Saturday, June 10, 2006

Labeling CDs, DVDs, miniCDs and CD Business Cards

I can't wait until all CDs, DVDs and the rest of them are pre-labeled and you can write or print directly onto them. They are on the market and coming down in price quickly, thank goodness. Over the last 2 years I've been through just about every label software, label sticker and CD and DVD type out there. Trust me, the labeling process is far worse than making the home video. I almost had an intimate relationship with Avery and HP printer customer service as I tried to get the two to work together. I ruined several packets of very expensive labels trying to resolve a problem that HP eventually said wasn't resolvable. So all these media labels and new media formats are difficult for the printer companies and the label companies, along with the consumer. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and not print "Family Reunion DVD" on the margins instead of on the label!

So, with media labels you can't just buy the labels, print them and stick them on easily. There are certain label brands that work best with certain printers, several kinds of labels and several different plastic devices to help you stick them on accurately (and several of them you would quickly want to throw to the ground and stomp into bits even though you just paid $20-$40 for the labeling starter kit).

My picks for labeling CDs and DVDs:
Epson Stylus Printer
Neato Applicator
MediaFace Software
Fellowes Labels

I'll summarize first -- I love my Epson Stylus that prints directly onto DVDs/CDs and does a great job with label sheets

For label software, even though they are both good, I prefer creating a label with Fellowes/Neato/MediaFace over Avery. With MediaFace software you can manipulate graphics and images more easily.
For the life of me I can't figure out what the relationship is between Fellowes/Neato/MediaFace but they all seem to have combined for a really good labeling product.

Hands down, this label applicator works the best. The label fits over that center core and you press the CD onto the sticky side of the label. You have to work hard to mess that up.

I looked for another applicator style (shall remain nameless) that was horrible and it looks like all the label companies have finally copied this type, which was also made as the Stomper brand a few years ago.

Let's start with label software and the label brands. Marketing works because the first software I considered was the one with market saturation. Avery. Everybody has it, all offices use some type of Avery label and that's the brand carried by the big stores. (That's another big problem with media labels ... you can't find a good variety in the stores ... more about that later on in this label rant). So I thought, Avery Labels must have Avery downloadable software on their website and they did. For the most part, I like Avery but I've discovered they don't do media labels as well Fellowes/Neato. Also, when my HP printer was pulling one label through correctly and the next one 1/2 inch too high (consistently over 50 tries...very frustrating), and I was wasting label sheet after expensive label sheet, the Avery customer service wasn't as helpful as they should have been. The Avery software is easier to use initially but when you try to do anything complicated, like put a picture on the label, it just doesn't work like a good graphics program should.

All the labels, Memorex, Fellowes, Neato (you will run across those too) and Avery all seem to interchangeably print with each others software. So I have no idea which brand is better. And when you buy them at Best Buy, for instance, you would think they'd carry several brands right? No, they show Avery and Memorex on their website but no Fellowes. That brand you have to get at an office supply store like Office Depot.

And that sentence makes this a good time to warn you about online CD/DVD wholesalers without a brick and mortar store. Yes, the prices look very attractive and they often have items you can't buy at Best Buy, like mini CDs and CD business cards (finding those labels was worse than hens teeth). So I was forced/enticed to order minis and CD business cards and their sleeves from an internet store. They didn't have CD business card labels so I had to get them from another company. When I put the labels on the CD business cards the labels were too big! I needed to make 100 so I had to trim each CD business card with an exacto knife. No, it didn't look professional. Then, the business card sleeves had evidently heated to a million degrees because they were wrinkled plastic. I was so desperate I ironed one of them to see if it helped. That is the last time I will order from an internet store where I'm not personally familiar with the people running it. I do recommend Edgewise Media, where I get the majority of my bulk VHS and miniDV tapes .

Now the printer. If you need to print lots of labels like I do (maybe you volunteer to make the church CDs or help a nonprofit with a video fundraiser), use an Epson printer and if you can afford it, the newest versions made for printing CD labels. Just because they are made for photography and video labels, makes them work better for everything media. I had a difficult time deciding between the Canon and the Epson but the Epson's print right on the CD feature sold me. However, a big disclaimer. I make videos for a living and supply my clients with Video CD or DVD copies, sometimes 200. So I simply haven't had time to learn how to use the actual printing on the label function and haven't printed any pictures with this great printer! But because Epson has made this their specialty, the label sheets I print come out flawlessly everytime and the warning from the salesman that it eats ink hasn't caused a problem yet.
Here is an interesting Q & A from the Epson website about the direct label printing (see the link earlier in this blog):
What are the advantages of printing directly onto a CD/DVD instead of printing a label and attaching it to the disc?
1. Lower Cost- Purchase only ink jet printable discs, instead of both discs and adhesive labels, and save up to 30%.
2. Convenience - It's an easy, one-step process. You won't have to waste time dealing with label placement.
3. Risk-Free - Eliminate Potential Drive Damage - Avoid any possible damage to your CD/DVD drive or player, which can sometimes occur with labels that peel off from heat, wear and time. Many manufacturers of CD and DVD drives warn customers against using adhesive labels on CDs or DVDs because the adhesive label could delaminate and damage the drive.

I agree. As I said in the first sentence, please manufacturers hurry up and make the "print on the CDs" the industry standard and bring the price down so we consumers don't have to be label guinea pigs. There is a technology out there called LightScribe by HP and some information about it on Wikipedia (which the LightScribe people probably put there!)
But I saw that mentioned in a PC World article in 2004 and it hasn't taken over the market if I am still sticking on 200 labels for my business. By the way, because I did more research for this blog, I've decided to hold my breath and purchase a professional labeler/burner for CDs and DVDs that makes 100 at a time. I'll report back success or failure in a couple weeks.

I just did an online search for CD labels and it's just as confusing as it was when I started learning about this 3 years ago. I don't think, until everyone can afford a printer that prints right on CDs and DVDs, will labeling cease to be an inexact science.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Two services for uploading larger video files is a free service that lets you send someone video files too big for email (yahoo for instance has a 10mg limit). You sign up at dropload, upload your file and then they email the person you want to receive it so they can pick it up. Works great and you can't beat the price.

I found another larger service called Streamload that was suggested by someone I trust. They have a free upload service but also have annual fee services for websites needing to host lots of videos.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Canon XL HD Camcorder

Isn't this pretty? It's $9000 and it's the Canon XL H1 HD video camera.

Read all about it here:

DV Magazine & DV Info Net This website is a great resource for Digital Video information. Right now they have a number of video industry interviews from the annual NAB convention at the end of April. The magazine is free, just subscribe in the DV Magazine section. A large digital video forum where you can post questions and read about most everything DV is the Digital Video Information Network: They have discussions about everything, from high end video products and productions to wedding production tips and techniques.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A website for any video editing question imaginable

Creative Cow is a video editor's salvation. If you are editing video at home, can't figure out a problem and know you'll be on hold for 3 days with your video editing software company, write to an expert at Creative Cow. It's free, they answer back quickly and if they don't know the answer they can point you in the direction of someone who will. Or they will ask you enough questions back that you take that information back to your video computer and your problem and can figure it out yourself.
Wonderful website with great, helpful people.

Found a great fun site is Dean Allen's main site. He and his wife and child/children live in the south of France (I might not get these facts completely straight) and I think he is a Scotsman originally. Since he bought this dog, Oliver, he has put one picture per day of Oliver, and now Oliver's brother (same parents, different litter) Hugo on this website.

One of the best parts of the picture per day are the comments. They are seldom, "beautiful picture","cute dog!", but are instead "Dog thoughts" and Oliver's response to the photographer.
Very clever, great website, you must see it!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Video Phones now shipping with video editing software!

I am not very tech savy when it comes to phones, so maybe this is old news, but it was news to me! Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 is the video editing software my brother has and it's wonderful, easy to use, inexpensive and can do anything effects-wise you would need. I highly recommend it so when I saw that it was shipping with the Nokia N93 it almost made me want a video phone!
Here is the press release, sorry I can't rewrite but I've been working on all night and I am computer'ed and writing'ed out. Oh, I will check one thing ... googling...googling...googling...googling...okay back ... yikes! Nokia N93 $1200 on Ebay ...

Nokia Introduces the Next Story in Video with the Nokia N93
April 25, 2006
Digital camcorder and multimedia computer in one easy-to-use compact package

Berlin, Germany and Hong Kong, China - Nokia today introduced the Nokia N93, the ultimate mobile device for spontaneous video recording. Offering uncompromised digital camcorder, telephony and rich Internet communication functionalities, the Nokia N93 features a 3.2 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics, DVD-like video capture and 3x optical zoom. You can connect the Nokia N93 directly to your TV for a widescreen movie experience or upload your images and video to online albums or blogs. Moreover, you can create high-quality home movies and burn them to DVD with the included Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0 software.

"The Nokia N93 marks a new era in the digital camcorder market," said Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president and general manager of Multimedia, Nokia. "Incorporating all the features you need for great quality movie-making, the Nokia N93 is a fantastic example of a multimedia computer with true digital camcorder performance at its core. Thanks to its connectivity, it allows you to immediately share the memories you've captured, taking the entire camcorder experience to the Internet age."

Intuitive and Spontaneous Capture
Offering the best mobile video and photography experience, the Nokia N93 is packed with exceptional camera features that enable high-quality photos and DVD-like quality video. Unfold and twist the main display, and the Nokia N93 is ready to shoot video and photos using the color landscape display as a full screen viewfinder. Whether special events or just fun, impromptu everyday life, you can capture moments conveniently and impulsively and share them with others as they happen.

Featuring MPEG-4 VGA video capture at 30 frames per second, the Nokia N93 delivers an unparalleled video experience with stereo audio recording and digital stabilization, enabling smooth and shake-free movies. The Nokia N93 incorporates a 3.2 megapixel (2048 x 1536 pixels) camera with a Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens, 3x optical zoom and up to 20x digital zoom, as well as autofocus and close-up mode for amazing clarity and accuracy. Furthermore, the Nokia N93 has an active camera toolbar which displays all available capture features, from exposure value to color tones and white balance. There are dedicated keys for shutter, zoom and flash and also a camera mode key that enables you to switch quickly and easily between image and video capture.

The Nokia N93 features large internal memory of up to 50 MB, which can be further expanded with a hot swap miniSD card of up to 2 GB, allowing users to capture up to 90 minutes of DVD-like quality video or close to 2500 high-quality photos. Furthermore, you can easily transfer your photos and video from the memory card to a compatible PC for storage, and yet always carry a collection of your favorite resized images on the Nokia N93.

Joy of Sharing
Sharing your photos and video clips captured with the Nokia N93 is a snap. Show off your content on the up to 262,144 color 2.4" QVGA display (240 x 320 pixels) featuring a super-wide 160 degree viewing angle. Share your uncompressed photos and video clips instantly via email, Bluetooth technology or by uploading them directly from the Gallery to compatible blogs. You can even share your captured memories with family and friends on a large compatible TV screen, using either the included TV cable or wirelessly over integrated WLAN and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) technology. Furthermore, from browsing the web to reading your emails and office documents, you can even play games on the Nokia N93 using the screen of your compatible TV.

Creativity Made Easy
While editing your photos and video clips directly on the Nokia N93 is simple, you can also easily transfer them to your compatible PC, allowing for more creative control over your video output. The standard Nokia N93 sales pack comes bundled with Adobe Premiere Elements 2.0, which makes it easy to import video clips, photos and music and to start experimenting with hundreds of transitions and effects, as well as create professional looking home videos with customizable templates. And to top it off, you can effortlessly burn those great home movies to DVD and export formats for Web streaming and email.

Multifunctional Mobile Computing and Connectivity
Part of the Nokia Nseries multimedia computer range, the Nokia N93 offers great functionality in one beautifully shaped connected device. Designed to work on WLAN, 3G (WCDMA 2100 MHz), EDGE and GSM (900/1800/1900 MHz) networks, the Nokia N93 provides broadband Internet access for browsing, uploading content, and sending and receiving emails, allowing you to stay connected on the move. You can also set the device on a surface, flip the display horizontally and use the landscape screen to browse the Web, watch TV* over 3G networks, or make hands-free video calls*.

All Round Entertainment
The Nokia N93 includes a stereo FM radio and a digital music player that offer a fantastic music experience. You can create playlists and enjoy your music hands-free via the speaker or use the stereo headset provided. With the Nokia Music Manager, you can also easily rip your CDs and transfer your music collection to your phone. In addition, you can store up to 1500 songs on your Nokia N93 with a separately available 2 GB miniSD card. You can also enjoy high-quality 3D games with the pre-installed N-Gage franchise System Rush: Evolution.

The Nokia N93, which is based on S60 3rd Edition software on Symbian OS, is expected to become commercially available in July 2006 with an estimated, unsubsidized sales price of approximately 550 euros.

*To check the availability and cost of the service, contact your network operator or service provider.

About Nokia Nseries
Nokia Nseries is a range of high performance multimedia devices that delivers unparalleled mobile multimedia experiences by combining the latest technologies with stylish design and ease of use. With Nokia Nseries products, consumers can use a single device to enjoy entertainment, access information and to capture and share pictures and videos, whenever and wherever they want.

About Nokia
Nokia is a world leader in mobile communications, driving the growth and sustainability of the broader mobility industry. Nokia connects people to each other and the information that matters to them with easy-to-use and innovative products like mobile phones, devices and solutions for imaging, games, media and businesses. Nokia provides equipment, solutions and services for network operators and corporations.

Media Enquiries:

Nokia, Multimedia
Tel. +358 7180 38194

Tel. +358 7180 34900

Please visit the Open Studio 2006 website for more information at:
Related photos in print quality can be found at: >photos
Photos from the event can be found at: >photos >events
For broadcast quality video material, please go to: to preview and request a video.
An event podcast is available at

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Edit Home Video online

Good Morning,
I stayed up last night finishing and although it has a long way to go, it's up and running and has a lot of good editing and video tips and information already. The first how to edit an easy project with Windows Movie Maker will be there by tonite. I've looked online for a good, easy rundown of that program ... do this, do this, do this...boom you made a little movie, but I haven't found one.
I actually taught a little editing class not long ago, and we shot 2 minutes and had a piece within a half hour.
So I hope this site helps everyone use the great, inexpensive digital technology available!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Edit Home Video almost ready!

What I've enjoyed most about the past 30 years in television is teaching people eager to learn how to edit. There are many aspects of video production that I enjoy ... writing, producing, finding, researching and then telling a good story. But editing is the final control, the absolute outcome of the piece and I think the most creative part of the television process. Editing takes raw video, words and voice and weaves them into a compelling story. If the editing is bad, it can almost ruin the story. But on the flip side, if the story is bad, the editing can make it a good piece.

Teaching people about the art of creating the story visually to compliment and not overwhelm the writing is really satisfying. I've created a website, , because this is the part of my television career I enjoy the most, sharing what I've learned. I've had the priviledge of working with great professionals over the years and the tips and tricks they shared with me, I'm glad to finally get to pass along.

With video editing software prices way, way down and the ease of use way up, it's a chance for me to help church members who want to edit a fundraising video for their church, guide the technical director of a nonprofit to the best places on the web for multimedia help and show people how to create that one of kind video for their parents anniversary.

The website is new, I will update and change it until it's easy to use and full of the latest video news and information.

So thanks for visiting and please post questions and comments!