Houston Music Video Filmmaking Rules

These rules are for the Houston 48 Hour Music Video Project. To view the rules for the 48 Hour Film Project, please click here.

These are the Filmmaking Rules for the Houston 48 Hour Music Video Project. To view the complete Official Rules for the Houston Music Video Project, please click here.

Rules that have been added or updated in 2015 are highlighted.

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

A. Definitions

  • The 48 Hour Music Video Project ("Music Video Project") is a film competition where bands and film teams are paired in order to make a music video in only 48 hours.
  • "Band" refers to any musical band or solo artist.
  • "Film Team" refers to any filmmaker or filmmaking team.
  • "Kickoff" refers to the start of the competiton where parameters are announced for the project. A representative from each film team and band must be present.

B. Film Team & Band Pairings

NOTE: Other cities may have different methods for team pairings.

C. Times

  • The Houston 48 Hour Music Video Project (Music Video Project) will occur in cities around the world on different weekends throughout the year.
  • The 48 Hour Music Video Project will occur between a Friday 7pm local time and the following Sunday 7pm local time. This is the "Official Time Period". (Days of competition may vary in some countries.)
  • The participating group/team must complete its work on the music video in time to deliver it to a location to be announced, on Sunday by 7:30pm.
  • Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All music videos received on Sunday (on-time and late) will be screened.

D. Creative Process

Except for the writing and recording of the song, all creativity in the development and creation of the music video must take place during the "Official Time Period". Any creativity 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 Media

E. Preparation

The only work to begin prior to the "Official Time Period" is:

  • Organizing Crew
  • Organizing Cast
  • Securing Equipment
  • Scouting/Securing Locations

See Also: FootageMusic Rights

F. The Song

Bands must provide a recorded version of at least one song for use in the music video, ready for use at the time of the Kickoff. After being paired at the Kickoff, bands and film teams may select a different song, if the band would like to present multiple choices. The Band will have the ultimate decision-making power in what song is selected.

G. Footage

All footage must be shot within the "Official Time Period" of the project.

  • No stock footage or footage shot or created at another time may be used.
  • Animation and special effects are permitted, but must be created during the "Official Time Period". (Note: Stock footage as part of a special effect in a third party special effects program is permissible.)
  • Still photographs are permitted, provided that the team has the rights to them. The photos do not need to be created during the "Official Time Period"; however, stills created outside of the official "Official Time Period" may not be used in sequence to create the illusion of motion.

H. Kickoff Event

Each participating film team and band must have a representative at the official Kickoff Event of the Music Video Project.

At the event, each Team Leader and Band Producer must submit a complete Music Video Project Leader's Agreement, signed by its leader. (This form can be found on the 48 Hour Music Video Project website.) A team or band may not participate without submitting this agreement.

I. Required Elements

Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in its film, such as photo inspirations and two elements.

  • 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 Music Video", each group's film must contain all required elements within the official time limit and prior to the credits.

J. Volunteers

All cast and crew must be volunteers.

K. Cameras

Any type of video or film camera may be used. There is no limit to the number of cameras.

L. Music Rights

The song to be used in the music video must be an original song with full rights to the music, lyrics and performance owned by the band.

A participating band is expected to use pre-recorded music; however the participating group must have the rights to any music used in its video 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.

M. Song Parodies

Song parodies (i.e., use of identifiable pre-existing compositions with new or altered lyrics or music) may not be included in the video 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.

N. Total Running Time

The finished film must be 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 film story may not be longer than 5 minutes.

See Also: Credits

O. Film Structure

Before the finished film begins, the media should have...

  • 5 seconds of black
  • A title card with: team name, title, city, and date
  • A title card with: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Music Video Project 2015. www.48hourfilm.com/48mvp"
  • 2 seconds of black

Your music video follows this. This is where the 5 minute time limit begins.

See Also: Credits

P. Credits

Opening Credits
After the 2 seconds of black, some music videos 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 5 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 Music Video Project"

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

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 music video, as stated in Rule K. (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 Music Video Project. www.48hourfilm.com/48mvp"

Slates & Credits After 48MVP
After the competition, music videos screening online should retain the pre-film title card that says: "This film was made for the 48 Hour Music Video Project 2015. www.48hourfilm.com/48mvp". 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?

See Also: Film Structure

Q. Required Media Formats

For the United States, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, South Korea, and Taiwan, the finished music video must be in NTSC. For all other countries, it must be in PAL.

Unless otherwise instructed on your City webpage of the 48 Hour Film Project website, your film must be submitted on one of the following media:

  • (preferred) a self-contained SD Quicktime file with no proprietary codecs on either:
    - a data DVD, or
    - a USB flash drive
  • playable DVD

Please check your city page for complete submission requirements the week of your filmmaking. If your film does not conform to the submission requirements in your city, it may be disqualified. Also, if your film cannot be viewed on 48HFP equipment, it may be disqualified.

R. Submission Notes

  • We recommend that each team submit two copies of the final video.
  • We recommend that you make sound levels relatively even throughout your video. (If your video has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  • Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the 48HFP. If your video is very dark, it may be difficult to see in the theater.
  • All music videos received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they are eligible.

    See Also: Eligibility

S. Production Documents

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

T. Certification Statement

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

U. Decision Making Authority

It is hoped that band and film teams will work collaboratively to produce a video that meets the needs of both parties. However, the film team leader will have the final decision making authority in all matters pertaining to the creation of the video, except the choice of song, which will be selected by the band member who signed the team leader agreement (Band Producer).

V. Ownership of the Films

In the case of the 48 Hour Music Video Project, the Team Leader owns the music video and the Band Producer owns the rights to the song. Both parties have the right to post the video to webpages and to use it on a demo reel, or a band webpage.

The video may screen at Film Festivals or local film events as long as this is agreed to by both the Film Team Leader and Band Leader. Other uses of the 48 Hour Music Video follows the rules of the 48 Hour Film Project films, as stated on this webpage.

In the very unlikely event that the video is sold, the proceeds should be divided 50% to the Team Leader and 50% to the Band Producer. Should the 48HFP sell the film on behalf of the parties, the proceeds will be split as follows: 10% to 48HFP; 45% to Band Leader; 45% to Film Team Leader.

W. Video Must Be Completed

Because the band has committed time and resources to the project, all film teams are required to finish the video, even if it is turned in late. Late videos will screen but are not eligible for judging.

X. Band Appearance

The Band must appear in the video at least one time. The only exception is if the Band does not want to appear in the video. To do this the band must call the Music Video Project Producers to receive approval (IN ADVANCE) not to appear in the video.

Y. Eligibility

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 video or to make an announcement at the screening regarding the content of the video.

Z. No Distribution Before Screening

The Entrant should not distribute their video in any way before the premiere screenings. This includes uploading the video to any website or screening the film for groups of anyone other than the team.

AA. Official 48 Hour Music Video

To be certified as an "Official 48 Hour Music Video", each participating group's music video production must follow all rules herein. The 48 Hour Music Video Project Organizers reserve the right to screen only certified "Official 48 Hour Music Videos."

AB. No Returns

No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

AC. Disqualification

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

AD. Best 48 Hour Music Video

All certified "Official 48 Hour Music Videos" are eligible to compete for the title of "Best 48 Hour Music Video" in its city.

AE. Ammendments

The 48 Hour Music Video Project Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the "Official Time Period".

Every second counts...
...when you have 48 hours to make a music video!



Important Message: Copycat Disclaimer

Copyright © 2001-2015 48 Hour Film Project, Inc. All Rights Reserved