What is DVD Offset Printing?

R. Kayne

DVD offset printing is a process used to print full color, high-resolution graphics onto a DVD optical disk. It is an alternative to silk-screen printing, which is better suited to graphics that involve only one or two solid colors and little to no tonal scaling. DVD offset printing is also better suited to producing clear, small fonts.

DVD offset printing is used to make labels for DVDs.
DVD offset printing is used to make labels for DVDs.

A DVD offset printing service normally includes duplication or replication of the DVD. Duplication is less expensive and used for low-quantity runs or single copies. Replication involves creating a glass master and stampers to produce large numbers of high-quality DVDs.

Companies that offer DVD offset printing require original artwork to be supplied according to specific guidelines. Optionally, graphic services can design the artwork for the client, but they will charge an additional fee. Once the artwork is supplied, plates or "offsets" are produced of the image. Plates can be made of different materials, including paper, but paper plates are least desirable. Aluminum plates are more expensive but deliver the best result.

Four colors -- black, red, blue and yellow -- make up the myriad colors in the final product. A separate plate is used for each color. Paint is applied to the plates via rollers, and the plates transfer the ink to a "rubber blanket." It is this rubber blanket that actually transfers the ink to the disk in DVD offset printing. The results are highly professional.

In addition to the disk, DVD offset printing services can also create a matching case wrap. This covers a standard DVD case. Most vendors will also supply the case, if needed.

DVD offset printing is no longer inaccessible to those looking to complete a small personal project. Today, people are using multimedia software to transfer home movies, photographs and slides to DVD, complete with original soundtracks. One can put together a family keepsake, then use DVD offset printing services not only to duplicate the DVD, but also to print it with original artwork, including a case wrap.

One online vendor lists a cost of US$13.35 for each custom DVD up to four, and US$9.30 each for 5-10 copies. In case your family is a little larger, the price drops to US$7.30 each for 11-20 copies. What a unique Christmas gift for the whole family! This price includes DVD duplication, offset printing of both the disk and case wrap, and the case itself.

DVD offset printing is so affordable it can be used to commemorate any special occasion. Movies or photographs taken at a wedding can be put on DVD, sent to an offset printer for a single copy, and given to the wedded couple as a unique gift. Birthdays, anniversaries, bat-mitzvahs, first communions, graduations the list is endless.

Student filmmakers wishing to show their work can also benefit from DVD offset printing. The professional looking finished product is perfect for distribution to key industry players. And as the run count increases, prices drop. With DVD offset printing, anyone can turn his or her creation into an enduring work of art that will be appreciated time and again for years to come. Check with local or online printers for prices and guidelines for submissions.

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