I have highlighted several different programs such as MakeMKV, Another EAC3To GUI, and Ripbot264 which can be used to create an mkv. Unfortunately most mkv programs out there either do encoding or lossless ripping, but not both. I mostly do lossless ripping so this is not an issue, but I do occasionally encode a media file (usually TV shows or if I want a mobile version), so this requires me to maintain several different software. I recently came across a program called BluRip which promises to do both. BluRip only works with unencrypted discs though, so you are required have software such as AnyDVD HD or DVDFab Passkey running in the background. Let’s take a closer look at BluRip and see if we can easily encode as well as create a lossless mkv.
Files To Download:BluRip Haali eac3to MKVToolnix Java – needs to be installed for BDSup2Sub to work BDSup2Sub x264 AVISynth DGDecNV (Optional) FFMpegScr (Optional) avs2yuv (Optional) MediaInfo (Optional) madFLAC (Optional) TotalMedia Theatre 3 Trial Platinum (Optional)
- Install or extract to a folder files listed above (non optional files)
- For the Optional files:
- Although not necessary MediaInfo is a great tool for verifying the results of the created mkv file.
- If you want to convert the audio track to FLAC, you will need to install both madFLAC and TotalMedia Theatre. The reason why TotalMedia Theatre is needed is because there is no free DTS decoder, so without a decoder the FLAC file will only be made from the core audio and not from the DTS(MA) track. TotalMedia Theater comes with a decoder (ArcSoft DTS Decoder) which will be used to convert the DTS(MA) to lossless FLAC. You can let the TMT trial period expire as the decoder will still remain available for use (obviously don’t uninstall when the trial period expires)
After launching BluRip, the main interface should appear. The first thing you are going to want to do is set up some of the configuration settings. Along the top toolbar go to Settings -> External Tools
For the external tools point BluRip to where each tool is stored on your PC. You only need to set this up once.
Next go to Settings -> Advanced Options. There are six tabs (General Settings, AutoCrop settings, Stream selection, Video, Audio, and Mux) which are fairly easy to navigate.
General Settings – decide if you want to keep any of the temporary files that are used, or have BluRip delete once the project is complete
AutoCrop – if you plan on doing any sort of Auto cropping you can adjust some of the values here
Stream selection – when analyzing a video stream BluRip will use these settings to determine which streams take precedent.
Video – When BluRip is encoding you can specify what priority it should take over any other processes running on your PC.
Audio – set custom DTS/AC3 bitrates
Mux – this is where you set up some of the defaults that will be used when muxing into an mkv with mkvmerge. Two important items added and disabling header compression for audio and video. I recommend keeping these two items checked, you can read more about the potential problems with header compression here.
With the initial settings configured, head back to the Input tab, point BluRip to the BluRay drive/folder, and click the “Get stream infos” button. Once BluRip is done analyzing all available stream info should show in the “Available streams”. Under “Title Selection” you will see the available playlists to choose from (handy if you are ripping individual episodes). You will notice that under the “Available streams” several streams are highlighted in green. These are the streams that BluRip will use (based on the initial configuration). If you want to add or remove a stream simply double click on it. If you want to add some advanced options to the Audio or Video streams right click on the stream in question.
For the Advanced Video Options, you can adjust the framerate, set the input resolution (handy if you are encoding and want to lock in a resolution such as 720p), and set your own cropping values.
For the Advanced Audio Options, this would get used if you want the audio track converted to a different audio track (i.e. if you wanted the TrueHD audio track converted to FLAC) and if you want to add a secondary AC3 track (I like this option). The screenshot below shows the settings I chose to get the original DTS(MA) audio track plus a secondary AC3 audio track.
In this section you set up a working directory (where all the files will be demuxed), a target directory (where the final mkv will be output to), and the name of the mkv/filename
Here you set up the video, audio, and subtitle settings. You can mix and match your settings. You can choose to create a completely lossless rip (i.e. keep “Use untouched video/audio” ticked off), encode the video but keep lossless audio, etc… If you are looking to encode the video there are several Encoding Profiles to choose from (or if you want to create your own profile go into Settings along the top toolbar). There are two types of profiles set up, one with aq-mode as 0, and one without aq mode. I had a chance to speak with the developer _hawk_ regarding this, and here is what he had to say:
Adaptive Quantization Mode
Without AQ, x264 tends to underallocate bits to less-detailed sections. AQ is used to better distribute the available bits between all macroblocks in the video. This setting changes what scope AQ re-arranges bits in:
* 0: Do not use AQ at all.
* 1: Allow AQ to redistribute bits across the whole video and within frames.
* 2: Auto-variance AQ (experimental) which attempts to adapt strength per-frame.
See also: –aq-strength
Should be set to 0 for animation movies
One other question I had was what did “Mux untouched subtitles (PGS)” mean. When this is checked off BluRip split the subs into 2 streams if a subtitle streams contains both normal and forced subs.
Once you are done with all the settings head over to the “Start” tab. Here you can either start the job just created or add it to the queue to be run later or in batch mode
While BluRip is running you can view the long to see the progress as well as troubleshoot if you encounter any errors.
I decided to test out two different types of jobs. The first was to encode a Blu Ray TV show episode but maintain the lossless audio. The second test was to create a lossless BluRay mkv with PGS subtitles (full English and forced) and also check to make sure that BluRip set the correct flags for the subtitles and audio. The first test worked without issue, as using CRF=20 profile took about 4 hours on my PC to create an encoded mkv (6GB lossless vs. 4GB encoded)
The second test, which is what I do mostly, worked as well. You can see that two audio tracks were muxed in (the primary HD Audio track and a secondary AC3 audio track) as well as two PGS subtitle tracks (the original English subtitle track as well as the forced subtitles)
Screenshot of MediaInfo
Screenshot of mkvmerge showing proper flags set
BluRip shows that it can be a very powerful and versatile tool. It is easy enough to setup and use for the average user, but offers a lot of features and customization to make the advanced user happy as well. I do wish that it supported DVDs so we could have one tool to rule them all, but it is understandable to just focus on BluRay (the only DVDs I purchase anymore are for old school animated TV series).