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GoPro / Racer X Film Festival Tips

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Later today we'll be kicking off the 3rd Annual GoPro/Racer X Online Amateur Film Festival, our video contest that brings out the best up-and-coming amateur videographers in the land. Stay tuned to Racer X Online this afternoon for more details. This year's Film Fest is sponsored not only by GoPro, but also by Unit, and we're really pumped about that.The prize packages our sponsors are putting together will be awesome.

We expect to receive between 50 and 100 submissions this year (maybe more), so it's really important to work hard on your entry if you plan on participating. We've put together these helpful tips to make sure you make the best video you can.

1. Actually read the official rules and guidelines. Like, ALL of them.
We've all grown used to simply clicking "ok" when a website asks you to agree to terms and services, but that approach won't work with this competition. There are specific rules you must follow. Completely understanding the rules should be the first step of your planning process. It would suck if you spend a bunch of time making an entry, only to get disqualified because you used unlicensed music, for example.

2. Don't rush! Submitting your entry early in the submission period won't give you an edge. You've got six weeks; use them.
We're always surprised when we get entries a couple of days into the submission period. This is usually because somebody just slapped something together, or because they just submitted a video that they already had online somewhere. Neither of these approaches are going to get you into the semi-finals. There will be a lot of entries, and if you want to make the first cut, take your time and turn in the best work you can.

3. Dig deep and find the limits of your creativity.
With the number of submissions we'll get, it won't be easy to stand out to our initial panel of judges. Think differently and you're more likely to make an impression. Make a run-of-the-mill edit and you'll be stuck waiting for next year.

4. Be detail oriented.
Getting killer footage for your entry is obviously important, but that's not enough. Pay attention to all the details of your film. Title and logo treatments, transitions, on-screen text -- take care of these details carefully and your work will have a more polished, professional look. Just slap this stuff on and you'll look like an amateur. That won't get you in the semi-finals.

5. Music is key, and it can also be the hardest part of making a good film. Spend extra time getting it right.
For starters, carefully read the Music Guidelines in the assets package you'll download before you begin. It would be easy to have awesome music if you could just buy a song on iTunes for 99 cents and use it in your video, but that's not allowed. You must have permission from the artist or their representation in order to use a song. We've given you a few good suggestions for finding music in the Music Guidelines document you'll be able to download once the contest kicks off.

Music creates a great opportunity for you to get creative and set yourself apart from the pack. By creatively using unexpected genres, by doing cool music edits, by using parts of multiple songs to create different segments, by remixing - the potential is limitless.

Oh, and if the music is bad, you don't have a chance.

Of course you don't have to use music, though most (or everyone) will.

6. Ask questions.
If you feel like you're unclear on anything, shoot us an email at contests@racerxonline.com.

That said, while we're happy to help you understand the parameters of the contest, please don't ask us for editing tips. That part is on you.

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