Monthly Archives: May 2017

How to Safely Compress Files to Make the Most of your Disc Storage

Whether making backups of your data or putting content on discs for your clients, you can get a little more out of your storage with a small amount of file compression. File compression involves reducing the size of files, making them faster to transfer.

The downside to compression is that it can also reduce the quality of the files. There are some cases where you may want your file to have its original quality at the cost of a larger file size, and either use more CDs (700MB capacity) or move up to DVDs (4.7GB) or Blu-Rays (25-50GB) for the extra storage.

Here, we will go over the different file types and compression options, and which may be best for you.

File Types and Compression

The file type you may be compressing can affect resolution and preservation of data. 

Here is an explanation of the different types of files, how they change under compression, and whether you would benefit from compression:

Graphics

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Not all graphics should be compressed, but you can get away with some gentle compressing at times. 

How Do I Compress Graphics?

Here are a few ways to safely compress image files while maintaining quality:

  • Resample: Bicubic Sharper - resampling adds back image data after downsampling
  • Export resolution of images at ~60-70% using an image editor such as Lightroom or Photoshop
  • Add a mild blur to parts of the image
  • Reduce the max size of the image itself by around 10%

JPEG – Sometimes safe to compress
JPEG is a lossy compression format, meaning some of the original data is lost during compression.

Having a reduced size and resolution is necessary often, though, especially when sharing media online – which is why JPEG is a common choice for use on the web when emailing and exchanging files.

However, if you are a photographer, your client will want the highest quality photos from your shoot with them. You should avoid excessive compression, and instead maintain as much image resolution as possible. In this case, you would likely benefit more from using DVDs or even Blu-Ray discs, than trying to squeeze your images onto a CD that has less storage space.

PNG - Safe to Compress
PNG is a lossless compression format, meaning the original data is preserved and not lost, unlike JPEG format.

PNGs are useful for text, icons, and other graphics that need to be fully preserved, although they will have a larger file size.

GIF - Safe to Compress
GIFs are animated images and also lossless compression files. This format supports animations, but has limitations with its color palette, making it less suitable for photographs.

Audio Files

Compressing Audio Files

Audio files can actually benefit in quality from compression if it is done correctly. You can use free tools like Audacity to perform compression.

How Do I Compress Audio Files?

Here are a few ways to compress audio files safely while maintaining quality:

  • iTunes - in iTunes, go to Preferences > Import Settings > There should be a drop-down menu that says ‘Import Using’. You can set the format to MP3, or you can go for lower quality on Settings > Custom.
  • Audacity – Mainly used for recording and editing audio, but Audacity also has a compression feature. Go to Edit and Open and choose your file. Then, click Project Rate, you can use this to lower the audio’s sampling rate, and also it’s file size. If you don’t care about the audio file being in stereo, select Split Stereo Track, then select Mono. This will reduce the file size by playing the audio on one track instead of two.
  • If you don’t want to download a program, you can use a Web Compressor. You can upload an audio file or choose one from Google Drive or DropBox. From there, choose the format you would like to convert to and the quality. Then just click convert and you’ll have your modified audio file.

MP3 - Safe to Compress
MPEG Layer III Audio, the most common sound file format, is popular because it can be used to effectively compress sound files with little loss in quality. MP3 is one of the earlier compression methods for audio, and although there are other methods that can compress audio files smaller or without losing data, this type is the most widely used and is supported by many programs.

MP3 is one of the earlier compression methods for audio, and although there are other methods that can compress audio files smaller or without losing data, this type is the most widely used and is supported by many programs.

MP4 - Safe to Mildly Compress
MP4 files are more flexible than MP3s. They can contain video, audio, image and text data. This file type works differently than an MP3 though, as it relies on codecs to handle the code in the file.

FLAC – Safe to zip, but avoid converting and compressing
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. As the name implies, it uses a lossless compression, unlike MP3, meaning none of the data is lost and the quality of the audio remains the same. This results in a bigger file size.

People use FLAC format for top quality audio, if you want to preserve the quality of your audio file, do not convert from FLAC to another format such as MP3. You can zip up a FLAC file and the audio quality should not be affected.

More Methods of Compression

Compressing Audio Files

Compressing Files into a ZIP

You can further compress your files by zipping them. Zipping a file is a pretty quick process: simply right-click on your file and there should be a compress/zip option. Zipping a file does not compress it as much as the original file compression, so there is no need to worry about file resolution loss.

When zipping up JPEGs you won’t see much saved space as they’re already so compressed, but it is still a good idea to zip up JPGs in the circumstance that you need to upload several files at once.

Password Protection

If you need to protect your client or patient’s personal information, you can first password protect their files and then order CDs or DVDs with password protection.

Why not just leave everything on my PC?

Compression types for cds and dvds

Is it a good idea to store everything on your PC? While digital storage can be convenient, cloud storage can be unreliable or costly and hard drives fail within 6-10 years. In contrast, optical media such as CDs, DVDs, and Blu-Rays last for over 30 years.

Let Us Compress Your Files

Save yourself the time and energy, let Bison handle the compression for you. Through compression, we can even give more or less fullness to an album or the sound of specific frequencies to improve sound quality. Click here to learn more.

Uploading your Files or Mailing a Master Copy to Bison

You can upload media easily on our website. If you have a lot of files, you can zip them so they can all be added at once. Once you have added the required files, just click the upload button and you’re done.

Mailing Your Media To Bison

stamps-1712530_640

In case you cannot upload your media, mail it to our office in Winter Park, Florida. Once we receive it, we can perform compression, duplication and/or replication.

Master discs should be either CD-R/ROM, DVD-R/ROM, DVD+R, DVD+DL or DLT Tape.

Ready to get started? 

Get your quote today!

 

How to: Printing, Packaging, Fulfillment, and Mailing with Bison

Bison Disc offers complete fulfillment of products from start to finish – from printing and packaging to warehouse and mailing.

Here’s how to get started with our fulfillment, including tips on sharing products with new and existing customers.

Ordering the Right Discs for your Media

CD, DVD, Blu-Ray Mail Fulfillment

Your media will determine the disc type you need. If you’re a videographer hoping to share samples of work with nearby businesses, you should order DVD-Rs (4.7GB capacity) or Blu-Rays (25GB and 50GB) for your video files.

CDs have only 700 MB of storage space but are an affordable option for sharing images, song files, and PDFs – perfect for musicians, real estate agents, accountants, and lawyers.

CD Stereo TextIf you are sharing audio files, we offer CD Text implementation (pictured right) so that car stereos display your band or company’s name. We can also provide tuning if you have not recorded your audio in a professional studio.

If you want to protect your intellectual property, you may want to consider ordering DVD replication – no one can copy a DVD that is replicated and encrypted. Our encryption services for replicated DVDs protect your content from being copied disc to disc or disc to computer.

Fulfillment and Mailing options with Bison 

We provide fulfillment and mailing for all our printed products, including jewel cases,  DVD cases, digipaks, custom packaging, posters, book sets, and more. We can assemble, manufacture, warehouse, and ship all products to your customers or stores.

Our fulfillment options: 

  • Worldwide shipping and mailing via UPS, FedEx, and USPS
  • Mail list processing
  • Printing direct to mailer or labeling
  • Individual on-demand fulfillment
  • Drop-Shipping to multiple specified locations
  • Kitting & Assembly
  • Package Labeling & Form Preparation
  • Quality Control & Product Inspection
  • Product Barcoding for stores doing inventory
  • Product Shrinkwrapping

 

Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns 

Mailer Options Bison Disc

Save money in your direct mail campaign with our mailers – they are the right shape for USPS automated processing, reducing your postage costs. We offer a wide variety of mailer options, including 4 and 6 panel mailers, mailers with a custom pop up, zip strip mailers, 6×9 mailers, and more. These are printed full color throughout on sturdy paperboard with a secure slot for your discs.

Why do direct mail campaigns?

While the internet has created endless options for marketing, it has also emboldened advertising venues of the past like snail mail.

Email Vs Direct Mail Campaign

Customers are now saturated by the excessive online communication from social media, email, and texts. The average American receives a staggering 88 emails each day, and only opens 30% of them.

Even worse, click through rates on emails are low – an average of 3.2%. In comparison, 98% of people check their mailboxes daily and 77% sort through their physical mail as soon as they receive it.

Sending products through direct mail is refreshing and offers customers a tangible gift, which increases customer loyalty and improves brand awareness. In fact, 65% of customers who received marketing materials via direct mail then made purchases and engaged with the businesses that sent them.

Using CDs & DVDs in Direct Mail increases open rates and engagement even more.  When mailing CDs and DVDs, 91% of customers who received the mailer opened it. 89% of respondents said they would spend more time or the same amount of time with a direct mail piece if it included a DVD/CD, and 73% played the discs in their computers or televisions.

Direct Mail marketing

Ready to get started? 

At Bison, we set you up so you can work with the same account manager from quote to shipment, and provide a 100% product guarantee. You can upload your master disc and artwork easily on our website.

We’ll help you get the perfect mailer started for your buiness.

Get your quote today!