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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cool Gear: LightScribe

Throw away the magic markers and sticky paper—LightScribe technology labels CDs and DVDs in a way you've never imagined

Cool Gear: LightScribe

LightScribe is an exciting new technology that employs the combination of a specially modified CD or DVD writer, dedicated media and specialized label-authoring software to burn graphics or text labels directly onto the surface of a disk. The results look great and, most importantly, are absolutely permanent. The label is laser-etched into the media, so there's no ink or smear. Finally, freedom from cryptic, handwritten paper labels that can peel off or become gummy after a few spins. Look for the LightScribe logo the next time you buy a PC or CD/DVD writer.

Label designs can consist of digital photo images, graphics or other artwork, standard text or any combination thereof. When you're in a hurry, you can use one of the professionally designed backgrounds that are supplied with the software. LightScribe also offers a fairly complete library of designs that can be downloaded for free from its Website. Most photographers want to show off their work, and the surface of the DVD or CD is a great place to do so. Once you've created the perfect template, you can save it for future use with other labels.

Here's how to create a LightScribe disk. First, create the label design. The best layout will depend on the disk's contents, of course. When selecting your cover shot, remember that the label has an immovable hole in the center, so avoid compositions that include important parts of the subject in the middle. With a little forethought (and practice), it becomes a simple matter to shoot around this obstruction. Next, write your data files to a LightScribe-compatible disk using the same procedure that you'd use with any system. After you've confirmed a successful burn, open the drive tray and turn the disk over so that the gold-colored surface is facing the laser lens. If you accidentally forget to invert the disk and try to burn your label to the data side, LightScribe will recognize the error and interrupt the process. Finally, burn your creation directly into the surface of the disk.



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