Filmmaking Rules Machinima

These rules apply to each participating group/production team.

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

Below are the Filmmaking Rules.  Be sure to also read the official Competition Rules.


A. Times

The 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) will occur in the virtual world on the weekend of .

The 48 Hour Film Project will occur between Friday, November 13 at 14:00 US Eastern Standard Time and Wednesday, December 31 at 14:00 US Eastern Standard Time. This is the Official 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 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 received on Sunday (on-time and late) will be screened.


B. Creative Process

All creativity must take place during the Official Time Period. Any creative 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. Preparation

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

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

D. Footage

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.)


E. Kickoff Event

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 producer by 14:10 US Eastern Standard Time on Friday, November 13 and may not go back to their original genre.

F. Required Elements

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 must be seen on-screen and it must be clear--either directly shown or by context--who the required character is.
  • The required 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 Entry, 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.
See Also

G. Volunteers

All cast and crew must be volunteers.

H. Animal Safety

Animal safety, like cast and crew safety, is an important part of 48 Hour Filmmaking. Films that result in the death or mutilation of an animal will be disqualified.

I. Cameras

There is no limit to the number of cameras.

J. Music Rights

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.
See Also

K. 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.

L. Credits

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
  • The official 48HFP animated opening -OR- a title card with: This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project 2017. www.48hourfilm.com
  • 2 seconds of black

Your film follows this.

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 may be entirely lowercase (i.e., a 48 hour film 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 film. (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. www.48hourfilm.com

Slates And Credits After The Competition

For any future screenings, online or otherwise, films should retain the pre-film title card that says: This film was made for the 48 Hour Film Project 2017. www.48hourfilm.com.


M. Required Media Formats

Each entry must be fully and successfully transferred to the 48HFP designated FTP site by Wednesday, December 31 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 Wednesday, December 31. 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 the night of Wednesday, December 31.


N. Submission Notes

  • 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 meet the eligiblity requirements.

O. Production Documents

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. The film/video will not be screened before the 48 Hour Film Project Organizers receive the signed releases.
  • Release forms can be found on the 48HFP website.

P. Certification Statement

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

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

R. No Pre-Screening Distribution

The Entrant should not distribute their entry/video in any way prior to it receiving its official 48HFP premiere screening. This includes uploading the video to any website or screening the film for groups of anyone other than the team. The Entrant is encouraged to make a trailer of their film and distribute that instead. This trailer should be no longer than 48 seconds.

S. Official Film Entry

To be certified as an Official Film Entry, 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 Film Entries.


T. Entries Not Returned

No Entries (media or documents) will be returned.

U. Disqualification

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

V. Official City Winner

All certified Official Film Entries are eligible to compete for the title of Best Film of the Machinima 48 Hour Film Project.


W. Best Film of 2017

All Best of City films are eligible to compete globally for title of Best Film of 2017. A panel of independent judges will determine the winners.

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