Create your own Blu-ray video discs

From shooting great video with your HD camcorder to playing the footage back on your HDTV, here's how to turn your own home videos into high-def Blu-ray masterpieces.

If you're enough of an early adopter to have an HD camcorder as well as an HDTV and a set-top Blu-ray player, you're probably itching to create high-definition discs from your footage and present them on your big HD screen.

Sure, you could just plug your camcorder into your TV and press Play, but then you'd miss out on all the great HD features that Blu-ray has to offer. I'll show you how to trim and rearrange your clips, add chapter markers, and create an attractive Blu-ray disc navigation menu, just as you would for a standard-def DVD, as well as how to burn the discs for playback on your Blu-ray player.

146161-CanonVIXIAhf10

For this project, you'll need a high-def camcorder and a Blu-ray video editing application. Though it has been a long and rocky road getting to this point, most of the major consumer DVD-editing tools have been upgraded recently to support Blu-ray video-disc authoring (as distinct from Blu-ray data burning, which is a much easier task and has been widely supported for more than a year now). CyberLink PowerDirector 7 Ultra, Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate, Nero 8 Ultra, and Corel Ulead DVD MovieFactory 6 coupled with VideoStudio 11.5 Plus can all bring Blu-ray video to your PC for around $100 to $130 (less if you're upgrading).

You will need a fairly powerful PC to make use of such video apps, as Jon L. Jacobi's "Play HD Movies on (Almost) Any PC" indicates. Surprisingly, however, you don't necessarily need an actual Blu-ray recorder (which can cost upward of $600) to do the job. You can burn regular DVD discs in the Blu-ray format using a standard DVD recorder, as long as you don't mind fitting substantially less footage onto a disc.

A 4.5GB DVD can hold about 20 to 30 minutes of high-def Blu-ray video, and a dual-layer 8.5GB disc can hold up to 45 minutes. Such discs can play in many set-top Blu-ray players. Which would you rather burn, a 25-cent DVD-R, or a $10 BD-R? The price goes up to an eye-popping $50 for a 50GB BD-RE (rewritable) disc with 4 hours of HD playing time. Since most home movies tend to be relatively short anyway, burning your HD videos onto standard DVD media on the drive you already have can be a pretty sweet deal.

Of course, if you're creating an epic saga of your family's vacation adventures, you'll want a real Blu-ray burner such as the LaCie d2 or Plextor PX-P900A, which can record more than 4 hours of 1080i video from your HD camcorder to a single 50GB disc.

The editing and authoring tools for making true Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray-on-DVD discs are the same, so you can get started with the DVD recorder you have now and then upgrade to a Blu-ray recorder later, when prices for drives and media come down.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Becky Waring

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?