So you’ve got this great idea for a skit, and your friends are ready to make a video out of it.
Maybe you have a fan film or sweet music video that will go perfectly with our little convention.
We started out as a fairly small community making videos for Dragon Con, but now DragonConTV really wants fandom to help entertain fandom.
Video submissions fall into two categories:
- DragonConTV Contributions (Skits, Bumpers, Comedy, etc)
- Fan Films and Music Videos
Read on to figure out which one you’re submitting, because the requirements are slightly different.
Just remember… If you’re not up for making an entire video, there are other ways you can contribute to DragonConTV.
Before whipping out that video camera, drop us a line.
We work on or process dozens of videos each year, so make sure you’re not about to do a version of something someone else might have already spent two months shooting and editing.
It’s the video equivalent of wearing the same dress to the prom as your ex’s date … or being in the 501st (“I can’t believe he’s wearing white after Labor Day!”).
The basic “rules” …
- This is comedy, so please try to be funny. For dramatic pieces, see the fan film guidelines below.
- No profanity or explicit content. Despite what you read on Reddit, Dragon Con is an all-ages convention. People of any age can run into our content in a panel room or on hotel TV, so the convention likes us to be PG (sorry). We will accept substitute profanity from the sci-fi and fantasy genre. Items that are borderline or PG-13 may be shown at later hours or at select events, but that’s subject to our judgement.
- Your time limit is 2 minutes … 120 seconds. (not counting credits). That is the maximum time, and you don’t have to fill it. Robot Chicken shows us sometimes a shorter joke is funnier (see how we do product placement for the perfect example). Sometimes we use the term “long joke” to describe a skit where nothing happens even if the skit is technically under the two minute guideline. Trust us: we have years of painful experience to show us long jokes don’t work with this crowd. They have ADD and … look, an elf …
- No licensed music. Our videos get posted to the web, and we don’t like to get sued. The fewer copyright violations the better. Use appropriate music licenses to avoid litigation. Please reach out to us if you need help.
- Avoid use of video/audio clips from copyrighted works. You can make fun of George Lucas without unsolicited help from Harrison Ford or John Williams … trust us, we know. There’s a lot of audio and video resources to be leveraged that don’t involve pissing off the RIAA or MPAA. Please reach out to us if you need help.
- Videos should include credits. Credits won’t be shown in the ballrooms at the con, but they will be in the videos shown on the hotel feed and on DragonCon.TV.
- Good audio & video quality, so HD content only (720p or 1080p). This may not be a Peter Jackson joint, but it’s definitely not Troma (or at least it doesn’t try to be). Every year DragonConTV tries to improve production quality … if we can do it, then it proves anyone can do it.
- We don’t run ads. Occasionally we promote charities working with the convention or try to get you to participate in the blood drive, but we don’t do ads. Sorry.
- Final video must meet our Technical Formatting Guidelines.
Once you’re ready, submit a link to your video so we can proceed to the review phase. Use The Form, Luke
If you want to see what one of our writers has to say about making the funnies, read this blog entry by Dr. Stephen Granade.
These videos run on the hotel channels during the convention, mostly fan submissions that don’t fit what we program between panels (too long, too serious, etc.).
Fans do all kinds of great video work, so we want to make sure it gets seen somewhere during the convention.
The easiest way to submit a video is to Use the Form, Luke to send a link (direct download, Dropbox, YouTube, etc.) with a short description.
We will use similar standards for selecting fan films & music videos that we use with the skits (language, adult content, audio & video quality, etc.).
We also have these pesky Technical Formatting Guidelines, so keep those standards high.
We have a time limit on fan films and music videos – nothing longer than 10 minutes (including credits).
Remember your audience is here for the convention and might not be willing to sit through really long videos while there’s a 70,000+ person party going on right outside their door (in other words, as this sentence illustrates, shorter may be better).
We’re also a little less concerned about music rights, but original content always makes us happier.
Another note regarding music videos: we don’t take fan music videos or AMVs. We have seen some quality work where fans combine their favorite song and favorite genre, but that’s not what we’re featuring.
I could make up some really complicated process, but it’s actually pretty easy …
- People send in videos via this form.
- We watch them
- We decide what we like
- We show it
The “we” is the Director of DragonConTV and several of the DragonConTV producers.
If the video gets the nod, then the submitter is contacted so a high-quality version of the video can be acquired for playback at the convention. In the event of some tie, dispute or other challenge that one would like to see resolved on American Gladiators, the Director of DragonConTV has the final say (sorry Nitro).
The buck has to stop somewhere, and in our case it’s there.
In some cases, we may want to use your video on our public facing Social Media platforms; you can give permission for that on the Submissions Form if you wish.
Note: please don’t use the website comment system or Facebook to submit videos. They will get lost. Use the form, Luke.
Please plan your submission timeline to have the initial submission and any reviews/edits completed before the deadline.
What if my video doesn’t get shown?
Yeah, this might happen … we hope you don’t take it personally or get discouraged. There’s limited time for us to review everything that comes in, and it’s possible that a video one person likes is one we won’t quite get.
You may also have an issue with our rules on profanity or content and feel that you can’t compromise your work for us morons. Cool, we get that. Also, don’t forget the pesky technical guidelines that may cause us consternation.
There’s lots of videos we work on than never see the light of day, and plenty of stuff we’ve produced that we might have rather never released.
Remember, only the mediocre are always at their best.
YouTube, Vimeo and dozens of other sites will be happy to show your work if we decide not to … even other conventions may like it.
Much like the submission guidelines, the technical guidelines depend on the type of video you are submitting to DragonConTV.
These have been updated with information on safe zone formatting and our how the overlay works for our corner bug logo.
Technical Formatting Guidelines for Fan Films and Music Videos
These are the videos that run on the hotel channels during the convention, so they need to be higher quality that what most people find acceptable for the web.
- Video Resolution : HD 720p (1280×720) or 1080p (1920×1080). Widescreen (16:9). Progressive (NOT interlaced) video.
If possible, please use 1080p or higher. (yes, we can parse 4k).
- Video Framerate : 59.94fps
- Video Codes: MPEG-2, AVC/H.264, or HEVC (no divx, no xvid, no VC-1). MP4 or MOV container.
- Sound Quality: Even, Clean, and Clear sound. Noise floor should be at least -60db. Peaks between -3db & 0db. Please ensure dialog is not buried by music, sound effects etc. Remember, this will be played in noisy environments; please mix audio accordingly.
- Safe Area: Video is formatted for a 10-20% title safe area to compensate for issues with hotel TVs & conference room projectors. Recommended 10% action safe area & 20% title safe area.
For ease of use, we provide these handy overlays (PNG with transparency) to show the 10% safe zone (red), 20% safe zone (yellow) and corner bug location. You can overlay these in your video editing software to make sure that everything will show up on screen and our logo doesn’t block your content. To simulate the look of the corner bug, set the transparency of the PNG layer to 70%.
Technical Formatting Guidelines for DragonConTV Contributions
These are the clips that we run between convention events and on the hotel channels. We’re not concerned about the format of the clip submitted for review (as long as it plays), but the final version is only submitted in HD. We will need a file for the final submission, so don’t expect us to rip your video from social media or YouTube/Vimeo. As a test, please try to playback your AVC/H.264/MPEG2/HEVC file in the stock version of Windows Media Player or Apple QuickTime without any magic codecs or plugins (we love VLC, but it will play stuff that might break our broadcast system). Your final file should be high bitrate, in MP4 or MOV format, and preferably shared via Drive or Dropbox.
Yes, we’re really in HD!
In 2008, DragonConTV moved to widescreen videos. In 2009 we went high definition. Even though the hotel TVs don’t consistently broadcast in HD, our event rooms projectors and televisions, as well as all of our internal systems and DragonCon.TV's streaming membership, are all in HD. Our broadcast system for the in-hotel TV system is based on HD-SDI.
Bottom line: Even if the jokes aren’t that great, the video will be pretty.