Note: This is a giant wall of text, so I will be adding more and more to this as we go. The post is unfinished as of right now. Stay frosty for updates!
My goal is to author a UHD Blu-ray for 4K77, 4K83 and whatever the ESB 4K transfer is. Mainly I’m focusing on 4K77 for now. This will also hopefully be useful to videographers and small studios who would like to author UHD BD’s without the $14K minimum entry fee.
Yes there are no proper UHD Blu-ray authoring tools available to consumers yet, probably never will be with Adobe not renewing licenses with the Blu-ray powers that be and ending support of Adobe Encore, as well as Hollywood probably trying to prevent this from ever happening. However there are alternatives to fighting (hehe).
- DVDFab: UHD Creator - You can test it out, it’s freeware but it can only convert/process 10 minutes of video and it will also slap on a logo in the upper left corner of the video (unless you purchase it of course).
- TSM2UHD - Created by the same guy who developed BD Rebuilder (I believe), this tool is used after mixing your streams with tsmuxer. This process is a little more complicated, but it’s free and it has potential to unlock the doors to decent UHD Blu-ray authoring for consumers.
If you haven’t kept up with this topic, here are some of the main issues that lie ahead.
- UHD BD compliance - Bitrate is the main issue here, as well as BDXL discs (more on that later).
- Custom Menus (in 4K)
- Proper Metadata flagging in the mpls and clpi files - This is super important because we need to make sure we have the proper files listed and the proper resolutions/framerates.
- Player compatibility - Certain UHD BD players throw fits with what you give it. The Xbox One S/X may be the pickiest of these.
You can author UHD Blu-rays on 25GB Single Layer, 50GB Dual Layer, and 100GB Triple Layer discs. 66GB DL and 128GB Quad Layer discs are not available to consumers at this moment. The fun trick with 100GB discs is that technically they aren’t available either. What is available is 100GB TL BDXL discs, which are not the same as a UHD BD 100. The trick to making them work is what kind of sucks, you’ll be able to use two of the three layers to essentially author a ~66 GB disc, and it may have spotty compatibility, which makes this route a lot less worth it. Whitepaper here: https://www.blu-raydisc.info/docs/Spec_Info/AllBooksNovember2017.pdf
The roadblock here is that we have to be below certain bitrates in total so that our players can read the disc properly without any stuttering or playback issues. Now in the future this could be elevated as I have found an article from 2016 that explains how one authoring tool developer behind the Blu-ray Disc Association gate wrote their tool to send the higher bitrate content to the edge of the disc so that it would be guaranteed to have the fastest read speed possible. Article here: http://giant-interactive.com/uhd-blu-ray-capabilities-require-workflow-adjustments/
UHD BD 25’s aren’t really used. It is possible to author a UHD disc on 25 GB, but your bitrate will have to be low enough or your content short enough that it’s not really worth authoring a disc except for testing as you could easily make a ready to stream file with a 35 Mbit/s bitrate and have better quality. 25GB discs are cheap nowadays from reputable manufacturers, so I strictly do testing on 25 gb discs and transcode my content to really low bitrates haha.
Here are the bandwidth/bitrate limits we must abide by:
UHD 25GB - Follow HD Bitrate Guidelines (I think it’s 32 Mbit/s max bitrate)
UHD 50GB - 82 Mbit/s
UHD 66GB - 108 Mbit/s
UHD 100GB - 128 Mbit/s
- Because the way tsm2uhd and DVDFab UHD Creator (not too sure with DVDFab) work we may have to abide by HD Blu-ray bitrate and frame rate constraints.
To prepare my copy of 4K77, I have transcoded it to fit a 50 GB disc but the video bitrate is an average 42 Mbit/s (original bitrate is ~93 Mbit/s which is on par with most 100 GB retail discs) to get it to approximately 41 GB so that I have room for menus, intros, audio, and room to spare just in case. Still better than the average streaming 4K file. Make sure none of your content exceeds the bitrates listed above, this includes spiking bitrates. It’s best to go for a two pass encode.
We must also make sure we are using HEVC (H.265/x265) for our codec. UHD will not work with H.264 content.
Now one thing that will probably knock out compliance but you shouldn’t worry about is 8-bit (SDR) content. The BDA requires that all content has HDR10 (10-bit) HDR color profiles. But since what were doing doesn’t legally require compliance, we can ignore this as it’s more of a let’s push HDR thing and not a this will break everything like what bitrates are.
DVDFab UHD Creator
- This probably easiest way, however no menus, and you MIGHT experience some issues. They’re pretty much the non-open source effort to figure out UHD BD authoring lol.
- Buy it
- Load up the content
- Configure output to appropriate disc size - Note, if not doing passthru mode, HDR is lost I believe.
- Still working on my project to figure this out completely
- Old but will help you at least parse the mpls and clpi files
- Lighter than BDEdit but same reasons to use it
- This can convert m2ts to m2ts which is important if we are to scale up the m2ts menu
A Hex Editor
- We may end up having to manually find settings flags and modify them to get our desired output for m2ts and clpi files
PowerDVD 17 or later
- You can avoid making a ton of coasters if you test in proper blu-ray viewing software first.
- It won’t weed out all of your bad attempts, but it will help you a lot.
Some Command Line Tools
BD Authoring Software
- Adobe Encore CS6 (Comes with Adobe CC, you’ll have to select previous versions when installing), this can’t handle anything other than mpe2 & h264 for video and Dolby Digital and PCM for audio. Important to note it’s also limited to 5.1 surround sound. Which in our case is ok but 4K77 has DTS tracks.
- Blu-Disc Studio Lite (Free) - From DVD Logic, they are BDA members, this is lite version that does a BDMV JAVA mix and works nicely once you figure it out. You can force it to take streams it doesn’t support but in the end it doesn’t compile them because when it passes stuff of to ffmpeg for transcoding it doesn’t realize that ffmpeg can handle HEVC lol.
Fun stuff I’ve wasted a Saturday trying
I have tried forcing Adobe Encore to transcode everything to HEVC at 2160p. I modified default transcoding templates, I modified the x264.dll to no avail, it either threw a fit or it didn’t open at all. Part of the problem is embedded in the source code which I haven’t been able to get into at all. Partly because Encore is locked down tight since it’s basically a super light version of scenarist as it’s base was licensed by Adobe from the developer of Scenarist.
Like I said above with Blu-Disc Studio, I have tried forcing it to use ffmpeg and the x265 toolset so all I have to do is try to force it to render at 2160p instead of 1080p. Still looking into this route. I have a feeling that I could just make sure it dumps whatever commands it throws to ffmpeg and have it interpret the commands to work for the x265 library instead. That could take a while though.
Important things to note (I guess lol)
Find this on the BDEdit thread on doom9:
“Hi outgoing, UHD has the header file “0300” instead of “0200” and the program does not recognize them, however the IGS menu can be worked.” (https://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1857404#post1857404)
Blu-ray Wikipedia Page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray)
Definitely has some good information to keep in mind.
Ultra HD Blu-ray Wikipedia Page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_HD_Blu-ray)
A little barebones but still has some needed info.
Here’s a good whitepaper on UHD Blu-ray specs (http://www.blu-raydisc.com/assets/Downloadablefile/BD-ROM_Part3_V3.0_WhitePaper_150724.pdf)
Failed Attempts will be posted below
Post in Progress
If you would like to help please feel free to do so. If you have found success in authoring a UHD Blu-ray with custom menus, please post below!