Official Rules

More important than the instruction manual for your camera:


    1. Teams must register, complete all necessary documents and submit entry fees a minimum of 24 hours prior to the competition to be considered for judging.
    2. Each participating group will be assigned required elements that must appear in their film, such specifics to be announced at the kickoff meeting.
    3. All costs associated with the production of the entry are solely the responsibility of the entrants, and the LNMC and McMaster University assume no liability for expenses or damages that take place.
    4. All creativity must take place during the McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge. Any creative work produced 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.  In the event that the authenticity of work is question, judges reserve the right to request proof that it was created during the competition.
    5. The only work permitted to begin prior to the McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge is: Organizing Crew, Organizing Cast, Securing Equipment, Scouting / Securing Locations
    6. Each participating group must have a representative at the official kickoff event of the McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge (or let us know that you are tuning in via livestream). Either prior to the kickoff event or at the event itself, each group must read and sign that they have read a copy of the McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge Terms and Conditions, signed by the team leader (whose name is on the registration) or by a member of the team. A team may not participate without submitting this agreement.  Furthermore, each finished submission must be accompanied by release/participation forms in order to be a valid entry.  Failure to produce verifiable releases to the McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge team prior to screening can result in immediate disqualification.


    1. All cast and crew must be volunteers. Any type of video camera may be used; however, the participating team must have the rights to any music used in its film and must provide releases for all music used. These rights must clearly apply to the work that they have produced for the McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge, and not a previous performance. 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 Canadian or international copyright law.
    2. All footage must be shot within the 24 hour 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 24 hour 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 24 hour time period.  Music and sound effects do not need to be created prior to the 24 hour time period, provided they are properly licensed prior to the screening.
    3. To be eligible for the contest, entries must be the original work of the entrant; they must not infringe third-party's rights; nor may they have broken any laws during production, and they must be suitable for publication online.  All submissions must adhere to the 14A rating in Canada: Adult Accompaniment (14A)
      Persons younger than 14 years must be accompanied by an adult.
      Language:  Coarse language and/or slurs directed to specific segments of society; sexual references. Infrequent strong, aggressive language.
      Violence:  Portrayals of violence resulting in some bloodletting and/or tissue damage, which may or may not be fatal. Violence should be within the context of the film.
      Nudity:   Full frontal nudity, non-detailed, brief, casual, non-close up, in a non-sexual situation.
      Sexual Activity:  Kissing, petting, fondling, implied sexual activity; sexual innuendo.
      Horror:   Occasional gory moments and some grotesque images, but these will not be detailed.
      Psychological Impact: Occasional upsetting scenes that will tend to be more frightening, intense, disturbing - particularly to younger viewers. More mature themes can be portrayed. Threats with some abusive dialogue may be considered.


  1. Finished products may be any duration that is under 5 minutes in length. This excludes only the closing credits, which may continue after the 5 minute mark provided they start prior and contain no additional video footage.  The introductory title/slate is considered part of your 5 minute limit.
  2. Submissions must be received by the deadline, with zero exceptions.  If you are 1 minute late, it will not be considered for judging.  Plan your time carefully!


  3. The finished film/video must be one of the following sizes: Standard Definition NTSC, HD 720p, HD 1080i/p.  The video bitrate is not to exceed 25mbps. The video must be able to play natively in VLC without any third-party codecs installed.  We prefer that you submit via H.264.  If the entry cannot be viewed on Lyons New Media Centre equipment, it may be disqualified.
  4. Before the finished film begins, it should have: A title card with: Team name and film title 2 seconds of black.
  5. The LNMC does not guarantee that entries (storage media or documents) will be returned.  If submitting on a Flash Drive, please ensure that no additional personal documents or files are present.  The LNMC will make a REASONABLE EFFORT to return flash drives provided they are properly labelled.
  6. McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge and festival partners may, in their sole discretion, disqualify Entries deemed to be inappropriate or otherwise non-compliant.
  7. The McMaster 24 Hour Film Challenge Organizers may add to or amend these rules at any time prior to the beginning of the 24 Hour time period.