I'm going to be completing a video project soon that will involve creating 300 DVD copies. I will be responsible for editing the entire project, including creating the DVD menu screen.
However, I won't be burning the 300 DVDs myself - this will be outsourced to somewhere with the facilities to mass-produce the DVDs.
I'm not entirely sure of how this will come together in terms of workflow - what am I likely to have to pass on to the company that will mass-produce the DVDs? Obviously the video content, but if I'm to create the menu system too - how do I share that with them? Or is it likely that they will just need to re-create it from a menu graphic that I create?
Apologies for such a broad question as I know everywhere will be slightly different, but any experiences of doing something like this would be much appreciated.
If you're responsible for producing a completed DVD project, including menus, then that is what you must deliver to the duplicator - a fully functioning, fully tested DVD.
How you deliver it is up to them, so ask what their preference is. Many will now accept a DVD-R master that you burned. If doing that, use a high-quality media such as JVC/Taiyo Yuden and burn at slow speed to minimize the possibility of errors that you would not want on the copies.
You might also be able to deliver a thumb drive with an .iso (disc image) on it. I saw a posting last week about sending a digital file with some sort of checksum business applied to verify that the data is error free, but I don't have any info on that process.
I recently starting sending my dupe jobs to Kunaki. This is a fully-automated, self-service deal that is $1.75 per disc flat rate. Includes full color disc print, DVD case with color wrap, optional color insert inside case, plus shrink wrapped! Using their software and browser interface, you "package" your DVD and all artwork files together, and then upload. Once uploaded, order as many or as few copies as you want, when you want, as DVD data is stored on their servers. I've run several jobs through them recently and no complaints. There are even options for fulfillment from customer data you provide, or they will put up a web page where customers can order direct and you are sent the proceeds!
But again, the most important thing is to thoroughly test all aspects of the DVD and menu system, nothing worse than having hundreds of copies made and then finding an error in the DVD! Do NOT test on the computer, use a regular set-top DVD player. Software DVD players on the computer will play discs that are NOT fully DVD compliant.