One of the expectations when one shoots a wedding or any other event is that your product will look “professional”. What I mean is that you really can not hand out a DVD of a 3,500 dollar wedding with the title scrawled on it in sharpie ink. Well, you could but I doubt you would get much word of mouth referrals. We photographers are always are looking for a way to be professional in our presentation, or we should be as it is a simple thing that can really separate you from the rest.
So with this in mind, I picked up a Lightscribe DVD burner to play with some. For those that do not know what Lightscribe is, pay attention, it is a pretty cool idea. You take a DVD and make it burnable on both sides. But the label side is set to be a high contrast burn so you can burn an image and text into the label side and have it viewable. Cool idea huh? Yeah, I thought so too. It’s still a cool idea but not nearly as much as so as in the beginning.
I got my drive from OWC, a Superwrite Master DVD external burner. It arrived and was unpacked and plugged into the Macbook Pro ASAP. Hey!! not so fast cowboy!!! I could not see the drive with the Lightscribe labeling software. Ahh, so says the instructions, NO FIREWIRE. You can only burn Lightscribe using USB. Ugh.. So unplug it and replug it with USB. Now I take my special Lightscribe DVD (oh yes, special media if you want the label) and stick it in the drive. Turns out the software is just a driver and the label software is something I already bought that supports the Lightscribe driver/disk. Here is another dirty secret, Lightscribe only supplies a driver to the OEMs so the OEM has to come up with the software. In the case of Lacie, it’s ALL special which means you can only get support from Lacie which Lightscribe admits to on their site.
So I get the DiskCover software set up and make a new label. I insert my DVD and tell it to burn the Lightscribe label. And I wait.. and wait and wait some more. It takes 20 minutes to burn a single disk’s label. Not exactly what I wanted for my work flow for anything more than a single off disk. Damn.. It makes a very cool label but god, it takes FOREVER to burn it. When you can burn the disk in 5 to 10 minutes and it takes 20 just for the label, making a coaster by mistake really hurts the time line.
I still use it but only for special cases. And I’m still shopping around for a place that can print decent silk screened DVDs without breaking the bank in very small runs. I’ve tried inkjet DVDs and while they work, I am hoping for something a bit more professional than the inkjet. Still, it’s faster than Lightscribe and its in color. I just give them a quick coat of photo sealer to keep the ink from running and call it a day.