In the Black
Developed five years ago, American Web's SmartSep process was designed to cater to the cost-concerned publisher, particularly those who could easily bypass color approval proofs prior to page compilation.
Deleting random proofs from production saves a publisher a considerable amount of cash, Fine suggests: "In the Black saves (more than) 50 percent of their prepress budgeted costs using this process."
The risk to the publisher remains minimal, adds Fine, who says, "The scans made, using this process, do appear in final composite proofs, which are used for press checks, so the press does have something to run to for color." After images are scanned, low-res PSImages (PostScript graphic files), which allow designers to manipulate the images according to size and rotation needs—are passed on to Holtz. She places the low-res images within the finalized XPress pages and outputs black-and-white laser proofs that accompany the digital file (usually an EPS or TIFF/IT-P1) back to the printer.
Once at the printer, Scitex's Automatic Picture Replacement automatically performs the low-res/high-res exchange prior to imagesetter output. Film-based Matchprints are sent back to the designer and publisher for contract approval. Once the contract proof is approved, printing and binding occur within four working days, Fine notes.
The workflow established by the publisher, designer and printer allows for the cost-effective, systematic production of In the Black, according to all parties involved.
"The SmartStream system, when correctly followed by the client, continues to offer a very competitive structure for prepress," Fine adds.
Distribution of In the Black's 10,000 quarterly copies is currently handled by the publisher. Eventually, when the magazine goes nationwide, Ellsworth Grant explains that a more sophisticated fulfillment and distribution vendor will become a necessity.
Outsourcing production is a topic that all publishers face. How much of production and prepress should a publisher outsource? How do you find the right outsourcing agent with which to partner? Which is more cost-effective: outsourcing or bringing prepress in house?