How to organize a burned DVD collection of featured films?
November 28, 2006 10:35 PM   Subscribe

How should I organize my burned DVD collection?

I burned over 200 movies on blank DVDs and currently have them in individual sleeves. I want to label it using computer print (not hand written) on either CD/DVD labels or mailing labels (or anything you suggest). I also need a good idea for storage so I can easily access them. I want to be consistent with all my movies. Please also suggest any unique ideas (i.e. getting artwork from online and using it somehow). This is a growing collection so please suggest something I can keep up with. Thanks in advance!
posted by apple to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Put the discs in thin cases. Buy a label printer (that can print 2 lines or small text) and print 3-digit labels and stick them on the sides of the cases. Use a text file or spreadsheet to keep track of what is in what case. This way you don't even have to sharpie anything, unless you want to write the content list on the front of the disc itself.
posted by aye at 11:46 PM on November 28, 2006

Get yourself a CD labeling system, most of them come with software or templates (such as MediaFace you can just drop images into.

As for getting the artwork on line, im sure it wont be that hard.

My wife designs her own DVD jacket covers using stills from various sources.

/leaves before the piracy flame war starts
posted by psyward at 12:52 AM on November 29, 2006

Use their original cover art.
posted by shanevsevil at 2:09 AM on November 29, 2006

Buy a DVD wallet to store all your less-than-legal DVDs in. Then organise alphabetically. This method creates a clear distinction (both in storage and in your mind) between your filthy pirated stuff and your saintly legitimate DVDs and is also convienient to boot!

So I've heard.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:17 AM on November 29, 2006

It's just as easy to assume that these are backups of legally purchased DVDs.
posted by soplerfo at 6:55 AM on November 29, 2006

When I started my collection of burned discs I scanned the original and printed a pre-cut (full disc face) label with that image, or just designed my own for discs that didn't look good scanned. However after a few months I noticed that without fail the sticker covered discs skipped or failed to play on most DVD players and computer drives. I was really, really careful to keep the labels balanced, but they still seemed to screw up the movies on even the highest quality media I could buy (and I did weeks of research to pick that media). I then switched to the classic Sharpie pen right on the disc and the problem vanished. A little practice to get my l33t art skillz back up to speed and now I make free form Sharpie designs on plain white/silver DVDs.

Just something to look out for, I'll never use full face labels again. They also get pretty expensive and you suck through ink like an addict.

Yeah, and there's no reason to suspect these are illegal.
posted by Science! at 7:01 AM on November 29, 2006

I'm using lightscribe DVD's. Slightly more expensive (about 50 cents each on sale) but they come out nice and the burn time with the 1.2 media is much faster than previous versions.
posted by Ferrari328 at 7:16 AM on November 29, 2006

I just scribble the name on the DVD, I'm too lazy to print out a label for each one. Recently I decided to organize my collection (300+) and decided the only way I could do it and not go nuts is to organize the movies by genre. Then I used mediaman to catalog them (BTW, mediaman is not free).
posted by pibeandres at 8:39 AM on November 29, 2006

Don't use regular Sharpies on optical discs. They have solvents that will eat through the plastic. And remember, the plastic is thinner on the label side of the disc. Instead, use a CD marker with alcohol-based permanent ink. Sharpie does make one but it's not the regular sharpie.
posted by kindall at 8:49 AM on November 29, 2006

No snarkiness intended but has the detrimental effect of Sharpies on CD/DVDs been proven or is it a marketing ploy to sell 'special' DVD Sharpies/pens?
posted by pibeandres at 8:59 AM on November 29, 2006

Sharpie is refreshingly open about what they don't know.
posted by Science! at 9:25 AM on November 29, 2006

I do have some older CDs I marked with permanent marker and you can see that something has dispersed into the surface of the CD. It's not physically damaged (i.e. the CDs are still intact) and they were readable last time I checked, but I wouldn't take the chance.
posted by kindall at 9:56 AM on November 29, 2006

Some people claim that paper stick-on labels are bad because they're likely to end up off center and therefore cause the disc to spin as though it were lopsided and even, in some cases, break while in the drive/player. I'm not sure how much truth there is in this, but some people take it quit seriously.

I do know, though, that disc labels are fairly expensive, especially if you burn as many discs as I do. (My collection is probably twice the size of yours). So I don't use a label on the disk itself. Instead, each disc goes into a white disc sized envelope (or "sleeve" if you prefer) with a clear window on the front. I can get 250 of these for 16 bucks at Sam's. I also keep on hand sheets of VHS spine labels; about a hundred sheets for fifteen bucks or so with fifteen labels per sheet. Using the appropriate MS Word Template, I print one movie name onto each spine label in 14 to 18 point Arial. I also have it set up so that a dotted line runs down the page about four and a half inches from the left margin. When the page of labels prints out, I cut it along the dotted line. I now have fifteen labels, each about one inch tall and four and a half inches long bearing the title of a movie. I apply each label to the top of the front of the corresponding disc envelope.

Then, I file the envelopes alphabetically in roughly shoe box sized cardboard boxes. Using card stock, I've printed up dividers - not quite an inch taller than the envelopes - each with a letter of the alphbet printed at the top. With the box just the right height, I can quickly flip through the discs as if I'm browsing a card catalog. I can fit huge numbers of discs into a small space; I can find what I want because it's all in alphabetical order; and it looks quite neat and orderly.

In a used music store, I saw some really great reinforced cardboard boxes specifically designed fo hold CDs up right, in rows. If I can buy similar boxes with tops, they'll be stackable.
posted by Clay201 at 10:31 AM on November 29, 2006

The best system I've used was a piece of software that could index the contents of my media -- I then wrote directly on the disc A01-99, B01-99, etc etc, then stuck them, in order, in a binder.

Later on, when I wanted to find something, I just pulled up the indexing software, typed the name in, and I'd find the index number and be able to retrieve it quickly from its location in the binder.

This was *MUCH* faster than labriously writing out labels, and then later, having to read THROUGH all those labels.

These days, however, I don't trust much of anything to discs -- if it's not on my hard drive, I consider it gone. I still make backups, but I have discs scattered in so many places it's usually faster for me just to re-dl it. Usually, I reserve burning stuff for transporting large quantities of data between two computers that aren't on the same LAN (and more often, I'll copy something onto my laptop and move it instead of burning it). FWIW, I've never really had a problem finding what I wanted again, when it was necessary.

IMHO your time and money are better spent by setting up a good external drive (possibly supporting RAID and network access) rather than taking the time to make labels and buying cake boxes of discs.
posted by fishfucker at 8:46 PM on November 29, 2006

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