Blu-ray Replication for Independent Filmmakers

Blu-ray Replication for Independent Filmmakers

blu-ray logo

Blu-ray Logo

Despite of the debate over how long Blu-ray will last continues, we cannot ignore the fact that the number of households with Blu-ray players continues to rise and the cost of Blu-ray player has dropped to the consumers’ comfort level.  On top of that, price on high definition TVs is sliding. Like it or not, the demand for high definition video such as Blu-ray is there.

But who will buy a Blu-ray disc instead of streaming from the Internet?  Based on the titles we have helped replicate, we found that contents targeting the baby boomers account for most of the titles. Bill Matson, an independent filmmaker and producer for Fight to the Wall, told us that most buyers of his movies have Blu-ray player at home and prefer Blu-ray to DVD. They won’t mind paying few bucks more for Blu-ray. In fact, these few bucks are good enough to cover the higher replication cost.

I hope I have convinced you on the finance side that releasing a Blu-ray title is not as expensive as what you might have thought.  True, there is AACS license and other minor fees. But once diluted by the volume they will become insignificant.  Your few bucks from the customers will be more than enough to cover that.  What deters you from having a Blu-ray release may be technical and the cumbrous procedure of getting the AACS license. Fortunately we have all the solutions.

Getting the right format for replication

Most Blu-ray authoring software can only output authoring result in BD-MV format.  BD-MV is good for duplication and it is good for you to burn the content onto a Blu-ray recordable.  But if you need to replication, meaning making a glass master and stamper to stamp the disc from raw plastic, then BD-MV is useless.  The acceptable format is called BD-CMF.  There are only few expensive pieces of software on the market that can output BD-CMF, Sony Blu-Print, DoStudio, Roxio DVDit ProHD, and Scenarist BD Studio for example.

To get over this obstacle, New Cyberian will accept Blu-ray replication orders in BD-MV format.  We will convert the BD-MV format into BD-CMF format for you.  Now you can use your Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Encore, and any other authoring software to create your Blu-ray title and don’t have to worry about the technical nuance.

Getting the AACS license

To make Blu-ray replication process even easier, we will help you apply for the AACS license.  Forget about filling up all the forms and the delay in getting approval from the AACS, New Cyberian will make the application for you on your behalf.  We will send you the invoice from AACS LA, LLC. as a proof that the license fee has been paid.  On the invoice there will be a unique reference number and that number will appear on the mirror band of every Blu-ray disc we replicate for you.

Contact for Blu-ray Replication

Contact New Cyberian if you need to Blu-ray replication. We are the only independent filmmakers friendly company that understands your difficulties and have solutions for you.  Please find out more pricing and production information from our website at www.newcyberian.com.

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Limited Edition CD Replication

As we all know that CD is probably reaching the end of its life.  With more and more devices such as car stereos that can accept USB drive and internet streaming is becoming easier, compact disc will step down from the musical stage pretty soon.

But be hold! Let me give you a good reason to press a limited edition release for your music.  It is from investment point of view and you will thank me 10 or 20 years later.

Remember the vinyl LP record?  20 years after disappearing from the market they are coming back. Now if you are holding a 20 year-old record on your hand it does worth much more money than you paid for 20 years ago.   Vinyl record collectors are making tons of money now because of their vision (by accident or intention) 20 years ago.  You see now why you should stock more CDs and make a limited edition of your own.  Just my two cents.

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USB FAQ’s

USB Thumb driverUSB thumb drives have been popular devices for tech savvy and non-tech savvy alike to store digital data.  People use USB drives for music, documents, pictures, video, etc.  When it comes to buying USB drives, a lot of people are just taking the chance or don’t even know the subtle differences among the brands and options.  It is the purpose of this FAQ to demystify something about USB drives so as to help you make the right decision when you need to purchase USB drive in bigger quantity.

Q. I see some USB drives have a black insert and some have a blue insert in the connector and why is that?
A. The blue insert is for identifying USB 3.0.  You will see the blue insert in both the male and female connectors. USB 3.0 is the latest USB standard.

Q. Talking about USB standards, how many are out there?
A.  USB started with version 1.0 in 1996 with data rates of 1.5 Mbps.  Later version 1.1 added data rates of 12 Mbps on top of the original 1.5 Mbps.  In 2002,  USB 2.0 quantum leaped the USB 1.1 with 40 times faster data rates of 480 Mbps.  But that still could not catch up with the ever increasing demand for even faster rates.  USB 3.0 was finalized in 2008 with a 5 Gbits transfer rate which was  10 times faster than USB 2.0 and more than 4,000 times faster than the old 1.1 standard.

Q. How come my 16GB USB drive only shows 14.9 GB on my computer?
A. This is the classical problem on how you would define 1K, 1M, and 1G.  The marketing people would like to use 1,000 as the multiplier.  So for a 16GB drive there will be 16 x 1,000(k) x 1,000(m) x 1,000(g) = 16,000,000,000 bytes.  But in computer science the multiplier should be 1,024, which is 2 to the power of 10 or 210. By the computer science definition, 16,000,000,000 bytes will be 16,000,000,000 ÷ 1 ,024(g) ÷ 1,024(m) ÷ 1,024(k) = 14.90 GB.  Tricky!  I know, and now you know too.

Q. What are the reading and writing speeds for USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
A. By definition the transfer rates for USB 2.0  is 480 Mbps and USB 3.0 is 5 Gbps. The units for these speeds are mega bits per second and giga bits per second.  If we divide these  numbers by eight we should come up with the units of bytes per second, i.e. 60 M/s for USB 2.0 and 640 M/s for USB 3.0.  But we never see such high speed when we drag our files to a USB drive right? The reasons is, according to the industry insider, that there is an inherent limitation in the NAND flash. So all the figure from the standards are just a formality.  In reality, USB 2.0 drives can read at about 20 Mps and write at about 4~10 Mps. USB 3.0 drives can read at about 80 Mps and write at about 14 Mps.  These are just average numbers at the center of a normal distribution.  USB drives made from recycled or reclaimed chips can be as slow as writing at 2Mps and reading at 4Mps.  

Q. How compatible it is between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
A.  The good news is they are compatible in both directions.  You can plug a USB 2.0 thumb drive into a USB 3.0 hardware and vice versa. Although there is minor exception to this in the case between a SuperSpeed USB B male and a USB 2.0 B female jack. But by and large you can consider them work both ways.

Q. What attributes should I look for when I need to buy USB drives?
A. When you shop for USB drive you will find a big price gap among suppliers.  Besides the sales and marketing gimmicks, the key factor that accounts for the price difference is the chips used in the USB drives. Dishonest merchants will use low price as a bait and use inferior recycled chips. The results of using reclaimed chips include low writing and reading speeds, loss of data, false size reporting, and other unpredictable behaviors.

Q. What program can be used to test the speeds of USB drives?
A. Check Flash and CrystalDiskMark are free software we use here at New Cyberian.

Q. What program can be used to check the controller of a USB drive?
A.  Google ChipEasy and you should see a list of download sites.  A screenshot of ChipEasy is given below.

chipeasy

chipeasy screenshot

 

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Using DVD-9 Dual Layer disc as a way to have copy protection

As we know CSS copy protection on DVD has been compromised soon after the method was announced. A Norwegian kid cracked the copy protection scheme in 1999.  Since then it is well known that is someone wants to copy a DVD there is always a way.  The only solution is to make it less convenient, and using DVD-9 is among one and the simplest one.

The argument is that dual layer DVD-R is more expensive and is not very convenient to copy.  Most disc copying software, including the famous NERO, is not very well equipped to do dual-layer copying.  Layer break point is linchpin .  Most software simply cannot figure out where the layer break point should be and will do a simple fill up the first layer and then dump the remaining data to the second layer scheme.  Doing so will definitely create a coaster.

Do consider using DVD-9 if you want to make plagiarism more difficult.

 

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2 seconds between audio tracks

All audio CD authoring programs have a default 2 seconds pause between tracks.  But most rap music are continuous and by breaking the long track into several tracks serves only the fast forward function on a CD player. But if you forget to check the “No Pause Between Tracks” checkbox on your music CD authoring software then the result will be abnormal between tracks.  We advise our clients to either put everything in one track, or specifically tell us to have no pause between tracks.

If you compile your CD using NERO watch out the dialog as shown below.

No pause between tracks

No Pause Between Tracks

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Slip case for disc replication

New Cyberian now offers slipcase printing for all our CD, DVD, and Blu-ray replication products.

Slip case can be used as an extra protection for the standard packaging.  For instance, when a jewel case is slipped into a slip case, the whole package immediately becomes less susceptible to shattering when the case drops on the floor.  Not only that, the slip case also protects the jewel case from scratching.

 

slip cases

slip cases

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New Cyberian go mobile

New Cyberian has put up a new web site for mobile users who want to get instant price quote on our replication and duplication services.  The new website that is mobile optimized is:  http://www.newcyberian.mobi

The New Cyberian CD duplication mobile website can be used on iPhone, Android phones, and other mobile phones with javascript enabled.

 

 

 

 

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CD duplication vs CD replication

New Cyberian was among the first few companies to define the subtle difference between CD duplication and CD replication.  The purpose of such distinction was to help our customers decide which way of copying best suit their needs.  When we wrote the articles at that time we didn’t have the SEO intention but with the unselfish desire to help our customers. .Today, articles address the difference between CD duplication and CD replication mushroom everywhere as our competitors are writing articles just for the sake of SEO without the concern of the needs of the readers.

Let’s reiterate what CD duplication and CD replication are.

A good analogy is when you need to make copies of brochures.  When the number of copies is small, you probably will just use your color printer to print them. That’s fast and quick but the quality probably will not be very impressive. When you need to make 1,000 copies, your color printer can still handle that but simple economics tells you that the opportunity cost will be pretty high, meaning you will need to spend a great deal of time to do the repetitive copying by sacrificing your valuable time that may reward you with higher value.  In that case hiring a professional printer to put your printing job on the press will make more sense.  By the same token, compact discs, be them CD or DVD, can be copied using home or office computer one by one, or in large quantity by dedicated machines in a factory setting.  In our industry we call the former duplication and the latter replication.

With the terminologies elucidated, you now should have a better grip on when to do duplication and when to do replication. When the ordered quantity is small and the lead-time is tight, CD duplication usually can meet the urgent need.  But when the quantity is big CD replication should be used for the better quality and more cost effective on the unit price. Now you may ask at what quantity is considered as big.  In the past 1,000 was consider as the threshold to have replication.  But with competition on the rise, replicators have reduced the replication entry level.  Most replicators will accept 500 to start a replication job.  New Cyberian goes one step farther by making 300 as the minimum for CD replication with a super fast 5 day turnaround.  So when you have a disc copying project next time, consider using replication instead of duplication.

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Blu-ray vs DVD

Since winning the high definition war Blu-ray is champion of the new era video distribution.  Or has that truly been the case?  We as a disc replicator haven’t seen a big demand for Blu-ray yet, at least not at the indie level.  Hollywood movies have moved to Blu-ray or simul-release blu-ray’s and DVD’s. But for the indies, I think the license fees are still too high.  For low volume production the total of the license fees is even higher than the cost of replicating the disc.  I do have suggestions for the indies who want to distribute high definition videos.

  1. Use blu-ray duplication instead of replication.  Burning blu-ray movies on BD-R does not require AACS.
  2. Use dual layer DVD, or even single layer DVD is your video is short, and encode the video in AVCHD format. The replicated disc is still a DVD but it won’t play on DVD players.  Instead, it will play on blu-ray players. Believe it or not, AVCHD can still attain the full HD resolutions of 1920 x 1080.  The play time will be dependent on the resolutions of course.

Please feel free to contact us at New Cyberian if you need to know about any high definition video solutions.

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