boston dvd replication and boston cd replication information

CD and DVD Mastering

Mastering and replication have evolved quite a bit over the years.  While the process has become more streamlined and some steps have fallen by the wayside as technology progresses, when it comes to mastering, some constants remain.

Not all masters are alike

Roughly 13-14 years ago, a Polaroid executive walked into the office with a Beta Sp video master for a Polaroid CD-Rom replication project. There were three videos on the master. He wanted them all on the replicates and needed them to provide random access to each video.  There was also a Word document containing text to be inserted onto the CD. 

Like many replication clients back then, he believed analog videotape could be used to produce a digital CD-ROM without any additional mastering. He didn’t understand the differences between the formats were like night and day.  Little did he know,  he would have to hire a programmer for $20,000 to do what today’s high school student can do in their spare time. The process was new at the time.

Up until then, corporate clients distributed video on VHS.  Oh, the horror. “Digital” was a foreign concept;  something for new fangled watches and science fiction. 

Other steps in replication

Testing is a step in the replication process that is now considered obsolete in the CD world. Clients would see their CD presentations on a programmer’s Rolls Royce edition computer and then become discouraged upon realizing it looked different on an end-user’s consumer model computer. As a preventative measure, CD masters had to be tested on all types and brands of computers before submitting them for replication.  It was also necessary to include system requirements on every CD label so that end-users would know which computer could play the presentation.  Now any laptop can play every CD to it’s full potential.

When DVD became the rage earlier this decade, very few of our clients could supply a master ready for replication without hiring us or another intermediary to first prepare the master.  This process is called Authoring.

Most video and multi-media producers then were not yet knowledgeable enough in the process to adequately produce their own master, which at the time had to be supplied on a DLT or Digital Linear Tape. Special authoring houses were set up with highly-trained engineers using hardware and software systems valued at six figures.  Now, most media producers are able to do authoring on their own computers, and it is appropriate to supply a DVD-R master for replication.  More complex projects requiring an advanced level of authoring can now be done for a fraction of the cost and time it once took.

The bottom line for Mastering

The rule of thumb now is quite simple.  The CD and DVD replicates we create are exactly identical to the CD and DVD masters you supply.  If the master can do it, so can the replicate. 

How do you supply a master for HD on Blu-Ray?  Don’t get me started.  Better give my office a call.

R. Harvey Bravman


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