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TIP OF THE MONTH
January
Getting music track names to show up in various music players
If you have tried to create a Music CD, you may have noticed when you play it that the track names show up as "Track 1, Track 2, ..." or even with names you've never heard of before or never intended to use. Depending on the music player you are using, your CD will display differently. In order to get your tracks to display for everyone, you will have to use the following methods:

CD-Text
CD-Text allows you to use a simple CD-burning software such as Toast or Nero to specify the names of your tracks and album. Any devices that are CD-Text compatible will display this information when the track is being played. CD-Text typically doesn't work with Computer based Music CD players and other methods must be used based on the software you want your CD to work with.

iTunes (Gracenotes)
Insert your CD into a computer and run the iTunes application. Click on your CD under the Devices section and the tracks should load in the player list. Select one track at a time and select File > Get Info from the menu. Change the information for the album, track, artist, etc, and click OK. Repeat this for each track. When you are finished, select Advanced > Submit CD Track Names and fill in the remaining details and click OK to submit your changes to the Gracenotes database. It may take a few days for information to be available to the world.

Windows Media Player
Insert your CD into your PC and run Windows Media Player. Select the CD from the media list. Right-click on the CD in the media list and select Find Album Info. When the information loads for the CD, click Edit. Make the changes to the CD as required and click Done. You may have to submit this information from up to 5 different computers before it shows up for everyone.


February
Using ISRC for Audio CDs
ISRC, or International Standard Recording Code, is used to uniquely identify your sound recording and music video recordings. ISRC is used to legally identify musical compositions in contracts and is also used in library catalogs for your Music CDs.

How do I get an ISRC?
To get an ISRC, you must apply for one with the ISRC Authority in your country. In the United States, this can be done at US ISRC www.usisrc.org and in Canada it is done through the CRIA (www.avla.ca). If you are not in the United States or Canada, you can find your authority at the following website: http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_resources/isrc_agencies.html. The application process is free of charge in the United States and Canada. For other countries, consult with the agency in that country. After your code has been assigned, you can use it when manufacturing your Music CD.

How do I manufacture my Music CD with ISRC?
You can use Music CD authoring software such as Nero to include your ISRC on your CD-R before sending it to Microforum for Manufacturing. Alternately, Microforum also offers the service of adding the ISRC codes to your Master CD-R for a small premastering fee.


March
How to Setup a Custom White Base for CD/DVD
A Printed disc surface has a few different surface properties in sections (see image). These are 1) the silver area, 2) the mirror band and 3) a clear plastic centre. In order to cover these areas with white, we need to add what is called a "white mask" (also known as white base). In some cases, the white mask may need to knock-out to show the silver of the disc in some spots. This is called a CUSTOM white mask.
To accomplish a custom white mask with silver knock-outs, you must design a custom white mask with the portion of the art or text in the exact position as the main art.
This image represents what the custom white mask should look like. If your disc requires a custom white mask, you should include this as a second page or separate layer within your file, clearly indicating the "custom white mask" and also notify your customer service representative.

The custom white mask can be setup as any single process colour, spot or Pantone (because you cannot see white on a white screen!). This image is the final product with artwork clearly indicating the colour areas, the white areas, and the silver knock-out areas.

Microforum can help turn your CD project into a success. If you have any further questions how to setup your artwork with a custom white base (with the disc silver showing in select spots), call us toll free at 1-800-465-2323 and ask to speak to one of our helpful sales representatives.



April
How to Setup a Blu-ray Disc for Replication
You can use a Blu-ray authoring software (such as Adobe Encore CS5) to create Blu-ray discs. You will need a BD-R recorder installed in your system.

When providing your disc for production, you can provide a BD-R disc for both duplication and replication; however, for replication, a BD image is required.

To create a BD image for pressed replication, you should select to output your project as a BDCMF image instead of a BD-R. BDCMF filesets must be version 0.90 or 1.0X. NOTE: Version 0.99 is not an acceptable production format for replication.

Required files contained in a BDCMF image include:
BDCMF.CMF
AACS1.DAT (only for ver. 0.90 when AACS is used)
AACS2.DAT (only for ver. 0.90 when AACS and Sequence Key is used)
PIC.DAT (permanent information & control data)
PACL0.DAT (layer-0 physical access control data)
PACL1.DAT (layer-1 physical access control data)
UD.DAT (user-data)
UCD.DAT (user-control data for one or both layers)
CONTROL.DAT (control data)

You can also output a Sony SonyCMF image. Required files contained in a SonyCMF image include the PIC.DAT, PACLx.DAT, UD.DAT and UCD.DAT files from the above list of BDCMF files as well as:
File_addr.map (file address map)
FSDescriptor.xml (FS descriptor)
CPTBL.DAT (content protection table)

Image files can also be provided on a USB Hard Drive (compatible with Windows).

Microforum can help turn your Blu-ray project into a success. If you have any further questions on how to setup your project, call us toll free at 1-800-465-2323 and ask to speak to one of our helpful sales representatives.


May
Which disc printing method is best?
Digital printing versus silk screening versus offset disc printing.

If you are wondering which method will give you the best results, you’re not alone… this is a common question.
However, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. It all depends on your disc artwork, as well as the quantity of CDs or DVDs you are running. However, there are some general guideline that may help you choose the best print method.

If your order is less than 300 units, digital printing is almost always the best choice (because of cost considerations). Digital disc printing doesn’t require any films, screens, or plate processing and is the most cost-effective print method for short run CDs and DVDs. However, if you are considering manufacturing 500 - 1000 discs, your list of choices widen.

They include:

Silk Screening – a process that involves output of films and exposing screens to print CDs and DVDs
Silk Screening is the only method that offers you Pantone Matching. If you need to match a corporate PMS colour, this is your best (and only) choice. Also, if your artwork has a large solid colour area, no other print method compares with silk screening for reproducing solid colour backgrounds. However, if your artwork is a full colour picture (i.e. mixing cyan, magenta, yellow and black - CMYK - to produce a full colour image), there are drawbacks to this method. Silk Screening CMYK images will produce a dot-pattern image. This dot pattern is particularly noticeable if you are trying to print an image of a person or face on the disc. Silk Screening is not recommended for these types of CMYK imagery. Another limitation of silk screening is that it will not print very light colours or areas (there must be at least 15% of any solid colour in your artwork, or silk screening will not reproduce the image properly). In addition, gradients are not handled well in silk screening.

Offset Printing- a process that uses printing plates and UV curing inks to print on the CD/DVD surface
Offset printing produces stunning picture-quality discs. The detail in the offset printed images is spectacular and you can even go ahead and put a picture of a person or a face on the disc! However, this print method does not handle solid backgrounds or large solid colour areas well (silk screen is best for these). Gradients print very well with offset printing.

Digital Printing – requires no films and no plates
When printing full colour pictures on a CD/DVD, Digital print quality usually ends up in the middle of the pack in terms of quality. Full colour pictures usually turn out better than silk screening, but not as crisp as offset printing. The advantage with digital printing, is that it is more cost effective than other methods for printing short runs (300 units or less). Digital printing, however, does a poor job on solid colour areas (the worst of the three methods). If you artwork has a large solid colour background area, this method produces the leastfavorable results. Gradient print well with digital printing.



June
How to Maximize Space on a Single Layer DVD

When you have a lot of video to place on your DVD it may not always fit on a single layer DVD. When you have a tight budget and you want to avoid using a Dual Layer DVD, here are a few things you can do to squeeze your project on to a single layer:

Audio Compression
You can compress the audio from the standard PCM format to Dolby 2.0. Dolby allows for exceptional quality sound and drastically decreases the amount of space required for the audio channels on the disc. Mac users can use the Compressor settings if they have Final Cut Pro or use the A.Pack program provided by Dolby if you have DVD Studio Pro. You can also use Adobe Media Encoder as well.

Video Compression
You can compress the video to use a variable bit rate that has a lower resolution. This can affect the quality of the image a little bit but will allow you to have the maximum control over how much you want your video quality to be reduced by. Various programs such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, and QuickTime Pro will allow you to accomplish this.

Automatically Compress to Fit
The easiest way to create a single layer DVD when your project is too big is to use the compress to fit option that is available on many commercially available burning software packages such as Toast and Nero.
 

November
Adding auto-run to your CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, or USB project

     Windows
Most new operating systems like Windows Vista and Windows 7 will automatically suggest to the user what things they can do with the CD, DVD, or USB that you have inserted into the system. There is a way to have an executable file automatically started on Windows 2000 and XP and to be the default selected suggestion on Windows Vista and 7.
  1. Open Windows NOTEPAD by clicking START > PROGRAMS > ACCESSORIES > NOTEPAD
    Enter the following lines in the blank window:
    [autorun]
    open=myapp.exe
    icon=myicon.ico
    label=The Name for the Media shown in Explorer
  2. Save the file on the root of the CD, DVD or USB and name the file AUTORUN.INF.
  3. Burn/write the media as you would normally
     Macintosh
Macintosh cannot run a specific file; however, you can set up your CD so it will open the disc window when the CD is inserted and you can layout the view of the window anyway you like. This method requires special burning tools like Toast Titanium that will allow you to modify these options.

December
How to create an Enhanced CD or DVD
Distributing a Music CD and want to include some bonus features like videos and pictures and still have the CD work in a car stereo and computer? Maybe you want a DVD Video that has added documents on the disc that your users can access from a computer?

First, let's look at the Enhanced Music CD. An Enhanced CD is basically two CDs on one. The important thing to remember though, is that some devices, like car stereos, will look only at the first CD. This means the first part of the CD must be the music CD. Set up the music CD the way you normally would, except when you burn the CD, select the Write Session option or the "Leave CD session open" option. When you've finished writing the CD, put it back in your computer and continue to burn the Data portion of the disc. This time, select the option to "Finalize the CD" or "Close the session". Test your CD in a car stereo and on a computer. Note that if you have used an auto-run feature on an Enhanced CD, your computer may have trouble running the music portion on your selected media player. It is good practice to avoid using auto-run on an Enhanced CD to avoid this so that the music will start first and the user can explore for your materials after.

Writing an Enhanced DVD is a little different in that you will use DVD Authoring software to do this. Some software packages that allow you to do this are DVD Studio Pro and Adobe Encore. You will need to look up the documentation on how to add Data Content. In most cases, you simply will browse to the folder that contains the content you want on your DVD and when you Format/Burn your DVD from the authoring software, it will place it on the DVD for you.