Frequently Asked Questions

Who can enter?

Any middle or high school student (grade 5-12) from SEPA partner schools is free to enter.

When is the deadline for submissions?

All entries must be uploaded by 12:00 pm (central time, US) on Friday, April 15, 2016.

What will I be judged on?

The videos will be judged by topic with winners for each topic. See the Judging Rubric for more details about how the entries will be judged.

How long does the video have to be? 

Videos should be 90 seconds long or less.  As long as the video is under 90 seconds, it will be judged Videos longer than 90 seconds will be disqualified. 

Are there specific things I need to include in my video?

All entries should begin with a 5-second full-screen “title screen” that includes the following information:

All entries should end with 5-second screen(s) citing/acknowledging sources presented in the video.  All sources must be, properly cited. Credit must be given to all original sources.  Acknowledgement/thanks must be given to the people who helped them create the video.

Will I receive feedback on my video entry?

Due to the number of entries, only winning videos will receive feedback on the content of their entry.

When will semifinalists be chosen?

Semifinalists from each topic area will be notified by Friday, May 6, 2016. Reminder: a semifinalist is not a winner. Being chosen as a semifinalist means that your video was voted into the top three for a particular topic and will go on to be judged by our panel of experts. There will not be a general announcement of semifinalists. Semifinalists will need to submit a signed Parent Permission Formand a signed Media Release Form for each person who appears in the video. Videos CANNOT be awarded a prize unless the necessary forms are received.

When will winners be announced?

All winners will be notified directly no later than Friday, May 20, 2016. A complete list of winners, along with the winning videos, will be posted at 

How many people can work on one video?

There is no limit to the number of students who can work on a video. However, the video must be entered under one name ONLY (the Lead Producer). Recognition and prizes will be given to the lead producer and all those listed as co-producers on the entry form. Prizes are awarded per video topic, not per student. 

What forms do I need to fill out, and where should I send them?

There are no paper forms needed to enter a video. You will need to fill out the online Entry Form when you upload your video. If your video is chosen as a semifinalist, you will need to submit a signed Parent Permission Form and a signed Media Release Form for each person who appears in the video. Videos CANNOT be awarded a prize unless the necessary forms are received.

What are the prizes?

Awards will be presented as follows: a $50 gift card per winning video topic.

How many entries can I submit?

As many as you want! We will judge each entry individually. Keep in mind; it is better to spend more time perfecting one great video than turning in several mediocre videos.

In what format should I submit my project?

All videos should be entered in digital format. We will not accept audio-only recordings or videos recorded on VHS tapes.

How do I submit my video?

Once you have perfected your video, you will need to upload it to your YouTube Page. Then, fill out the online Entry Form.  On the Video Details section of the Entry Form, you will share the YouTube Link for your video entry. Make sure that your video is public so it can be viewed by the judges. 

What equipment do I need?

You can use any equipment that you have. Use a still camera to make a photomontage or stop-motion animation, or use an iPod, flip camera, or video camera to make a motion picture. When you are putting your media together, there are several type of editing software that you can use. iMovie comes free on all Macs and is very easy to use. Ask your teacher if your school has access to a Mac computer lab. If you have a PC, check to see if it has Windows Movie Maker, or download it free online. Remember that we are judging entries base more on content that on style, and so you shouldn’t worry if you don’t have experience with these technologies. You can make a great video with even the most basic equipment.

Does my video need to be a certain format or size?

Format:  MP4.  

Resolution: no larger than 1080x720.  

File Size: No larger than 100 MB.    

Other: Use a standard codec like H2.64. 

If your videos do not meet these requirements, technicians will not be able to embedded your video onto the math cards for viewing later. 

I’ve never created a video before – can you help me organize my message?

Yes! Visit our Tips for Your Video Entry page to guide you as you start the process.

Can I use copyrighted materials?

NO! Copyrighted materials (music, images, etc.) may NOT be used for this contest unless you own the copyright or have a license to use the material. Written permission must be obtained and provided upon request for all copyrighted materials. You may write your own music or use “stock” music that is included in some editing software.

Can entries be disqualified?

Yes. If the video exceeds the 90-second maximum time limit it will be disqualified. Videos will also be disqualified if there is inappropriate content, use of copyrighted materials, or lack of the appropriate forms, we will have to disqualify your entry. If you are unsure whether an item is copyrighted or inappropriate, run it by your parents or teachers. If there are still questions, just don’t use it. Better safe than sorry! Plagiarism of any kind will result in disqualification.

How involved can parents be?

This is a student contest.  Therefore, all of the research, writing, and editing should be done by students. If you want a parent or teacher to act in your film or hold the camera while you act, that is fine. However, the students are the directors of the film and all content should be from students alone!

Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

Email, if you have any questions. You can also ask your teacher for guidance or extra resources.