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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!

[The main window of multiAVCHD.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeavchd-main-window.png [The input sources used in the multiAVCHD compilation.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-sources-loaded.png [The output video format selection dropdown in multiAVCHD.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-output-format-settings.png [A checkbox list of the desired menus to be generated.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-menu-settings.png [Where to enable the generation of a motion menu in multiAVCHD.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-motion-menu.png [The motion title thumbnail option in multiAVCHD.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-motion-title-menu.png [The title details plus highlighted Transcode button.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-title1-encoding-settings.jpg [The desired output video resolution and cropping settings.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-title1-size-settings.png [Setting the quality preset for the title's output encoding.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-x264-preset.png [Setting the title details for our clip.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-title-details.png [A relatively empty chapters list before auto generation.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-chapters-before-auto.png [Video Chapters list in multiAVCHD]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-chapters-after-auto.png [The final title list in our multiAVCHD compilation.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-post-title2.png [The start button to begin the encoding process.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-start-project.png [A window displaying the variety of options available for output in multiAVCHD.]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-output-format-select.png "The output format selection in multiAVCHD" [![A window displaying the variety of options available for output in multiAVCHD.][]]: {filename}/images/2010/10/mAVCHD-homeAVCHD-output-format-select.png