Anime Weekend Atlanta®
September 26th-28th, 2014 | Atlanta, Georgia
Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel + Cobb Galleria Centre
+ Sheraton Suites Galleria

For Beautiful Convention Life

Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) is a three-day Japanese Animation
and comics convention held annually in Atlanta, Georgia.
Video Art Track - Rules

Video Art Track Contest Rules for Anime Weekend Atlanta 2014

This is the full text, which you can check for nit-picky details, technical questions and official-sounding language for all our contests.

Changes from Prior Years

  • This is not a Masters year.
  • All deadlines are significantly earlier than prior years, please take note!
  • All entries are once again welcome in The Professional Awards.
  • You must use our web site to submit videos.  Third party download sites and direct links are no longer accepted.

General Rules for All Contests

The following rules apply to all music video contests at Anime Weekend Atlanta. Rules are subject to change without notice. All contests operate at the discretion of the Video Art Track and Anime Weekend Atlanta staff. Rules are subject to change without notice. Each contest is also governed by additional rules and procedures. Please refer to the appropriate sections for:

Please note that there will not be a Masters Competition this year.  The Masters is held every other year, and this is an off year.

Category and Award descriptions available on this website are guidelines only. Staff may add, change, or eliminate categories as they see fit. Awards have no significant cash value. Often, they have no tangible value whatsoever. By submitting an entry to the Video Art Track, the video editor grants the Video Art Track non-revocable permission to exhibit and distribute that work. The video editor otherwise retains all rights and responsibilities relating to their creation.

The Video Art Track and Anime Weekend Atlanta supports Remix Culture. All participants retain all rights to the value added by their creative endeavors, and respect the rights retained by the original creators of the material they transform.

The Video Art Track does not dictate decisions of artistic judgment. The artistic design of your entry can be anything you choose and may draw from any type of source material, aural or visual. We encourage all artists to seek out new and original projects. You may enter as many contests as you wish, but a single work may not be entered into more than one of our contests, present or past. The Video Art Track generally accepts works that have participated in and/or won awards in other contests.

Questions about rules for any of our contests should be sent to the VAT Director.

Additional Rules for the Music Video Exposition

The goal of the Music Video Exposition (sometimes “The Exposition” or just “The Expo”) has always been to give as many videos the chance to be exhibited as possible while awarding recognition to as many deserving videos as is practical. The Exposition is just that, an exposition and not a contest. Recognition is awarded, but there are no prizes.

Entries are judged by the Video Art Track Staff, taking into account primarily artistic elements. Often new awards are created on the spot for innovative and inventive entries.

The Exposition has no official list of specific awards, and thus the awards presented change every year. Typically awards are at least given for Best Action, Best Comedy, Best Drama, Best Romance, and a "Grand Prize," which traditionally has been given to the most surprising, unconventional and well-executed submission each year.

  • Deadline: All entries in the Music Video Exposition must be received by August 15, 2014 . We expect your video to be completely uploaded and in our hands by this date. If there are technical issues, we will work with you to complete your upload.
  • Quantity: Multiple submissions to this contest are allowed. You may include a note letting us know which single video you would most like to have exhibited during the convention; however we may choose to show any video submitted. Because of time constraints, while we’ll make an effort to show one video from everyone who submits to Anime Weekend Atlanta, we can no longer promise to do so.
  • Identification: We ask that submissions to this contest must be free of any creator identification, including but not limited to studio bumpers or credit rolls.  We strongly suggest one second of black silence before and after your submission and nothing more.
  • Participation: Anyone may submit a video to the Exposition, even if they will not be attending Anime Weekend Atlanta!

Additional Rules for the Professional Awards

For the first Video Art Track, we wanted to offer something new in the way music videos were judged. Instead of having staff review the videos (which we do for the Exposition), or letting the audience vote on entries (often leading to logistical nightmares), we created a contest judged exclusively by those who participated. Much like the Academy Awards, the Professional Awards (or sometimes “The Pro Awards”) represent the opinion of your editing peers, and hence a higher standard for those who wish to participate.

Here’s how it works. Once all entries have been received by the Video Art Track, they are made available online exclusively for those who submitted to review. What follows are three rounds, category creation, nomination and voting.

During the first round the participants may propose the categories of awards that will be given for this contest year. The initial awards of “Best Video”, “Best Action”, “Best Comedy”, “Best Drama” and “Best Romance” are always included. For the specific, inventive, humorous and non-derogatory (we will never support categories such as “Worst Video”) categories that the participants submit, the nature of and support garnered by the proposed categories will be considered by the staff when deciding the trophies to order for the year.

During the second round, participants nominate videos for the selected awards. The Video Art Track staff may adjust nominations if we feel the nomination is not in the spirit of the selected category (for example, nominations for a very serious dramatic video may be ignored in the Comedy category).

During the final round, the top videos in each category, based on nominations with staff deciding how to handle ties, compete for the award in each category.

Each round takes one week.

  • Deadline: All entries in the Professional Awards must be received by  August 8, 2014. We expect your video to be completely uploaded and in our hands by this date. If there are technical issues, we will work with you to complete your upload. This is earlier than our other deadlines to give us time to prepare the judging website and to allow time for the three rounds of voting, as well as the ordering of trophies for each award.
  • Quantity: Each individual editor may only contribute effort to two submissions to this contest. This includes any submissions made as an individual, as well as participation in any multi-editor projects (MEPs).
  • Duration: The longest running time we will accept for this contest is 18 minutes total. This may be divided between the permitted submissions. Running time in excess of this may result in one or both of your submissions being moved to the Music Video Exposition.
  • Content: We ask all editors to consider limiting themselves to the standards of an “R” motion picture rating. Videos that in the sole opinion of Video Art Track staff exceed this standard will be moved to a separate, opt-in judging pool and may be judged by a subset of all partcipants of the contests and may not be screened during the awards ceremony. This is to continue to permit those who produce videos with adult content to seek the recognition of their peers through the Professional Awards.
  • Participation: While anyone may submit to the Professional Awards, the contest is intended for those who have solid experience in video editing and music video contests. We have no standard for calling yourself a professional beyond acting professionally to your fellow editors as you review and vote the submissions to this contest, including not distributing screening copies outside the contest.  (It is, of course, permissible to review submissions while accompanied by others in person, in the privacy of your own home.)
  • Identification: Submissions to this contest must be free of any creator identification, including but not limited to studio bumpers or credit rolls. We strongly suggest one second of black silence before and after your submission and nothing more. Participants may choose to make a reasonable effort to keep their identity as the editor of a specific entry a secret.  While this is up to each individual editor, the no bumpers, credits or identification rule applies to all submissions.
  • Voting: By entering this contest, you will be expected by your peers to review and vote on hours of submitted content. However, no participant will ever be required to review or vote on any specific submission that they may find objectionable. Voting in this contest is a privilege, not an obligation. We also ask that judges vote their own conscience, making their own decision.
  • Multi-editor Projects: Multi-editor projects (MEPs) are welcome, subject to the participation rule above, however a multi-editor project will only be granted a single vote regardless of how many people are involved in the project, and if any person involved in the project also submits a solo project, no additional vote will be granted for the MEP. Only the registered voting participant of a MEP should cast the vote.
  • Age of Participants: All participants must certify that they are 18 years of age or older through our web site before they will be granted access to the opt-in judging pool for videos with adult content.

Additional Rules for the Masters’ Competition

The Masters is held every two years. This is an off-year for The Masters.

Every two years, the Video Art Track is proud to host the Masters’ Competition, representing our highest standard for both artistic and technical music video production. The Masters’ Competition is exclusively judged by the Video Art Track Director. While the Director may consult with anyone on matters artistic or technical, the final decision is theirs alone. The judging for the Masters’ Competition is blind, and the Director’s only consideration is the finished submission.

  • Deadline: All entries in the Master’s Competition must be received by late August, 2015 (exact date to be determined). This is not a registration deadline. Your video must be completely uploaded and in our hands by this date.
  • Right of First Exhibition: By submitting a video to this contest, you are granting the Video Art Track the right of first exhibition of your submission. Submissions may not have been presented in any public venue nor distributed online in any fashion prior to their initial screening during the awards show at Anime Weekend Atlanta.
  • Quantity: Each individual editor may submit a single video to this contest.
  • Duration: The longest submission we will accept for this contest is 9 minutes. Longer entries will be moved to the Music Video Exposition. This is to guarantee that all submissions, but particularly that the winning submission is suitable for screening during our awards show.
  • Content: This year we are asking all editors to limit themselves to the standards of an “R” motion picture rating. Videos that, in the sole opinion of Video Art Track staff exceed this standard will be automatically moved to the Music Video Exposition, instead. This is to guarantee that all submissions, but particularly that the winning submission is suitable for screening during our awards show.
  • Identification: Submissions to this contest must be free of any creator identification, including but not limited to studio bumpers or credit rolls. We strongly suggest one second of black silence before and after your submission and nothing more. We also ask that participants make a reasonable effort to keep their identity as an editor participating in this contest a secret from the Video Art Track director.
  • Award: The award for the Masters’ Competition is a green men’s sport coat in the style of that awarded by The Masters’ golf tournament in Augusta, GA. All participants must include with their submission their coat size (e.g. 34 Long). Women participating in the contest are encouraged to ask to be measured for a sport coat in the men’s department of a department store. We apologize, but because of the difficulty of having a sport coat in the Masters’ style custom tailored for a woman between decision time and our awards ceremony, we are unable to award coats fitted in women’s sizes.
  • Attendance: Participants in the Masters’ Competition should, if at all possible, attend the awards ceremony at Anime Weekend Atlanta. We do award that very nice jacket we mentioned, and part of the delight is helping you put it on for the first time in front of a couple thousand screaming fans. If travel to appear at Anime Weekend Atlanta is not possible for you, we ask that you provide the name of someone who they know will be in attendance who can appear on stage to accept the award on their behalf. If you do not have someone in attendance to accept the award on your behalf, the staff of the Video Art Track will designate a distinguished editor in attendance to do so on your behalf.

Submission Instructions

All submissions must now be made digitally. We no longer accept submissions on tape or disc due to the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and the reliability of online submission, as well as the difficulty and expense involved in proper conversion of legacy formats for convention screening.

Submission Website

All submissions must be uploded online with our submission form. The entire form with contact information must be completed for each video. Professional Awards participants will be contacted at the email address provided with voting information. Uploading a video does not genearate an automatic confirmation email, but you should recieve an email once your video has been reviewed by staff for playability. This may take some time, especially as we approach submission deadlines.

Multi-editor Projects (MEPs) and other works created by more than one person will need to designate one person as the point of contact for the work. This person should complete the submission form listing all editors in the Legal Name field as noted and upload the video.

FTP Accounts

We no longer provide FTP accounts for uploads. The submission form supports web uploads up to 256 megabytes in size. This should be adaquate for most submissions. If you need more space, you may contact VAT Technical to make arrangements.

We only accept submissions via this form.  We will not obtain your video from YouTube or any other website, unless special arrangements have been made.

File Format

The rules and guidelines that follow apply to all contests. If you have any technical questions regarding your submissions, please contact VAT Technical.

In almost all cases these days, MPEG-4 is the best file format. What follows is a very technical discussion. If you wish, you can avoid all of this by downloading Handbrake and using its "High Profile" to encode your video. Please understand this may result in reduced quality through recompression, which is a component of the judging for both The Professional Awards and The Masters, and that you may get better results by exporting from your editing software following the guidelines below. It is critically important that you review your video for audio sync issues, and we recommend playing your video in VLC to do so, regardless of your usual media player or editing software. Both VLC and Handbrake are available for both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

It is generally beneficial to include one second of black silence at the start and end of your submission. Each submission must be a single file with both audio and video.  Please do not submit interlaced video.


MPEG-4 is the preferred video format. MPEG-4 has two video standards. AVC, also known as h.264, is the superior CODEC and should be used.

  • Container: The MP4 container is preferred, unless you are using FLAC audio (see below).
  • Frame Rate: 23.976 (preferred), 24, 25, 29.97 (preferred), and 30. It is always best to use the frame rate of the original source material.
  • Resolution: 720p preferred, 480p and 1080p accepted. If you must submit 480i content, please use MPEG-2 instead. Please avoid submitting 1080i content. Other resolutions may be converted as necessary. If submitting high definition content, understand that not all our convention equipment is able to project in high definition, and your video may (and likely will) screen converted to standard definition during the convention. High definition content will be judged in high definition, however understand that during artistic judging no additional preference will be given to high definition content over standard definition content.
  • Audio: AAC stereo (not joint-stereo) with 48 KHz sampling at 192 kbps (recommended). FLAC audio is also accepted, but only in an MKV container. Multi channel audio (5.1, etc) must also include a stereo track for playback at the convention. Other formats may be converted as necessary.
  • The best MPEG-4 AVC encoder is x264 wich is open source and available on multiple platforms. The recommended command line settings for this app is “--crf 14 --profile high --preset veryslow --tune fastdecode” which will create a large, but high quality file.
  • Due to issues with the AAC specification and audio drift, FLAC, an open source lossless audio encoder, is also accepted. If encoding with FLAC, please choose the “--best” command line, and MUX the audio and video with Matroska (MKV) instead of an MPEG-4 (MP4) file container.


The following are our notes on MPEG-2 compression that have served us well in the past, but please be aware that standard definition interlaced content is becoming more and more rare, and that for all other content, MPEG-4 is a better solution for our purposes.

  • Frame Rate: 23.976 (preferred), 24, 29.97 (preferred), and 30. 23.976 and 24 FPS content will be exhibited using 3:2 pulldown during playback. It is always best to use the frame rate of the source material..
  • Resolution: 720x480 at NTSC pixel aspect ratio. Other resolutions will be converted as necessary.
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 or 16:9 anamorphic. If your video does not conform to one of these two aspect ratios, please letterbox it as necessary to do so.
  • Interlacing: Progressive encoding (non-interlaced) is strongly preferred. If you do send interlaced content, your vertical resolution must be exactly 480 pixels, and you must pay close attention to field order throughout your submission. While bottom-field-first is standard, either field order is fine, as long as it is consistant throughout your video.
  • Audio: MPEG Layer-II audio at 224 kbps or better, stereo (not joint-stereo) with 48 KHz sampling. AC3 audio meeting these specifications is acceptable, but discouraged. Do not use Layer-III or MP3 encoding as it is incompatible with both DVD and our hardware and will require re-encoding.

Other Formats

If you are unsure how to or unable to convert your submission to one of the above two formats, please submit your original source file and let us attempt the conversion for you. That said, there are a few formats that give us particular trouble.

  • Please avoid sending files in QuickTime (MOV) format. QuickTime can save MPEG-4 files, so we ask you do this conversion yourself. We do have Macintosh computers available if we must attempt a MOV conversion but the owner’s time and patience is limited and we don’t want to impose unless it is necessary.
  • Please avoid sending files in Windows proprietary formats (WMV, ASF). These are very difficult (and sometimes nearly impossible) to convert, and most programs that save files in these formats also support one of our preferred formats. In particular Windows Movie Maker is capable of saving in AVI format:
Open Windows Movie Maker
Load the project
Click on 'Save to my computer'
Select folder and filename, Click NEXT
In that drop-down list, choose DV-AVI
Click NEXT to output the file
  • We cannot accept video in Flash, Silverlight or Shockwave format. You must handle the conversion of your project to another format on your own.
  • If you have any questions about video format and conversion, please contact VAT Technical.