Proofing is the weakest link in many prepress workflows, which vendors of remote proofing software seek to address. A case study within a digital flexo platemaking context comes from MCG Graphics, based in Hull and with sites in London and Workington. The company is well known within the European print and packaging industry, as well as among major European retailers, brand owners and specialist printers.
Like everybody else, MCG experienced frequent delays sending and receiving hard proofs by mail or courier for client amendments and approval. Even PDF files still required lengthy telephone corrections and confirmations with the risk of errors and time delays. After examining the latest client-server software packages, it eventually chose RealTimeProof Classic from RealTimeImage, a provider of remote soft and hard proofing systems.
Users can stream, interact with, and output high-resolution files directly from their Local Area Network. It also works with customers’ existing Digital Asset Management (DAM) systems to serve as an online imaging and proofing engine. MCG’s clients use standard Internet connections and Web browsers to access the RealTimeProof server via a standard browser and the system’s plug-in on their own computer. Password-protected proofing files download in seconds for viewing with zooming facilities. A densitometer indicates numeric color values down to single-pixel levels. Customers can also use a set of highlight and annotation tools to mark up proofs themselves.
Steve Babb, MCG’s technical director, recognizes that many customers underwent a culture change, but they have largely appreciated the system’s benefits. “Wherever they are in the world, we can now offer them a near-instant proof for approval either directly online or output