The 48 Hour Film Project

Machinima 48HFP
Official Filmmaking Rules

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

A. Times:

  • The 48 Hour Film Project will occur between Friday, September 17th, 2010, 7pm US Pacific Time and the following Sunday 7pm US Pacific 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, September 19th, 2009, at 7:30pm US Pacific Time. (Find out what time that is in your area.)
  • Only works that meet the deadline will be officially part of the competition. All films fully and successfully transferred and received on Sunday, September 19th, 2009, by 11:00pm US Pacific Time will be screened.

B. All creativity must take place during the "Official 48 Hour 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
  • Uploading to our FTP site

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 J.)

D. All footage must be captured within the 48 hour time period of the project. Also, all footage must be machinima footage--that is, shot in a virtual-reality environment in real-time.

  • Post-production and special effects are permitted, but they must be begun and finished during the 48 hour time period, and overlayed over machinima footage. (Note: Stock footage as part of a special effect in a third party special effects program is permissible.)
  • 3D animation--that is, 3D footage created not in real-time--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 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 at the official Kickoff Event of the 48 Hour Film Project.

  • At the event, each group must submit a complete Team Leader's Agreement, signed by its team leader. (This form can be found on the 48 Hour Film Project website.) A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.
  • Each group will choose the genre of its film in a random drawing.
  • 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 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. Any type of video or film camera may be used, however, a maximum of only three cameras may be used to shoot footage for use in your film. Sound recorders are allowed in addition to this three camera limit. Cameras used for a purpose other than recording video footage (for example, as props, editing decks, sound recorders, or to record solely behind-the-scenes footage) are allowed in addition to this three camera limit.

I. First Time Cities only: Each film must include a landmark (building, monument, etc.) or identifying characteristic (e.g., bus, city office) of the competition city. (Note: The landmark or characteristic must exist inside city limits.) This rule applies only the first time the 48HFP visits a city.

J. Participating groups are encouraged to work with a local 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.

K. The finished film must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration, and a maximum of 7 minutes in duration—not including credits. See Rule L.

L. 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 K. (That is, a film may be 7 minutes long, with an additional 60 seconds of credits, for a total running time of 8 minutes.)

L. Each entry must be fully and successfully transferred to the 48HFP designated FTP site by Sunday, September 19th, 2010 at 7:30pm US Pacific Time.

The entry must be in the following format:

  • Quicktime or AVI (Quicktime is preferred)
  • self-contained (that is, without references or links to other movie files)
  • at least 720 pixels wide
  • a 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 30 or 25 frames per second
  • 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.

We recommend that each team submit two copies of the final film. If the Entry cannot be viewed on 48HFP equipment, it may be disqualified.

N. All films received on the evening of the deadline (on-time and late) will be screened, presuming they are eligible according to Rule R. To ensure the best screening of your film, please follow the instructions below, unless instructed differently by your City Producer:

  • HD films must be down-converted to SD.
  • Sound levels should be relatively even throughout the film. (If your film has uneven sound or sound that peaks, it may be modified to protect the playback equipment.)
  • Note: Projection specs vary from theater to theater and are beyond the control of the 48HFP. If your film is very dark, it may be difficult to see in your theater.

O. Before the finished film begins, the tape should have:

P. Each team must secure talent, crew, music releases and location releases, which must be turned in to the project organizers with the finished film/video. (The release forms 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. These releases must be uploaded to the 48HFP designated FTP site by September 19th, 2010, at 11:00pm US Pacific Time.

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

R. 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.

S. 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."

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

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

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

W. All "Best of City" films are eligible to compete for title of Best 48 Hour Film 2010. Panels of independent judges will determine the winners.

X. 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!