One of my favorite tools that I use to manage my Blu Ray/HD DVD collection is a little program called Clown_BD. Clown_BD will enable you to extract (on the fly) the main movie and language streams of your choice, resulting in either transport streams (for Media Jukebox), an ISO image (for PowerDVD) or even a burned BD disk (for standalone players). Clown_BD accepts HD-DVD/Blu-Ray Structures, MPLS or single M2TS/TS/EVO/MKV files. You can retain the original HD Audio (such as DTS-MA or TrueHD), convert the HD Audio to a more common format such as AC3, and even have multiple audio streams included in your final output. The last point, having multiple audio streams, is very important to me. Currently, all my movies are stored on my MSS and streamed throughout my house to various devices. I want to retain the HD Audio, however, not all my devices can decode this, resulting in zero sound on these devices. Using Clown_BD I can keep the HD audio track and also create a secondary AC3 audio track which is compatible with all devices. This saves a lot of headaches and extra steps I was going through just to get multiple audio tracks (you can see one method I have been using here). You may be asking, why not just copy the disk in its entirety? The reason for me is that a typical Blu Ray disk can take up between 20-40GB+ of space, with part of that space being taken up by trailers, advertisements, etc. Even if you extract just the main movie there could easily be an additional 2-4GB+ of data (additional audio tracks, etc…) that you don’t need. If you have a large video collection, this 2-4GB+ of wasted space per movie can add up very quickly. Just extracting the main movie and audio track(s) you want could easily result in turning a 30GB file into a 20GB file with zero encoding.
As an example, the screenshot below shows the Clown_BD User Interface which lays out all the necessary information for a Blu Ray movie. I wanted to keep the DTS Master Audio but also get an AC3 track. By checking “Unconverted” and “AC3″ under “Output Audio Format”, Clown_BD will keep the DTS-MA track, but also create an additional AC3 track to be included in the resulting .ts file.
To confirm my results, I use MediaInfo to verify:
As a final test, I play the resulting .ts file, checking to make sure the picture looks pristine and there are no audio issues (A/V out of sync, sound, etc…):
There are several important items I wanted to point out:
- Clown_BD does not decrypt disks, it will only work if you are using an unencrypted disk or have a program like AnyDVD running in the background.
- All assumptions are that you are using your own legally obtained disk for personal use
- Clown_BD does not handle Standard DVDs
- Clown_BD does not transcode any of the video, so you will geta 1:1 copy.
- One issue I have encountered is that W7 RC does not like ts/m2ts files with VC-1 video. There are a couple of work arounds to correct this that I am experimenting with, but right now whenever I have a movie that is VC-1 I use a different program to create an mkv (hopefully will document in another blog post shortly )
For a full walkthrough of Clown_BD, check out the Wiki.
You can also visit the developer of Clown_BD here.