A DVD Duplication Requirement Arises
Sam works for a company that provides safety documentation and equipment to businesses. They also perform risk assessments for all types of eventualities. A local video production company was hired by the business to produce and film safety videos. After speaking with existing clients and organizing a viewing for select companies, it was clear that there would be a great demand for video products. They would need to be capable of providing them with copies and also using them to promote their company to other businesses.
They needed a DVD printing and duplicate company to help them produce copies of their safety videos in bulk. Sam was given the task of finding a reliable supplier because she is an experienced I.T. and technical person. The necessary skillsets and experience. Existing clients wanted the videos on DVD immediately. The Managing Director also wanted to start mailing DVDs with promotional materials to increase business for the company. From start to finish, they allowed themselves two weeks.
Contacting DVD Duplication Suppliers
Sam was new to the DVD printing and duplication industry and began by doing an internet search to find companies that appeared for the keywords “DVD Printing” or “DVD Duplication.” Surprised at the number of companies offering these services in the UK and the scale of some of them, Sam was pleasantly surprised. Sam was under the impression digital downloads would decimate the CD and DVD manufacturing industry. However, her research proved the contrary. Each of the 20 videos was to be printed 500 copies each. This would require 10,000 discs. Sam started by asking for quotes from the top ten companies in a finalized list. Sam began by requesting quotes from the top ten companies on a finalized list. All of these companies had informative websites and positive customer feedback. She decided to use the quotation process for customer service.
Seven of the ten DVD copy companies listed on her list responded to her within one hour of her request for a quote. Three of them followed up by calling. Sam met with a customer manager of a company on one of these calls. She was impressed by his professionalism, respect, and knowledge and decided to use the company. Although they didn’t provide the most affordable quote, Sam is a firm believer in the principle “You get what you pay for.” This company gave her the impression that it cared about her and would deliver a quality product. This was crucial as she wanted to make a great first impression on her customers.
Master DVD Artwork, Templates, and Masterpieces
Mark, the project manager of the chosen company, suggested that Sam meet him and show him around their DVD printing/duplication facility. They were only 30 minutes away from her office, so she agreed to meet with him at 2 pm the next day. Sam was shown the wide range of packaging and printing options for DVDs during the meeting. However, things became more apparent after she explained the project to Sam and the budget. Sam chose a lithographic print to make the DVDs. She had great still photos from the video production sessions that would make excellent DVD printing artwork. Mark suggested that Sam be provided with templates and packaging templates to help her create the DVD artwork. Sam was an expert in Adobe Photoshop, so Mark agreed.
They also discussed the differences in printing methods for DVDs. Screen printing works well for artwork with blocks of color and text, while lithographic printing is better for printing photographs onto DVDs. Digital printing is used for packaging DVDs. This means that no matter how black and white the image is or whether it contains all singing and dancing in full color, printing costs will be the same.
The DVD Duplication Suite
Mark showed Sam the DVD duplication room at his company, where copies of the DVDs can be made. There were many towers that could be used to duplicate DVDs, all connected to a central master unit. Duplication drives are identical to those in a desktop computer. Towers can house up to 20 drives. To maximize the efficiency of the suite, there were several towers that could be running at once. Each individual drive was loaded and unloaded by a robot handling system. The task would have been tricky and error-prone if done manually. As the DVDs are lifted with a series of small rubber vacuum cups, the robotic system minimizes any potential damage to their surface. It is swift to load and unload DVDs, allowing the suite to quickly duplicate thousands of them. This helps to reduce project lead time.
The DVD Master and a Format issue
After a quick tour of the duplication studio, they discussed DVD masters and how to present the videos to potential clients and customers. They discovered a serious problem with the DVD video files. The video files were saved in AVI format. Each chapter was divided into 20 DVDs. However, each DVD had to include a menu graphic so that the viewer could choose the chapter they wanted to view. Each DVD had to be remastered with the correct menu system. The format also needed to change so that it could play on both a standalone DVD player and a laptop or PC.
Two weeks seemed a little too short for this project, as it had to be completed for 20 DVDs. This added to the project’s cost, but Sam didn’t want any compromises in the presentation of the DVDs. She modified her budget and made a mental note that she would be thinking about DVD mastering when she was working on the next project.
The DVD Packaging
There are many types of DVD packaging, but Sam chose a clear standard case. This allowed her to insert an 8-page booklet on the left side of the case. The booklet was held in place with molded plastic clips. The transparent plastic sheath protects the DVD case from the elements.
Production of DVDs
Sam spent the next two days creating the artwork for the DVDs. She learned a lot about printing artwork, including how to avoid dark images from printing poorly and how to keep the text within the margin of the print (allow at most 4 to 5mm clearance). To allow for the printing of the image bleed, Sam learned about the 3mm bleed zone. After the week ended, the masters were completed and checked. This left approximately four working days for the company to make the DVDs. The supplier was able to deliver the DVDs. They delivered some DVDs the following Friday, as per the supplier’s commitment. Sam was pleased with the final products and felt that she made the right choice regarding the supplier, who was supportive all through the project.
The DVDs were extremely popular and sold out in two weeks. The supplier had all the information they needed and was able to produce another 10,000 DVDs in just three days. Sam and Mark discussed the possibility of making the next DVD using the replication process instead of the duplication process. Sam would make more significant savings on the unit price, but Sam would have to spend a bit more time.
Sam’s first experience in the DVD printing/duplication industry was positive. This was due to Sam finding a reliable supplier, but there were many points where more planning or experience would have been helpful. These are her recommendations for anyone else in the same situation:
Conduct extensive internet research about potential suppliers
Ask for a quote to help you make a decision about the level of customer support you can expect.
If you plan to create the artwork by yourself, ask about templates
Talk to your supplier about what works and what doesn’t, don’t wait until you need DVDs three days later
For maximum player compatibility, ensure that your master is formatted correctly
Do not try to do it all last minute. That’s when you make mistakes and waste money.
You’ll get excellent service if you treat your supplier with respect.