Film Distribution Deliverables Explained

Film Distribution Deliverables are the technical, paperwork, and media requirements to get your film on TV, OTT Streaming Services, and for Theatrical Release. 

 

This section will specifically discuss deliverables for OTT Streaming Services such as Hulu, Netflix, Shudder, Tubi, Amazon, etc. (See a full list of Streaming Services that you can sell your film to in the section below).

 

(this is a general list of deliverables - as stated, some streaming services will require specific paperwork, files, artwork, etc. that others will not require). Mbur will help guide you through this oftentimes complicated maze of requirements once you join our filmmaker family. (Submit your film here as the first step to joining)

 

Video Deliverables

  • Master File Format - typically Apple ProRes 422 HQ is the file format required.
     

  • Resolution -  at least 1920x1080 (HD) is the required resolution. Note: 4k UHD can open up additional revenue streams. 
     

  • Opening and Trailing Black Frame - all services require at least one frame of black at the beginning and end of your film. Never insert FBI warnings, Bars & Tone, Countdowns, or Commercial Blacks (black frames accompanied by silence for 4 seconds or longer).
     

  • No Digital Hits or Defects - a digital hit is a defect that causes the image to be distorted for a few frames (see photo below)

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Audio Deliverables

  • Two Channel Stereo - the minimum requirement for most streaming service is 2-channel stereo (not dual mono!).
     

  • Music & Effects Track - this is not required but you will limit your International Distribution if you don't create an M&E Track for your film. An M&E Track is essentially a dedicated audio file for your music and effects (no dialogue).


The reason that this is often not provided by filmmakers is the dialogue track often contains foley and room tone in low budget films. Filmmakers don't have the time, patience, or money to do comprehensive foley on their films and often use the tones, incidental sounds, and foley that is picked up on their dialogue track. It is vital that you think about this prior to shooting.

If you're OK with limiting your film to English speaking countries only then that's fine but filmmakers who don't prepare for International distribution leave a lot of money (often 50% of revenue) on the table. 

Captions

  • Captions are required by virtually all territories now. Captions are essentially a text representation of the audio in the film. Captions are provided in .scc format and can be produced relatively inexpensively from Rev.com. Captions should be pop-on and mixed case (not roll-up).

Chapters

  • Some streaming providers (iTunes to name one) are segmented into Chapters therefore a Chapter Break Sheet is required. This sheet breaks the film down into Chapter Titles and Starting Timecodes. m.bur Indie Short Film Distribution will provide all necessary forms and help you every step of the way. To join our growing filmmaker family click here to submit your film

Miscellaneous

  • Quality Control - QC is the final and thorough check of your completed film export. It is the last process and should be completed once color grading, vFX, and the final mix have been completed to produce the final master of your film. Streaming services require a QC pass and QC services can be relatively expensive. m.bur handles the costs involved with QC for our anthology fimmakers.
     

  • Press Kit - kits typically include a synopsis of the film, production notes, biographies for key players and full credit list. (here's a good guide from Raindance on creating a Press Kit)
     

  • Dialogue List - this is typically only needed if captions aren't produced. Because the cost of captions has gone down significantly, the dialogue list is less prevalent in film deliverables for modern film distribution. 
     

  • Billing Block - the credit to the cast and crew shown on the movie poster. 
     

  • Proof of Copyright - Copyright is required on all films delivered. m.bur will copyright the anthology but highly recommends filmmakers copyright their individual works as well. ALWAYS use the online form for copyright as doing it via snail mail will delay your application for months. (more information at copyright.gov)
     

  • E&O Insurance - Errors and Omissions Insurance to protect the producer and distributor of the film against certain claims against it. If a legacy film distributor does not require E&O Insurance, they likely aren't looking out for their filmmakers. At m.bur we purchase E&O Insurance for our anthologies which typically eliminates the need for the filmmaker to have to purchase this insurance. 
     

  • Music Cue Sheet - states the title, composer, publisher, etc. of each piece of music used in the film as well as running time. (example music cue sheet from BMI)
     

  • Releases - Talent, Crew, Producer, Locations, Materials, Brand, and Music releases. This ensures that you (and anyone associated with your film) will be less likely to be sued by the owner of a trademark, copyright, etc. Do not under any circumstances try and get around this process. It's better to delete that music track or turn around that can of soda so the brand isn't showing than to go through months of legal procedures. 
     

  • Extras - Extended Scenes, Commentary, Bloopers, etc. (for DVD and Blu-Ray Releases)
     

  • Key Art - the art for the movie poster and DVD / Blu-Ray (and other promotional materials). This is the single biggest mistake filmmakers make when it comes to marketing and promotion - they cheap out on the key art. When a potential viewer is flipping through Netflix, you want them to stop on your film and the way to do that is with amazing key art. m.bur has built several relationships with top artistic talent to create amazing visual key art. This is a service that m.bur provides to all of it's anthology filmmakers whereas legacy film distributors will require you to purchase or create key art prior to delivery. 
     

  • Photos - Behind the Scenes and Video Stills. These are used for promotion and as extras on physical media. 
     

  • G-Rated Trailer - no nudity, excessive violence, cursing, etc.
     

  • Shooting Script - digital delivery of the final shooting script of the picture. This helps with proof of ownership and chain of title. 

While this list of deliverables seems daunting, Mbur is with our filmmakers every step of the way. We even take on some of the costs involved with things like key art creation, DVD and Blu-Ray production, E&O Insurance, and QC. We are your partner in the film. If you'd like to join the Mbur filmmaker family, please click here to submit your film.

Copyright 2020 Mbur Indie Film Distribution. All Rights Reserved. 
Mbur is an Internet based company headquartered in Burbank, CA.
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