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Choosing the Right Media

CD-R, DVD DL, DVD-RHawksM21 April 2011

Making the Right Decision: Guide to the Best Duplication Service for You
If you’re not quite at the stage of being able to do all your duplication projects in house, you may have to consider farming out some or all of the job. But how do you make the right decision for you? First you need to consider all the elements of your project; that way when you’re approaching a potential vendor, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to answer their questions. We’ll break it down, step-by-step to help you approach this decision.

Choosing the Media
For music and other audio files, you’re better off selecting a recordable CD than a DVD. For larger, more complex projects with more data or those that incorporate video, the ideal choice is DVD. But if you have a very large project or for a project that demands the highest quality, you might need to delve into the Blu-ray category. In terms of cost, each medium will go up in price respectively.

Deciding whether to go with a standard template or a customizable one will be dependent on the client’s needs or the purpose of the project. If marketing a unique product, you probably want to consider the customized option. You’ll also want to take into account your timeframe and cost; which will each increase exponentially the slimmer your requirements are. Thinking about how your project will be distributed and to whom is also key; snail mail projects may demand simpler and slimmer packaging, while on-demand, hand distributed projects afford you a little bit more creative freedom and room to go more bulky with your packaging.

You’ll be presented with a variety of options to choose from:
- covers/booklets/inserts – the more complex the cover, the more complex the case
- sleeves (cardboard) – ideal for easy shipping
- cases (plastic and jewel) – offer the option to showcase disc or cover artwork
- bulk wrap – an affordable option for large scale and/or widely distributed projects

Print Style
Matte, high-gloss, full color, black and white… there are so many options. High-gloss will look the most professional, but is that the look you’re going for? Are you printing images or text only? Do you want to use silkscreen printing — best for spot color printing —or offset printing — used for photographs and full-color prints? Answering these types of questions will determine where you go with your project.

Duplication vs. Replication
You’ll need to take into account the three most relevant factors: size of your order, your budget, and your deadline. Duplication is ideal for projects with a run order size of 100 to 500 with a 3-5 day turn around time. The cost will go up as volume increases. Replication is most often used for a mass production project up to one million discs, because instead of making a copy from a burner drive, replication services make a master “mold” of your original disc and stamps the copied information onto the new discs. The turn-around time is longer, 10-15 days, and comes with a lower cost-per-disc ration.

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