Posted Jan 1, 2005

There's a lot going on in the CD/DVD printing world these days. In the last year we've seen new, rock bottom-priced thermal transfer printers, of all things; the emergence of 4800dpi as the standard resolution for inkjet systems; $100 all-in-one units like Epson's Stylus C200 that combine printing on all forms of paper with printing on CDs and DVDs; and the very recent announcement of new models based on HP's newest printer, including Microboards PrintFactory2.

Then there's the announcement that's sure to turn the most heads, especially in the videography space: Primera's ( long-awaitedBravoPro. A new CD/DVD publishing system designed to automate the production of up to 100 CDs or DVDs per job, the BravoPro may represent the best of all possible worlds for videographers with discs to produce. Obviously, none of us is just in the DVD printing business, or just in the DVD duplication business. We're in the DVD production business—or rather, it's DVD production, rather than mere duplication or printing, that's the key delivery step in our post-production process.

The BravoPro's claim to that territory is a strong one. Successor to the Editor's Choice award-winning Bravo, the BravoPro integrates a variety of components that have been lavishly praised in EventDV progenitor EMedia over the years: 52X PlexWriter CD recorders in the CD version and 16X Pioneer DVD±R/RW recorders with dual-layer support in the DVD version; Sonic's PrimoDVD premastering software; and Primera's own inline Signature Pro printer. New features include Primera's PTBurn network software, which allows up to five users to send CD and DVD recording and print jobs to a Bravo from networked client PCs. Additional licenses are available in five-user blocs for $299.95 each.

Of course, 100-disc automation is overkill for many event producers, and network disc production all but irrelevant. The Bravo's $3,995 list price for the DVD version may be well more than you're inclined to spend on DVD production equipment. If you primarily shoot weddings and other personal events, and your typical disc runs are a dozen or less, a standalone duplicator and standalone printer may well be more your speed, although you'll certainly pay a price in terms of time allocation without the automation a system like the BravoPro provides. And at less than $4,000 the BravoPro is much less expensive than many an automated DVD publishing solution. And if your business is—or even includes—shooting stage events, school productions, or local sports events where your disc output numbers in the dozens or even the hundreds, stepping up to an automated system with built-in print capabilities will pay quick dividends in the services you'll provide and the income you'll collect.