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Mr. Smith,

Hi, I hope you can help. I am entering a tv pitch competition and it requires that I submit a 5-10 minutes sample video and a 2-5 minutes pitch video. The technical requirements are hard to understand and I hope you can explain to me what it means. Essentially, I would like to know what video software I can use? Will imovie in mac suffice or something better? I know there are websites out there that can help with formatting, will that help too?. Below, I have copy and pasted what is required. Thank you in advance.

WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED FORMAT TO UPLOAD MY VIDEOS?
Please upload your video using H.264 compression in an MP4 wrapper, which will allow you to submit your video files in a more manageable form. The H.264 compression scheme is more efficient than others like MPEG-2 or WMV, which means a better image at a smaller size and less time uploading. As noted, the recommended file extension for your video submissions is .mp4. Please note that the compression method is not the same as the file extension. Your compression tool may also allow you to encode an H.264 file in a different wrapper like .mov or .avi.

WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED QUALITY FOR THE VIDEOS I UPLOAD?
We recommend uploading HD quality video so it is easy for us to review. The preferred bit rate for your videos is 3000-5000kbps at a frame rate of 24 or 30 frames per second depending on how the material was shot. The minimum frame size is 1280w X 720h pixels (either progressive or interlaced is acceptable).

WHAT ENCODING MODE SHOULD I USE WHEN I SAVE AND UPLOAD MY VIDEOS?
Different video editing programs state this differently, but more passes generally improves quality substantially. We recommend you use the Best/Multi-pass/2-pass encoding mode optimized for "download." You should not apply any encoding related to streaming.

WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED AUDIO FORMAT FOR MY VIDEOS?
We would recommend encoding audio in the AAC format with a bit rate of between 128-256kbps. The bit rate of the audio is proportional to quality, 128kbps is a good starting point for all your videos. Alternatively, you can use 256kbps for your 5-10 minute sample video and 96kbps for your 2-5 minute verbal digital pitch.

Answer
Well, I can certainly see your confusion... it is all very complicated, especially if you are not familiar with it.  I know how to do this in Final Cut Pro and it looks like it is similar for iMovie.  

To put you at ease, these are just recommendations and not requirements (big difference).  They are giving you the specifications for the absolute best looking video and sound, but they are not requiring it.  Also, many editing applications pretty much export to these settings (or comparable ones) automatically.

I found this resource for iMovie for you: http://www.reely.com/darren/Guides/iMovie%20Export%20Guide/#iMovieHDJump

This will show you the different "areas" to make your adjustments.  This visual is way better than me trying to describe it in text.  Give it a try and contact me if you have more questions.

Again, I want to emphasize that these are recommendations.  If it is going to put you in a pinch time-wise or stress you out too much, just export your videos like you normally would for the internet and it should be just fine.  It sounds like a real video geek was in charge of this section and he/she got too over-the-top because, as I said, most video programs export project in a decent enough quality for the internet already.  And MOST IMPORTANTLY, it is the CONTENT of the video that is way more important than the upload file, so if your video is creative, energetic, interesting and unique, no one will ever care if you put it in an mp4 wrapper or not.  I hope this helps.

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Troy Smith

Expertise

I am a professional filmmaker (since 1995) and a professional film instructor (since 2000). I am the co-owner of Imminent Entertainment LLC. I have worked on several low-budget feature films as well as hundreds of other projects including TV commercials, concert videos, live sports for TV, sports highlights, broadcast news, faith productions, large multi-media multi-camera productions, weddings, educational, corporate, promotional, short films, documentaries and more. I have written a book called "The New Filmmaker's Adventure" that will be more widely distributed in the near future. My expertise is in writing, shooting and editing. I can answer questions on Final Cut Pro, lighting, sound recording, scriptwriting, storytelling, directing, producing, editing, multi-camera productions, shooting sports, picture to video, using DTE hard drives, using video cameras. I am NOT an expert on how to sell scripts or movies, how to finance them, how to distribute them or how to get an agent. See my WEB PAGES: troyalexsmith.webs.com and www.youtube.com/troysmithpro

Experience

I have been a professional filmmaker since 1995 and a film teacher since 2000. I am publishing a textbook for beginning filmmakers called "the New Filmmaker's Adventure". I have experience in the area of low-budget feature filmmaking, I am the co-owner of the production company called Imminent Entertainment, I have worked on hundreds of videos, TV shows, multi-camera events and low budget, professional productions, corporate and consumer videos, Final Cut Pro, scriptwriting, directing, videography and cinematography, sound, lighting, editing, and some producing.

Organizations
Independent Feature Project

Publications
I wrote "The New Filmmaker's Adventure" book that I use in my classes and will be publishing it abroad soon

Education/Credentials
Western Michigan University - Magna cum Laude BS in film/video/TV Maine Media Workshops ('02-'07)- Film Editor Master, Directing Actors for the Camera, Independent Filmmaking, Acting for the Camera, Camera in Motion, The Directors Craft

Awards and Honors
Audience Choice Runner-Up award for Best Picture at the Muskegon Film Festival in 2009 for Producer/editor on "Coffee Shop Kings." Excellence in Education Teaching award. Winner of 12 grants.

Past/Present Clients
Kellogg, Covance, Cytec, WWMT, Ralston, many, many more

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