Of Movies, and Hosting
The Official HBO Movie Posting Policy
I wish this note didn't need to be written. I wish we had infinite bandwidth, and infinite man-hours to devote to getting people's projects out to the world.
But we don't.
Up until now, we've accepted nearly every single movie submission that's been sent to us; we've found bandwidth donators willing to host the films, in whatever format they've come in, and we've done our best to help submitters release films with the best compromise between quality and size as we could manage. In several cases, that meant multiple hours of work, recompressing films and then tweaking the results until the author was happy with the final product.
We can't do this any more.
Time is a limited quantity, and we need to re-allocate it a bit.
What does this mean to you? Pretty simple. From here on in, we're going to require that movies meet some minimum standards in order to qualify for our help - and that help includes things from re-encoding the films to finding hosts for them. Does this mean that if you don't meet our standards, you can't make a movie? No, of course not. (What sort of power do you think we have, anyway?) What it means, though, is that you'll need to find your own bandwidth for the file... and use your own tools (or enlist the help of a kind forum denizen) to maximize the quality/compression ratio.
So what are these new standards? Well, that's pretty simple, too. We're looking for originality. If it's been done before, chances are we aren't going to want to see it again. Did you make a movie in which you took snippets from existing films, set them to some popular (or maybe even not so popular) tune, and call it a music video? Thanks... but we've seen dozens of these, and they don't excite us any more. Is your movie a bunch of clips of gameplay, strung together with a music soundtrack, or maybe just a voice-over, explaining the pieces? We're sure it was a blast to make, and we're POSITIVE that there are people on the net that would love to watch it... but you're going to have to find them yourself. We just don't have the resources for this sort of thing.
By way of explanation - we actually don't have enough bandwidth of our own to post movies. Therefore, we rely on the generosity of some very kind net folk, who graciously make space for us on their servers. Realize that a 15 MB movie, downloaded 5000 times (not an inordinate amount by any stretch), requires 75 GB of bandwidth - which SOMEONE has to pay for. Brian Towne, our biggest bandwidth provider, serves over 500 GB of movies every month - more than the entire pipe of a T1... and it doesn't cost you, the downloader, a penny. More bandwidth is provided by Subnova.com, by psyjnir.com, by Thatweasel.tv, and many other sites... and we have an obligation to these donors not to abuse their kindness by asking them to serve repetitive material. However - we have no problem at all announcing your movie, if you find other hosting for it - we're happy to let our visitors know of it.
Hmm, you say... that tells me what not to submit... but doesn't say much about what will get accepted. Good point. Not too long ago, I wrote up a forum post which suggested some guidelines for Halo moviemaking... let's say that if you read these, and take them to heart, the likelihood of your submitting a movie that we decline to host will drop dramatically.
Some movies that get the HBO MasterFlick™ Seal of Approval, and a short description of why:
There are plenty of other successful Halo films (Breaking the Rules, Fragfest Unleashed, the just-released H3, and many others) - we're not saying the list above is the be-all and end-all of Halo films, it's simply a representative sample of the 'best of breed'... most movie styles are represented here, and all of the named films are worth watching.