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Monday, January 23, 2006
Making Professional DVD from Authoring to Replication

9. DVD Replication & Duplication

5.0 DVD Replication & Duplication

Chances are you won't just need one or two copies of a DVD and you will need to mass produce them. You can have your DVD replicated; meaning the disc will be pressed, or you can have your DVD duplicated; meaning the disc will be burned to DVD-R or DVD+R media.

In the media production industry the terminology for making DVDs is called "Replication" as opposed to "Duplication". To the laymen, Replication and Duplication probably means the same. But to the people in the CD and DVD manufacturing industry, there is a subtitle difference. When people say replication they usually mean the discs will be pressed rather than burned from recordable media. All retail DVDs in department stores or video outlets are pressed DVDs made by replication.

Replication is the process of replicating a master disc using a glass stamper (or mold). Melted polycarbonate is injected under high pressure onto the stamper to form the bits of information on the disc. The disc is then layered with a reflective coat and a protective laquer layer. Replication is the official way to make DVD with the highest quality and professional look. This is done in a high temperature controlled and dust free environment.

Part of the replication process is the printing of artwork on the disc. Usually there are two ways to do it, i.e. offset and silkscreen. The choice between offset and silkscreen is a matter of preference; while offset is good for artwork with full-color photo, silkscreen is good for artwork with more vector graphics such as logos and texts.

You should always try to use replication service unless you don't have enough time or if your quantity is small; in such case you can use duplication. The artwork for duplication is usually printed on a paper label and then the label is stuck onto the disc surface. This is labor intensive task and that's why duplication service, despite the lower quality, is more expensive then replication service in terms of unit prices.

Duplication also suffers from the compatibility problem. Not all DVD players can play recordable media although the coverage is about 85%. That means there is chance a duplicated DVD will not play on certain player. The DVD player market has a very funny phenomenon, i.e. the cheaper the DVD player, the more capable it is to play DVD. The low-end $30-50 DVD players usually play DVD discriminatorily. They don't care whether the DVD is duplicated or replicated, nor NTSC or PAL. The high-end brand name DVD players are very picky on the DVD they are trying to play.

5.1 How to choose DVD replication service provider?

Just like buying a car, there is a huge price difference among DVD replicators for the same quality of service and value. Paying higher does not guarantee getting better quality. The price for 1000 DVD can range from $750 to $1600, and depends on your ability to spot hidden costs or not, you can be adding couple of hundreds buck to the final bill if you are not careful.

Always look for a replicator who do not have setup fees and hidden fees. Typical setup fees are stamper and film charges. Some replicator will charge based on the number of colors on the artwork. For full-color printing there are five colors; each color for CMYK and the white background (so called white flood). So be careful about the fine prints on their web, brochures, or terms and conditions.

Alternatively you can googe the keyword "DVD replication" or "DVD duplication". Just a word of advise, avoid the big giants as they normally have very bad prices and customer services.

Last but not least, since DVD still has a lot of compatibility issues, you should ask your replicator how many DVD players they will put the replicated disc on test. A DVD works on Sony player doesn't mean it will work on Pioneer player. At New Cyberian Systems we test all our replicated DVD on about 20 players, from the brand names to the less known, to make sure the highest percentage of playability.

Let me end this article by offering you this limerick.


6.0 Glossary

is a slang term for an optical disc (CD, DVD, etc) that doesn't work, normally because of bad quality of the optical disc itself, failure during the CD/DVD burning process, etc. So, such disc just creates an excellent, shiny coaster to use with your late night pint

Type 1 vs Type 2 AVI file

7.0 References

DVD authoring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
DVD Demystified


A CD and DVD Replication guide
Isaac Cheung

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