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DVD / CD FACTS & FAQs

DVD & CD FACTS

GOLD ARCHIVAL DVDs

Another concern is the type of DVD disc being used for the transfer.  They're now estimating that the average basic DVD may only last between 3 and 15 years, based on the manufacturing process used.  Within the next 10 years it will become quite difficult to be able to play your VHS and camcorder tapes (let alone transfer them) as the quantity of working videotape players declines.  Remember the old Betamax machines?  They are very hard to find now.  If your transfer your videos to DVDs that fall apart quickly, the money you spent on transferring becomes wasted and the memories will be lost forever.  This is the very reason we strongly recommend using Gold Archival DVDs, as they are rated to last up to 100 years.  This brings me to another observation I made.  I noticed several companies claiming to be using a 100 year archival disc from Taiyo Yuden.  As of this writing I have not been able to locate any information (even on Taiyo Yuden's own website) about any such 100 year DVDs.  They're your memories, choose carefully how you wish to preserve them.

Best Archival DVDs Contain Real Gold 

The Canadian Conservation Institute recognizes the significance and longevity of the Gold Archival DVD.  Inside every DVD and CD is a reflective layer of material, usually made of some type of metal composite, that helps the DVD (or CD) player with its ability to read the information contained on the disc.  Gold is one of the earth's most precious metals that doesn't rust, corrode or break down over time.  When used inside a DVD, it can boost the lifespan of the disc tremendously.  A few companies have incorporated the gold material into their disc design that includes a manufacturing process that enables the discs to last up to 100 years, making them ideal for archival purposes.  MAM-A (formerly known as Mitsui) is the leading manufacturer of the Gold discs.  Read more about longevity of various types of discs from the Canadian Conservation Institute.

The innovative materials and manufacturing methods used to produce Archival Gold DVD-R's make them among the most reliable storage media available. Other DVD-R's may deteriorate quickly due to common environmental factors: ultraviolet light, heat, and humidity. Using N.I.S.T.'s (National Institute of Standards and Technology) accelerated aging process to test the longevity of DVD-R media, the Archival Gold DVD-R has been shown to safely store your images for more than 100 years.

A key component of the Archival Gold DVD-R's durability is the use of gold as the reflective layer of the disc. Gold is one of the most inert, reflective (and expensive) elements on earth, which makes it perfect to resist the effects of temperature and humidity. These characteristics prevent oxidation, a common cause of failure to most DVD-R's. 

 

 

DVD / CD FAQs

 

If I have a DVD burner in my computer, can I make DVD copies myself?

As long as you have the appropriate software, yes.

WARNING:  Here are the most common problems you need to be aware of that have actually happened to people who have duplicated DVDs.

A.  They used the wrong format of DVD and it won't play in some players.

B.  They use cheap blank DVDs that start falling apart within a few years.

C.  Most people who make their own DVD copies have been using press-on labels

  1. If the labels are not perfectly centered on the disc, the DVD will be unbalanced, causing it to "wobble" during playback.  This can lead to read errors by the DVD player that may keep the disc from playing correctly.
  2. Labels make the disc thicker than a normal DVD and some DVD players, like the ones in laptop computers, don't have enough room for the extra thickness and the disc will get stuck in the player with the disc being unable to spin, rendering it unreadable.  There's also a possibility of damaging the disc when you attempt to remove it from the player.
  3. After several plays, some labels have started to separate from the disc.  Since the disc spins at several hundred RPMs (revolutions per minute), the label may separate even more while spinning inside the player.  This increases the possibility of the label getting snagged inside the DVD player.  If this happens, it will not only ruin the disc, but could damage the DVD player as well.  Sometimes, just the separation of the label from the disc can cause the disc to become unreadable by a DVD player.  Once a DVD is damaged, there is no way to fix it.

D.  Some people choose to use a marker to label their DVDs.  The chemicals in markers have actually reacted with the materials in some discs causing the materials in the disc to break down to the point of becoming unreadable in a DVD player.  For this reason, WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE THE USE OF MARKERS ON THE FACE OF DVDs and CDs.

Labeling the DVD

  I recently came across a company that chose wisely to use the better DVD discs but then ruined them by attaching a sticky label on it. What made it worse was that the label was in a rectangular shape about the size of a return address label.  Not only will the disc not play properly in some DVD players, but it's likely to damage the disc and maybe even someone's DVD player eventually, when the label starts peeling off.

Dangers of DVD labeling

 

Did you know that you could be damaging your DVDs by the way you’re labeling them now?  One of the most popular methods people choose for labeling their DVDs and CDs is using some sort of magic marker-type pen to write on the top face of the disc.  There have been cases where the chemicals in the ink from the marker have actually “eaten” through the disc rendering the disc unreadable when played in a DVD or CD player.

 

The next most popular method of labeling discs is using the press-on labels that you print on using a printer and then peel and stick onto the face of the DVD or CD.  This process introduces a few problems.  First, the label must be accurately centered onto the disc face or the disc will be unbalanced and tend to ‘wobble’ while it spins at a rate of several hundreds revolutions per minute inside of a DVD player.  The wobbling of an unbalanced disc may cause problems for the laser inside the disc player when it attempts to read the information on the disc.

 

Second, the label must be affixed to the disc surface as smooth and flat as possible.  Otherwise, there will be air bubbles that can cause problems or worse, the label could begin to detach itself from the disc.  Also, some of the glues used on press-on labels have been known to lose its stickiness resulting in the labels separating and peeling off from the disc face.  When this happens, the label could get wrapped up inside the DVD player and damage both the player and the disc.

 

For these reasons, we exclusively use a special type of disc that allows us to print the labeling information directly onto the surface of the disc without the use of labels or chemicals that can damage the disc.  In addition, we now use DVDs that are resistant to water stains or bleeds should some liquid accidentally spill onto the disc.  Stop by our office to check out our direct-to-disc printing results for yourself.

 

Benefits of a Sunray Video to DVD transfer

Sunray offers video transfer to authored, unauthored, and even PAL DVDs complete with chapters if you need them.  Our company uses professional quality DVDs that tend to be more durable and last longer than the bargain discs that are sold in stores and online.  In our experience it's not worth trying to save a little money at the risk of losing the priceless images captured on your video.  And to ensure there is no damage to the DVD during the labeling process, we don't used magic markers or press-on labels when labeling your DVDs.  Chemicals often found in magic markers have been known to "eat through" the materials in DVDs that can render them unreadable.  

Magic markers have been know to "eat through" DVDs making them unreadable.

Press-on (or stick-on) labels introduce their own set of problems that can affect the playback of a disc.  If the label is not applied precisely centered on top of the disc, the disc will be off-balance and may tend to "wobble" during playback while the disc is spinning at several hundred revolutions per minute.  Some DVD players may have trouble reading a disc that wobbles while it is spinning inside the player.  Also, some of these labels have been proven to separate from the surface of the disc over time and are at risk of getting snagged inside the DVD player mechanism causing irreparable damage to both the disc and the DVD player.  Our process involves printing directly onto the surface of the disc that is specifically designed for the application of ink that is resistant to moisture and won't destroy the materials within the DVD. 

 

Can I edit the video from the DVD?

If you were to take one of your movie DVDs and put it into your computer and look at the file directory, you would see several folders.  Within these folders you'd find files containing the extension suffix of .VOB designating their file types as VOB files.  Unfortunately, most editing programs do not recognize these file types and don't know what to do with them.  If your editing software program doesn't recognize these file types, then you won't be able to edit the video directly from the disc.  If you have the ability to connect a DVD player to your computer and capture the footage while the DVD is playing, then you could edit the video using this method to import the video footage into your computer.

Unauthored vs. Authored DVDs

Authored DVDs

There are essentially two methods used to create DVDs, authored and unauthored.  If you own or have viewed any Hollywood movies you may remember that when you first placed the DVD into your player a menu appeared on your television screen at some point, prompting you to select "play" to play the movie.  You may have also noticed some options for other features like bonus footage, director's commentary, or choices for changing the sound playback characteristics of the movie.  All of the menus created for these DVDs are customized for each movie.  These DVDs have been created using authoring software and usually require several hours of labor to design and "program" the menu layout and function.

Unauthored DVDs

In order to keep the cost of transferring videotapes to DVDs low, Sunray uses stand-alone DVD recorders to create unauthored DVDs of your videos.  They do not require the use of a computer and can convert and record video to DVD in real (actual) time without the assistance of a technician.  A two hour video will require a little more than two hours to convert to DVD as opposed to the authored type which utilizes the services of a computer and technician for at least 5 hours or more.  Therefore, we can convert a two hour video to an unauthored DVD for just $25.00 versus over $300.00 for an authored DVD.  There are some compromises with this process.  For example, you cannot have a customized menu.  Unauthored DVDs will have a generic menu instead.

Chapters

Chapters have been described in more than one way.  For unauthored DVDs our equipment will place "chapter points" approximately every 10 minutes throughout the video that may be accessed by using the next button (usually notated by two right-facing arrows and a vertical line  >>| ) on the remote control for your DVD player.  I prefer to call these index points rather than chapter points.  Each time you press this button, the DVD will advance 10 minutes ahead.  In addition to these "index points", chapter points can also be manually created anywhere within the DVD.  Once created, they would be assigned a designated title (chosen by you) that will appear on the DVD menu whenever you press the menu button on your remote.  After highlighting a specific chapter title on the menu and pressing the enter key, the DVD player would then jump directly to that specific spot on the DVD and begin playing from that point though the end of the disc.  Since there is additional labor required to create these chapter points and label them, we typically charge $5 per title for every title over 2 titles per disc.

DVD Formats

If you remember the format wars of the 80s when VHS and Betamax battled it out to see which format would become the standard for video recording and movie rentals in most households.  Of course, VHS wound up being the winner and Betamax seemed to disappear.  Well, unfortunately, the introduction of DVDs led to a whole new level of format wars, with DVD-Ram, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R, and DVD-R being among the contenders, and DVD-Rom used primarily for software and as alternative data storage for computers.  The DVD-Ram, DVD+RW, and DVD-RW formats have been, for the most part, brand specific in their use which requires the same brand of DVD player to play a disc as the one that recorded it for each particular format.  For example, if you had a DVD-Ram disc you would have to use a Panasonic machine to either record or playback the disc.  Most other brands would not recognize the DVD-Ram format.

DVD+R and DVD-R have been more compatible than the other formats in terms of being able to play them on several brands of DVD players, with DVD-R being the most universally compatible of the two formats.  This is the reason why most video companies, including Sunray, will use DVD-R for all of their video transfers.

High Definition DVDs (Blu-ray)

With more high-definition programming becoming available and Hi-Def televisions taking over the market, the need for a DVD format that will hold enough data to adequately contain an entire Hollywood movie in Hi-Def has become necessary.  Blu-ray discs can hold about 66% more information than an HD DVD, so it seemed logical to presume that it would eventually win.  Blu-ray discs will hold up to 25GB of data on a single-layer disc versus only about 4.5GB on a traditional DVD.  If you use a dual-layer disc, it would hold 50GB of information, equivalent to about 9 hours of high definition programming.  At this time, the cost of the equipment to play and record Blu-ray is still rather high, with players starting around $400.00.   For more information about Blu-ray, check out http://www.blu-ray.com/faq/#bluray_capacity_video

 

What if the DVD-R disc won't play in my DVD player?

If you happen to have one of the few DVD players that won't play a DVD-R disc, then you may want to consider purchasing a new DVD player that does.  They can easily be found for less than $50.  It makes the most sense to use a DVD format that is compatible with the most brands and models of DVD players and you should have a player that is compatible with this format. 

 

4. Is there is a difference in the labeling surface of the CD or DVD?

  Yes, CDs and DVDs are available with several different types of labeling options.

Some CDs and DVDs come with the manufactures information printed on the label and don't really have a place for labeling.
Some are specifically designed for Thermal printed labels.
Some are specifically designed be inkjet printable.
Some are water-resistent inkjet printable.
Some have a white background and some have a silver background for printing on.
Replicated discs are designed to be screen-printed.

 

1. What's the difference between a CD and a DVD?

  For some this may seem obvious, but we've noticed over the years that many people have been using these 2 terms interchangably without knowing there is a difference.  A CD can hold up to 700MB of digital information and is common format used for music and audio CDs (up to 80 minutes of audio).  A standard DVD can hold up to 4.7GB (based on a single-layer disc) of digital information and is commonly used for video and movies (up to 2 hours of standard definition video).  Since video information requires a lot more storage space than audio, you can see why DVDs are usually preferred over CDs.  A DVD player can play both formats, a CD player cannot.  Sunray can copy both formats.

2. What's the difference between DVD-RAM, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, DVD+R and DVD-R?

  Much like the format wars of the 1980s between VHS and Betamax, the various electronics manufacturers continue to develop their own proprietary media that they want everyone to use so they can collect the royalties.  Well it happened again with DVDs.  DVD-RAM, DVD+RW and DVD-RW are 3 rewritable formats that enable you to burn information on them multiple times, allowing the ability to "record over" previous information.  They are not recommend for use as DVDs that you want to be able to play on other machines as they are only guaranteed to work on the machine they were burned with.  DVD+R and DVD-R can only be written to once.  Between these 2 formats, DVD-R seems to be compatible with more DVD players, so it has become the standard in our industry.  Sunray uses DVD-R discs for all of our DVD copies.

 

3. Is there a difference between the different brands of CDs and DVDs?

  There are several companies that sell blank CDs and DVDs for copying.  In some cases, the same company will make discs for several different brands.  Not all blank CDs and DVDs are created equal.  A DVD is made up of separate layers of materials that each serve a different purpose.  These layers are molded together to create the DVD disc we're familiar with today.  There have been stories circulating about how the layers on one particular disc had separated from each other within just 3 years of being burned.  That's what you can expect from a cheap disc.  There are Gold Archival discs on the market that are reported to be able to last 100 years in part due to the durability of the gold material used in the disc.  Some brands of discs allow for more accuracy during the burning and/or reading of information.  When duplication/replication companies are promoting CD and DVD copying services that are significantly lower price, it's usually a result of using an inferior media.

Read more about the 100 year Gold Archival DVDs

 

4. Is there is a difference in the labeling surface of the CD or DVD?

  Yes, CDs and DVDs are available with several different types of labeling options.

Some CDs and DVDs come with the manufactures information printed on the label and don't really have a place for labeling.
Some are specifically designed for Thermal printed labels.
Some are specifically designed be inkjet printable.
Some are water-resistent inkjet printable.
Some have a white background and some have a silver background for printing on.
Replicated discs are designed to be screen-printed.

 

5. How much can a CD or DVD hold?

  CDs will hold between up to 700MB of digital information.  That makes them better suited for data and audio recordings, such as music CDs.  While they could technically hold video, it's better to use DVDs for that since the cost is not that much more.

  There are DVDs that can hold up to 17GB of digital information.  There were 4 different burning methods created for DVDs that allowed for different disc capacities.  

The most common is the 4.7GB single-sided DVD.  This is the most recommended format for making copies and accommodates a printed label.
There's a 9GB double-sided DVD that requires turning over the disc and makes the labeling process difficult since normal labeling area is now used for burning information instead.
Dual-layered DVDs will hold up to 8.5GB.  Since the information is burned onto 2 layers contained on the same side of the disc, labeling can be done similarly to the original 4.7GB disc.
The double-sided, dual-layered DVD will hold up to 17GB, but will have the same challenges as the previous double-sided disc.

There have been numerous reports of problems with reading dual-layered and double-sided DVDs that have been burned in a duplication process.  If you really need to have a dual-layer and/or double-sided disc, we recommend you have them replicated.  Hollywood has been using the replicated dual-layer DVDs for many years and they seem to have performed well.  If you don't need 500 discs or more, we encourage staying with the single-layer 4.7GB DVDs as they will be much more reliable while playing in most DVD players.

 

6. What is the Difference between DVD / CD Duplication and Replication and how do I know which one to choose?

There are 2 different methods for copying DVDs and CDs, duplication and replication.

Duplication is where a disc is copied to a blank disc with the use of a CD or DVD burner. The information is "burned" onto the CD/DVD with a laser during the copying process.  

Replication is where the information to be copied is put directly onto the discs as they are being manufactured (stamped out).  Replication requires the creation of a "glass master".  Once the glass master is created, it is used to stamp out the DVDs or CDs with the information as the discs are being created.  Replication typically costs less per copy than duplication, but in order to make the process cost-effective it usually requires a minimum of 1,000 DVDs or CDs to be replicated.  Hollywood movies are usually copied onto DVDs using this process.

If you need more than 500 copies, we recommend replication.  

For quantities less than 500, duplication usually makes more sense and it's faster.  

There's more detailed information on duplication and replication at the bottom of this page.

 

7. What factors determine the cost of making CD / DVD copies?

There are different factors involved when it comes to determining the cost of making DVD or CD copies?

Quantity - Like with many things, the more copies you order, the less you'll pay per copy.

Quality of the media - Each CD / DVD duplication & replication company uses different quality levels of media.  The better the media, the higher the cost and you get what you pay for.  If you come across an estimate that is significantly less, it could be a result of using substantially inferior DVD or CD.  If they are to be sold or given out as promotional materials for a business, we'd recommend using better quality discs.  Not only will they look more professional, but the quality of the product you are distributing will be representing your product and/or company.  It's not worth ruining a good reputation to save a few cents on a DVD or CD that falls apart easily.  The durability of a quality disc can translate into a lot more business in the future.

L - Sometimes the type of labeling being used may make a difference.  For example, black & white vs. color, thermal vs. inkjet, etc.

Packaging - The type of packaging for the DVDs or CDs will always have an impact on the price.  

Some of the options include: 

Paper sleeve with a clear plastic window.
CD jewel case or slim jewel case like they use for music CDs
Clam-shell case
Cardboard sleeve
Custom-printed cardboard sleeve
Standard (alpha-style) DVD case like they use for movies
A pouch or sleeve that will go into a wallet or vinyl album.

Consumer Alert

  In order to appear more competitive, most companies will give out quotes based on copying the disc only without any packaging, so be careful.

Paper Sleeve      Jewel Case       Slim Jewel Case         DVD Case        

Custom printing for case/cover - Jewel cases have 2 places where you can insert custom printed materials, inside the front lid and under the CD tray.  Look at a music CD and you'll see what I'm referring to.  DVD (or alpha) cases have a place inside the sleeve that goes around the outside of the case for custom printed materials.  This is often referred to as the casewrap.  Some DVD cases also have clips inside the front cover where additional printed materials could be placed.  All of these options involve an additional cost to cover the printing and sizing of the materials.  

Shrink-wrapping - If you want your case to be wrapped with a clear plastic wrap, that can add to the price as well.

Timing - The sooner you need it, the more it will cost.  Most of the estimates you'll receive will NOT include additional fees that will be added for rushed projects.  

"Hidden" surprises to watch out for with DVD / CD replication

If you're planning to have your DVD or CD replicated then here are a few more surprises to watch out for.  The replication industry is notorious for hidden fees.  These fees are virtually never mentioned at the time the quote is given; that's how they make themselves appear more competitively priced.  It's only after you've agreed to hire them (and usually later in the process) will you be informed about the add-ons.  

Some of these fees may include (but not limited to):

Glass-master charge - A glass master is required for all replication projects.
Film charge - For the artwork that is to be printed on the disc label.
Setup fees (for the label) - For making sure the artwork will fit the template for the disc label 
Setup fees (packaging inserts) - For making sure the artwork will fit the template for the packaging materials (if there are any)
Additional colors on disc label - Adding more colors to the label than their standard process.
Shipping - To cover the cost of shipping from the location where the discs are actually being replicated.
A pouch or sleeve that will go into a wallet or vinyl album.

  Sunray includes all of these services in our pricing - No hidden fees!

Some replication companies are so competitive that quality sometimes suffers and so will your results, be careful.

 

8. If I have a DVD burner in my computer, can I copy DVDs and CDs myself?

Yes, as long as you have the appropriate software and blank media.

CAUTION:  Here are the most common problems you need to be aware of that have actually happened to people who have copied their own DVDs.

1.  They used the wrong format of DVD and it won't play in some players.

2.  They use cheap blank DVDs that start falling apart within a few years.

3.  Some people who make their own DVD copies have been using press-on labels. Here are the biggest problems caused by stick-on labels:

  1. If the labels are not perfectly centered on the disc, the DVD will be unbalanced, causing it to "wobble" during playback.  This can lead to read errors by the DVD player that may keep the disc from playing correctly.
  2. Labels make the disc thicker than a normal DVD and some DVD players (like the ones in laptop computers), don't have enough room for the extra thickness and the disc will get stuck in the player with the disc being unable to spin, rendering it unreadable.  There's also a possibility of damaging it when you attempt to remove it from the player.
  3. After several plays, some labels have started to separate from the disc.  Since it spins at several hundred RPMs (revolutions per minute), the label may separate even more while spinning inside the player.  This increases the possibility of the label getting snagged inside the DVD player.  If this happens, it will not only ruin the disc, but could damage the DVD player as well.  Sometimes, just the separation of the label can cause the disc to become unreadable by a DVD player.  Once a DVD is damaged, there is no way to fix it.
  4. After 3-5 years the discs seem to just stop playing altogether.  It becomes useless and the contents are lost forever.  We've heard from many people who have experienced this.

4.  Some people choose to use a marker to label their DVDs.  The chemicals in markers have actually reacted with the materials in some discs causing them to break down to the point of becoming unreadable in a DVD player.  For this reason, WE STRONGLY DISCOURAGE THE USE OF MARKERS ON THE FACE OF DVDs and CDs.

 

9. Why do various CD / DVD duplication / replication companies charge different rates and what is the difference between them?

  I covered many of these difference in #7 above.  In addition to the quality of the discs being used, the quality of the labeling can be a significant factor as well.  I've had clients in the past that went to a bargain company first and were very unhappy with the results.  The labels came out looking a lot different than the original artwork and the duplication company couldn't or wouldn't fix it.  It was so bad they had find another company to redo it and pay to have the entire project redone; not to mention the additional time wasted for a 2nd duplication.

  We recommend that you decide exactly what you want before you start calling around and then be sure to ask about pricing for EXACTLY what you want.  Also, make sure there are no hidden fees.  Otherwise, you may find yourself using a company that quoted you a lower price for duplication but ends up charging you more for the rest of the process and end up paying more overall for the final products you're ordering.

  It's important to choose a company that will ensure the product will meet your specifications.  A good company will make sure that everything gets done according to plan. 

  When it comes down to it, it's not realistic to expect the highest quality in the shortest time for the lowest price.  You will ultimately get what you paid for.

Did you know Sunray Video offer proof copies on duplication projects?

 

10. What do I need to do to get the process started?

Once you have determined the number of copies you need, we'll just need to know the following:

  1. Determine how many copies you will need.
  2. Do you have the artwork for the label or do you need us to create it for you?
  3. What type of packaging do you want for the discs?  Paper sleeves, jewel cases, slim jewel case, or the standard DVD cases like the ones that movies typically come with?  We can design and print full color DVD case inserts for the traditional DVD cases to give your DVD that professional look.
  4. Give us a call or go ahead and bring in your materials so we can get started right away?

 

        Give us a call to get your project started today!

 

 

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