by Gary Rebholz
First, you’ll need to get DVD Architect Pro 5 software to your computer. You can download the application from the Updates section of the Sony Creative Software website (www.sonycreativesoftware.com/downloads/updates). Once you’ve downloaded it, run the installer. There’s no need to uninstall DVD Architect Pro 4.5 software first; 5 will recognize your 4.5 serial number and upgrade your 4.5 to 5. If you’ve already uninstalled 4.5, reinstall it first and then run the 5 update installer.
Now that you’ve installed 5, start the application. Of course, you can start completely new project, but you can also open a project that you previously created in 4.5 and use 5 to create a Blu-ray version of the same project. (Just remember that you might need to render your media again as high-definition if you want to take advantage of high-definition resolution). As you can see in Figure 1, just looking at the application you don’t see any visible differences between 4.5 and 5, so you’re already on very familiar ground.
DVD Architect Pro 5 software uses the exact same interface as version 4.5 did, so it’s easy to feel at home if you’ve used the previous version.
Once you’ve started the application, you’ll want to specify whether you’re creating a DVD or a Blu-ray project. Of course, you can change your mind later, or complete the project as one type and then change it to the other so that you can burn both a DVD and a Blu-ray Disc™ if you want to.
To specify which type of disc you want to create, choose File | Properties to open the Project Properties dialog box. On the Properties tab, notice that the first property is Disc format. Click the current format value if you want to change it and then select the format you want to use from the list. Figure 2 shows my Project Properties dialog box after I’ve switched the Disc format property to Blu-ray Disc™ and you can see that now the Properties tab shows Blu-ray related properties.
The Disc format property has been set to Blu-ray Disc and now the Properties tab shows Blu-ray disc related properties.
Set the other properties for your project here in the same way. If you know that you’ll always (or at least most often) want to create a project with these same properties, select the Start all new projects with these settings checkbox and then click the OK button. Now DVD Architect Pro software will start all of your new projects with the settings you specified.
Once you dismiss the Project Properties dialog, you can get started building your project. Working with DVD Architect Pro software to assemble your Blu-ray title is really no different than building a standard DVD title. Add your buttons, artwork, compilations, playlists, and so on using exactly the same methods you’ve used in version 4.5 to create DVD projects.
In fact, if you want to transform an older project that was originally created for DVD into a Blu-ray project, just open the old project in DVD Architect Pro 5 software and change the project properties. You do need to keep in mind a few functions that you can use to create standard DVDs (such as adding a jacket picture, DVD scripting, I-frame snapping, and a few others) that are not supported in a Blu-ray project. There are a variety of reasons for this, mostly relate to the lack of their inclusion in the Blu-ray specifications, their lack of relevance to a Blu-ray project, or current infeasibility. DVD Architect Pro software also leaves many of the higher-end features supported by the Blu-ray specification to be handled by Blu-print which you can also learn more about on the Sony Creative Software website (http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/blu-print). But DVD Architect Pro software still puts robust Blu-ray authoring into all of our hands for a very reasonable price! (Did I mention that the upgrade is free?)
Once you’ve authored your project, it’s time to burn the disc. Burning a DVD project works exactly the same as it does in version 4.5, so let’s jump right to burning a Blu-ray disc. With a blank writeable Blu-ray disc in your Blu-ray burner, click the Make Blu-ray Disc button. Note that you’ll only see this button if you’ve set your Disc Format property to Blu-ray as we discussed earlier.
The Make Blu-ray Disc wizard opens and gives you two options. Choose Prepare if you want to prepare the disc image on the machine you’re currently working on but need to take that image to a different machine to do the actual burning. For instance, you’d do this if the machine you’re working on does not have a Blu-ray burner. If the machine you’re working on does have a Blu-ray burner and you intend to do the entire job on that machine, click the Burn button. That’s the way I’ll proceed.
After you click the Burn button, the wizard asks if you want to burn the current project or a project that you prepared earlier. All of this will be very familiar to you if you’ve burned DVDs in DVD Architect Pro 4.5 software, so I’m not going to go through the entire burn process. I’d just like to point out again that creating Blu-ray discs is really no more complicated than creating DVDs in DVD Architect Pro software.
Also, as you work through the wizard, make sure to click the Optimize button when you get to the Review Message List page of the wizard. You can see in Figure 3 that my Optimize Disc dialog shows that my two video titles will not be recompressed since I rendered them out of Vegas Pro software in the format that’s needed for a Blu-ray burn. Notice however that all of my audio titles will need recompressing (as indicated by the exclamation point icons) because I didn’t render them to the proper format.
Check the Optimize dialog box to learn which files will need to be recompressed before the disc can be burned.
You can use either MPEG-2 or AVC video formats and PCM or AC3 audio formats for your Blu-ray disc. If you add files of other types to the project, DVD Architect Pro will recompress them to the proper format for you, but you might want to control that process by rendering them out of Vegas, Sound Forge, or ACID Pro software in the proper format to begin with.
When you’ve finished making all of your choices, start the burn process in the final page of the wizard and DVD Architect Pro software does the rest.
Not bad for free, huh? If you already own and use DVD Architect Pro 4.5 software, you’re one free download away from the ability to create and burn Blu-ray projects. And with what we’ve discussed in this article, you’ve already learned what you needed to know to get up and running. So, download DVD Architect Pro 5 software (www.sonycreativesoftware.com/downloads/updates) and put your next project out in high definition!
Gary Rebholz, is the training manager for Sony Creative Software. Gary produces the popular Seminar Series training packages for Vegas Pro, ACID Pro, and Sound Forge software. He is also co-author of the book Digital Video and Audio Production. Gary has conducted countless hands-on classes in the Sony Creative Software training center, as well as at tradeshows such as the National Association of Broadcasters show.