How to convert Blurays with HDConvertToX

Okay, since I myself have been getting more and more into Bluray backup and the like, I will be posting a series of articles on Bluray conversion, both to MKV and to Bluray/AVCHD. This article is a tutorial on converting a Bluray disk that you have already ripped to your hard drive. The only tool necessary is HDConvertToX!

Okay, let's get started.


hdc-bluray-open HDC Open Select

First of all, click the "Open File" button and navigate to where your Bluray is located on your hard drive. Select the .m2ts file with the largest file size (usually above 10 gigabytes). Click "Open".

In addition, HDConvertToX is equipped with "Drag and Drop" functionality, so if you have your source directory already open, you can simply drag the largest .m2ts file onto the "Open File" field.



Next, in the "Use Best Decoder" dropdown, select "Force DirectShowSource2". The reason for this is that it will use your native DirectShow decoder installed on your system, so if you have CoreAVC or FFDShow-Tryouts installed, you will be able to use multithreaded decoding for faster performance. If you do not have a multicore system, or you don't know what that is, then stick with the defaults.


HDC Bluray Analysis

Next, click the "Analyze file" button. It should take roughly 30 seconds to finish analyzing your input file and collecting the information that it needs. Just let it do it's thing, you'll be fine.


HDC Bluray Cropping Information

Once the analysis has finished, you will see a nice grouping of information layed out for you. Most of it is just nice to know, so you can feel free to ignore it if you like.  HDConvertToX (HDC) is even smart enough to calculate cropping values for you! So no need for those pesky black bars. Feel free to edit these values to your preference, or use the "Visual Crop" tool to adjust the cropping values to your liking.

Many users recommend that you check the auto-calculated crop values using the Visual Crop tool, as it can be incorrect at times.


HDC X264 in MKV Select HDC Bluray Size

Next, click on the "Video" tab. Change your "Encode Using:" dropdown to match your desired codec and container. For me, it's X264 in MKV. Choose what you like ( and use ) most often. In addition, set your desired file size. In this instance, I select 4482 MB, which is roughly the size of a DVD. I find it's a nice file size choice for my Bluray backups, and affords me fantastic quality with proper encoding settings.

Which brings us to the encode settings! The built in slider is pretty self explanatory, but I have always liked the "Extreme Quality" option. It's certainly slower, but I am a quality buff. Feel free to choose your favorite profile here.

Note: Since I was backing up this disk for playback on my PC, I left the rest of my settings at default. If you want to use this file in a hardware device such as Popcorn Hour, select the "NMT (Network Media Tank) Compatibility" option. You may have to adjust your encoding settings as well, but I don't own a Popcorn Hour, so I couldn't tell you any more. Refer to the HDC thread I linked to in the beginning of the article for more information.


HDC Audio Settings

Next up is the audio. I prefer to leave my audio in it'soriginal channels, which is different than HDC's defaults. Use the drop down's to enter your settings for audio codec, bitrate, channels, and bitrate managment (cbr, abr, vbr). Everything else can be left comfortably at default.


HDC Track Select

Now, navigate to the "Audio & Subs Selection" tab. As you can see in the above screenshot, I have select my DTS Master audio track, and a second, 2 channel track which contains the director's comments. For good measure, I have included some english subtitles as well. Since I don't like to have my subs "hardcoded" (or "burned") into my video, I like to mux my subtitles into my final container. That way I can turn them off and on whenever I want! After you have selected your tracks, you can pretty much leave everything else at default.


HDC Save Ouput file HDC Output

We are almost done! First, click on the "Save File ..." button in the top left corner. Navigate to your desired output directory, and name your file something appropriate ("Output" in this case). Press "Save".


HDC Add to Queue HDC Save Ouput file HDC Start Queue

Final steps! Press the "Add to Queue" button. You will see a list of all the commands and their corresponding parameters displayed that will be executed to complete your conversion. When you think everything looks good, go ahead and hit "Start Queue"!


After who knows how many hours, you'll have a shiny new MKV file containing all of your desired tracks waiting for you! Nice process, no?