DVD Disc Publishing In-House
I posted this in the DVD authoring forum but thought it might fit here too.
We're getting more jobs where we have to burn 100 to 1000 DVDs for clients and it's a pain to send the jobs out to a duplication facility where we can only make about $.25 markup per disc (if we're lucky).
Clients are ALSO realizing they can send the job to a duplication facility themselves and save that extra quarter per disc (no I'm not kidding).
We'd like to keep more of that money in-house if possible as it could add up to $25-$40,000/year in duplication revenue that we're giving to duplication houses. Plus it would cut turnaround time since we'd eliminate shipping on a lot of local jobs. We'd still use a duplication facility for large runs.
So we're looking at buying a short-run disc publisher (50-100 autoloading at a time). I was wondering if anyone is doing this, what they're using and if it's cost-effective. The models we're looking at are in the $2500-$3000 range, appear robust and get good reviews. Their print costs are estimated at about $.22/disc and below, with disc costs at between $.30 and $.60 depending on whether you use standard or watershield media, and digipak cases at under a dime. So at $2-$4 per disc depending on the size of the run, we could keep quite a bit of that money in-house and turn the jobs around faster.
The models are:
Epson Disc Producer
Primera Bravo XR or Bravo Xi2
Also...is anyone getting requests and actually doing short or large run duplication to Blu-ray? We haven't had a single project that's gone out to Blu-ray, even when we produce something in HD the clients STILL want regular old standard definitiion DVD for their trade-shows, sales meetings etc. Seems like a waste to me...but that's what they're using.
Thanks for any input.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
We went through a number of autoloaders over the years - but they just don't hold up to constant use.
We use a Primera printer - takes about 1-2 min/disc with a 50 disc capacity - nice glossy labels.
For disc duplication we have a 15 disc manual load unit - much more efficient than duping 3 at a time with a robotic unit.
So the printing is the weak link.
Also be aware that the Primera printers will not match a silkscreen print you get from a dupe house - some customers may be discerning enough to tell the difference. Make sure the colors on the disc printer match the colors on the DVD slipart.
Haven't used them myself... but a colleague uses the Primera Bravo for lots of medium-sized runs and is happy with it.
As for Blu-ray... no, we haven't had a single mass duplication request for Blu-ray either. We've done a few one-offs (or two-offs) for a few projects... but no one has ever requested a mass quantity. Yet.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
We use a ten-slot Microboards machine to burn 10 DVD-R's at a time, each run takes under 2 minutes. We then set up our Bravo Primera Pro in kiosk mode and we can load that up with 100 disks at a time for just printing. The Bravo can also burn, but only two disks at a time, so wer're mostly just using it as a printer. Primera makes a Bravo Pro for BluRay, not very expensive at all, really. I can't say anything about the Epson choice, never used one.
We have three 7-disc DVD towers (21 at a time) manual load. I have done 600 DVD runs. We also pair them up with three Bravo SE printers which have 20 disc capacity and you keep loading them up...no biggie.
I can begin printing if the label is done while authoring is still being finished. I almost always print before burn, then I let 'em rip.
I have not had any inconveniences with the manual load burners...goes pretty fast actually. We only burn DVD-R 8x media best quality inkjet Verbatim and burn at 4x speed. Haven't had an error yet. The printers have been our little workhorses and are networked for anyone to print to.
We use Discus for our disc printing along with Photoshop.
Our duplication prices are right on our web site at http://www.tiltmedia.com.
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
We have a BRAVO II and we use it for any order under 200 usually. Works well enough if you're not in a rush. The printing is the downfall. We get a lot of banding even after all calibration and print tests have been done. Another problem is that for our particular model, the color ink comes in one cartridge. So if you have a DVD that is all blue for example, you waste a lot of ink.
Not trying to be too critical on it though. It does a good job and most of our clients really don't see any problems with the print job.
Rich, I was surprised to hear you print before you burn. I always have trouble with ink bleeding while being spun during the burn session. Maybe it's my media.
System Setup (for a more detailed list, see my profile)
Mac Pro 2 x 3 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Two 16x SuperDrives
Dual-channel 2Gb Fibre Channel PCI Express card
Apple Cinema HD Display (23" flat panel)
ATI Radeon X1900 XT Graphics Card
AJA Kona LHe SD/HD capture card
Apple Xserve Raid 5.6TB
Mac OS X 10.4.11
Final Cut Pro Studio 2
After Effects CS3
Boris Continuum 5
Sapphire Plug Ins
Digital Anarchy Anarchist Suite
As for any bleeding during the burn, you have to make sure that ink is not printing on the inside plastic hub area. After a print take a kleenex and gently wipe that area to see if ink was applied there. If so, make a white circle in photoshop to knock out that area and try again.
Also if the ink is bleeding you might not actually be printing on inkjet media but Thermal...or the ink you are using is not standard. Never had an issue.
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production and Post
Our company provides duplication and printing services and sells systems to do that. There are a number of options and some of the responses in this thread address them nicely. However, if you are losing as much as $20K - $40K per year on duplication, you could easily justify an upscale system like Rimage with an Everest printer that produces permanent, photorealistic quality print directly to the surface of the discs. The automation means it can run unattended, it's networkable so you can submit runs directly from your editing stations, and it has a Mac client if you'd like to submit jobs from a Mac station.
Our company is a VAR for Rimage and I'd be happy to speak with you further about the possibilities. Look forward to hearing from you!
Resource Data Products, Inc.
+1 on the Rimage systems. The disc printing looks great and I think it might take a chisel to scratch the printed disc. This is on an older Everest printer - at NAB last year they showed the newer models that have even higher resolution.
Our Rimage is attached to the network with the project files stored on network attached storage. Oftentimes we get calls for a handful of DVD dupes from a project we did a month or two ago. I can call up the project from my desktop, enter the number of copies I need and the Rimage system handles it from there.
Sure, it's more expensive than some of the other options. But it's definately worth having a look at if your DVD runs are getting out of hand.
Thanks for all the replies guys. we're not "losing" $25-40k per year as someone mentioned...that's the total amount we're billing clients for duplication per year.
You still have to figure in discs, ink, prep-time, cases, shipping, placing the disc in cases etc. So instead of only keeping a quarter per disc by sending the jobs out, we'd like to keep a dollar or more per disc by doing them in-house. We've also started losing duplication jobs on projects we produce because the clients are wanting to save that measly quarter we mark it up.
Again...thanks for the input and positive feedback on the printers and burning methods.
Magnetic Image, Inc.
I've had to do some infrequent runs of 200-300 occasionally, and have had a lot of luck with Epson printers for inkjet printable DVDs. Their printer utility allows me to measure the disc surface in millimeters and enter that info into the set up, and you can also nudge the center of the image in one direction or another one millimeter at a time.
You can find them for about $99, and I have kept several around these occasion duplication sessions.
The models I have gotten have individual ink cartridges, so you don't have to buy too many of what you do not use.