Ever since I first got a VR Headset, I have wanted to watch my collection of 3D Blu-ray movies in a virtual IMAX theater.
Unfortunately, every single guide I found on how to do this would have required purchasing expensive software like DVDFab Blu-ray Ripper or Pavtube Video Converter (shudder), and also required the extremely time consuming process of ripping and re-encoding the Blu-ray movies into SBS (Side-by-Side) format. If you follow those guides, each movie can take hours to process and render, and the resulting video files will inevitably suffer from quality loss compared to the original Blu-rays.
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Why can’t I just put the Blu-ray movie in the disk player and hit play?
Ever since I first got a VR Headset, I have wanted to watch my collection of 3D Blu-ray movies in a virtual IMAX theater. Unfortunately, every single guide I found on how to do this would have required purchasing expensive software like DVDFab Blu-ray Ripper or Pavtube Video Converter (shudder), and also required the extremely time consuming process of ripping and re-encoding the Blu-ray.
Why can’t you just play the movie directly on your Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, without having to rip and re-encode it? Well, unfortunately, at the moment (most likely because of licensing concerns), an actual 3D Blu-ray player app doesn’t currently exist for VR… Or does it?
With the help of countless google searches and various scattered forum posts, I finally pieced together how to accomplish this goal.
The initial setup process is a little bit long-winded, but trust me, the payoff at the end is worth it.
The best part? All of these tools are FREE or open source!
1. Download and install K-Lite codec pack – Standard. Make sure that you get the Standard version of the pack, which includes Media Player Classic. This codec pack will let you play Blu-ray videos without having to buy an expensive program like PowerDVD or something. Side Note:Make sure that you skip the steps that ask if you want to install ad-ware near the end of the installation process!
2. Download the installer for the latest release version of LAVFilters. This will allow you split your 3D video streams apart on the fly (instead of having to re-encode everything).
When installing LAVFilters, make sure you select the option to download the additional “H.264 MVC 3D Decoder”
3. Download and install the latest release of madVR. This will allow your media player to display the fully uncompressed, split video streams side-by-side (or over-and-under).
To install madVR, you will need to extract the archive, copy the madvr folder somewhere on your computer (for example: C:Program Filesmadvr), and then run the “install.bat” file there in the madvr folder. To do this, you will need to right click on the file and select “Run as administrator”.
Configuring Media Player Classic
Once you have all of these pre-requisites installed, open up Media Player Classic and select “Options” under the “View” menu item.
From there, go to Playback > Output, and select “madVR” under the DirectShow Video dropdown. Make sure you click the “Apply” button to save!
Now, go to the “External Filters” section and click the “Add Filter” button. You will want to add five filters. Make sure that each one’s priority level is set to “Prefer”, so they over-ride the default internal filters:
1. LAV Audio Decoder
2. LAV Splitter
3. LAV Splitter Source
4. LAV Video Decoder
Hit the “OK” button to save everything, then go over to your madVR settings.
If you installed madVR correctly, you should be able to get to it by clicking your start button and simply typing “madvr” to find it.
Find your default display under the “Devices” section and click the arrow next to it to expand the menu. Go down and click on “Properties”. From there, you should be able to set your desired 3D format to “top-and-bottom”.
Under the “general settings” section, I also tweaked a couple of things. In particular, I enabled windowed overlay, as well as the checkbox for using Direct3D 11 for presentation.
Side Note: According to some reports I have received, you may or may not be able to select the Direct3D 11 option (depending on your video card). If you have everything else set up according to this guide, but Media Player Classic keeps crashing on you, try leaving that option un-checked.
Under the “stereo 3d” section, I checked the box to “enable stereo 3d playback”, and also the checkbox and radio button to enable “when playing 3d content”.
Under “smooth motion”, I checked the box to “enable smooth motion frame rate conversion – only if there would be motion judder without it…”
Hit the “OK” button to save everything, then go over to your LAV Video settings.
LAV Video Configuration
If you have LAVFilters installed correctly, you should be able to get to this by hitting your start menu and searching for “LAV Video”.
I got a HUGE boost in performance by switching the Hardware Acceleration > Hardware Decoder drop-down option from “None” over to “DXVA2 (copy-back)”, so I would recommend trying out that out option first. If you notice your movies playing jerkily, try switching this option to some of the other modes available and see if that helps.
Hit the “OK” button to save everything, then go back over to Media Player Classic.
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Watching your 3D Blu-ray
Insert a 3D Blu-ray disk into your drive (or mount a backup image of one of your 3D Blu-ray disks using a free tool such as DVDFab Virtual Drive). Side Note: If you encounter any problems with opening your Blu-ray disks directly (such as a “can’t render file” error), you might need to install a free tool like DVDFab Passkey Lite. Alternately, you can try using DVDFab HD Decrypter (another free tool) to decrypt the disk and back it up directly to your hard drive.
(Warning: I do not condone any type of copyright infringement or piracy. This tutorial assumes that you own the Blu-ray movies you are attempting to view, and that you are authorized to do so.)
Go to your “File” menu and select “Open DVD/BD”:
Browse to your Blu-ray drive and hit the “Select Folder” button:
If you got this far, give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back. Congratulations! You should now be able to see your 3D Blu-ray movie in split (top-and-bottom) mode, with NO RE-ENCODING!
Note: If your movie has black bars on the top and bottom of it (wasted space which could be used for showing more detail in split mode), I recommend right clicking on the video area and selecting “Scale to 16:9 TV” under the “Pan and Scan” section of the menu. You might also want to experiment with the other various zoom, video frame, and pan and scan options. Basically, you want to fill up as much as your screen as possible, while keeping the aspect ratio correct.
Viewing Your 3D Movie in Virtual Reality
Now, you will need to install either Bigscreen or Virtual Desktop in your Steam library.
Both of these apps will let you see your desktop inside your VR Headset, and both of these apps will split either SBS (side-by-side) or Over-and-Under/Top-and-Bottom video feeds out to your headset in 3D mode.
I tried both of these apps, and I prefer Bigscreen. At the moment, it is in beta (so it is free), and it gives you a lot more fine-tuned control of the screen projection, such as setting the curvature.
Put on your VR Headset, open Bigscreen, and go over to the “Environment” option area. Select “The Void”. You can play around with other environments later, but for now, this one will give you the most bang for your buck.
Now go over to the “Customize Your Screen” option area. Drag the sliders around until you have everything set up according to your personal tastes. I like dialing the screen size up to max, then adjusting the distance until I can see the whole screen. This really gives it a giant screen, IMAX theater feel!
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Next, click and hold the “Move Screen” button, then move your head around to to position it in a relaxed spot in front of you.
You will want to select the first option (primary screen in front), and the “OU” (Over/Under) 3D mode. To get these two options to work together, you will also need to check the checkbox to “Allow 3D Modes in any Display Option”.
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Use ALT+TAB to switch back to Media Player Classic, press ALT+ENTER on your keyboard to enable fullscreen mode, and press your space bar to pause/play.
You now have your own personal IMAX theater for watching 3D Blu-ray movies!