How to Make Professional Looking DVDs

Posted on September 14, 2007

I just finished designing the DVD for Cubicles to give out to the crew and interviewees. A lot of people liked the design and asked what was needed, so here’s a guide I wrote up.

Maxell DVD-R Printable
50 for $14.99
Get these while they’re still on sale. When first putting the DVD label on my cheapo CompUSA disc, I found (and I assume this happens to most labels) that the print on the disk shows through the label. These DVDs are the only completely blank DVDs I was able to find. If you don’t go for these, make sure yours are a solid color on the back and make sure it’s -R.

Memorex Expert DVD Labelmaker Kit
138 Labels and Applicator for $19.99
If you’ve never bought a label maker kit before that comes with an applicator then you need to get one. This is a one time expense that will save you loads of headaches. Don’t try applying a DVD label by eye, you’ll die. Really. The applicator is a spring loaded device that perfectly aligns the DVD and label. Down the line all you’ll have to buy are just the labels. Plus they all come with some type of formatting software to make life easier.
A bonus tip – when applying the label they tell you to push down on the inner plastic edge of the disc to avoid getting fingerprints everywhere. This way sucks – you’ll get a lot of air bubbles. Instead put one of those clear plastic DVDs that come in a spindle or an AOL disc on top of the DVD so you can put more pressure on the disc and get a good seal.

CompUSA DVD Storage Case
10 for $7.99
These are the large cases most DVDs come in. I overpaid for my cases at Staples. CompUSA seems to have the cheapest.

Memorex DVD Case Inserts
25 for $13.99
To finish everything off you’ll need to print your DVD cover on some fancy paper. These sheets are perforated to tear apart and fit perfectly in your DVD case, with some more perforations to bend at the spine. Photoshop helps to make some cool designs, but this also comes with its own design and print software.

I’m sure with some online hunting you can find better prices. Using the above prices it’s $1.80 per disc, which is a small price to pay to thank your cast and crew.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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7 Comments

  1. Martin

    Has the labels ever given you play back problems? I’ve switch to printable disks. No sticker to mess up and in many ways quicker than putting on a sticker.

    Just curious.

  2. C47

    I’ve heard of that happening from some production houses, but so far (knock on wood) it hasn’t been an issue for me. If I was constantly producing DVDs I’d definitely invest in a DVD printer, but with the low quantity I’m making (about 10 for the doc, maybe 30 for a short and there’s only two shorts left) the stickers have been working out. Hopefully it’ll continue that way…

  3. modifoo

    Experience from CD-R shows that sticky labels will ruin the media over time. In other words: using labels is not a good way if longevity is wanted 😉

  4. C47

    I guess that makes sense. I just found out the campus print center will burn and print a DVD for 60 cents a piece. I wonder if Kinkos or other print places will do that.

  5. modifoo

    We churn out about a 1000 DVDs a year, so a couple of years ago I invested in a Primera Bravo II robot. Quite cool to watch it do its work. Even cooler to set it up in the evening, return in the morning to 50 freshly burned and printed DVDs, and then send an invoice 😉 (But the ink is prohibitively expensive…)

  6. TRWilkinson79

    You can get epsons that print to disc for around $100 now, I find that over the years it’s been more than worth it for printing discs.

  7. C47

    That does sound like a good deal, and a lot easier than stickers (kind of a pain). I’ve also spotted 100 pack of printable DVD-R at Costco for $30 bucks.