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As mentioned when one of our team was interviewed by SteelBookbluray.com, here at Zavvi we are all massive film fans, and every day one of us will have a new film to champion for a SteelBook release. From the perspective of our own catalogue, Zavvi will propose titles to the various studios and the process will move from there.

Sometimes studios will ask us to release a title exclusively – usually with new cinema releases. Other times certain films will need signing off and approving by some of the biggest names in film – for instance Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have all been involved in signing off various SteelBooks at one stage or another.

'Wreck' - Hi-Def Ninja

When we propose a title to the studios, we often also suggest certain ideas about the artwork. There have been occasions where we have decided not to produce a SteelBook version of a film solely due to the lack of solid artwork, and new artwork can take years to be commissioned and signed off.

Final say on artwork, though, is with the studios themselves and no design work is done by us. SteelBooks are produced in Denmark as through a partnership between Scanavo and Glud & Marstrand A/S.

In the ‘Pre-artwork stage’, creative teams from the studios will send over their preliminary artwork to the Scanavo graphics teams for feedback. Scanavo will then send recommendations back concerning colour choices, ideas for embossing, and more. Scanavo will also provide certain templates for the artwork to make sure that it matches the form of the SteelBook in the best way possible.

One of the most important factors when it comes to designing artwork for SteelBooks is the white layer. Usually designs and posters, a common starting inspiration for the cover art, were originally created for paper – where the bottom layer is white. A SteelBook, obviously, has the extra steel layer below. Scanavo will provide ideas to the studio creative teams about how to best work with this.

For example – if a design requires a very bright colour, it will also require a fairly opaque white layer beneath it. The interaction between the steel, white layer and the colours allows for a lot of creativity and variation between designs, and Scanavo advise the studios on this. Likewise the choice of varnish has a significant effect on colours – a gloss finish brings out brighter colours, whereas a matte finish tends to create a subtler, more muted tone.

'Digitalbabe' - Hi-Def Ninja

All of these recommendations will be tailored to what kind of film it is, the nature of the films artwork, and the audience for the film. For a modern animated feature, you might expect a gloss finish and a strong white layer to bring out vibrancy in the colours. On the other hand, a 70’s sci-fi movie might better call for more revealed steel and a matte finish.

In the ‘Artwork stage’, the studios will then come back with a refined version of the artwork in one of the templates. They may choose not to follow some of the recommendations given to them by Scanavo or may have made modifications based on them.

The cases can be printed in the usual CMYK, but can also be printed using PANTONE colours if needed to create any desired effects. Scanavo will then come back to the studios with any final feedback before printing the design on a flat piece of steel for proofing by the studios.

This helps the studios see the effects of any embossing, the finish and the colour and white layer decisions before finalising the design for the print run.

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