interlaced , as it is.

    If you insist to encode NTSC DV video using x264, the best thing is to bob deinterlace it, for example 60i video becomes 60p, you get much better results than choppy 30p after deinterlace. And to make it worse, you need to change resolution also, as oppose to mpeg2, because x264 should have 1:1 aspect ratio to not confuse things. So you need to resize it (640×480 for example to keep proportion right), and quallity of video is going down furthermore.

    Adub ..nice tutorials!

  • Peter John

    I have followed your tutorial carefully to make an AVCHD disc with MultiAVCHD.
    My source material was 3 home movies (PAL Mpeg2 files made at 8000kbps aspect ratio 4:3 totalling about 8GB)
    All went OK created 4.4GB output.
    But my videos have been converted to m2ts files with Aspect Ratio 16:9 !!!!
    The original properties box shows 1.33 correctly & I made sure that the force 16:9 box was not ticked.
    What should I have done to maintain 4:3 ?

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    What exactly do you mean by 16:9? Do you mean that your video was stretched out to 16:9, or were black bars inserted to pad the video?

    In short, does the output video appear warped at all?

  • Peter John

    Thank you for your fast response.
    Each of the 3 videos was horizontally stretched – i would have been happy with black bars padding it out.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Hmm… Okay, I’ll run a test at home and see if I can replicate the issue.

  • Peter John

    Adub—I do hope that you have not spent too long trying to find a solution to my problem as I think I have tracked it down.
    Using PAL mpeg2 (4:3) files sized as 720 x 576, the Title Properties (Properties Box) showed all statistics including the aspect ratio correctly.
    On going to the Transcode Settings I left the resize setting as 720 x 576 (No Change) & the Uncrop as 720 x 576. Couldn’t change this last one anyhow.
    Logically this should have given the output as 4:3 but it didn’t.
    On looking at the available settings for resize, although I didn’t want to resize, I found a setting of 720×576 (4:3) !!!!
    On using this setting I ran MultiAVCHD & my videos were now in the correct 4:3 format. Success !
    The Welcome screen & the Slide Menu are still 16:9 but I can live with that.
    Thank you very much for your interest.
    On a separate note, given a starting rate of MPEG2 files of 8000kbps, squeezing 2hours on as AVCHD the quality looked similar to the original. How much further could I go, 4 hours perhaps or would the qualty drop now be noticeable on a 32″ screen?. I know I could try it myself but your experienced comment would be helpful
    Peter

  • Adam

    Adub,
    I am attempting to play home videos on my new Panasonic bdt310 player. After following all the steps and selecting both the Panasonic Blu-Ray player option and the AVCHD strict option (transferred to SD card and burned to DVD), nothing is recognized by my BD player. I noticed that the file extensions are .mts for SD card and .m2ts for AVCHD strict but the specs of my BD player say it only plays .mkv. However, when I attempt to play a straight .mkv file, the BD player recognizes the file but goes to a black screen. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

  • Adam

    I figured out how to do it. For the new Panny Blu-Rays, home movies have to be converted to mkvavc. Thanks for the walkthrough!

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    I’m glad you could figure it out!

  • Peter John

    Hi Adub
    I notice that you haven’t commented on my post of Sunday 19th.
    Could you please as your experence would be very helpful. Many thanks.

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Ah, sorry about the Peter John. Must have missed it.

    Anyways, you are correct in assuming that it is in the eye of the beholder. However it’s unclear if you are compressing these discs via MPEG2 or AVC (H264). Are you saying that your original files are MPEG2 (@8000kbps) or that your target is?

  • Peter John

    Adub
    The original files are 8000kbps MPEG2 (1hr on DVD) & I was wonderng how far I could go compressing to make AVCHD (M2ts files) to squeeze on to a single disc without losing significant quality
    If I aim at 4 hrs (2000kbps) would the quality via the AVCHD route look any better than if I converted to MPEG2 at 2000kbps & then made a conventional DVD using DVD authoring software,
    The reason I ask is that I have some old projects that span 3 or 4 DVDs & It would be convenient to have just one AVCHD disc.
    On the other hand I could just use a Blu-ray disc without the quality loss.
    Does this make sense or am I talking nonsense?

  • http://adubvideo.net Adub

    Nope, what you are saying makes sense!

    In this case, standard resolution content will look quite good on an AVCHD at around 2000kbps. In fact, SD content will look quite good when encoded in AVC (aka. H264) even around 1500kbps (and sometimes 1000kbps depending on the content, eg : lots of dark scenes, little movement).

    There is no point in converting to DVD when you have AVCHDs available with a superior codec.

  • sempei

    hi Adub, just reading some of things in relation to putting older videos on disc using multi avchd. Will a older type home video movie [ 1979] make any difference? I had my original super 8 put on a disc, only about 40 mins, then i converted it to a avi a couple of years ago, just messing around to practice conversions.The avi is around 650mb not sure of the dvd that i got it from. If it would make a difference converting these, would i use multiavchd and just burn to a dvd disc or does it have to be a blu ray disc. the only blu ray player i have is the PS3, would that have to be in a different format. thanks

  • Peter John

    Thanks Adub for your helpful comment re bitrates for AVC.
    Initially I didn’t realise that going down the AVCHD route would lead to less image degradation than using the same lower resolution going to normal DVD.
    Of course I do expect some reduction from the original 8000kbps files but it will be interesting to see how far down I can go.
    I just need to find some time to do the tests. I’ll report back my findings.
    Thak you again.

  • robert

    i trying out the program, first i thought i was a little complicated ( i was using avs video converter before) but its not too bad, my question is , i have a movie with 2 channel audio and want it in 5.1 ( doesnt have to be true 5.1) i just want it on all 5 of my speakers, can i change anything with this program to make it like that

  • Gosch

    I don`t know if I´m doing somthing wrong. I have m2ts files from my Sony HD Camcoder and want to change it in Avi/Xvid. I alway get this message by multiAVCHD:
    [22:40:11] multiAVCHD.dat version: [04010767]
    [22:41:08] Detected Recording Date/Time: 2011/08/03 11:04:01 [E:\Videos original\20110803110401.m2ts].

    [22:43:13] Checking for available space and drive types (FAT32/NTFS)…
    [22:43:14] Destination [F:]: NTFS, 193355.28 MiB (188.824 GiB) free space
    [22:43:14] Temp folder [F:]: NTFS, 193355.28 MiB (188.824 GiB) free space

    [22:43:14] Log started for multiAVCHD v4.1 (build 770)
    [22:43:14] Selected output mode: File mode – MKV/AVI/DivX/XviD compatible player

    [22:43:14] Processing one title…
    [22:43:14] Processing (E:\Videos original\20110803110401.m2ts)…
    [22:43:14] This title is marked for reencoding / uncropping…
    [22:43:14] Encoding process may take 10 min to 10 hours, so be patient…

    [22:43:14] *** Initiating video encoding:

    [22:43:14] *** Original : 1440×1080
    [22:43:14] *** Crop : 0
    [22:43:14] *** Resize : 1440×1080 (No change)
    [22:43:14] *** Uncrop to : 1440×1080
    [22:43:14] *** Sharpen : 0
    [22:43:14] *** Bitrate : 8413 kbps
    [22:43:14] *** Frame rate: Original (25.000)
    [22:43:14] *** Level : 4
    [22:43:14] *** B-frames : 3
    [22:43:14] *** Ref-frames: 4
    [22:43:14] *** GOP size : 50 (keyframe min. each 4 frames)
    [22:43:14] *** Quality : One pass (turbo)
    [22:43:14] *** SAR : 4:3
    [22:43:14] *** DAR : 1920×1080
    [22:43:14] *** Profile : File mode (AVI/XviD)

    [22:43:14] *** Stand-by for indexing (ffms2)…

    [22:43:14] *** Encoding : One pass – content: [00:04:05]
    [22:53:31] *** Speed : 9.95 fps (elapsed: 00:10:16 – Realtime x 0.4)
    [22:53:31] *** Transcoding successful!

    [22:53:31] Detected video: ID#0:V_XVID 1440×1080, fps=50.000
    [22:53:31] Encoding [AC3] audio to AC3…
    [22:53:38] Adding AC3 encoded audio track (und)…
    [22:53:38] Detected subtitles: ID#4608:S_HDMV/PGS Language: und
    [22:53:38] Total of 2 tracks found in this file.
    [22:53:38] Creating AVI file…
    [22:53:43] Failed!

    [22:53:43] No compatible folders/files processed…

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    awesome article…i was looking for this tutorial….Thank You