I would like to author a bunch of DV-AVi content (which I believe is basically ~ 25 mbit 480i MPEG2 in an AVI wrapper, plus some audio) to Blu-Ray DL discs that can play in a BD player. I understand that the BD format supports 480i h264, so it seems to me that I should be able to author quite a bit of this SD content to a BD disc... upwards of 20 hours. I'm aware that x264 creates BD-compliant streams.
I could use some guidance though.
I assume from http://www.x264bluray.com/home/480i-ntsc that I can use x264 to create my interlaced 480i elementary stream for video. If my source material is 29.97fps (pretty sure it is; will have to check) then am I OK to proceed then to audio? And on the audio side, what codec would be used to encode the 48kHz/16-bit stereo audio in DV for BD playback?
I haven't researched an authoring tool yet, but assume that if I can create my BD-compliant video and audio streams, then the rest (menus, mixing, chapters) should fall into place relatively easily.
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MPEG-2, VC-1 (this is Microsoft technology) and H.264 are all valid for BD. Various sources disagree on what's valid for 720x480 on BD. The "What Is" section of this very website says that 720x480 can only be interlaced and must be at double the frame rate of DVD. However, I can personally confirm to you that I have seen 480i video on commercial BD discs at DVD frame rates, specifically 29.97. Although it seems that 480p may not be officially supported, I have made such BD discs myself using tsmuxer and my very fussy standalone Momitsu BD player plays them fine. Please note that there are no restrictions on which of those 3 video codecs I mentioned that you use. Most of the 480i video I've seen on BD is actually MPEG-2 because it was ported directly from DVDs, but I've also seen VC-1 and H.264 used for 480i. Some of the Battlestar Galactica BD discs actually have used all 3 codecs on the same disc.
I just stick with AC3 for any BD discs I make myself. I have encoders available to me and unlike some people, I feel that AC3 is very good quality. Using it enables me to give more bit rate to my video. I have no experience of any kind with DV video so others will have to comment on anything specific to that.
I did the calculations for 15 hours of video on a single layer BD disc (25 GB) using 256 Kbps for audio (this is fairly low and below what a commercial DVD would use). You could use an average bit rate of about 3200 Kbps under such conditions. That's pretty low. Yes you could fit 20 hours on a single disc, but you'd have to use an even lower bit rate probably approaching 2000 Kbps to do so. I have no practical experience using so much video on a single BD disc (I keep mine to about 6 hours of SD video) so I'll leave it to others who might have real experience here to comment on this. You'd definitely need to use H.264 if you're going to try that.