CTMT 2015: Delivery of the 10th anniversary programme booklet

After long days, late nights and busy weekends spent hunched over our respective computers, proofreading, tweaking, correcting, adjusting, and some last-minute panic, with Emails, SMSs, WhatsApps, and SkypeChats flying through the ether, we finally handed over the print-ready PDFs of the 10th Anniversary Programme booklets to the South African Navy’s Printing Unit in Simon’s Town on Monday.

Sergeant Noel Muller printed the proofs of all the pages and the inside and outside covers for us so that we could do one final check, and Warrant Officer David Porter was on hand with helpful advice and reassuring words.

Mandy scrutinises all the pages carefully

Mandy scrutinises all the pages carefully

On Wednesday morning, I drove through to the SA Navy Printing Unit to see whether everything was going smoothly.

It was incredible.

I’d never seen this kind of industrial-scale printing being done before.

The friendly sailors on duty, noticing my curiosity, showed me around and explained what was happening at each station. I’ll do my best to summarise it here, though I don’t really know the correct terminology to use!

The various machines in the large printing hall were running at full speed, so it was seriously noisy! The covers had been printed and were being varnished in a huge machine – I had pictured them doing this by hand, but was relieved that it’s not! As it was a warm day, drying time was luckily short.

At the same time, 8 x 2 pages at a time were being printed on large sheets, back to back (it looks like the proof prints in the photos). An A4 desktop inkjet printer takes about half a minute or more to squeeze out a page – these massive printers were spitting out full sheets in split-seconds! Neat piles of printed sheets were inserted into a complicated folding machine, which folded them down to A4 size. These were stacked in piles. As our booklet consists of 48 pages (3 x 16 pages), we ended up with 3 large folded sheets for each booklet.

Some final tweaks are necessary.

Some final tweaks are necessary.

Once all the sheets had been printed and folded, the three folded sheets or sections, together with the varnished and dried covers, were put through a stapling machine. Thereafter, the edges had to be cut and trimmed to make it all look nice and neat.

The SA Navy Printing Unit had also generously offered to Eurobind some of the programmes; Eurobinding, as I learned, is a complicated kind of glue-binding process, where sheets and covers are fed into a huge machine by hand. It’s time-consuming but creates a really beautifully finished product.

I had a quick look at what was coming out of the printing and folding machines, and it looked simply amazing. The colours of the photos were coming out crisp and bright, and the text was clear and easily readable.

This morning, when we visited the Castle to marvel at the progress that had been made in the front arena (see: Seating, Lighting & Flooring, I saw the printed programme booklets for the very first time.

Proof prints of the front and back covers

Proof prints of the front and back covers


I think we did good.

We certainly owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who responded so willingly to our pleas for background information, suitable images, etc. etc. etc… And of course, to the awesome team at the SA Navy’s Printing Unit who helped us to pull this particular rabbit out of the hat with such flair and elegance… And last but certainly not least, considerable thanks are due to our temporarily neglected spouses and pets who supported us in their own special ways. 🙂

So, having hopefully wet your appetite – if you want your very own Special 10th Anniversary Edition of the Programme Booklet of the Cape Town Military Tattoo 2015, you will have to reserve your seats at Computicket!

Do not tarry any longer, as it’s going to be a world-class show, and you don’t want to miss it!

Here is the link to Computicket: http://online.computicket.com/web/event/cape_town_military_tattoo_2015

Here they are – boxes filled with beautiful programmes…

Here they are – boxes filled with beautiful programmes…

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