CD Duplication

Posted on July 30, 2008 by

I decided to dedicate a blog post to the ins and outs of CD and DVD duplication for our clients in The Government of Canada. There’s a lot of things to consider when doing a CD/DVD project, especially if it’s being duplicated versus replicated. If you haven’t checked out our blog post on the differences between replication and duplication, you can read “CD & DVD Replication in Ottawa” here. In short, duplicated discs is what you’d get if you were doing anything less than 500 pieces. It’s ideal for short run projects, and increasingly, I’m noticing many of our government clients are sensitive about the decorative method that is used on CD-R and DVD-R media orders. Everyone wants a product that looks good, and doesn’t suggest you put it together yourself with a stomper, some paper labels from Staples, and a trusty HP deskjet. You don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for an expedited turnaround. Really, you don’t. This small component of what makes up an overall project that could be something as small as 50 discs, or something as elaborate as 250 finished DVDs in amaray cases with a trap sheet (retail grade looking DVD package) is the first thing that consumers and colleagues will notice. The disc itself is the piece that houses the content and ultimately holds the most important physical impression with people. The disappointment of ordering a project, especially with a quick requirement, and it being delivered to you looking like you could have done it yourself is not nice to feel. Disc decoration methods are important. Let’s level the playing field, and introduce what some of those methods are.

Inkjet printing:

We employ this. It’s literally what it sounds like. A special printer will apply inks to the surface of what could be a matte finish CD-R or DVD-R or a glossy coated disc that adheres the inks and dries them faster…something called Watershield media. We use watershield media as the standard for all of our CD and DVD duplication orders. Watershield media doesn’t smear, whereas non-watershield media can if you inkjet print them, and don’t allow for the inks to cure and dry for at least 72 hours. Watershield media also increases color vibrancy and vividness. It’s more expensive, but not by much. It’s worth it if you’re a musician or film maker looking to do a short run of discs. You want to relay a professional impression, and just because you only got 100 of them produced, you want the quality to be comparable to silk screening or offset print, normally associated with replicated orders. if there’s photos associated with your disc image design, watershield media is really the best way to go. if you’re doing black text on a white bleed, with a basic logo or two, you can spare the expense.

Paper Labels:

I’m not knocking these. They’re fine. Ultimately, their purpose is to cover the face of duplicated CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. They can produce a decent image quality if there is a photo involved. It’s inks being applied to paper which has an adhesive underlying surface. They’re applied to CD and DVD media via a stomper. They look like paper labelled disc though. They’re easy to spot. They are cheap, and we do them. They’re ideal for disc orders you might need in 4-8 hours. It really comes down to an aesthetic thing. if you’re ok with it, it’s the fastest way to produce duplicated and decorated media, and the most cost effective. i wouldn’t recommend it for a CD release party, independent film premiere, or the 1500 CD run you’re doing to distribute to potential clients, but it’s great for inter office documentation orders or projects that are needed quickly and cost effectively. Limited runs and you’re not concerned about aesthetics? No frills approach to getting some CDs done? This is a good bet.

Thermal Digital Print:

We employ this on most of our duplicated projects, and even on some of the replicated ones. The process produces a 4800 DPI magazine quality digital print that is printed to a high gloss foil, and can be applied to a variety of different types of media via a thermal application process. This is the most high res and slick method for decorating discs, and is superior to both silk screen and offset print in terms of final product. We have many of our clients opt for this even on replicated orders. It is more expensive, but it’s worth it. We bring samples of this decorative method when we meet with clients, and the responses overwhelmingly are that it looks great, significantly better than the other methods, and does things like high res photos, images, and logos the most justice. It’s a glossy finish, and some of the added options you can do with this method include serializing your discs (we use do this for a few real estate clients) or personalizing them with a name or discount code on a disc to disc bases. We ask for an excel spreadsheet rundown of line items you want added to each disc.

Let us know if you have any other questions. or you can request a quote.

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One response to CD Duplication

  1. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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