Why should I choose IMC Optical?
Great question. So many companies offer similar products to the
ones we offer, so why IMC Optical? Sure we offer great quality,
competitive pricing, expert service and guaranteed turnaround times.
But the most important part of IMC Optical is our people and our
process. Our staff is eager to help and they have the professional
expertise to handle your project. Your contact at IMC Optical has
years of experience in this industry. You will not be dealing with
just a sales person. Your CSR will actually deal with you directly,
while producing your project. At IMC Optical we do not have separate
CSR's, sales people, pre-press people, etc. Your CSR handles all
aspects of your project because they understand what you want and
they have the experience to get it done for you. You won't experience
communication errors through layers of staff at IMC Optical. On
top of all that, IMC Optical has been in the disc business since
1996 and started in the VHS duplication industry in 1985
How can the prices
be so inexpensive?
A better question would be why do some companies charge so much?
We don't know. At IMC Optical we work hard to keep the prices low
while offering the best possible product. We also don't spend a
large amount of money sending you catalog and flyers in the mail.
In the end the customer pays for these expenses through higher prices
on products. Someone has to pay for all of that advertising. We
also focus on what we are good at. There are a lot of things that
we don't do, but what we do, allows us to concentrate our efforts
on being the best. And because IMC Optical is the best, you will
experience great quality and fast turnaround at a better price than
at other companies.
Is IMC Optical's quality
good? Is there a standard to which you hold?
Our quality is unmatched, and yes we have a standard. We actually
hold ourselves to multiple standards. Our printing is to SWOP standards
and our CD/DVD replication is to ISO standards. SWOP is a printing
standard set by the printing industry to measure several aspects
of printing quality on a press sheet. Things like ink density, slurring,
offseting, and other technical issues are reviewed in an effort
to produce the best possible printed piece. Most people are aware
of ISO. This is an industry association and standard used to insure
quality manufactured products. At IMC Optical we wont ever
take shortcuts on quality.
What are the most
common problems with client designed jobs?
There are several small
things that happen when submitting a project that can really slow
the process down. We have listed the most common problems below.
Of course you can always contact your CSR for help if you do not
understand how to deal with any of these issues. Improper trim size
and no allowance for bleed are very common mistakes. See our templates
page for the proper sizing of your project. These should be reviewed
before starting your design process. Another common error is to
size images too small or low resolution. All images should be 300
dpi at 100% of the desired size for the project. Wrong project file
format or fonts not included, will slow the order down . We accept
file formats that include PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and Photoshop. Please
do not send us original program files such as Quark, In Design,
Publisher, etc. Convert these files to a PDF or TIFF. We are here
to help if you have questions.
USING THIS WEBSITE
How can I get additional
You can get additional assistance by clicking on "Contact Us"
on the right top hand corner of the page. We also offer expert assistance
on the phone Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm eastern
time. Contact us at 866-268-1368 ext 2
Does IMC Optical offer
hard copy proofs?
Yes we do. In fact our hard copy proofs are actually press proofs.
These are the same as printing your job on the press with the selected
paper. This kind of proofing does cost extra and it does increase
the amount of time it takes to produce your project. Contact your
CSR for more information about hard copy and PDF proofs.
What is a PDF proof?
(Used for replication projects)
A PDF proof is a medium resolution image displayed on your computer
screen. Since all computer screens are different you cannot rely
on a PDF proof to represent accurate color and brightness. A PDF
will show content such as type and trapping issues. It also shows
trim and bleed. The color of your final printed project will not
match the PDF you receive from us for proofing. Your CSR would be
happy discuss any concerns you may have about this process and help
you make the right decision for your project. Most of our customers
(95% or more) choose PDF proofing.
Will the color on
my proof match the final printed piece?
If you choose to have a press proof the color will match fairly
closely. If you choose a PDF, it will not. Of course blues will
be blue and reds will be red. Your CSR can help you with this if
you have any questions.
Do I need to be an
No, you do not need to be an expert designer as long as you know
how to make a pdf. If you have a question about your design or specifications,
just ask! We are here to answer your questions. Let us help.
What if I want an
expert design, can IMC Optical do the work?
Yes. We have a complete award winning design staff that will work
with you to create just the look you want. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (866) 268-1368 x 2 with any questions.
What is the cost to
have something designed?
Please refer to our design page on the website. Prices are shown
there. If you do not see what you want we invite you to email our
design staff at email@example.com and tell them what you need
or call (866) 268-1368 x 2.
What is bleed and
is there a safety margin around the trim on printed material?
Bleed is extending any color, photo, or design elements past the
trim line. Our plant trims printed pieces in stacks of hundreds
of sheets at a time. This is much faster than trimming individual
pieces. Bleed gives the print shop a margin of error when trimming,
so that if the cut is a little off, the white of the paper won't
show along the edge. We request you add 1/8-inch of bleed to your
layouts. For example if you have an item that will be trimmed to
4.75 x 4.75 then you would want to add 1/8 to all sides for bleed,
making the final art size approximately 5.0 x 5.0 . Each template
has guidelines set up so you can see exactly how much bleed you
need to add to your layouts. These are generally the outermost guides.
Safety margin is the opposite of bleed. If you put important information
such as a song title or an important part of a photo right up against
the crop line, some of it may get cut off. We recommend that you
keep your type and other important elements 1/8-inch inside the
trim line. Each template has guidelines set up so you can see exactly
how much safety margin to allow. These are generally the innermost
guides. In the example of an item trimmed to 4.75 x 4.75 the safety
margin would be approximately 4.5 x 4.5.
Why does IMC Optical specify CMYK files and what does that mean?
CMYK and RGB are two different color models, and understanding the
difference can mean producing a great-looking insert rather than
a muddy, disappointing one. This has become more of an issue in
recent years because the internet is used by so many people and
it uses the RGB color model, not CMYK, The RGB color model is used
by monitors, televisions, scanners, and digital cameras. A monitor
uses very small bands of red, green, and blue light to generate
color. RGB color is considered additive color because when you add
all three colors together, you get white light; when you turn off
all three lights, you get black. By mixing varying amounts of red,
green, and blue light, you can create most other colors. The paper
of a magazine, catalog, or CD booklet can't generate light like
a computer monitor. It has to rely on reflected light, and the subtractive
color model CMYK. When you add cyan, magenta, and yellow together
(CMY), you get a color close to black, and when you don't lay down
any ink, you get white that is, the white of the paper. A fourth
color, black, is added for economical and practical reasons, and
is represented as the letter "K" so as not to be confused
with blue. By mixing varying amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and
black inks, you can create most other colors, but CMYK does not
have the same range of color that RGB does. All commercial, full-color
printing uses CMYK inks.
So why is the difference between RGB and CMYK important?
Many colors created on your RGB monitor can be duplicated using
CMYK inks, but not all. Your RGB monitor is generating light, so
it can create some bright colors that can't be duplicated on any
CMYK printing press. Paper can only reflect light, so if you print
the some RGB colors in CMYK they get flat and dull. If you're designing
artwork in an RGB color space, we'll have to convert it to CMYK
Depending on your artwork,
the colors might shift a little or a lot. If you are not certain
about the whole color space issue, don't worry. Just ask your personal
CSR to check it for you and make recommendations for corrective
action if necessary.
Delivering art files
What resolution and
file format is best for artwork?
For best results, save your pictures at 300 dpi (dots per inch)
and your other artwork at the highest resolution available (600
dpi is OK but our equipment will utilize up to 2400 dpi). Do not
save pictures at resolutions higher than 300 dpi because this just
slows down the process and does not improve the image quality. We
recommend the following formats PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and Photoshop EPS.
Please be certain to include all fonts in your files. All artwork
should be CMYK not RGB or something else. Do convert fonts to curves.
Please call our experienced staff with any questions.
DISC REPLICATION AND DUPLICATION
What is the difference
between replication and duplication?
Disc duplication refers to the process of taking an existing blank
CD-R or DVD-R disc and burning information onto that disc much the
same way you copy CDs on your computer. At IMC Optical we use state
of the art dedicated duplicating towers to manage the duplication
process. These machines do a cursory evaluation of the disc to check
for read and write errors and then make an exact duplicate of the
disc you send us. This is the best option if you have small quantities
(up to 500 pcs) or need quicker turn around time to meet a deadline.
Typical production time for duplication is 48 hours. We can produce
your project in 24 hours if needed. Disc replication refers to the
manufacturing process that starts with raw material to manufacture
your discs from scratch. We evaluate your original disc for read
and write errors and then make a glass master of your disc. This
glass master is then used to create a stamper . The stamper is mounted
on the machine that uses heat and pressure to mold your discs one
at a time. This is the highest quality of disc manufacturing, but
is only cost effective for 500 discs or more. It takes as little
as 1/2 of one second to mold one CD or DVD on this kind of equipment.
The cost of creating both the glass master and stamper are already
included in the quote shown in our prices. This is the best option
if you want larger quantities (500 pcs or more) and you have enough
time (an average of 10 business days) to produce your project.
What is a glass master?
The glass master refers to the replication process, not duplication.
The glass master is created by IMC Optical as an exact copy of your
disc. It is then used to create a stamper. . Glass mastering is
included with all of our replication projects. No extra charge.
Do you copy my disc
exactly as I send it?
Yes. Take extra care to insure that your disc is exactly as you
want it to be. We do not alter your disc in any way before we duplicate
or replicate it. You will get an exact copy of what you send in.
How many master disc
copies should I send with my project?
We recommend that you send two original masters with any project
submitted for replication or duplication. Often one master can be
flawed in some way (scratch, etc) and this gives us a backup disc
to use. Otherwise the production process stops while we wait for
you to send us another disc. This of course can delay the production
process and could impact your deadline.
What do I need to
send with a disc duplication/replication project?
We need a copy of your original disc just the way you want it copied.
In addition we need a completed IPR form that shows who owns the
rights to the content on the disc that you want to have copied.
If you are ordering a complete package then we also need artwork
for the insert, traycard, and disc face. There are templates for
these items on the website under the specs and templates button.
Contact your CSR before you send anything and the will e-mail you
full details on how to place your order
Do I need a barcode
on my project?
That depends on how you intend to sell your item. For example if
you are producing a music CD and intend to sell the CD through retail
distribution then you might want to consider adding a barcode. Some
retailers and other distributors will not accept a CD without a
barcode. On the other hand if you have no intention of selling through
distribution channels then a barcode is just wasted money.
How much space should I leave for a barcode?
You should leave a space that is 1.25" wide and 1.0" tall
for the barcode. Most people place the barcode on the back of the
printed piece. For jewel cases that would be on the traycard.
Is there a font size
limitation for printing on the face of the disc?
We recommend 7-8 point type or larger on disc faces. You should
also try to use readable type that does not have tiny lines or curls
on the font face. These can be difficult to read. Another thing
to remember is to keep the type at lease 3/16 away from the edge
of the disc.
Will my DVD play in
all DVD players?
Yes and no. If you have it authored by IMC Optical, we guarantee
compatibility with any standard, stand alone DVD Player. Do not
let this scare you away from producing a DVD. Just remember that
not all DVD authoring software is compatible with the DVD standard
set in place 14 years ago. To make the disc compatible with the
most equipment we recommend you use PC or Linux Software. Mac software
has the least amount of compatibility, unless you purchase the professional
grade, and even then you really need to know exactly all of the
proper settings. Another thing you can do is try your disc in a
number of different DVD players, if the disc plays good , then you
should be alright with most machines. Your computer will almost
play anything you give it, so be sure you try several set top DVD
Will my Audio CD play in all CD players?
Yes, but Only if you create it in the ISO redbook AUDIO CD standard.
CDs are much more forgiving than DVDs but problems can exist. The
most common mistake we see is when a client formats the CD on a
computer and does not use settings that will allow the CD to operate
on a standard CD player (like the one in your car). The best way
to avoid this kind of problem is to try the disc out in several
different machines before sending it to us and have an industry
professional review your CD to confirm it is formatted correctly
before sending it to us.
What is the time limit on CDs and DVDs?
CDs have a time limit of 76 minutes if you want them to be compatible
with most playback equipment. DVDs don't have a time limit. Instead
they have a capacity limit of 4.7 gigs for a DVD-5 and 8.5 gigs
for a DVD-9. Compression will determine how much data you can get
on a DVD, but be careful not to compress your images so much that
they do not look good when played back. It is a good idea to play
a DVD on several different sizes of screen to see if the video quality
meets your expectations.
What disc face printing
options are available for disc duplication?
For duplication we offer black text, and full color 4-color printing.
What disc face printing options are available for disc replication?
Replicated discs are priced for 4 color printing with a white flood
in silk screen or offset
Can I place an order
from anywhere in the world?
Yes, you can place an order from anywhere in the world, as long
as you have internet access.
Can I use 2 separate addresses for shipping and billing?
Yes, you can use different addresses for shipping and billing.
Do you provide an
order entry for my purchase?
Yes. Your CSR can send one to you.
What are the minimum
and maximum quantities per order?
Each pricing grid will have quantities available for the item you
choose. If you do not see what you are looking for please contact
How does the quoted
production time work?
Your order starts as day 1 if it arrives by 10Am All turn times
are quoted for working days Monday through Friday
Can I speed up the production time?
Yes. We offer options for expedited production of your project.
This is a great feature if you have a short time frame to complete
Can I send in part
of my project to get the ball rolling and send the balance later?
Yes.. You can send part of your project to us but the production
does not begin until payment is received in full. In some cases
it makes sense to send us something to review to make sure you are
on the right track with your project, possibly avoiding a larger
problem further down the line. Contact your personal CSR for advice.
If I order greater
quantities will I receive discounted pricing?
Yes, as the quantity of the products you are ordering increases,
the cost per product decreases. For example, the cost per unit for
an order of 250 DVDs is higher than the cost per units for an order
What are you shipping
Each project is different. We will price shipping costs on your
What shipping options do you offer?
We offer several shipping options. UPS and LTL services Please remember
that all shipping time estimates are not guarantees of delivery
time. Allow enough time in the production and delivery schedule
for errors, or missed deliveries.
Which countries do
you ship to?
We presently offer shipping to U.S.A. and World Wide
Does IMC Optical ship
to P.O. Box addresses?
Only on small quantities.
What can I do if I
experience technical difficulties while using IMC Optical?
Our technical support staff is standing by to assist you with any
questions you might have. Click on Contact Us and either email us
or call us directly at 866-268 1368 x2
When should I replicate
and when should I duplicate?
For larger quantities over 500 replication is the most economical
choice, while duplication for quantities up to 500 is faster.
What is the difference?
Replication is a process that involves stamping out the Disc and
print the artwork onto the Disc using offset or silk screen . Duplication
actually burns the information onto a Disc and then uses a digital
printer to print the artwork.
What is your turn around time?
The generic duplication turn is 2-3 business days, while replication
is a 10 day turnaround. We do offer rush turn times and consistently
work with our customers to ensure that even the most stringent deadline
requirements are met.
What programs should I use to create artwork for my Disc?
When creating disc artwork, Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw and
Quark Xpress offer the best applications for art; WE support both
Windows and Macintosh platforms. Be sure to make a PDF of your artwork
without cut lines.
What programs should I use to create artwork for inserts and
Inserts and traycard artwork should be created using the same programs
What are my packaging
Offerings include standard packaging - a jewel case, amerey
case , sleeve or a C-Shell. We can also accommodate any of your
custom packaging needs. Just speak with one of our Project Coordinators
regarding the many options available. We will work with you to create
a satisfying solution to all of your packaging needs.
Will you create my
artwork for me?
Yes, we have graphics designers on staff that will work with you
to help your company achieve the custom image that you desire.
Is it less expensive
to use black printing Discs?
Yes, when duplicating, black ink is the most economical choice.
Color printing is an additional charge. When replicating color printing
Is it recommended to mail jewel cases or window sleeves?
Window sleeves or C-Shells are the best option for mailing. Jewel
cases may also be mailed if packaged properly. IMC can assist you
with any packaging questions that you may have.
What is the most economical Package?
A disc in a paper window sleeve is the basic, most economical package.
However, IMC offers savings with other packaging options as quantity
Can you just get printing on the CD-Rs and DVD-Rs ?
Yes, if you prefer, IMC can print on to blank discs without duplication
for your future duplication use.
If my master is a multi-session format can you put it in single-session
format for me?
No. we only accept masters in a single session.