Inspired by a recent question on this subject, I decided to explore the problems involved in combining dvds onto a blu ray disc using both my regular tools for working with video and a new tool that has only recently been released. All of the programs I use here are free to download and use without restriction.
I started with three decrypted movies on the hard drive. These are a series from a few years ago, and would make a nice set on a single disc.
I use AVStoDVD for many projects and recommend it for many conversions, but it has a couple of settings within it that made it a good choice for this experiment. First, it has the ability to accept audio and video that are already dvd-compliant and pass them through without re-encoding them. Second, it offers something that my normal dvd authoring program does not have: the ability to output dvd-video in custom sizes, rather than just the two normal sizes to fit DVD-5 or DVD-9.
I knew AVStoDVD could produce dvd-video within the 8.4gb size limit of DVD-9 in custom sizes, but what I needed was something that could go well over that size and still produce a dvd-video, even though that is not within the normal specifications.
So, I went into DVD-Size within AVStoDVD and set the custom size to 24000 mb. Edit: On reflection, this should probably be 23500.
As part of the experiment, I tried to import the videos straight into AVStoDVD. When you import the first ifo file, AVStoDVD starts up DGIndex and indexes the movie. This was something of a disaster from the start. The d2v files, when imported, almost doubled the size of the movies...somehow the upper limit change had completely fubared the internal workings and instead of ~13gb of video, I was looking at 23gb. And the program would NOT let the video pass through without re-encoding it. So I gave up on importing the movies straight into AVStoDVD. I may try running them through DGIndex manually at some point, but for now I fell back on my usual method of importing dvd-video into AVStoDVD, which is to convert the vob files to mpeg using Vob2Mpg.
Vob2Mpg produced three mpeg files from the movies. Since I wanted the subtitle files as well, I used PGCDemux to remove the subtitles for each movie. I imported each mpeg file and added the subtitles for each title. I checked each title to make certain that the program was allowing me to pass the video and audio through without re-encoding anything. I set up the menu so that I could select each movie, then I let AVStoDVD get to work.
This process didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. Neither of the encoders started up, but ffmpeg was running and it eventually gave me an error saying the video was 0 bytes. :eek: But there was an option to ignore the error and continue. So, I let it run. Each time the program came to the end of a title while processing the video, it gave the same error. But in the end, I had a 12.8gb dvd video. The whole process was done in a fairly short time...approximately 12 minutes.
I tested the extra large dvd video in my normal player (TMT3), and it seemed to work ok. Each movie could be selected from the menu, and played well. Audio/Video synchronization was not adversely affected and of course video quality was the same. The subtitles also worked. The only odd thing was navigation. The first movie would not advance by chapter. It simply jumped you into the next title if you wanted to go forward. The second and third movies had chapters you could advance to. Weird. Fast forward and reverse worked fine.
So now we get to the new program that I have only recently heard about. It is called DVD2BD Express. This program will convert dvd-video into blu ray format. The problem is, it will only take one title at a time. So you can't simply load several dvds into the program and get a blu ray compliant folder output...it will only take the one movie. Which is why I was trying to combine several dvd movies before using this new program.
One good part about DVD2BD is that it will keep the menu intact.
So I imported the oversized dvd-video into DVD2BD and let it work. Twenty minutes later I had a blu ray format version of my combined dvd video. This blu ray version played well in my software player on my computer, with the menu fully functional, and the subtitles worked, but once the movie started playing, there was no navigation at all. You couldn't jump ahead or back. Fast forward worked, and reverse, but that was all.
So, in the end, I'd say it was a mild success. I now have a blu ray version of the three movies ready to be burned to one 25gb blu ray disc, with no picture quality loss.
Here is the list of tools used (with links):