COMPUTER-TO-PLATE -- CTP Editions
Brown Printing continues to see the majority of ads come in as film that must be copy-dot scanned, Borhauer reports. "Film is still a security blanket for advertising agencies," he says.
The imaging manager expects to see a natural decrease in film use and an increase in digital ad submissions as all the parties gain a greater comfortable level with the CTP process. The position taken at Brown Printing is to remain neutral on the question of digital ad file formats, at least for now, and to let the market decide, Borhauer says.
"Our preference would be to receive a locked-down file format, such as DCS, CT/LW or TIFF/IT-P1. That data may still need to be converted in our current process, but the ad's appearance is essentially locked down by the customer. Since PDF-X is only normalized information, essentially cleaned up PostScript, the file still must go through a RIPing process. Changes can occur at that point, and we have to accept the responsibility. It's a question of liability—who takes ownership of the digital ad, and what is that worth?"
Borhauer expects PDF use within the creative community to grow, thereby reducing the volume of copy-dot scanning that must be done. Ultimately, he's hopeful technology will make all formats equal in production so the issue of file formats will become transparent to the user. For now, though, Brown Printing is handling the issue of responsibility by putting all digital ad files through an internal quality-control process, as well as generating final proofs that customers must sign off on, the imaging manager notes.
Like Banta, Brown Printing is using thermal imaging technology. Borhauer likes the accuracy of the Kodak Polychrome Graphics thermal plate, in particular. As for the process as a whole, he says it provides better registration and produces a cleaner printed product, in addition to the cost and time savings noted earlier.