Working With Blu-Ray Discs on a Mac Pro
[ This article was first published in the February, 2011, issue of
Larry's Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
Michael Powles , from the UK, sent this in. It has so much detail that, if Blu-ray Discs are in your future, you need to read this.
NOTE: I don’t own a Blu-ray burner, so I have not been able to test any of this procedure.
Michael Powles writes:
This is my experience of how I tackled the installation and use of a Blu-ray player on my Mac Pro 8-core machine.
I had been considering adding a second optical drive to my machine for a while just to improve the facility for copying my DVD projects. I was also looking into Roxio Toast 10, the brand being familiar to me from work. At BVE this year I came across an LG BH10LS30 Internal Blu-ray Disc Rewriter (now discontinued I believe?) which was sold to me as being particularly good at working with Roxio Toast.
THE HARDWARE BIT
So, with LG hardware purchased I was then faced with the rather daunting task, I thought, of installing the device myself into my Mac Pro. I am not an IT technician but just a private individual who likes being creative with AV projects. As long as the computer and software all work I’m a happy bunny. If it doesn’t, I break out into a cold sweat! I approached the company I purchased the Mac from but they couldn’t help me at all and although I have a 3 year AppleCare agreement I didn’t want to spend further time on the phone at that precise moment. So I researched several places on the web for installation instructions and found a very informative video on YouTube, which gave me all I needed to know in 35 seconds. My main concern was that I’d read about the bezel on optical drive drawers being too large to fit through the aperture on the Mac Pro casing.
Before installing the optical drive all that is required is a straitened out paper clip and a small cross head screwdriver. Insert the paper clip into the ‘Emergency Eject Hole’ on the front of the burner, which will open the drawer slightly. Gently pull the drawer a little further out. Using both thumbs gently push out and up on the bottom of the drawer bezel thereby releasing the two or three flanges that hold the cover in place and it’s released. Then install the drive.
Unlock the side cover of the Mac by lifting the locking lever and remove the cover. Above the HDD drawers on the top left shelf you will find the cage in which an optical drive is (most likely) already fitted. Pull the cage half way out and disconnect the cable. Now pull the cage right out. There are 4 spare screws on the side of the cage – use these to fix the new optical drive under the existing one. Insert the back of the new device from the front of the cage and slide backwards aligning the drive mounting holes with those of the cage. Screw in place.
Put the cage with the two drives halfway back in to the Mac on the guides and attach both cables. The cable attached to my original drive was marked A and the spare marked B. I was most concerned that the Mac would not have the correct cables as the LG box came with separate SATA Data and Power cables for fixing into the computer. I needn’t have worried as the Mac was already wired up with both SATA data and power cables in the one plug for each optical device. Push the cage fully home once connected, replace the side panel of the computer and lock.
When you want to access either drive use the following keys. To open Tray 1 (in my case the original ordinary DVD burner) press the EJECT key on the keyboard. To open Tray 2 (the new LG Blu-ray burner) press OPTION (Alt)+EJECT keys on the keyboard. The only software that came in the box was a Windows disc, which I did not touch.
THE SOFTWARE BIT
Thanks to Larry’s SonicFire Pro 5 tutorials I was becoming familiar with that software and its integration possibilities within FCP 7. So a number of disparate ideas came together very successfully as on further investigation I discovered that Toast 10 Pro came bundled with SonicFire Pro 5.0.1. All that was required was a free upgrade download to SFP5 and the purchase of the FCP plug in from SmartSound ($49.95). Registration was simplicity itself (with both Roxio and SmartSound) and there were no problems with conflicting or unrecognizable Serial Nos. It all worked first time and both Toast and SFP software have been upgraded to their latest versions – Toast v10.0.08 and SFP v5.5.2 Scoring Edition with FCP plug-in.
The good folks at SmartSound were most helpful in guiding me through the upgrade sequence to make SFP5 compatible with FCP and in placing the music tracks that shipped with the software in the right place on my Disk 2 (after a LJ tip).
“Move the *contents* of the Sound Files folder (all of the .sds files) from the boot drive Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/SmartSound/Sound Files/ into the “SmartSound Music” folder on your non boot drive. You do not need to copy the Sound Files Hits or Sound Files Modified folders. These folders need to remain on the local drive, but should not take up much space.” (Thanks to Frank at SmartSound).
When running Toast both optical drives appear as selectable options for burning DVD/Blu-ray projects.
So far I have not experienced any ‘hunting’ of the optical drives when empty or mounting problems when the Mac goes into standby, as some seem to have done as I discovered in my research.
I have burned my first SD DVD on the Blu-ray burner of your STP tutorials as movies. I just let it get on with it and (some time later) I have a DVD of your STP tutorials, complete with a menu. Now, I guess what I should do next is make a Data disc of all your tutorials so that I have the actual .mov files to move between my computers – and show to other people so that they can buy them too!! Blu-ray burning to come later.
As for the SonicFirePro5/FCP plugin all worked exactly as you say it should in your tutorial – answering my question about preferred sound editor (when STP opened and not SFP5) before I could even start swearing at the screen. How my life will change and the stress levels go down – Bravo!
Larry adds: Michael, thanks for this very detailed write up. I’m delighted to share it with readers here.