CD Replication
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FAQ


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 won’t 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 assistance?
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


PROOFING

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.


DESIGNING

Do I need to be an expert designer?
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 imcoptical@comcast.net 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 imcoptical@comcast.net 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 to print.

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 players


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 thermal 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 us

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 your project.

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.


PRICING

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 of 1000DVDs.


SHIPPING

What are you shipping costs?
Each project is different. We will price shipping costs on your quote
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.


TECHNICAL

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 thermal 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 traycards?
Inserts and traycard artwork should be created using the same programs as above.

What are my packaging options?
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 included


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 increases.


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.


Choose Your duplicator wisely.

We feel your duplication project is the most critical part of your production, and is our number one priority. Don't trust just anybody. Our commitment to honesty, integrity and a quality product, is what makes International Media one of America's most reputable duplicators. Call us today for a free quote, and discover why International Media is the right choice.

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your needs.

Call us today at 1-866-268-1368 ext 2 to learn more about IMC and our nationwide replication services.

You'll be glad you did.