Authoring Blu-ray discs on a Mac with Final Cut Express and Adobe Encore

“I have an iMac and AVCHD Sony video camera. Final Cut Express imports AVCHD files, but FCE does not output AVCHD. I’d like to create a Blu-ray disc with my AVCHD video. What is the best solution to edit my AVCHD files? Can I use FCE for editing and Adobe Encore CS4 for the high definition menu for Blu-ray? If so, which format should I choose for the output from FCE in high definition?”
Choosing the right tools for editing and authoring Blu-ray on a Mac is still somewhat confusing. Based on the tools you have available, I’m inclined to recommend editing with Adobe Premiere Pro and authoring a Blu-ray disc with Adobe Encore. However, if you are more familiar with editing in Final Cut Express, I can certainly understand the appeal of sticking with what you know. As for which settings to choose in either route, let me make a few suggestions.

No matter which editing software you use, you want to output h.264 MPEG-4 video at 1280×720 or higher resolution. Ideally, this should be a video only track that can be put in a transport stream by Adobe Encore without transcoding. The audio you export should ideally be Dolby Digital Stereo AC3 as a separate file. Using those settings will allow you to avoid degrading your video quality when you author the Blu-ray disc in Adobe Encore.
If you can’t separate the audio and video, you still should use h.264 MPEG-4 video and AC3 audio. Another possible solution to your problem would be to edit with FCE and make your Blu-ray disk using Toast Titanium.