Video Deliverable Specifications and Layout Guidelines

In addition to following content guidelines for each project, your video must also conform the following video specifications and guidelines. Workshop deliverables are except from these requirements.

**Camera original video

You must record all materials produced for your production project in either High Definition (1920x1080) or 4K (3840x2160) resolution at 24 fps (technically 23.978 fps) frame rate in a progressive scan format (commonly referred to as 24p). The ‘p’ refers to progressive scanning. You must compose, shoot, and edit with a 16x9 aspect ratio horizontal image (the cinematic video standard).

Note: If you are planning to also deliver video for sharing on Instagram, YouTube shorts, or TikTok, you'll definitely want to shoot 4K for better resolution and more flexibility when you crop the video for these formats. But for this class, we're sticking with 16x9 horizontal compositions.

If you use a camera that offers an interlaced video option, you must avoid it. To understand interlacing and why we avoid it, see Captain Delusion's  CD / Interlacing video for a demonstration.

The Sony a7iii camera kit is the "official" camera for this class, and we'll cover how to use it in the Camera Workshops. Ensure you configure the camera to shoot 1080/24p video or 2160/24p video for all projects. 

You may incorporate some smartphone footage in your videos; it's a good idea to learn how to get the most out of the camera, especially exposure compensation and focus selection. Using a video camera app, for example, FiLMiC Pro (available for iOS and Android, not an endorsement), or the Black Magic Camera App (available for iOS, not an endorsement) will give you more creative control when shooting with a smartphone. These apps allow you to control the frame rate, image quality, white balance, focus, exposure, and more, e.g. setting the frame rate to 24fps to match the footage you are shooting with the Sony a7iii camera. 

Adobe Premiere Pro sequence settings

Check your sequence settings before editing.

You want to ensure you edit an HD timeline in a progressive video format for better performance on slower computers. Shooting 4K will allow you to reframe footage without significant loss of detail, so consider shooting 4K and then editing with an HD timeline.

The D-SLR Preset “DSLR 1080p24” is a good starting point when creating a new Adobe Premiere Pro HD sequence (assuming your camera's original footage is 1080/24p). For this class, it makes sense to edit an HD sequence even if you shoot 4K because 4K footage will offer you more flexibility if you want to tighten up your compositions in postproduction.

Video layout

The linear layout of your video file must match the following template:


  1. Head:
    • 3 seconds of black (no sound)
    •  3 seconds of ID Card (as described below, no sound)
    • 2 seconds of black (no sound)
  2. Program:
    • Your video, including optional main and end titles
  3. Tail:
    • 3 seconds of black (no sound)

The start of your timeline in Premiere Pro should look like the timeline illustrated above.

Keep in mind that the marker in the timeline indicates the actual start of your video. The "Head" is just an identification slate and is not part of your actual video. Don't forget to add three seconds of black at the end.

While this is not a standard industry practice, there is a rationale for it in the context of this class: The black video at the start allows some time for the QuickTime player controls to fade away before the actual video begins, and the simple title card identifies you and the title of your work consistently. Think of it as the “house style” for this class, similar to how distributors put their own titles at the start of the movies they distribute.

Do not include the head and tail leaders when calculating your video running time if a minimum or maximum running time is specified in the assignment or project description. There should be no sound during the head and tail leaders; again, the head and tail leaders are not actually part of your program material.

ID Card ahead of program start

The ID Card must consist of three lines of white text using a san serif typeface on a black background in the lower left-hand corner as follows:

  • Line 1: “title” (the title of your video, if you choose “untitled,” there should be a good reason for the choice; otherwise, title your work)
  • Line 2: “name” (your name, in bold)
  • Line 3: class-number, project-name**, semester, the year” (the course number and name followed by the name of the project followed by the semester)

Choose a sans serif typeface and a size resembling the right example. Use any typeface you want as long as it is easy to read. Ensure that the text is kept within a reasonable margin; the text should not be too close to the edge of the screen.

Your title card should look similar to the example in Figure 1 below. Keep in kind this is an identification card. It’s not actually part of your video from a content perspective. Therefore, if you want to start the video with a title, go ahead and do that.


Audio levels

Viewers should not have to adjust the audio levels higher or lower when they screen your video or when we screen in class. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you’ve done a rough mix and your audio levels are relatively even throughout the video without excessive peaks or segments that are too low or too loud in terms of relative audio levels.

The absolute loudest sounds in your mix should never peak over -3 dB, with only the loudest sounds reaching -6 dB. Most dialogue peaks should be hitting the range between -18dB and -12dB in the mix with only an occasional dialogue peak hitting -8dB for very loud dialogue.

Notice how the Premiere Pro level meters show you both the current level with the tall bars and the most recent peak with the horizontal lines. Dialogue or sound effects that have a lot of yellow in the average level bars (See Figure 3 above) might be too hot (but peaks just under -6dB are OK (Figure 2 above). Use this to guide your levels. Your video must never trigger the 0 dBFS peak indicator, which will show as a red indicator at the top of the level meter. If you see this, you need to bring down your mix using a combination of gain adjustments and compression.

Professionals concern themselves with more exact standards and Loudness Units (LU), which we will briefly discuss in Video Tools when we get to sound mixing, but in general, the guidelines above will suffice for work in this class. 

Adobe Premiere Pro export settings

To export a video file for this class, use these settings in the Adobe Premiere export dialogue box:

  • Preset: “High Quality 1080p HD”
  • Format: H.264


The video you submit must have a filename that follows this template:


Where classNumber is the number of the class (e.g., ARTD2380) and the semester is the current semester in the form AaNN (e.g. "Fa23" for Fall, 2023), for example:


Sometimes, you’ll use team names instead of your first and last name or the last names of the team members, e.g. “Egoyan-Nolan-Campion.”

Submission procedures

Each project description document will outline the project deliverable submission procedures.

Always watch your video and listen with good headphones and/or speakers before submission to verify it is complete and meets all technical and aesthetic requirements. 

You will upload your completed video to a project-specific folder in an online shared folder designated for this course.

If you need to upload a reworked video version to a project folder, use the exact same file name followed by the version number, e.g. “-v2”. For example:

ARTD2380-Fa23-Ava-DuVernay-P2-Cine-Metaphor.mp4  — original version  
ARTD2380-Fa23-Ava-DuVernay-P2-Cine-Metaphor-v2.mp4  — revised version

Optional — Loudness Standards

You can check the loudness of your mix using the Loudness Radar and make final adjustments as needed. I suggest following the YouTube LUFS standard, but other standards exist. The three most widely used LUFS standards include:

  1. YouTube, Online Streaming, Max Integrated: –14 LUFS, Max True Peak: -1dB;
  2. US Broadcast Standard (ATSC A/85), TV Broadcast, Max Integrated: –24 LKFS, Max True Peak: -2dB; and
  3. Netflix, Online Streaming, Max Integrated Dialog: -27 LUFS, Max True Peak: -2dB.

While there is no consistent LUFS standard across all media, there’s a strong trend toward using something between -14 to -16 LUFS as a loudness standard rather than the lower -24 LUFS established for broadcast. Many people posting videos to YouTube and Vimeo use the -14 LUFS standard.

If your video is quieter than their standard, YouTube will raise the loudness of your video. If your video is louder than their standard, YouTube will reduce the loudness of your video. This improves the user experience, as most videos will play back at the same volume now that YouTube has established a LUFS standard for video uploads.