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Making a Good DVD-R Master Disc

No matter how you go about creating your DVD master disc, be sure to test your master thoroughly to verify the way YOU want it to perform. We do check the integrity of the master disc and disc format, but we do not check 'content' compatibility. TEST, TEST, TEST your disc thoroughly before submitting for a duplication or replication order. Your content is your own, you know how you want it to operate. We recommend testing your master on the different computers, operating systems and setups it is designed for to verify it performs the way you want it to. Make sure any links, videos, embedded pictures, etc are intact. There are too many formats, types of data, operating systems, etc to be able to guarantee your disc performs the way you need it to – all we can do is make good exact copies of what you give us.

How about some advice on the basic steps to create DVDRs suitable for mass distribution. There are many software packages available for DVD burning or mastering. US Digital Media does not recommend any specific package over another. However here are some basic recommendations.

  1. Try to use a DVD-R drive to create your master, using High Quality DVD-R Media. If you have a DVD+R drive only or other type of DVD recordable drive(DVD-RAM discs are NOT accepted pre-master DVDs), there may be some compatibility issues in using masters created in those drives. We prefer the master discs to be a DVD or DVD-R disc. (but a +R disc can be used)
  2.  DVD-R is the most compatible recordable DVD format and USDM uses very high quality DVD-R. That said the discs we duplicate may not be readable in some DVD devices, the failure of the DVD-R disc to be played is rarely due to an error during duplication. In most cases it is caused by and out of date or faulty DVD player that can’t calibrate itself to the DVD media. The only way to guarantee almost 100% that your DVD will play is to have it replicated (pressed).
  3. Do NOT use a DVD-RW or DVD+RW disc to make your content master as these discs are not easily read and would be ‘open’.
  4. For ease of use on most computers – always master Disc At Once (DAO) for Data. For data DVDs use only a single track or no multisession if possible.
  5. Standard Video DVDs are usually copied correctly by your authoring / burning software and the standard default settings are adequate.
  6. The normal DVD-Rs have a capacity of 4.7 gigabytes (4.38gb). But Dual Layer discs can be done at an extra charge.
  7. Commercial DVDs or encrypted (Protected) discs cannot be copied. We will not copy a DVD unless you own the copyright, or unless you have written permission from the owner of the copyright.
  8. Duplication is onto DVD-Rs only, unless special arrangements have been made for +R duplication.
  9. Either label the master with appropriate DVD labels or write on them with a felt tip marker only. Handle all masters carefully, both before and after recording. Touch them only by the edges and keep them free of fingerprints and scratches that can cause data errors. Package them for safe shipment.
  10. Send at least 3 DVDR masters, this helps to ensure that we receive a good disc that has no errors or has not been damaged during shipping


What is the #1 issue with masters these days? Packet Discs and open masters. Especially when making a data DVD, make sure you chose a single track or no multisession disc.
Any master sent for a Duplication or Replication order MUST be closed and complete!
There are additional fees for the USDM Creative Team to close any master for you, and this could delay your order.

Still have questions about your master disc? Contact one of our knowledgeable Account Reps at 1.877.992.3766 for information, or a custom quote on creating your master for you.