I've had a lot of people ask me about DVDs - and for DVDs as my demo reel. DVDs are great but every time I send one out there's a little kernel of doubt in the back of my mind/gut because DVD-R is still an imperfect technology. I've done a lot of research into it - I'm also producing a DVD for a video I did for a non-profit - and this is what I've discovered.
There are two ways to make a DVD.
The first is called DUPLICATION.
The second is called REPLICATION.
Duplication is in essence the same as burning a DVD on you computer at home. They're done on DVD-R and you can make any numbers from 1 to infinity. The problem with them is they may not play on everyone's machine. Or they may play imperfectly. Though most of the companies out there who make them will tell you they are 99% compatible - all you need is to hand your reel to someone who has an old DVD player and you lost the job. Why? Because some DVD players were made without the ability to play DVD-Rs. Which ones? Who knows. Additionally, some DVD players may be able to play TDK brand discs and not, say, Memorex. Also - if you burn them at home on your DVD burner, your burner may be able to handle Ritek, but not, say, Verbatim (though I think Verbatim is one of the more compatible brands out there.)
Replication tends to eliminate this problem - though I've heard even replicated discs are not 100% compatible with all DVD players - but you have to make, generally speaking, a minimum of 1000 discs. The way replication works is - your DVD file (called a Video_TS file) is recorded onto a DLT tape (two tapes if you're making a double layer disc (more than 4.7GB). A glass master is then made of your DVD and the discs are then made from that glass master. This eliminates the compatibility problem, but is much more expensive due to the numbers involved. And that's it.
Oh - an if you thinking that media companies will have state of the art gear - remember - there are still companies out there with 3/4 inch decks in their conference rooms.
Those are the basics of DVD production. So go to it.
I've got to get some replicated and get back to WRITING - and shooting.