/> Janison's Short Sharp Film Festival - Coffs Harbour, Coffs Coast
Janison Short Sharp Film Festival
ETC Coffs Harbour City Council
Red Rooster

Hints & Tips

Guidelines for a better film experience.

Every festival has to have rules for entry and this Short Sharp Film Festival is no exception.

The are some really important rules to remember so take the time to read them!


  1. Use only cast and crew who will give you permission to use their contributions, otherwise you will have to remove any part of the film they were involved in your production. You can use the following Performers Release form if you feel it is necessary.
  2. Filming people in the street as background is different. If a person is the main focus of the video you must get their permission. It is advisable to get this permission in writing.
    Download Performance Release Form.


Vision, Artwork of Photographs
  1. 2. Don’t use other people’s footage, artwork or photos if you don’t have their permission or they have said no.
  2. 3. Don’t use video, images or photographs you have downloaded from the internet such as YouTube or Myspace in your film – just because its online doesn't mean the person who actually owns it has given you permission to use it. If you know who owns the vision, artwork or photograph - you can ask permission for use. Even if the painting or photo is in the background hanging on a wall.

    Why not be creative and take your own photographs or use your own artwork. Or ask an artist friend to make something for you that can be used exclusively in your video.
    Download Archive/Vision Release Form

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  1. Do not use commercial music or anyone else's music that does not have copyright clearance attached in writing
  2. Don’t use music you have downloaded from the internet - from sites such as YouTube or Myspace in your film – just because its online doesn't mean the person who actually owns it has given you permission to use it.
  3. Consider writing and performing you own original piece of music or ask friends to write a piece especially for your video.
  4. Some good websites for downloading Royalty Free Music - make sure you refer to the rights of how you can use the music. You pay a very small fee to purchase the music and then it is yours to use.
  5. Paul from PD Music is also offering his service as an affordable composer to assist you with your music. Go to www.pdmusic.com.au



Copyright is a very important element of film making, whether amateur or not. Screen content from the Australian Copyright Council will help you with your copyright information.
Tropfest Operated were assisted in creating their copyright guide withby the Independent Music Piracy (IMPI). Take the time to read their Filmmakers Guide to Music and Copyright fact sheet(PDF).

Just remember, you wouldn't want anyone else stealing your brilliant ideas. This is to protect everyone.

Permission and Permits

  1. .Do not shoot in public venues, private properties, highways and roadsides or National Parks without written consent from councils, the owners of the property, from the Parks and Wildlife Officers or other authorities. This is a matter of security, insurance and compensation. Remember - be safety conscious at all times!
  2. Screenlinks offers a great deal of information on this subject with application forms attached in PDF form. As essential pre-production processing please go to www.screenlinks.org/policies-guidelines.asp


16:9 Aspect Ratio for video

It would be preferably if you would shoot your film 16:9 ratio.
We strongly suggest that you shoot your film at this ratio to avoid transferring your film from 4:3 (full screen) to 16:9 (widescreen) in post-production. It is a lot harder to do this if you have videoed your production 4:3.

Please be aware that not all digital cameras (particularly older cameras) have the option to shoot 16:9 (widescreen), so if you are planning on shooting at this ratio
(and we recommend that you do) make sure you check your camera’s features well before shooting.

It is important to remember that, when shooting your film 16:9, your image is no longer square – it’s rectangular.

In the past 5 years the 16:9 screen ratio has become a standard for television and most projector, LCD flatscreens, plasma televisions are in the wide screen format. 16:9 has become the de facto standard.

If you have a camera that doesn't shoot 16:9 that does not eliminate you from the competition. We are suggesting you consider it if your camera can shoot 16:9.

Here are a some sites that can explain the concept a bit better:

bulletAspect Ratio

bulletCNET's quick guide to aspect ratio

bulletBasic Training: Composition Tips for 16:9


Need inspiration
Check out these great sites to get your creative juices running.
bulletYouTube Short Films
bulletSundance Film Festival
bulletABC Radio National's Trash and Treasure of Movies
bulletPortable Film Festival