I also posted this question in the "DVD Authoring" forum, but haven't seen any replies yet. So I figured I'd give it a shot here. As I grow my special event business, I need to make more and more copies. I've just been using my G4 with Pioneer 16X Dual layer Superdrive for awhile, but only burning one at a time is getting too slow.
I looked on ebay, and noticed Pioneer 16X duplicators, with 4 drives, at about $450. Thats with a 250GB hard drive and 2 year limited warranty. Is this a good deal?
What is the middle ground between a Superdrive and the $1000+ professional duplicators? Is Pioneer a good model? I know the Superdrives are Pioneer, and are great. But is there a model I should stay away from? I saw NEC duplicators for about the same amount. And is a hard drive necessary?
Any help would be much appreciated!
This is what I use....I've got the seven bay unit...but the four bay is less money. Works great...no problems after nine months.
I will check it out. The 4 bay unit is probably the best for me, factoring in space and money. I do want to copy protect my discs eventually (which these units won't copy), but I believe you can't without professional $1000+ equipment. Too many brides know how to copy DVD's!
1. You can't copy-protect DVD-R or +R. If you authored to digital linear tape and had a duplication house replicate (not copy) your material in the DVD (Authoring) format instead of DVD (General), you could pay for and get Macrovision copy protection. Waaay too expensive for wedding work. Just give the bride as many copies as she wants and factor that into your pricing.
You have three choices in duplication:
1. Burn the discs in your computer's DVD drive(s), and print the labels using an Epson R-200 or similar model. Cheapest method, but a lot of touch labor in moving discs around. Good for low-volume runs like weddings.
2. Use a duplication tower to cut the burn time. You'll still need to print the disc labels individually. A duplication tower with its own hard drive can act as a "stand-alone" unit, burning discs while you and your computer are doing something else. The towers are also good if you specialize in on-site on-demand DVD creation for the masses, for example at a martial arts tournament or a dance competition.
3. A robotic duplicator like the Primera Bravo Pro. This automates the entire burning and label printing process. However, the Bravo does require your computer. More expensive stand-alone robotic duplicators are available, but don't make much sense unless you are burning hundreds of discs per job.
Yeah, having the DVD duplication tower as a stand-alone is very appealing, since I can be doing other things with my computer. I don't burn too many copies for weddings, so a 1-4 tower is more than enough for me.
I currently just print labels with my HP all-in-one printer, and with the Discus software. Not bad for low quantities, and I am getting good at putting on the labels. But I have read about the R200 through many threads on cow, and I probably should just make the investment. I saw it on ebay for about $50-75. And I think you can still use Discus with the printer. Need to free up some desk space though....
The Primera Bravo Pro is the ultimate goal, since it can print the labels in no time, on multiple discs. But the $1700+ price tag is too hefty for me right now.
Anyway, thanks again!
Maybe you should rethink your business model.
It's incredibly difficult and currently cost-prohibitive to copy protect a DVD.
Why not make your money off of your talent, what you do that's different and special for them for their special day, instead of your DVD burner?
Charge reasonably for the shooting, editing, audio sweeteining, whatever it is you do to create the content of the DVD. That is what is unique and marketable about you. Like you say, any yahoo in a white dress can figure out how to burn a copy of a DVD. That's fine. You're not selling them a DVD. You're selling them something they don't have, your talent.
Make copies that are reasonably-priced, and you might find that it's easier for them to pay you for the copies than to burn them themselves. That's the gravy, not the meal.