CD + DVD Disc and Packaging Proofing Process

  • Megalodon's Proofing Process - the Philosophy

    We take a lot of pains to make sure that your project comes out right. It's important to us that you be very happy with your final product. We try to include the items that we feel are essential to making that happen, and to allow you to proof every step of the way.

    Could projects be cheaper without these items? Yes, they could. Our proofing is definitely beyond what's included with most of our competitor's replication packages, and it costs us to include these items. For example, you are expected to have thoroughly checked your art and to approve it based on softproof pdf that you view on your monitor. Weeeeeellllll, if you walk into a Office Depot and look at all the monitors, how many different colors do you see? Exactly. Color will vary monitor to monitor, so is this a good way to approve color? Not to mention that color on a computer screen is going to be different than the color on the final media (ie disc substrate or paper stock) printed with offset printers or silkscreening process. And as for proofing discs, well you don't generally do that at most replicators. You'd better hope that the recordable you send in, plays exactly like the pressed disc they send back, because you're not going to get to proof it prior to it arriving at your door, all packaged up. We don't feel good about that. We DO provide a glass mastered (and printed) test disc, and we've seen it save many, many projects. More about why under test discs section. Setting up a press for a run of one test disc is expensive, but we do it anyway.

    Our philosophy is to include those "basic" items that we feel are essential to the success of a project.If you are doing something more advanced, like using a special paper stock such as fiberboard, or doing special printing effects, we'll talk to you about special proofing options and let you make the decision on those. But the basics, are always included with us, and you have the option for even more advanced proofing if you want them. Even obsessive compulsive folks can get satisfied here!

  • Basic Proofing & Production Process Overview

    When your order is placed, we'll generate the templates for you and email them to you. You can do your art layout and send it back to us at our ART UPLOAD page. Your master can be overnighted to us, or sometimes uploaded. We do not have to have both art and disc at the same time. In fact, it is very helpful to get a head start on the artwork, so feel free to send it ahead of the disc. Here are the basic steps that will occur:

    Art Preflighting - initial editing
    PDF softproof - disc art and packaging art pdf color separations
    Proofset - Complete Test Disc & Color Matchprint for Paper Printing
    .....OPTIONAL Press Proof (advanced proofing)
    .....OPTIONAL Production Piece (advanced proofing)

  • Pre-flighting ArtWork

    Preflighting artwork

    After you upload or mail your artwork to us, we’ll take a quick look for missing items, such as fonts or image files. We’ll also do preliminary check for bleed, proper template, etc… general things. Cost to make minor changes: free.

  • PDF SoftProofs(Adobe Acrobat Reader download)

    Adobe Acrobat Logo

    This softproof is preliminary to the hardcopy proof set (test disc & matchprints). It is meant to verify that all of the art files you submitted made it over OK and look correct to you. It is not meant for color matching or resolution checking (for items, we recommend you send a color matchprint to us). If the softproofs are not correct, you may resubmit art files without incurring much, if any, cost. After the softproofs are approved, any changes will result in charges for redoing the film and proofset. Cost to make changes: free to minimal, depending on nature of change and if we do it or you do.

  • The Proofset—Test Discs, Glass Mastered & Printed

    Something that sets us apart from the others is that we provide you with a printed and replicated test disc. Generating a test disc is an involved (and expensive!) process. What we do is to create a glass master from your master (frequently a recordable disc) and then up the replication press to run one or two copies. For large scale manufacturing, this is a very expensive process. However, it is the only way to ensure you can see and test your pressed disc. We also create the printing plates, and print those test discs so that you can see exactly what you are getting. It is a complete, glass mastered/pressed/replicated test disc, fully printed.

    When you receive your test disc, you'll want to check it our very carefully. Play it thoroughly on as many systems as you can, and make sure it is without playability glitches. And check the art too, of course. A PDF on a computer monitor is quite different than the physical printing on a disc.

    Recordables discs can play differently than pressed discs - that's because the ISO standard for recordables discs is different from pressed discs. For those of you old enough to remember when cds first came out, there was a big difference in how recordables played versus pressed/manufactured discs. Sometimes recordables worked on computers and stereos, and sometimes not. The more fancy the features got, the more variability there was. Over time, the ISO's for the discs and players caught up with each other and stabilized out. Newer machines tended to treat the discs the same way. When dvds came out, we started all over again with the same problems. If you rented a dvd from BlockBusters and took it home to play on your computer, it might or might not work, right? But over a few years, computer and dvd players tended to stabilize out...ond dvd5s. Then came dvd9's....and dvd10s, and ....well you get where we are in history. Bottom line, recordables can play differently than pressed and that's why we give you that pressed test disc. All you have to do is to do your part, on test it! Sometimes the problems you might find have nothing to do with recordable versus pressed disc ISOs....sometimes it's just that looking at it with fresh eyes catches something new.

    When we create the glass master and do the replicate, we test for manufacturing defects. We do not check for programming mistakes. We check the basic ISO structure to make sure it meets the requirements, we check to make sure the glass mastered disc matches the original master 100% bit for bit, and we check for things like bad sectors, dropped bits, BLERRS and E22s that would cause the disc to rejected. These tests are called CATS and Eclipse Reports. Should you want to see them, we're happy to provide them. They are very technical in nature however, and what most people can get out of them is the PASS/FAIL summary and a listing of where and what the errors are. Should we get a FAIL in the process of making your test disc, we'll stop the process and alert you and ask for a new master. The fix usually comes from a making a clean, new master (no scratches) sometimes different media, and sometimes on DVD9s, a slower data rate seems to help.

    Because creating a test disc is an expensive process, you do not want to treat it lightly. Do check your original master for sound/playability problems on as many machines, drives, players as you can, before you send it in! And do look at your pdf softproof very carefully. This is not an optimal time to discover a typo. Should you find a problem, in art or content in test disc stage, we'll help you with the replacement costs depending on what you need - art, content, new test discs, etc. Take heart though - finding a problem on the test disc is FAR FAR better than having all the discs replicated, printed, packaged, and shipped to you! Then you are really stuck if you have a mistake.

  • The Proofset—Color matchprint/mockup

    proof set oleg2

    Your color matchprint/mockup and test disc sent together is called a “proofset.” The color matchprint/mockup is printed on a digital printer that is calibrated to behave similarly to the offset press. It is printed on plain laser paper (not the final stock) and is typically sent unassembled, but with the dielines printed. These items are FedEx’d to you. You need to check these carefully and e-mail us back approval to proceed to final production. There is no need to return these. Should you need to make changes at this point, the costs will involve graphics time and possibly a new proofset, if you require it.


  • Press Proofs - Advanced Proofing for Special Paper, Inks, etc.

    Bioneers2 3disc tall fiberboard jacket slit pocket slipcase 2xWhite pressProof
    Bioneers: 3disc tall fiberboard jacket
    CMYK + 2xWhite on press proof and finished pieces

    Optionally, if you have special effects or color concerns that you need to proof beyond the scope of the matchprint/mockup, we can offer a press proof. This does have some additional cost to produce, depending on the project specification. The press proof will be hand-assembled. You will want to make sure that everything that can be proofed by the matchprint / mockup has been. At this point, films have been generated so any changes would require new films to be made (at extra cost).

  • Production Piece

    Our very last proofing option is a production piece. At this point, the entire project has completed manufacturing. We can send a production piece for your approval. This could save you the shipping cost for the bulk of the project if it does not meet your approval. There will be no refunds or redoes for projects in the production piece stage.

  • Rush Schedule Proofing Options

    If your schedule is rushed, other alternatives include a print-only test disc, scans of the disc or matchprint sent via e-mail, an FYI-Only viewing of the proofset (could save final product shipping costs), or bypassing the proofset altogether.