Week 4, 2019: Burning video to Blu-ray, AVCHD vs. MP4, Nero and Roxio

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 4, 2019

Q. I want to take AVCHD video recorded with my Canon HFR400 camcorder and burn it to Blu-ray discs. I have a computer running Windows 10 software with an LG Blu-ray writer and blank Verbatim BD-R discs. The files each fill a 16 GB SD card and will each be burned on a 25 GB BD-R disc. I can import the video files to the computer via SD card slot or USB connection from the camcorder. Can you recommend a program that will work with my equipment? The discs I burn will be played back on Blu-ray players and 4K Blu-ray players.

-R.Z., Mequon, WI

A. I would look at Nero Video for your projects. Nero Video 2019 lists for $69.99 and is currently on sale for $49.99. Not only will it allow you to author Blu-ray discs and burn them to recordable Blu-ray media, you can use Nero Video to edit the recordings as well. Mac users should look to Toast 17 Pro from Roxio, which offers similar functionality. See them at nero.com and roxio.com.

While the software recommendation is all you requested, I do have some additional information that you may find helpful as you work on future projects of this type.

The first regards the AVCHD format you are using with your camcorder. AVCHD provides excellent image quality and saves some space on the memory card compared to other video formats like MP4. Unfortunately, as you will soon find out when you import the AVCHD videos and try to work with them in software, it is not a very friendly format for home editing and video creation. Editing AVCHD requires a lot of computer processing power and even with a very fast, late-model computer you may find it to be glitchy and slow going at times. Your camcorder has an MP4 recording option and I suggest changing from AVCHD to MP4 if you plan on working with your videos in software. I switched from AVCHD to MP4 in all of my cameras and camcorders a long time ago for this very reason, and never really noticed a difference in the image quality despite AVCHD’s touted superiority. If you never plan on editing the videos or working with them in a computer, and will just play the files directly from your memory cards, then leaving it on AVCHD is OK.

This brings us to the second point. If you just want to play the movies on your Blu-ray players without editing, there is a good chance you don’t even need to burn the videos to Blu-ray discs. Your Blu-ray players or TV probably have a USB port or SD card slot. You can use a USB card reader, or transfer the files from the SD card to a flash drive with your computer. Then simply connect the card reader or flash drive to one of these USB port to view the videos. You can even edit them in software, export to a new MP4 file then save it to a flash drive for playback on a player. This is what I do with my own video projects now as my own experience burning movies to Blu-ray was a bit of a headache. Exporting to a new file, then saving to a flash drive was a better and more reliable option.

By the way, those blank Blu-ray discs and burner make excellent data backups as well given the 25GB per-disc capacity. A Blu-ray burner can be more than a tool for making movie discs so be sure to explore all the capabilities it provides you.