The DVD duplication project requirement
Alan works for a design company who specialise in the complete refurbishment of listed buildings. They provide a project management service arranging and managing all project stages from brickwork to interior design. The company spend a lot of time and money on exhibitions related to their industry and Alan attends many different shows throughout the year in the UK and abroad. The main activity of the company at these shows is the promotion of work that they have already carried out and projects that they are working on. To make the project information come to life, a lot of computer animation, computer generated mock-ups and visual imagery are used and, previously, this information has been compiled onto a CD which is handed out to exhibition visitors who may be interested in their work or in utilising their services. The latest compilation of project information that Alan has put together involves some very sophisticated CGI and high resolution images. The files are far too big to fit onto a CD and he needs to find an alternative form of media which will be accompanied with printed information relating to the building project information and also instructions detailing the use of the promotional information.
The CDs are usually compiled by Alan in-house. He prints a label using an inkjet printer and puts the CDs into a plastic wallet. Recently, he has noticed that their competitors at the exhibitions are providing their promotional information in high quality cases on discs with the print applied directly. Alan acknowledges that he will probably need a DVD or a USB flash drive to store his new information. He also anticipates the need for a large run of units given the popularity they 感熱紙 have garnered during the last couple of years and is doubtful that he has the time or necessary resources to be able to reproduce the discs and printed information himself.
Sourcing a Reputable and Reliable DVD Duplication Company
Alan begins some internet research to find a trustworthy, high quality DVD Duplication service provider. He searches under “DVD printing and duplication companies UK” and visits the websites of the companies on the first search page. He selects 5 of the best sites with good customer feedback that convey a high quality feel and requests quotes for 1000 printed DVDs from each to see how they respond. The quotes he receives are all fairly similar but one of the companies follows up the request with a personal call from a sales person named Grant. The company that Grant works for is only a 30 minute drive away so Alan arranges a meeting to discuss the current project requirements and a possible future contract.
A Meeting to Discuss The Project
Two days later Alan meets Grant at his company’s offices and manufacturing unit to look at the options for the project. Grant’s company has been operating for many years and his team has a lot of experience with screen printing, lithographic (litho) printing and duplication of DVDs and CDs. He explains the benefits of printing directly onto the disc surface when compared with printing onto and applying stickers. A screen or litho printed DVD will be water proof so there is no risk of damage to the print from moisture. The print is also quite hard wearing and can only be damaged through extremely rough handling of the disc or hard contact with abrasive surfaces. It is also possible to produce an eye catching disc, cost effectively by using a single or 2 colour screen printed design. Alan wants to match what his competitors at the exhibitions are doing and has brought along some samples of their DVDs. Grant explains that these are litho printed DVDs as the print jobs are based on complex photographic images incorporating rendered and stylised company logos. Although litho printing a DVD is the most expensive printing route, if the unit order number is 500 or more then the fixed costs of printing the discs become only a small part of the unit cost. Grant shows Alan around the printing facility and explains how the litho printing process works; they also discuss the details of how to ensure a successful print job. Grant has the following advice:
- Use a DVD template to produce the design – Your chosen DVD printing partner should be able to supply you with a template showing the outer and inner borders for the print, these may vary slightly from supplier to supplier as the template will be tailored to their particular print process. Ideally, the finished artwork should cover an area about 122mm square should not have the central disc hole removed although it is important to be conscious that the hole will exist on the finished unit and so no pertinent information should encroach upon this area. As a rule of thumb, any text needs to be kept at least 3 to 4 mm away from the outer and inner disc borders.
- Choosing a suitable photographic image – It is important to understand how an image will look when printed. Dark photographs are not recommended unless the actual subject is well lit. Photos will need to be at least 300 dpi in resolution and preferably higher than this, to ensure that the end result is a good quality, sharp printed image.
- Lithographic printing considerations – Litho printing is not good for printing large areas of solid colour due to the potential for inconsistency. It is better suited for printing complex images with colour gradients and variations.
The DVD Duplication Process
Grant then takes Alan to the DVD Duplication suite so that he can see how their process works. The suite is a clean room environment with dust extractors running constantly and all personnel are required to wear clean lab coats and hats whilst working there. The process is fully automated with only the initial delivery of printed DVDs on spindles being handled manually. The duplication is carried out using many duplication towers linked together and controlled by a central master drive. The master drive is loaded with the information from the original master DVD and this then controls delivery of the information to all other DVD writing optical drives in the suite. The optical drives are similar to the units found in a standard desktop PC which burns the information onto a writable DVD using a laser diode.
Loading and unloading of the optical drives is performed automatically using robot arms which handle the discs via a vacuum cup system. This removes the potential for damage to the discs through human error or incorrect handling. Also, loading and unloading of hundreds of discs at a time would be too time consuming and laborious to do by hand.
A standard DVD can easily accommodate 4.5 GB of data and there are dual layer versions available which can hold twice that amount of data but these tend to be much more expensive than standard DVDs and the duplication process is more expensive as it is more time consuming.
Packaging the DVDs
Next, Grant and Alan discuss the packaging for the discs. There are many options available for Alan to choose from, ranging from very basic packaging such as plastic or paper wallets, more protective options such as clamshell cases or trigger cases and then packaging types that can accommodate printed paper parts such as polycarbonate jewel cases and polypropylene DVD cases. Alan needs to include a fair amount of printed material and doesn’t want the booklet pages to be too small, so he opts for the standard DVD case option which is the same as that offered by his competitors at the exhibitions. A standard DVD case is moulded from a flexible polypropylene material which is hard wearing but lightweight. A clear plastic sleeve is bonded to the outside of the case to enable a printed paper cover to be inserted which wraps around the case. Inside the case is a moulded stud which holds the disc securely in place. Cases are available that contain up to 4 moulded studs to hold 4 discs or “swing trays” that clip to the inside spine of the case allowing multiple DVDs to be housed in a single case. There are also clips moulded into the inside left-hand side of the case which hold any printed information in place. The printed booklet can contain up to 16 pages if the spine is stapled but more if the spine is glued. Generally, a standard case booklet should be no more than 32 pages as the booklet becomes too thick to fit into the case. Cases with thicker spines are available where they need to accommodate more information.
Alan’s project requires a 16 page booklet which will fit nicely into a standard case.
The Printed Paper Parts for the Project
Grant supplies Alan with a template for the DVD case wrapper and for the booklet to go inside the case. Similar rules apply for designing the artwork for the paper parts as for the disc:
- Dark photographic images should be avoided if possible or test prints should be run to allow exposure to be adjusted so that the image can be used.
- The templates have an allowance for print bleed of 3mm all around the outer edge. This means that the image needs to extend at least 3mm outside of the cutline to allow for print discrepancies and to prevent the situation where tiny white lines can be seen around the edge of a print.
- Text should not be positioned within 3 or 4mm of the outer edge of the print.
As the paper parts are digitally printed, it is possible to consistently print a large area of solid colour and also to print a combination of solid colours and photographic images at a very high resolution, so if high resolution source images are available then it is important to take advantage of the capabilities of digital print.
Project Timing, Details and Finalising
An important part of Alan and Grant’s discussion is about project timing. DVD duplication is time consuming and companies that offer a high quality service are often very busy. The industry standard turn-around for a short run order of between 100 and 1000 copies is usually 3 to 4 working days from receipt of the finalised and approved artwork and the master disc for duplication. Submitting the information required to a company at short notice does not allow for any potential errors to be rectified with artwork or master disc content and can easily end in disaster. Alan has allowed 14 days for his DVD project which will allow him to compile, finalise and proof all of his printed material and disc artwork and also to check his master DVD content to ensure everything is correct and that the material does its job of representing his company well and helping it to stand out from his competitors.
In summary, bulleted list below covers the main considerations for the smooth running of a DVD duplication project to ensure that there are no headaches or stressful situations created by trying to get a job done at the last minute:
- Do your internet research or talk to business colleagues to find yourself a reputable service supplier. Customer feedback can be a good indication of the kind of customer service that you can expect.
- Ask your supplier for a lead time to ensure that they can meet your deadline.
- Obtain artwork templates from your supplier and don’t assume that you can use a generic template or a template from another supplier as many company’s printing processes may vary slightly.
- Don’t leave everything until the last minute as this can lead to disaster, whether it’s spelling or grammar errors in the copy or a mistake on the DVD master recording. Rushing a project can lead to simple problems being missed.
- Do your research to estimate how many units you may need. Running out on the day may mean that you lose business even though many suppliers can provide project re-runs very quickly. Also, the large the initial run, the lower the unit cost. Ordering 500 DVDs and then placing another order directly for another 500 units because you are running low is much more expensive than simply ordering 1000 units in the first place.
We hope that this information may prove useful to someone requiring a DVD duplication service and assist in the avoidance of stress when working on projects of this type.