New Trends in CD and DVD Duplication Technology Revolutionize Media Ministry
Today, the benefit of CD and DVD technology is nothing new to media ministry directors. More churches than ever have made the transition from cassette to CD and DVD technology and are now reaping the benefits. However, the extent to which some media ministry directors have embraced and utilized the new technology may surprise you.
A Trendy Business
The decreasing costs of high-quality, feature-rich recording equipment, including CD and DVD duplication, has allowed pastors and media ministry directors to bring nearly every type of audio and video function in-house. Fueled by the desire to offer their congregations more elaborate production values, churches are increasing their technical capabilities, with some even going as far as integrating full-service recording facilities into their ministries, developing fully-integrated media marketing plans, and creating interactive consumer websites.
A prime example is the ‘Speak the Word Church International’ in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Speak the Word has an on-site bookstore and recording studio, and has created a successful website for the sale of recorded sermons, music selections on CD and cassette, and will soon be offering DVDs.
“We use our state-of-the-art duplicators and printers to produce our CD and DVD products in mass quantity to have available to our congregation and national and international followers,” says Barb Zimmer. “Our staff is dedicated to producing the highest-quality product in the shortest period of time.”
The effect is being felt at smaller churches as well. “CDs are the rage these days,” says Mark Parker from the ‘Family Worship Center Church’ in Flint, Michigan. “Our product specialist helped us find the right duplication system to take our process in-house and produce higher quality products with a much quicker turnaround time. Our sermon and music CDs are extremely popular, and we may need to upgrade to a larger system just to keep up with the demand.”
Keeping up with the demand is no small task, however. With an increased emphasis on the sale and distribution of recorded sermons, music compilation CDs, and the use of the Internet and television for marketing purposes, today’s media ministry directors are now required to not only accept new technology, but utilize it in such a way as to create new revenue streams for the church and enhance the overall marketing, communication, and fundraising strategy. With the popularity of the Internet and availability of multimedia services, churches today are constantly looking for new ways to spread their message.
With little or no boundaries, churches are able to offer great values and services to their congregation as well as attract new interest and support from followers around the world. In addition, new technology has allowed churches to attract and develop new business opportunities – opportunities unrelated to their own operations.
“Our automated CD/DVD duplicator has given me the efficiency and flexibility to develop a number of new projects,” says Jim Cawthon from ‘First Baptist Church’ in Midland, Texas. “In addition to weekly production runs of sermons and music rehearsal CDs, we are now producing DVDs of our morning television broadcasts, a worship services video, and are developing new business opportunities with outside clients, including local businesses, community organizations, and schools. The opportunities are endless.”
In order to take advantage of the new technology and these opportunities, your church needs to decide on the level of investment that you are willing to make, and if you have the infrastructure to support such an effort. The most important step, and the one I will focus on here, is the process of finding the right technology for your church’s specific production needs.
Before jumping on the technology bandwagon, proper research is required. There are a few important things you should decide on upfront to ensure that the duplication system and accessories will be the right fit. Answering the following questions will help you choose the perfect system.
1) Do you need a duplicator that copies CDs only, or a duplicator that copies both CDs and DVDs?
Most full-sized CD-Rs can hold up to 700 MB of data. If you plan to only duplicate files that are less than 700 MB or are planning to reproduce audio programs only, a duplicator with CD-R drives is your best choice. For larger files or video programs, you will need a DVD-R duplicator. DVD-Rs can hold up to 4.7 GB of data and are perfect for video, backing up servers, data storage, etc. DVD-R drives can also duplicate CD-Rs, but at a lower speed than CD-R only duplicators. Most CD-R duplicators currently copy at 48x speed. DVD-R duplicators currently copy DVD-Rs at up to 4x speed and CD-Rs at 16x speed.
2) Do you need a manual or automated duplicator?
A manual duplicator will require an operator to load and unload the discs into the drives. If you only need to copy a few discs at a time, a manual duplicator will meet most needs. An automated duplicator has robotics that load and unload the discs to give you unattended production.
3) How many CDs or DVDs do you plan to duplicate per day?
To determine how many drives you will need, calculate the number of discs you plan to duplicate per day. One 48x CD-R drive will duplicate twenty 700 MB CD-Rs per hour. One 4x DVD-R drive will duplicate four 4.7 GB DVD-Rs per hour. Shorter programs allow higher throughput.
4) Do you have a dedicated PC?
Your duplicator’s PC should be dedicated to the task. Only the necessary software should be loaded on the PC. Extra programs that consume large chunks of memory could interfere with the data being sent from the PC to the duplicator. Select manufacturers’ systems eliminate the need for a dedicated PC, and include a built-in Intel PC with a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and preloaded software.
5) Do you need to print on your discs?
If you are duplicating your discs for internal or personal use only, you may not need to print on your discs. But if you are distributing your discs, you will want them to have a professional look and you should purchase a duplication system that includes either an inkjet or thermal printer. Inkjet printing is perfect for full-color on-disc designs, including photos, logos, fine-detailed text, and graphics. Thermal printing is the most economical cost-per-disc print option and is ideal for printing text or logos in black only.
Choosing a Manufacturer
After determining what type of system you need, the next step is to find out which manufacturers offer the type of system that you are looking for. Since there are a number of options, it is important that you do proper research to determine which one of these companies satisfies ALL of your needs, not just a few of them. There are several key areas you need to research including reputation, flexibility of the product line, set-up, price, warranty, customer service, and technical support. First, it is important to find a manufacturer that has been in the business for a number of years and has a long track record of quality and reliability. There are many upstart companies out there, so make sure you know who you are talking to in order to ensure that you will get the best advice about the best products.
Second, many of the top manufacturers offer complete product lines of CD and DVD duplication systems that give you the flexibility to easily upgrade to a larger system as your operations expand. In addition, it is important that you find a system that is easy to set-up right out of the box. Many of the top manufacturers have simplified the process and have customer service representatives available for any questions you might have during the set-up process.
Third, it is essential that you find a system that fits into your budget. Although the costs of CD and DVD duplication systems and printers have come down, they are still a big investment for most churches. Remember to stick with your guns and invest in the system that best matches your production needs. Don’t forget, you can always upgrade later if you choose the right system!
Fourth, since one of these systems is a big investment, it is important that the manufacturer includes a generous warranty to cover any potential problems with the system.
Finally, make sure that the manufacturer you choose has a good track record of customer service and offers technical support for the product.
Ready to Go
Once you have selected a manufacturer, contact the sales department and work closely with your product service representative. They will walk you through the purchasing process and help you customize the system to match your specification and production needs. As soon as you feel that you are purchasing the perfect system, you are well on your way to success!