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Searchlight 2017: Best practices for recording your video
By
CBC Music

Published

January 17, 2017

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Submissions for Searchlight 2017 are open until February 7. The most important part of your entry is your video performance, something that many people will have questions about over the next few weeks. Below, you will find an in-depth breakdown of everything you will need to know when preparing your submission for Searchlight.


How to make your video

To maintain the quality of our video submissions, and for potential use on our live TV broadcast, we require MPEG-4 video files for this year’s contest. Making an MP4 can be created on Windows and Mac operating systems, using a number of video converters.

We accept two video formats:

MP4
MOV (Quicktime)

Video Codec H.264

Audio Codec MP3 or AAC

Here are some free converters from the open source community:

http://video.online-convert.com/convert-to-mp4

https://sourceforge.net/projects/avidemux/

https://handbrake.fr/

Minimum Video Requirements
Video Bitrate - at least 2900 kbps or 2.9 Mbps
Audio Bitrate - at least 64kbps, must be mp3 or aac
Resolution - minimum 720p (1280x720)

Two aspect ratios can be used:

16:9 -This is the most common aspect ratio used for television, as well as computer monitors.

4:3 - This aspect ratio fits smartphones for videos on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Click here to see what each aspect ratio looks like.

If you're having trouble with the video requirements, please use Avidemux to export your video

https://sourceforge.net/projects/avidemux/

First, you'll need to see that your video is the correct size.

1. Determine the width and height of your video by right clicking on the file with your mouse and selecting:

  • PC Users: "Properties"-->Details--> Frame Height and Frame Width.
  • Mac Users: --> "Get Info" --> More Info --> Dimensions
  • Write down the two numbers that you see, and open Avidemux.

2. Select File from the top menu --> Open and select your video file

3. Select Video from the top menu --> Filters --> add borders

Select the number of pixels that need to be added to each side so your video is 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels high

4. If your video is too narrow and needs be cropped, Select Video from the top menu --> Filters --> crop

Select the number of pixels that you need to remove from each side so your video is 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels high

5. Select File --> Save.

Be sure to use a new filename so you don't alter your original.

You can use Avidemux to change the video codec and bitrate:

1. Select File from the top menu --> Open and select your video file (the one you just saved if desired).

2. On the main screen, you should see your video - to the left, is a video output panel.

3. Select Mpeg4 AVC (x264) from the list of codecs

4. Select Configure --> Rate Control --> Encoding Mode: Select Constant Bitrate (single pass) --> under target bitrate, enter 2900

5. Be sure that the export format is set to Mp4 Muxer (so your files save as mp4)

6. Select File --> Save.

Be sure to use a new filename so you don't alter your original.

You can use Avidemux to change the audio codec and bitrate:

1. Select File from the top menu --> Open and select your video file (the one you just saved if desired).

2. On the main screen, you should see your video - to the left, is a audio output panel.

3. Select "AAC (FDK)" from the list of codecs, and under configure, under bitrate, select 128

4. Be sure that the export format is set to Mp4 Muxer (so your files save as mp4)

5. Select File --> Save.

Be sure to use a new filename so you don't alter your original.


My video is ready, what should the file name be?

Title your video with your artist name first, followed immediately by your song title, separated by an underscore —ArtistName_Song


How to create your audio

We accept any mp3 file, but the higher quality the better you’ll sound. As a guideline, we recommend a file that is 44.1K (Stereo) with a bitrate of at least 128 kbps.

Mac users - how to create an Mp3 using iTunes:

https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT204310

Online Mp3 converter:

http://media.io/


How to create an image

We support three different versions of your image across our desktop, tablet and mobile platforms, 16x9, 3x1, and 2x3.

We require an image that is at least 1024 pixels wide, but the larger the image you upload, the better your result.

Here are the sizes to help you select the best source image:

1820x1024px (16x9)
2901x967px (3x1)
682x1024px (2x3)

Free Online photo editors:

https://pixlr.com/editor/

https://www.freeonlinephotoeditor.com/