Why should I choose IMC Optical?
Great question. So many companies offer
similar products to the ones we offer, so
why IMC Optical? Sure we offer great quality,
competitive pricing, expert service and
guaranteed turnaround times. But the most
important part of IMC Optical is our people
and our process. Our staff is eager to help
and they have the professional expertise
to handle your project. Your contact at
IMC Optical has years of experience in this
industry. You will not be dealing with just
a sales person. Your CSR will actually deal
with you directly, while producing your
project. At IMC Optical we do not have separate
CSR's, sales people, pre-press people, etc.
Your CSR handles all aspects of your project
because they understand what you want and
they have the experience to get it done
for you. You won't experience communication
errors through layers of staff at IMC Optical.
On top of all that, IMC Optical has been
in the disc business since 1996 and started
in the VHS duplication industry in 1985
How can the prices be so inexpensive?
A better question would be why do some companies
charge so much? We don't know. At IMC Optical
we work hard to keep the prices low while
offering the best possible product. We also
don't spend a large amount of money sending
you catalog and flyers in the mail. In the
end the customer pays for these expenses
through higher prices on products. Someone
has to pay for all of that advertising.
We also focus on what we are good at. There
are a lot of things that we don't do, but
what we do, allows us to concentrate our
efforts on being the best. And because IMC
Optical is the best, you will experience
great quality and fast turnaround at a better
price than at other companies.
Is IMC Optical's quality good? Is there
a standard to which you hold?
Our quality is unmatched, and yes we have
a standard. We actually hold ourselves to
multiple standards. Our printing is to SWOP
standards and our CD/DVD replication is
to ISO standards. SWOP is a printing standard
set by the printing industry to measure
several aspects of printing quality on a
press sheet. Things like ink density, slurring,
offseting, and other technical issues are
reviewed in an effort to produce the best
possible printed piece. Most people are
aware of ISO. This is an industry association
and standard used to insure quality manufactured
products. At IMC Optical we wont ever
take shortcuts on quality.
What are the most common problems with
client designed jobs?
There are several small things that happen
when submitting a project that can really
slow the process down. We have listed the
most common problems below. Of course you
can always contact your CSR for help if
you do not understand how to deal with any
of these issues. Improper trim size and
no allowance for bleed are very common mistakes.
See our templates page for the proper sizing
of your project. These should be reviewed
before starting your design process. Another
common error is to size images too small
or low resolution. All images should be
300 dpi at 100% of the desired size for
the project. Wrong project file format or
fonts not included, will slow the order
down . We accept file formats that include
PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and Photoshop. Please do
not send us original program files such
as Quark, In Design, Publisher, etc. Convert
these files to a PDF or TIFF. We are here
to help if you have questions.
USING THIS WEBSITE
How can I get additional assistance?
You can get additional assistance by clicking
on "Contact Us" on the right top
hand corner of the page. We also offer expert
assistance on the phone Monday through Friday
from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm eastern time. Contact
us at 866-268-1368 ext 2
Does IMC Optical offer hard copy proofs?
Yes we do. In fact our hard copy proofs
are actually press proofs. These are the
same as printing your job on the press with
the selected paper. This kind of proofing
does cost extra and it does increase the
amount of time it takes to produce your
project. Contact your CSR for more information
about hard copy and PDF proofs.
What is a PDF proof? (Used for replication
A PDF proof is a medium resolution image
displayed on your computer screen. Since
all computer screens are different you cannot
rely on a PDF proof to represent accurate
color and brightness. A PDF will show content
such as type and trapping issues. It also
shows trim and bleed. The color of your
final printed project will not match the
PDF you receive from us for proofing. Your
CSR would be happy discuss any concerns
you may have about this process and help
you make the right decision for your project.
Most of our customers (95% or more) choose
Will the color on my proof match the
final printed piece?
If you choose to have a press proof the
color will match fairly closely. If you
choose a PDF, it will not. Of course blues
will be blue and reds will be red. Your
CSR can help you with this if you have any
Do I need to be an expert designer?
No, you do not need to be an expert designer
as long as you know how to make a pdf. If
you have a question about your design or
specifications, just ask! We are here to
answer your questions. Let us help.
What if I want an expert design, can
IMC Optical do the work?
Yes. We have a complete award winning design
staff that will work with you to create
just the look you want. Contact email@example.com
or call (866) 268-1368 x 2 with any questions.
What is the cost to have something designed?
Please refer to our design page on the website.
Prices are shown there. If you do not see
what you want we invite you to email our
design staff at firstname.lastname@example.org and
tell them what you need or call (866) 268-1368
What is bleed and is there a safety
margin around the trim on printed material?
Bleed is extending any color, photo, or
design elements past the trim line. Our
plant trims printed pieces in stacks of
hundreds of sheets at a time. This is much
faster than trimming individual pieces.
Bleed gives the print shop a margin of error
when trimming, so that if the cut is a little
off, the white of the paper won't show along
the edge. We request you add 1/8-inch of
bleed to your layouts. For example if you
have an item that will be trimmed to 4.75
x 4.75 then you would want to add 1/8 to
all sides for bleed, making the final art
size approximately 5.0 x 5.0 . Each template
has guidelines set up so you can see exactly
how much bleed you need to add to your layouts.
These are generally the outermost guides.
Safety margin is the opposite of bleed.
If you put important information such as
a song title or an important part of a photo
right up against the crop line, some of
it may get cut off. We recommend that you
keep your type and other important elements
1/8-inch inside the trim line. Each template
has guidelines set up so you can see exactly
how much safety margin to allow. These are
generally the innermost guides. In the example
of an item trimmed to 4.75 x 4.75 the safety
margin would be approximately 4.5 x 4.5.
Why does IMC Optical specify CMYK files
and what does that mean?
CMYK and RGB are two different color models,
and understanding the difference can mean
producing a great-looking insert rather
than a muddy, disappointing one. This has
become more of an issue in recent years
because the internet is used by so many
people and it uses the RGB color model,
not CMYK, The RGB color model is used by
monitors, televisions, scanners, and digital
cameras. A monitor uses very small bands
of red, green, and blue light to generate
color. RGB color is considered additive
color because when you add all three colors
together, you get white light; when you
turn off all three lights, you get black.
By mixing varying amounts of red, green,
and blue light, you can create most other
colors. The paper of a magazine, catalog,
or CD booklet can't generate light like
a computer monitor. It has to rely on reflected
light, and the subtractive color model CMYK.
When you add cyan, magenta, and yellow together
(CMY), you get a color close to black, and
when you don't lay down any ink, you get
white that is, the white of the paper. A
fourth color, black, is added for economical
and practical reasons, and is represented
as the letter "K" so as not to
be confused with blue. By mixing varying
amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black
inks, you can create most other colors,
but CMYK does not have the same range of
color that RGB does. All commercial, full-color
printing uses CMYK inks.
So why is the difference between RGB
and CMYK important?
Many colors created on your RGB monitor
can be duplicated using CMYK inks, but not
all. Your RGB monitor is generating light,
so it can create some bright colors that
can't be duplicated on any CMYK printing
press. Paper can only reflect light, so
if you print the some RGB colors in CMYK
they get flat and dull. If you're designing
artwork in an RGB color space, we'll have
to convert it to CMYK to print.
Depending on your artwork, the colors might
shift a little or a lot. If you are not
certain about the whole color space issue,
don't worry. Just ask your personal CSR
to check it for you and make recommendations
for corrective action if necessary.
Delivering art files
What resolution and file format is best
For best results, save your pictures at
300 dpi (dots per inch) and your other artwork
at the highest resolution available (600
dpi is OK but our equipment will utilize
up to 2400 dpi). Do not save pictures at
resolutions higher than 300 dpi because
this just slows down the process and does
not improve the image quality. We recommend
the following formats PDF, TIFF, JPEG, and
Photoshop EPS. Please be certain to include
all fonts in your files. All artwork should
be CMYK not RGB or something else. Do convert
fonts to curves. Please call our experienced
staff with any questions.
DISC REPLICATION AND DUPLICATION
What is the difference between replication
Disc duplication refers to the process of
taking an existing blank CD-R or DVD-R disc
and burning information onto that disc much
the same way you copy CDs on your computer.
At IMC Optical we use state of the art dedicated
duplicating towers to manage the duplication
process. These machines do a cursory evaluation
of the disc to check for read and write
errors and then make an exact duplicate
of the disc you send us. This is the best
option if you have small quantities (up
to 500 pcs) or need quicker turn around
time to meet a deadline. Typical production
time for duplication is 48 hours. We can
produce your project in 24 hours if needed.
Disc replication refers to the manufacturing
process that starts with raw material to
manufacture your discs from scratch. We
evaluate your original disc for read and
write errors and then make a glass master
of your disc. This glass master is then
used to create a stamper . The stamper is
mounted on the machine that uses heat and
pressure to mold your discs one at a time.
This is the highest quality of disc manufacturing,
but is only cost effective for 500 discs
or more. It takes as little as 1/2 of one
second to mold one CD or DVD on this kind
of equipment. The cost of creating both
the glass master and stamper are already
included in the quote shown in our prices.
This is the best option if you want larger
quantities (500 pcs or more) and you have
enough time (an average of 10 business days)
to produce your project.
What is a glass master?
The glass master refers to the replication
process, not duplication. The glass master
is created by IMC Optical as an exact copy
of your disc. It is then used to create
a stamper. . Glass mastering is included
with all of our replication projects. No
Do you copy my disc exactly as I send
Yes. Take extra care to insure that your
disc is exactly as you want it to be. We
do not alter your disc in any way before
we duplicate or replicate it. You will get
an exact copy of what you send in.
How many master disc copies should I
send with my project?
We recommend that you send two original
masters with any project submitted for replication
or duplication. Often one master can be
flawed in some way (scratch, etc) and this
gives us a backup disc to use. Otherwise
the production process stops while we wait
for you to send us another disc. This of
course can delay the production process
and could impact your deadline.
What do I need to send with a disc duplication/replication
We need a copy of your original disc just
the way you want it copied. In addition
we need a completed IPR form that shows
who owns the rights to the content on the
disc that you want to have copied. If you
are ordering a complete package then we
also need artwork for the insert, traycard,
and disc face. There are templates for these
items on the website under the specs and
templates button. Contact your CSR before
you send anything and the will e-mail you
full details on how to place your order
Do I need a barcode on my project?
That depends on how you intend to sell your
item. For example if you are producing a
music CD and intend to sell the CD through
retail distribution then you might want
to consider adding a barcode. Some retailers
and other distributors will not accept a
CD without a barcode. On the other hand
if you have no intention of selling through
distribution channels then a barcode is
just wasted money.
How much space should I leave for a barcode?
You should leave a space that is 1.25"
wide and 1.0" tall for the barcode.
Most people place the barcode on the back
of the printed piece. For jewel cases that
would be on the traycard.
Is there a font size limitation for
printing on the face of the disc?
We recommend 7-8 point type or larger on
disc faces. You should also try to use readable
type that does not have tiny lines or curls
on the font face. These can be difficult
to read. Another thing to remember is to
keep the type at lease 3/16 away from the
edge of the disc.
Will my DVD play in all DVD players?
Yes and no. If you have it authored by IMC
Optical, we guarantee compatibility with
any standard, stand alone DVD Player. Do
not let this scare you away from producing
a DVD. Just remember that not all DVD authoring
software is compatible with the DVD standard
set in place 14 years ago. To make the disc
compatible with the most equipment we recommend
you use PC or Linux Software. Mac software
has the least amount of compatibility, unless
you purchase the professional grade, and
even then you really need to know exactly
all of the proper settings. Another thing
you can do is try your disc in a number
of different DVD players, if the disc plays
good , then you should be alright with most
machines. Your computer will almost play
anything you give it, so be sure you try
several set top DVD players
Will my Audio CD play in all CD players?
Yes, but Only if you create it in the ISO
redbook AUDIO CD standard. CDs are much
more forgiving than DVDs but problems can
exist. The most common mistake we see is
when a client formats the CD on a computer
and does not use settings that will allow
the CD to operate on a standard CD player
(like the one in your car). The best way
to avoid this kind of problem is to try
the disc out in several different machines
before sending it to us and have an industry
professional review your CD to confirm it
is formatted correctly before sending it
What is the time limit on CDs and DVDs?
CDs have a time limit of 76 minutes if you
want them to be compatible with most playback
equipment. DVDs don't have a time limit.
Instead they have a capacity limit of 4.7
gigs for a DVD-5 and 8.5 gigs for a DVD-9.
Compression will determine how much data
you can get on a DVD, but be careful not
to compress your images so much that they
do not look good when played back. It is
a good idea to play a DVD on several different
sizes of screen to see if the video quality
meets your expectations.
What disc face printing options are
available for disc duplication?
For duplication we offer black text, and
full color thermal printing.
What disc face printing options are available
for disc replication?
Replicated discs are priced for 4 color
printing with a white flood in silk screen
Can I place an order from anywhere in
Yes, you can place an order from anywhere
in the world, as long as you have internet
Can I use 2 separate addresses for shipping
Yes, you can use different addresses for
shipping and billing.
Do you provide an order entry for my
Yes. Your CSR can send one to you.
What are the minimum and maximum quantities
Each pricing grid will have quantities available
for the item you choose. If you do not see
what you are looking for please contact
How does the quoted production time
Your order starts as day 1 if it arrives
by 10Am All turn times are quoted for working
days Monday through Friday
Can I speed up the production time?
Yes. We offer options for expedited production
of your project. This is a great feature
if you have a short time frame to complete
Can I send in part of my project to
get the ball rolling and send the balance
Yes.. You can send part of your project
to us but the production does not begin
until payment is received in full. In some
cases it makes sense to send us something
to review to make sure you are on the right
track with your project, possibly avoiding
a larger problem further down the line.
Contact your personal CSR for advice.
If I order greater quantities will I
receive discounted pricing?
Yes, as the quantity of the products you
are ordering increases, the cost per product
decreases. For example, the cost per unit
for an order of 250 DVDs is higher than
the cost per units for an order of 1000DVDs.
What are you shipping costs?
Each project is different. We will price
shipping costs on your quote
What shipping options do you offer?
We offer several shipping options. UPS and
LTL services Please remember that all shipping
time estimates are not guarantees of delivery
time. Allow enough time in the production
and delivery schedule for errors, or missed
Which countries do you ship to?
We presently offer shipping to U.S.A. and
Does IMC Optical ship to P.O. Box addresses?
Only on small quantities.
What can I do if I experience technical
difficulties while using IMC Optical?
Our technical support staff is standing
by to assist you with any questions you
might have. Click on Contact Us and either
email us or call us directly at 866-268
When should I replicate and when should
For larger quantities over 500 replication
is the most economical choice, while duplication
for quantities up to 500 is faster.
What is the difference?
Replication is a process that involves stamping
out the Disc and print the artwork onto
the Disc using offset or silk screen . Duplication
actually burns the information onto a Disc
and then uses a thermal printer to print
What is your turn around time?
The generic duplication turn is 2-3 business
days, while replication is a 10 day turnaround.
We do offer rush turn times and consistently
work with our customers to ensure that even
the most stringent deadline requirements
What programs should I use to create
artwork for my Disc?
When creating disc artwork, Photoshop, Illustrator,
Corel Draw and Quark Xpress offer the best
applications for art; WE support both Windows
and Macintosh platforms. Be sure to make
a PDF of your artwork without cut lines.
What programs should I use to create
artwork for inserts and traycards?
Inserts and traycard artwork should be created
using the same programs as above.
What are my packaging options?
Offerings include standard packaging
- a jewel case, amerey case , sleeve or
a C-Shell. We can also accommodate any of
your custom packaging needs. Just speak
with one of our Project Coordinators regarding
the many options available. We will work
with you to create a satisfying solution
to all of your packaging needs.
Will you create my artwork for me?
Yes, we have graphics designers on staff
that will work with you to help your company
achieve the custom image that you desire.
Is it less expensive to use black printing
Yes, when duplicating, black ink is the
most economical choice. Color printing is
an additional charge. When replicating color
printing is included
Is it recommended to mail jewel cases or
Window sleeves or C-Shells are the best
option for mailing. Jewel cases may also
be mailed if packaged properly. IMC can
assist you with any packaging questions
that you may have.
What is the most economical Package?
A disc in a paper window sleeve is the basic,
most economical package. However, IMC offers
savings with other packaging options as
Can you just get printing on the CD-Rs
and DVD-Rs ?
Yes, if you prefer, IMC can print on to
blank discs without duplication for your
future duplication use.
If my master is a multi-session format
can you put it in single-session format
No. we only accept masters in a single session.