The 48 Hour Film Project

Machinima 48HFP Official Filmmaking Rules

The rules for the 2015 tour are not yet available. They will be released before the tour begins. These are the 2014 rules.

The following rules apply to each participating group/production team:

A. Times

  • The 48HFP Machinima Competition will occur between Friday, November 14, 2014 at 14:00 US Eastern Standard Time and the following Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 14:00 US Eastern Standard Time. This is the "Official 48 Hour Time Period".
  • The participating group/team must complete its film/video work and have fully and successfully transferred it to the 48HFP designated FTP site by Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 14:30 US Eastern Standard Time. FTP location to be announced.
  • Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All films fully and successfully transferred and received on Sunday, November 16, 2014 (on-time and late) will be screened.

B. All creativity must take place during the "Official 48 Hour Time Period". Any creativite work in advance of the competition weekend is prohibited. Creative work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Writing the script
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume/Set Design
  • Shooting
  • Editing
  • Sound Design
  • Rendering
  • Outputting to tape or other media

C. The only work to begin prior to the "Official 48 Hour Time Period" is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations
(See also Rule D and Rule I.)

D. All footage must be machinima footage created during the 48 hour time period of the project. "Machinima footage" is defined as footage made with a real-time computer graphics engine within the 48 hour time period of the project. Examples of acceptable packages are Open Sim, Second Life, iClone, World of Warcraft, Moviestorm, and Muvizu. Animation applications such as Maya, Lightwave, or Blender may not be used to create machinima footage.

  • Animation and special effects are permitted, but must be created during the 48 hour time period, and placed under or over machinima footage. (Note: Stock footage as part of a special effect in a third party special effects program is permissible. Stock footage is permissible as part of a post-production effect or on a background monitor, i.e., a television, as long as the team has rights to the stock footage and the stock footage is placed over or under machinima footage that is shot within the Official 48 Hour Time Period. Allowable stock footage includes bullets, fires, explosions, chromakeyed backgrounds, etc., but stock footage of avatars, characters or other performers is not allowed.)
  • Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the “Official 48 Hour Time Period”; however, stills created outside of the official 48 hour time period may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

E. Each participating group must have a representative present at the official Kickoff Event of the Machinima 48 Hour Film Project.

  • At the event, each group must submit a complete Team Leader's Agreement, signed by its team leader. A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.
  • Each group will be randomly assigned a required genre of its film.
  • Teams will be given the option of relinquishing the genre selected in the drawing for a Wild Card genre. If opting for the Wild Card, teams must successfully communicate this to the city prodSucer by 14:10 US Eastern Standard Time and may not go back to their original genre.

F. Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film, such as a genre, a character, a prop and/or a line of dialogue.

  • The required Character and Prop must be seen on-screen.
  • The required Line of Dialogue must be used verbatim. It may be spoken, sung and/or written. It may be in any language, though if it is unclear that it is the required Line, there must be a translation.
  • To qualify as an "Official 48 Hour Film," each group's film must be in the genre it selects and must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

G. All cast and crew must be volunteers.

H. There is no limit to the number of cameras.

I. Participating groups are encouraged to work with a composer and/or musicians to write and record music for the films. It is permissible for a participating group to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. As with music, pre-recorded sound effects are allowed, but you must have rights to use them.

Note: Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the film without a signed release from the composition’s rights holder. This rule applies without regard to whether the song parody arguably constitutes "fair use" under US or international copyright law.

J. Total Running Time

The finished film must be a minimum of 3 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 5 minutes in duration—not including end credits. In other words, the official running time begins after the required 48HFP slates and ends prior to the end credits. The required slates and the end credits do not count towards the minimum time of 3 minutes. The film story may not be longer than 5 minutes.

K. Credits

  1. PRE-FILM REQUIRED SLATES: Before the finished film begins, the media should have...

    • 5 seconds of black
    • A title card with: team name, title, genre, city, and date
    • This segment of animation (preferred)
          - OR -
      A title card with: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project 2014."
    • 2 seconds of black

    Your film follows this.

  2. OPENING CREDITS: After the 2 seconds of black, some films start with opening credits. These are not encouraged, but if you use them, opening credits are considered to be part of the film, and therefore count against the five minute maximum. Additionally, if your film has opening credits other than simply the film's title (for example, the names of directors, actors, etc.), you must include one of the following:

    • the text "[your team name] presents" immediately followed by "a 48 Hour Film Project" or

    • the text “a 48 Hour Film Project” immediately following the title of your film

      Note: "a 48 Hour Film Project" should not be in quotes and may be entirely lowercase (i.e., "a 48 hour film project").

  3. END CREDITS: Credits at the end of each film are limited to a maximum of 60 seconds. The 60 seconds is considered additional to the length of the film, as stated in Rule J. (That is, a film may be 5 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 6 minutes.)

    The end credits must include the words: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project."

  4. SLATES AND CREDITS AFTER 48HFP: After the competition, films screening online should retain the pre-film title card that says: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project 2014.”. Information on where you can post and screen your film after the official screenings can be found here: What should I do with my film?

L. Format, Codecs, Resolutions: Each entry must be fully and successfully transferred to the 48HFP designated FTP site by Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 14:30 US Eastern Standard Time. FTP location to be announced. The entry must be in the following format:

  • HD MP4 or AVI
  • If you're using Quicktime, you must use the H.264 or Sorenson 3 codec
  • If you're using AVI, you must use the Cinepak or DivX codec
  • At least 1080p (1920x1080) or larger
  • 16:9 ratio (HD)
  • suggested 30fps
  • Self-contained (that is, without references or links to other movie files)
  • without proprietary codecs (that is, no Avid or Final Cut Pro codecs)
In case of a time crunch teams may upload a 720p wide version of their film by 14:30 US Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, November 16th, 2014. This file must match a final full resolution version that must be uploaded and fully and successfully received by 23:00 US Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, November 16th, 2014.

M. Notes on submissions:

  • We recommend that you use a audio levelization program, such as AVS Audio Editor, to make sound levels relatively even throughout your film. (If your film has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  • All films received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they are eligible according to Rule P.

N. Each team must secure releases for talent, crew, music and locations (and any other applicable releases), which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film/video. (This form can be found on the 48 Hour Film Project website.) The film/video will not be screened before the 48 Hour Film Project Organizers receive the signed releases.

O. The Entrant must submit a Certification Statement with his/her completed Entry, certifying adherence to all Official Rules.

P. To be eligible for the Project, Entries must be the original work of the Entrant; must not infringe third-party's rights; must be suitable for publication (i.e., may not be obscene or indecent); must not contain obscene or pornographic material; may not contain defamatory statements about any person, company, organization or entity; may not invade privacy or other rights of any person, company or entity; may not in any other way violate applicable laws and regulations; and may not contain any copyrighted elements (other than as owned by the Entrant and/or 48HFP).

Entries containing prohibited or inappropriate content as determined by the 48HFP, in its sole discretion, to be inappropriate will be disqualified. 48HFP reserves the right to make the final determination as to which Entries are eligible. 48HFP also reserves the right to refuse to screen a film or to make an announcement at the screening regarding the content of the film.

Q. The Entrant should not distribute their film in any way before the premiere screenings. This includes uploading the film to any website. The Entrant is encouraged to make a trailer of their film and distribute that instead. This trailer should be no longer than 48 seconds.

R. To be certified as an "Official 48 Hour Film," each participating group's film/video production must follow all rules herein. The 48 Hour Film Project Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified "Official 48 Hour Films."

S. No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

T. 48HFP and Project Parties may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.

U. All certified "Official 48 Hour Films" are eligible to compete for the title of Best 48 Hour Film in its city.

V. All "Best of City" films are eligible to compete for title of Best 48 Hour Film 2014. Panels of independent judges will determine the winners.

W. The 48 Hour Film Project Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the 48 Hour time period.

Every second counts, when you have 48 hours to make a film!