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PrintAction - 1291
The Usual Suspects
PRINTACTION ­ February 2004
and when they dialed up the modem
they couldn't go through the corporate
Kew: That was very common five years
ago, I ran into a lot of shops where it was
a whole new department and they didn't
understand it.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): And it is still like
Ballantyne (Qbc): There is also the fact
that applications are being developed
simultaneously now. It used to be they
developed them on the Mac platform first
and then they would port them to the
Windows environment and there would
be some functions that would be dropped
or wouldn't make it. Now a lot of the time
the applications are being developed on
Windows first.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): Yeah, at least simul-
taneously. A lot of the Acrobat stuff
comes out on Windows first.
Ballantyne (Qbc): I think if you are a core
agency, then a lot of points that Dave [of
St. Joseph] made are really valid. The
infrastructure, the support, the cost of
ownership on a Mac is comparable, but I
think if you are one of those guys on an
island, then I wouldn't do it.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): There are still a few
things like font management that are
pretty rough on Windows. Colour man-
agement is extremely rough on Windows,
but if you are asking what does
Photoshop do on Mac versus PC, they are
identical. But there are some other things
that have really opened up in OS X, the
whole Linux world. There are all kinds of
little applications that we can get our
hands on.
The question of Mac versus PC is really
more a client question. The client really
just looks at the computer interface
and does not see a file, whereas many
technology companies do?
Ballantyne (St. Joe): And that is what
Microsoft is doing with Longhorn, with
the XAML thing. They are considering
the interface as a document. That is why
XAML can create menu bars in your Web
browser. As far as they are concerned, this
will become the big thing in 2006.
These are dramatic shifts in what
clients are doing?
Ballantyne (St. Joe): But your clients
should be using the XML to create a PDF
to send it to you and to send it to some-
body else, a Web designer, Web creation
company. Then your XML should be
driving content to the database so that
they can use the HTML or ASP or what-
ever to structure their content and deliver
it to a Web browser. Because I think that
same content can be going to a browser, a
cell phone, or wherever else content ends
up going. But if you hold it neutral then
you are kind of banking for the future.
Kew: You can't ignore it. You have to be in
that space. If you are a medium- to small-
sized printer, you are usually a receiver
only and they will say, `Well, I only want
inexpensive workflows in my shop... I
don't need to have that A file, so just give
me a good file that goes to the press.'
Now the issue is, and it is good to talk
about it, should that medium printer be
doing this because he has that type of
client. Typically printers are reactive and
not proactive. But there is no way they are
going to get into that. You guys [at Pi
Media] are breaking ground. You have to
be there.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): Well because we are
content creators as well, like Quebecor
World and obviously Rogers. But you are
right, the medium to small printers they
are never actually going to create content,
they are going to receive the content and
try to get it on paper.
Kew: But it varies, people with a budget
do not say go pour more money into
print. I need to pour my money into
video ads and all kinds of stuff. The print-
er is the print portion, so they get part of
that budget, but what everybody here is
talking about is if we get the whole budg-
et we have to find avenues where the
growth is, right.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): Yeah, you want to
make your overall production as efficient
as possible, you don't want to reinvent the
wheel every time you go to a different
Ballantyne (Qbc): There is competition
for so many mediums and the budget
doesn't grow. It splits more ways. So you
need to be more efficient now in how you
spend your budget dollar and get out to
the market as effectively as possible.
Smyth: If you are in the media business,
and let's say you have radio, TV, Web and
print and you can use a substructure to tie
them all together, in different ways to get
this message out, whether that is print,
radio or TV or a file format that had some
rich media embedded into it, then XML
gives you the structure to control that
content and push into a different avenue.
Ballantyne (Qbc): I think you will find
that the [printing] companies dealing
with it are the ones with presence in pre-
media. Certainly bigger printers are way
more efficient if they get a clean file in
and all they do is impose plates because
they don't make money on premedia. It's
printing. They are printing companies.
But I think some smaller printers have
very large full-service premedia facilities
that are making some money from taking
an application file.
What about variable data, how does that
fit into PDF?
Ballantyne (St. Joe): It is highly technical,
you need to have full-blown program-
mers on staff to deal with database
administrators, and so on. Your small- to
medium-sized printer is not going to be
able to carry it.
Ballantyne (Qbc): I don't think it will take
off until the tools evolve to the desktop.
Kew: A lot of people look to get into
variable print because it sounds so sexy,
but they realize real fast all of the costs
Ballantyne (Qbc): Again we have media
budgets that are not increasing, and there
are more and more outlets for the dollars
being spent. At this stage it still costs more
to come up with a variable printing solu-
tion or a one-to-one product in print.
Kew: It's not something that you can just
do in your basement, not something you
just decide to get into. It can take years to
understand the database. It's not because I
know print, I automatically will be suc-
cessful because that is the last step of five
steps to get there and then you realize there
are four other steps to get there.
Ballantyne (Qbc): The actual printing
part is easy.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): It makes colour man-
agement look easy.
Kew: One of the things that we are work-
ing on now at CGATS for standards is a
relaxed file and a strict file because nobody
wants to send that database, have it float-
ing around.
The relaxed will be a PDF, whatever it
may be, with XML, whatever you want
with the database. So you have PDF and
the database. Or the strict version, which
has the database embedded and encrypted
inside the PDF, meaning you can't touch it.
Ballantyne (Qbc): I think that for those
customers who want that type of product,
for that type of one-to-one piece, they are
going to try another medium.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): They will try the
Ballantyne (Qbc): It's cheaper and faster.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): It's tough to explain
to the client, because they are going to have
to fund your research into this, the devel-
opment of whatever system is built on the
back of the job.
Why PDF?
Smyth: It is a phenomenal file format for
being able to exchange files, to archive, to
repurpose and it's cheap to create.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): I have an issue with
archiving, because PDF alone becomes its
own set format, which becomes a problem
in archives when technology changes. That
is why XML and PDF have to work togeth-
er, as one new kind of PDF thing. And it's
not about XML on its own. It really has to
be tied to some kind of media and PDF is
really the way to go when you want to tie
anything to creation in any shape or form.
Ballantyne (Qbc): If we are just talking
strictly about PDF, we would not have the
digital workflows that we have today with-
out PDF.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): CTP could not have
gotten to where it is without PDF.
Ballantyne (Qbc): Smaller publishers
would not have been able to go to a digital
workflow, even all the smaller printers in
huge markets, with smaller jobs and small-
er customers, that do not have the
resources. We just would not be here with-
out PDF .
Kew: And we are just starting to see the
creativity in PDF now. It's not just a dumb
Ballantyne (Qbc): A richer file.
Ballantyne (St. Joe): It's still not mature
Dennis Lynch, President of Ernest Green
and Son Ltd. is pleased to announce the
appointment of Jim Neate as National Sales
and Business Development Manager.
Well recognized as a leading marketing,
print and imaging communications specialist,
Mr. Neate assumes the leadership of the
Sales and Business Development team.
His remarkable 30-year record in the
graphic arts industry has been built on Jim's
strong knowledge base, his passion for
customer service and innovative thinking.
Ernest Green and Son Ltd.
recently celebrated their
52nd year of business and
is known across Canada for
offering quality graphic arts
products and dependable
trustworthy service.

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