Replication services involve three primary steps to complete bulk disc orders: manufacturing, printing, and packaging. Typically, a replication company will have the capacity to handle both production and creative services.
Replication services are available for a variety of media platforms, including DVD, CD, and Blu-ray. Your discs can be replicated at a low cost per disc in these massive volumes; however you will experience a longer turnaround time than duplication.
First you will need to submit a master disc. This disc will be the original source of data (audio, video, etc.,) that will serve to reproduce thousands to millions of copies in the replication process. The master is read and stored by replication equipment and a glass master is created based on the digital data it renders. From there, discs are copied multiple times from electroformed metal substrates.
You want to make sure your master disc is free of errors when it is created. Otherwise you’ll have the same error repeated on all copies. To minimize the odds of errors occurring, set the recorder to the slowest write speed and close all other computer applications. Finalize the disc once recording is complete. This step will allow other reads to interpret it. Following finalization, verify the absence of any errors by testing the disc in various players and recorders.
For optimum results, use high quality recordable media for your master disc and avoid using rewritable discs (CD+R, DVD+R, for example) as they reproduce poorly made copies. Steer clear from packet writing when creating a disc, as its characteristic multiple tracks will create continuity errors in replication. Instead, master your data and audio with a disc-at-once (DAO) session.
Next, disc artwork must be chosen or created. A replication company is usually equipped to handle CD, DVD, and Blu-ray graphic design services. You could also make your own artwork with the help of disc label software templates, or hire a professional.
If you choose to submit your own original artwork, there are some guidelines to consider so that the best results are returned to you. Please see CDROM2GO’s art requirements.
Another important element of your disc order submission is to note licensing and copyright laws. If the audio, video, or other data you are using is not your original creative property, there are several circumstances in which you are prohibited from using it and replicating it for your own work without a license. Consider the ownership of the work and if it fits the fair use doctrine guidelines (which may allow the work to be used): determine if it has commercial use, the nature of the work and its potential commercial value.
In many cases, permission for the use of the work will need to be granted unless the statute of limitations has expired, which can be anywhere from 70 to 95 years after an author’s death. You can also obtain licensing permission to replicate artistic work legally via a licensing agency like the HFA. If you have questions regarding any copyright boundaries and laws that pertain to your media project, seek legal advice.
Replicated CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray will have two print options: silkscreen or offset printing. These two methods are the most effective for the high volume demands of replication. Silkscreen printing involves pressing a spot color ink roller over a stencil and mesh screen to produce an image resolution up to 140 lines per inch. Silkscreen’s advantage is its color matching and relatively low cost.
Offset printing provides a higher resolution design at 175 lines per inch, making it a popular choice for photographic or detailed artwork. Using a CMYK color palette, offset printing employs ink plates bearing a reverse image to be applied (or offset, so to speak) onto the disc in its proper orientation. A water-based film used on the plates draw ink away from the areas designated for blank space. Offset’s high resolution factor is what makes it a popular choice for customers.
For disc replication packages, you can choose from a variety of shapes, materials, and sizes tailored to fit your personal or business needs. Jewel cases are common for CD-ROMs and DVD and Blu-ray cases are perfect for DVDs and Blu-ray discs. For retail ready packaging, these cases can be labeled on the case spine and overwrapped with the disc inside.
The disc packaging addition is part of the automated production process. Paper and cardboard sleeves as well as bubble mailers are effective for mail distribution. If you want to truly cut packaging costs, you can have your discs packaged in bulk with shrink wrap for easy transport.
CD, DVD, and Blu-ray replication orders will have a slower turn time than duplication orders due to the time consuming manufacturing process, as well as the sheer volume of discs. Several additional steps are also required for replication. The disc artwork must be treated and pass through a series of approvals and proofs between the customer and graphic designer.
Next, the manufacturing of the discs take place which entails the production of a glass master and thousands of electroformed replicas. Each of those multiple discs must be printed with custom artwork via silkscreen or offset. From there, they are separately packaged in individual cases and shipped.
Standard and bulk replication packages will take one week to 10 days to receive. Custom packaging may take closer to 10 days to two weeks. If you are facing even greater deadline pressure, some disc replication services will work to expedite your order through shipping and prioritizing means.