Guidelines

Please see also the terms outlined on the Terms tab.

  1. Film files in .mov or .mp4 formats and captioning files in .srt or .stl formats are acceptable. No exceptions. Film length should be under 90 minutes. There is no minimum length, but there is a minimum of 1000 captioned words required. There is a 2 GB size limit.
  1. The primary language of the film’s dialogue must be English. Any foreign language(s) used in the film should be subtitled (translated, not identified as [speaking Italian] or [speaking foreign language]) and captioned (as required, i.e. if concurrent sounds are relevant to the story). Forced narratives on signs, etc. are advised where space and time permit and when very different from the English.
  1. The English of the captions must be consistently either American, British, or Canadian, not a mixture of spellings and convention treatments.
  1. Relevant and ambient sounds in the audio must be captioned, including music. Depending on available space, lyrics may be incorporated as long as they don’t interfere with dialogue and sounds captioning. Lyric word counts do not count in the word minimum.
  1. Best practices of captioning, keeping accessibility at the forefront, are expected. Entrants may use any recognized captioning style guide (such as those of the DCMP, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, CBC, BBC, etc.) as long as it corresponds to the English of their captions. Please note that the Netflix Style Guide is not acceptable. Creativity and nonconventional ideas are welcome as long as they don’t interfere with the accessibility of the content for users.
  1. Films with gratuitous violence to humans or animals, pornography, and hate speech, messages, or themes will be disqualified.
  1. Entrants are welcome to share online that they have submitted to the award. Suggested hashtags are: #ReelWordsAward #NoMoreCraptions! #CaptionAllMovies #CinemaForAll and #CaptionEditing. Feel free to link back to Reel Words social media platforms, including the @reelwordsedit Twitter handle.
  1. To learn more about the importance of caption editing as part of film, TV, and video-on-demand/streaming-service accessibility, please visit the Reel Words website.
  1. Best practices include but are not limited to:
  • consistency with one type of English spelling, conventions, and captioning style.
  • identification of offscreen speakers if identity is not quickly established by shot change.
  • description of relevant noises, ambient sound, music, and nonverbal utterances.
  • subtitling of spoken foreign languages, not just identification (plus captioning where necessary).
  • copy editing and proofreading of the timed text, bearing time coding in mind.
  • font appropriate in style, size, colour, outline, background, and placement choices.
  • reasonable caption time lengths to allow for reading and comprehension.
  • adherence to verbatim conveyance of dialogue as time and space allows.
  • correct placement of supers/astons so they do not interfere with caption bands.
  • good judgement in use of forced narratives, which don’t repeat same-word information (e.g. a story-irrelevant, red hexagonal stop sign at a street intersection does not require translation).
  • full captioning of expletives or other “offensive” words.
  • awareness of story setting, historical and cultural context, and accents and idioms.