Advertisement
Current Issue
September 2014
Issue: March 1, 2007

REVIEW: PRIMERA BRAVO SE DISC PUBLISHER

By: Mark Ashkinos

PRODUCT: Primera Bravo SE Disc Publisher

WEBSITE: www.primera.com

PRICE: $1,495, plus $37.95 for ink cartridge

· Bright prints with rich detail

· Well-suited for small companies and indie filmmakers

· Easy to set up and use

· Color-matching software included

Primera's latest automated CD/DVD duplication and printing system, the Bravo SE Disc Publisher, is the perfect solution for small-scale duplication and printing needs. The Bravo SE is simple to hook up and to use. Its footprint is small and connects via a USB2 connection.

The Bravo SE works with PCs, including Windows Vista, and the Mac OS. I tested the Bravo SE, with a Mac Pro G5, running OS X 10.4.8. It needs up to 10GB of free hard drive space if you intend to copy a DVD-DL disc.

Initially loading the driver, I hit a small bump: there was a conflict between the Bravo SE printer driver and a pre-installed HP driver on my Mac Pro. After a quick trip to Primera's Website, I was able to fix the problem. You can use the Bravo SE as an automated duplicator/printer, automated duplicator or just as an automated printer.

The input disc bin holds just 20 DVDs or CDs, but for the low price of $1,495, it's certainly worth taking the time to refill the bin. There's a nice QuickTime tutorial included with the software, showing exactly how to use the unit. There's also a quick start guide and a user's manual, which is easy to read. All this adds up to an outstanding entry-level duplicator/printer.

The Bravo SE comes with EPS templates, but you don't need to use these. You can print directly from any print program, such as Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop, as long as you set up your file as a 4.72-inches by 4.72 inches square image. The driver will do the rest. It accepts most file types including JPEGs, TIFFs and PDFs. If you don't have an Adobe program, the Bravo SE comes with software called Sure Thing CD/DVD Labeler to print to disc. The Bravo SE uses only one color ink cartridge and at $37.95 per cartridge, that's $0.38 per print, based on an estimate of 100 discs per cartridge.

Duplication and printing is straight forward, Discscribe, the software that comes with the Bravo SE, is easy to use. You have the ability to set print quality, disc surface and do color matching. You can hub print, which makes a much more professional print. The system comes with the Pioneer DVR-111 DVD/CD recorder. To duplicate and print, the master CD or DVD is inserted into the DVR-111 and copied to your Mac as a virtual disc. After the disc is copied to the hard drive, the robotic arm picks up the disc and drops it to the output bin. The robotic arm then picks up a blank disc and burns at (up to 16x for DVDs and 40x for CDs) your desired speed based on the type of media that you're using. Once the burn is done, the robotic arm picks up the burned disc and puts it into the print tray. Then the robotic arm picks up another blank disc and puts it into the recorder. The recorder records and the printing begins.

PRINTING

Printing is fast, between one and two minutes, depending on coverage and what type of quality, but it's really a non-issue because there's a disc burning simultaneously so, you're never far behind. To burn and print 20 DVDs, it's between 25 and 100 minutes, depending on how big the burn and burn speed. Not bad for small runs. The colors of the gloss disc prints are bright with rich detail.

I was extremely impressed with the quality of the color printing. It rivals high-end printers  costing thousands of dollars more. I tested the Bravo SE with Tuffcoat Watershield gloss media — both DVDs and CDs. The color prints are pretty awesome from an ink jet printer. But you don't need to use Tuffcoat Watershield gloss media; you can use any ink jet media. Tuffcoat Watershield gloss media is more expensive, but for small runs it's worth the extra few cents.

 The Bravo SE prints at 4800 DPI print resolution. Here's the rub though, the Tuffcoat Watershield gloss media is water-resistant, not water-proof. What does this mean? Basically don't get your DVDs wet. The other rub is that when printing black on the Tuffcoat Watershield gloss media, it comes out army green. Primera is aware of this and they're on the case.

PROMPTS

One note regarding prompts, or the lack of them: I had wanted to burn a DVD, yet I accidentally put a CD in the input tray to burn and the Bravo SE burned it. Another coaster. There should have been a prompt saying, "Wrong media in bin." I then tried the reverse and the same thing, no prompt. Another small point: The Bravo SE says, "Rejecting the disc in the recorder." I thought this means the burn was bad, but it actually means the disc is ejecting. A better prompt would be "Ejecting disc."

[Editor's Note: When told of this issue, Primera said they have plans to add these suggestions to future software versions.]

FINAL THOUGHTS

The bottom line is the Bravo SE is an excellent burner/printer and small runs are perfect for the unit. The color prints are rich and vivid, and the print time is fast. For a small company or independent filmmaker you can't go wrong with the Bravo SE Disc Publisher.

Mark Ashkinos is the president of ScreamDVD in New York City. he can be reached at: mark@screamDVD.com.