Crunch time

For all my friends, it’s been pretty much radio silence from me these last few weeks. I completely finished mastering the Artists’ Esssentials Sampler DVD last Friday. It was a real learning process, and my first time completely mastering a DVD from scratch — designing menus, animation, the logic and what happens when you push which buttons, adding DVD-ROM features and slideshows you can manually advance. It’s a far cry from the plug & play simplicity of using iDVD with a stock template, but it’s what you have to do when you need total control over the product. I gave myself a crash course in DVD Studio Pro 3, and it didn’t take long to learn the ropes. But, like any programming, there were still quite a few bugs to work out and a whole afternoon of frustration before it all started clicking together.

To make matters worse, it seems I misread the prices on the duplicator we were going to be using. After calling 4 different places, I quickly came to the conclusion that we could save 75% of the cost by just biting the bullet and doing it ourselves. They’re only giveaways, so it doesn’t make sense to spend $500 on something you can do yourself for less than $100. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the order getting lost in the mail or coming in one day too late and blowing the whole point.

So I just finished duplicating 100 DVDs by hand, thanks to the new “BenQ 16x DVD+-RW”: drive I picked up at Microcenter Saturday morning. I settled on this one because it had been getting awesome reviews by the experts, and so far I’m extremely pleased. It will, indeed, burn 8x media at 16x, and flawlessly. I didn’t get a single coaster. And for those who are really interested, I used top-of-the-line “Taiyo Yuden”: media, which I also got at a steal from “”: — my new favorite place for DVD-Rs and labels. This is my third order from these guys. Fast shipping, reliable, and the best prices around.

With Donna printing the labeling and inserts, my focus is now turned on the finished product — full version DVD sets that we can sell at the show to make back the cost of our giveaways. It shouldn’t be too tough, and with special “first edition” pricing, it will definitely be a steal for those who stop by the “Art Spectrum”: booth.

In the meantime, say a prayer for us — that we can get it all together in time! So far, so good…

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