Strategies for multiplying your effect
For the last thirty years, ministries have been providing their message to people as they leave the worship service in the form of an audiocassette. This analog technology has advanced to the point of high-speed copiers enabling churches to quickly duplicate hundreds of copies. While tape cassettes certainly continue to play a valid role in ministry today, many members and houses of worship are looking for more advanced media options. CDs and now DVDs broaden ministry opportunities, but also present new challenges. The challenge in getting digital formats include getting the reproduced copies done quickly, knowing how to integrate new technology and the determining the best solutions for your environment.
Expectations are high in the fast-paced digital world. People expect to receive a professionally reproduced digital CD or DVD with a professional label and high-quality sound. This means that the recording is crisp, the labeling is flawless and supply is on-demand as people exit the church. But how do you deliver that in the roughly 15 minutes after the last Amen? Let’s look at the parts.
Stage One of Duplication
Cassette duplication is fairly straightforward. Simply place a blank cassette in the recorder and when the service is finished, place the master in a high-speed duplicator. Digital duplication is not complicated by any means, but there are a few more steps to take to get the final duplicated media. Once the recording is complete the file must be compiled onto a disc. While this is an extra step it is one that provides significant flexibility in the long run because that digital file can be edited, compiled with other digital files as well as more advance digital mastering techniques. For now, let’s keep it simple, once the digital file is created on a CD or DVD you are off and running to duplicate the required number of copies. Today’s CD duplicators copy at speeds of 52x. Meaning they copy 52 times faster than if played at normal speeds.
The next issue is the duplication. In the cassette world, we are offered the ability to have multiple duplicate machines that copy and rewind tapes quickly. With volunteers to feed the machines, this process delivers the quantity of cassettes in short order. CD and DVD duplicators work much the same way. Again, the strategy is to have multiple copies produced at one time. Demand is met by having the right amount of copy drives. Most duplicators are easy to operate, meaning the same volunteers can master the new technology. As demand grows for more discs, it is easy to add more machines.
As churches progress in spreading their message through media distribution, they realize that the message is enhanced with high-impact graphics. Putting the finishing touches on the CD or DVD is very important to reinforce the powerful message delivered through the media. Quality is critical to the effectiveness. The tricky part is timing.
Again, in the cassette world, “branding” is handled with preprinted labels that are applied to the cassette either just prior to or after the duplication process. Printed labels work well on tapes and do not cause any problems for tape players. Printed labels present a host of challenges on CDs and DVDs. Printed-paper labels often cause problems in digital playback machines, and often may not adhere to the media securely. If any of this occurs, it has the potential of harming the image of your ministry by appearing sloppy and unprofessional. That’s the last thing you want, something tarnishing your message.
Today, many automated media printing systems exist and provide the perfect solution for creating professional graphics for CDs and DVDs. However, the printing process is slower than the duplication process, and it adds an extra step to getting your message into the hands of the congregation. The trick is to pre-print the media either during the service or in the days prior to the service. Using an automated media printing system in conjunction with tower or rackmounted duplicators gives you control over the entire process and will ultimately help you spread your message and raise needed funds for your church.
Applications beyond Audio
With the digital realm comes new ways to use media. Cassettes have always been associated with audio and most people consider only the audio aspect for CD and DVD distribution. There are, however, many different applications for digital media beyond audio. CD-ROMs can be used by your organization for other activities such as communicating weekly schedules, project announcements, and special events. DVDs add video capabilities in addition to expanded capacity. Remember, DVD stands for Digital Versatile Disc meaning that you can do much more than just video. In all, these media options provide you with more tools to spread your message, packaged in a way that is easy for people to handle.
Understanding Disc Duplication Equipment Options
With the after service strategy in mind, there are different options to consider for duplication equipment. There are two main types of disc duplicators, and they each have their appropriate applications. Multiple drive, or “tower” duplicators are configured to get many discs out at one time. Automated duplicators are designed to produce many discs with limited manpower or supervision. There are also systems that allow you to automate both the duplication and printing process.
For immediate distribution of your service message, you should consider the tower approach. This configuration allows volunteers to easily start the duplication process and have discs ready in the shortest time possibly after the “last amen.” A 1-hour service can be duplicated in about two minutes. With a multiple drive system (seven discs at a time), you can get 42 CDs made from one machine in 15 minutes after the service. Pre-printing the media means a professional looking CD ready to deliver as the congregation walks out the door.
If you are short on volunteers and looking to produce discs during the week on a limited basis, an automated system is the perfect solution. These systems can be either stand alone for duplication only, or integrated with a computer to handle the printing and duplication in one machine. With either option, you can make your copies in a “walk away” environment allowing the technology to handle the project. The PC printing systems are able to stream multiple jobs. This means that after sending the jobs to the printer, and stacking the machine with up to 100 CDs or DVDs, the machine manages the project with little to no intervention needed.
You may also want to consider a “mix and match” approach to reach your duplication goals. With a few strategic pieces, the duplication, branding, and labor matrix can be maximized to meet your congregations specific needs.
CD vs. DVD
Now the last issue to consider before investing in equipment is weather to buy a CD or DVD duplication machine. CDs of course generally are used in audio only applications and can be created more quickly than DVDs. DVDs are usually associated with video, and are duplicated in a slower process. Today, the common speed for DVD is 8x. However, with advances in technology 16x is right around the corner. The benefit to DVD duplicators is the capability to do both DVD formats and media as well as duplicate CD formats and media. What you give up obviously is speed, but the flexibility to duplicate both formats is very beneficial. More and more people are turning to DVD as opposed to video, and most computers are being manufactured with DVD drives making this format highly versatile.
Plan your Process
There are many things to consider after your last amen. People are waiting for their discs and you need to be able to deliver. Expectations are high and people want versatile formats of information to fit with their fast paced lifestyles. CDs and DVDs are great ways to get your message through and create a look and feel of high quality. Today’s duplication equipment can meet this challenge to create your discs professionally and quickly by choosing the appropriate equipment for your situation. Between towers, record and print systems, automated stand alone duplicators and desktop printers, no church should be without the capability to duplicate multimedia messages for their congregation. Take advantage of the expanded horizons to grow and strengthen your congregation by effectively and efficiently spreading the message!