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Award Categories

Changes to the 2020 Awards Categories and Terms & Conditions.

Please take note that there are significant changes to the 2020 Categories effective from July 1st, 2020. Please read them carefully to decide which one you should enter and how to enter.

The Terms & Conditions for entry into the ACS State & Territory Awards for Cinematography have also changed. See link below to view the T&C's.

A Glossary of Definitions pertaining to the ACS Awards is at the bottom of this page.

There is a separate CineKids Entry Form with its own rules, see Category 1.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION about the ACS Awards.

* NEW Categories. The ACS has introduced two new categories, divided one category into two parts and created two clear age groups for CineKids.
New categories include Cat 9: Art, Innovation and Specialised Cinematography. This adds to the scope of the previous and much-missed Experimental and Specialised Cinematography category. We are also adding Cat16: 2nd Unit Cinematography.
In order to better manage entries into the Corporate category, we have created an additional Corporate category so members can find the best match for their work.
The News Categories now permit stories shot by multiple cinematographers to be entered. It has become increasingly common practice to cover stories with multiple cinematographers.

* Joint entries will not be accepted. If a project has more than one cinematographer who work independently of one another, then only the cinematographer who has filmed a minimum of 70% of the project may enter it, i.e. the Principal Cinematographer. The cinematography of others and details of their involvement must be provided, clearly highlighting their work by stating the relevant time codes or using on screen text/watermarks. In Cat 15: Ron Taylor AM ACS Wildlife and Nature, entrants may enter specialised sections of cinematography even if it constitutes less than 70% of the complete projects, e.g. underwater cinematography, aerial cinematography, wildlife sequence, etc. In Cat 19: Serial TV and Comedy Series, cinematographers who have shot either the location or studio component ONLY may enter episodes provided they have shot 100% of either the location or studio component and state clearly which components those are.

*Collab Cinematography entries are now accepted. Collab(orative) Cinematography entries are not the same as Joint Cinematography and must meet strict eligibility criteria to enter. Check with your branch if in doubt to avoid disappointment. By definition, 'cinematographer' means the Director of Photography, DoP or DP and NOT Camera Operator.
ELIGIBILITY: Two people, from the outset of the project, share the role of the cinematographer in a totally collaborative way. Each cinematographer must contribute knowledgably to the work, without requiring supervision or instruction from the other. Creative and open discussions must be prevalent throughout the entire project resulting in cinematography from the minds of two as though from the mind of one. The cinematographers must NOT work creatively independent of one another although at times they may work alone. Each shot, scene and/or sequence must have the dual authorship of both cinematographers. Each cinematographer must be involved in pre-production, principal photography, any substantial pick ups or 2nd Unit and any post production which involves cinematographic input. ONLY Accredited and Cinematographer level ACS members may enter Collabs. Follow the link below to read the very important information relating to Collab Cinematography.

* In every category, entrants must state any CGI or computer manipulation and work by other cinematographers.
* Preferred method of delivery of entries is by uploading your files online. Check with your branch for any file size limits. You may also send USB or portable hard drives or DVD and BluRay disks. DCP may be permitted but check with your branch first and read the ACS Awards Terms and Conditions document.
* It is the sole responsibility of the entrant to obtain any required permissions to screen the entry and to ensure the entry does not breach any copyright or embargo by the producer. Clips may be publicly screened at ACS functions from your entry.
* Entry fees include GST.
* State & Territory Gold winners are automatically entered into the ACS National Awards for Cinematography the following year. Only Gold Tripod winners at the National Awards are eligible for the ACS Milli Award for Australian Cinematographer of the Year.

Awards Allocation per category

State/Territory Awards:
Cat 1. CineKids. (2 age groups). 1 Gold, 1 Encouragement Award (possible in both age groups)
Cat 2. Student. 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Cat 3 – Cat 19. 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze

National Awards:
Cat 1. CineKids. (2 age groups). 1 Gold Award, 1 Award of Distinction (possible in both age groups)
Cat 2. Student. 1 Gold Award, 1 Award of Distinction
Cat 3 – Cat 19. 1 Gold Tripod, 1 Award of Distinction
Cinematographer of the Year: 1 Milli Award

Please Note:
• Judges’ scores may not result in giving the maximum number of possible awards in each category/sub-category, nor are the judges obligated to do so.

2020 special reduced Entry Fees.
FEES ARE REDUCED BY ABOUT 30% THIS YEAR TO ASSIST MEMBERS DUE TO COVID-19. NOTE: PLAQUES WILL NOT BE PROVIDED WITH THE ENTRY FEE. WINNERS MAY PURCHASE A PLAQUE AFTER THE AWARDS FOR ONLY $35 EACH, A THIRD OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE PLAQUE.

Category 1: CINEKIDS

10 to 12 years old

This sub-category is for CineKids members of the Society who were aged between 10 and 12 years old at the time of filming their entry. On the entry form entrants must state their Date of Birth and the date of filming the entry. A Gold Award certificate and an Encouragement Award certificate may be presented in both age groups. A maximum of 2 entries per CineKid is allowed. CineKids entries are free.

13 to 15 years old

This sub-category is for CineKids members of the Society who were aged between 13 and 15 years old at the time of filming their entry. On the entry form entrants must state their Date of Birth and the date of filming the entry. A Gold Award certificate and an Encouragement Award certificate may be presented in both age groups. A maximum of 2 entries per CineKid is allowed. CineKids entries are free.

Free Entry

Category 2: Student Cinematography

This category is for Student members of the Society who were students at time of filming the entry or CineKids who turned 16 years old before filming their entry. A maximum of 2 entries per student is allowed. On the entry form, students must state which cinematography/media course, college, university or secondary school they were attending at the time of filming their entry.

Entry Fee: $30

Category 3: John Bowring ACS Station Breaks & Promos

This category is for program Breaks and Promos, Openers, Closers, Teasers and Station ID’s made for free-to-air TV, VOD, online streaming networks and screening at live events. Entries must have been specifically filmed for this purpose and not just re-edited material from a program.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 4: Music Videos

This category is for Music Video productions filmed for the purpose of entertainment and/or promotion of the performers’ recording of a single track or song. Short films with a music track are not considered Music Videos and should be entered in Cat 16: Short Films. Musical shows such as concerts should be entered in Category 8: Entertainment & TV Magazine. Entrants must state whether they were totally responsible for all lighting and camera work. Additional cinematographers/operators must be listed.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 5: Syd Wood ACS Local / National News

This category is for news segments or stories filmed within Australia and screened on free-to-air TV, web or VOD.
Single Cinematographer Submission: The entrant must be solely responsible for at least 70% of the content in the story and must state the time codes/segments for any other cinematographer’s work, if any. Maximum duration 7 minutes.
Multiple Cinematographer Submission: Stories filmed by multiple news cinematographers wishing to enter together may be submitted (once only) providing at least two were ACS members at the time. See T&C’s for more information. Maximum duration 7 minutes.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 6: Neil Davis International News

This category is for news segments or stories filmed Internationally and screened on free-to-air TV, web or VOD.
Single Cinematographer Submission: The entrant must be solely responsible for at least 70% of the content in the story and must state the time codes/segments for any other cinematographer’s work, if any. Maximum duration 7 minutes.
Multiple Cinematographer Submission: Stories filmed by multiple news cinematographers wishing to enter together may be submitted (once only) providing at least two were ACS members at the time. See T&C’s for more information. Maximum duration 7 minutes.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 7: Current Affairs

This category is for segments or stories broadcast on regularly scheduled free-to-air TV or streamed VOD current affairs programs (e.g. '7.30', 'A Current Affair', '60 Minutes', '101 East', 'Four Corners', 'Australian Story' & 'Foreign Correspondent'). The entrant must be solely responsible for at least 70% of the content in the story and must state the time codes/segments for any other cinematographer’s work, if any. Note: Entries which are more documentary in nature and which run for the entire duration of the program have the option being entered either here in Category 7: Current Affairs or in Category 12: Documentaries.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 8: Entertainment & TV Magazine

This category is for programs or segments which are of 'human interest' screened on free-to-air TV, web or VOD, covering for example, reality TV, travel, leisure, gardening, property, cooking, entertainment, live performance, science, sports and arts shows. Recording of live productions such as concerts and theatre should be entered under this category. Entrants must state to what degree they were responsible for lighting, especially for stage productions. Subject matter must be of a light nature; not hard news or current affairs. Only one episode per entrant from a particular production will be eligible for an award.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 9: Art, Innovation and Specialised Cinematography

This category is for productions which comprise innovative concepts or art cinematography such as video installations and video art exhibitions. Experimental or specialised cinematography should also be entered in this category. The ACS defines ‘specialised cinematography’ as a specific discipline of cinematography requiring a high level of expertise and skill in that field. Entrants may submit segments or sequences from a project provided they shot the segment in its entirety. See T&C’s.

Entry Fee: $50

Categories 10 to 14: Is it a Corporate or a Commercial? Not sure which category to enter?

Due to the changing landscape of our industry it may be difficult to know which category some work fits into, therefore we have made up a guide to help entrants work out where commercial / corporate works may be entered. Please ask yourself this list of questions via the link below. If the majority of your answers are in one column then that is most likely your category for that particular entry.

Category 10: Corporate - Corporate Branding and Advertising

This category is for productions for branding and advertising in the corporate sector where the corporation or brand is clearly promoted rather than focusing on a specific product or service from them. For example, it may be a video that favourably promotes a soft drink company brand in general rather than one of their specific drinks.
Entries under 2 minutes that are clearly Commercials should be entered in Category 11.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 11: Corporate - Branded Content, Education and Events

This category is for productions for the corporate or educational market designed to showcase a business or product, inform or teach. Entries can include:
• Entertaining or informative branded content videos which include product placement or product reference in a direct or subtle way and may emulate a non-corporate documentary or lifestyle type program. This may include Infomercials and Edutainment video.
• Real estate & property rental videos, WHS video, events such as festivals or expos, educational & training videos or “How To” videos. Entries like these are likely to include a company/brand name and information, company/brand logo and/or a company/brand weblink URL which may be in the form of vision and/or audio.
Entries under 2 minutes that are clearly Commercials should be entered in Category 11.

Entry Fee: $50

Category 12: Commercials - Local / Regional

This category is for commercials made for Local and Regional areas in Australia and not shown Nationally. Commercials screened on TV, cinema or the web and targeted at a local/regional audience within one State/Territory should be entered here. (e.g. Brisbane = Local, Townsville = Regional, National = 2 or more States/Territories). Duration is typically 30 or 60 seconds. The maximum duration is 2 minutes. Longer entries should be entered in Cat 10: Corporate.

Entry Fee: $60

Category 13: Commercials - National / International

This category is for commercials made for National or International release. Commercials screened on TV, cinema or the web and targeted at a national/international audience should be entered here. (National = 2 or more States/Territories). Duration is typically 30 or 60 seconds. The maximum duration is 2 minutes. Longer entries should be entered in Cat 10: Corporate.

Entry Fee: $60

Category 14: Documentaries

This category is for documentary productions that deal with people in relation to their environment. Entries can include Feature Documentary, Documentary Series and documentary subjects within current affairs programs that constitute the entire program, for example 'Australian Story' and 'Four Corners'). Only one episode per entrant from a particular production will be eligible for an award.

Entry Fee: $55

Category 15: Ron Taylor AM ACS Wildlife & Nature

This category is for productions primarily about animals, plants or the natural environment. Please Note NEW Changes to this category: Segments or sequences of productions may be entered - the wildlife or nature content may be less than the minimum of the 70% of an entry required in other categories. Entrants must state the time codes relevant to their work and describe the sequences or segments. e.g. “I filmed the Polar Bear sequences”. It is preferable to watermark shots that are not yours - such as "Not Entrants", but you must NOT use your name on the watermark.

Entry Fee: $55

Category 16: 2nd Unit Cinematography

This category is for productions for which the ACS member was wholly responsible for the 2nd Unit cinematography on a Series, Serial TV or Feature. The entrant should submit the complete film or episode, detailing the footage they shot by using time code and on-screen text. IMPORTANT: MUST READ the current ‘ACS Awards Terms and Conditions’ relating to 2nd Unit entries.

Entry Fee: $55

Category 17: Dramatised Documentaries

This category is for documentaries based on real life situations or re-enactments of actual events that involve professional actors under Direction. These productions may have theatrical or non-theatrical (TV or streamed online) release.

Entry Fee: $55

Category 18: Short Films

This category is for stand-alone short, dramatised productions with a 49 minute duration or shorter. A single episode or pilot episode of a serial or series is not considered a short film. Films with a duration of 50 minutes or longer should be entered in Feature Films, Cat 21 or 22.

Entry Fee: $55

Category 19: Serial TV & Comedy Series

This category is for Serial TV shows or comedy series productions intended for television, web or VOD. Entries can include commercial made-for-TV Comedy series, web and VOD Comedy Series, Webisodes, Pilots or long-term, ongoing Serial TV shows. An entrant is permitted to enter several episodes/webisodes and/or a pilot from a series season but only one episode, webisode or pilot per entrant from that season will be eligible for an award. Note: Cinematographers who have shot ONLY the location or only the studio component may enter provided they have shot 100% of one of those components and state clearly which component that is. Live recordings of Stand-Up or Comedy Festival acts etc., should be entered in Cat 8. Entertainment & TV Magazine. Stand-alone or one-off feature length comedy productions (telefeatures/telemovies) should be entered in Cat 21 or Cat 22.

Entry Fee: $70

Category 20: Drama Series

This category is for drama series productions intended for television, web or VOD. Entries can include commercial made-for-TV Drama Series, Dramatic Mini-Series, Drama Pilot, web and VOD Drama Series and Webisodes. An entrant is permitted to enter several episodes from a series season but only one episode or webisode per entrant from that season will be eligible for an award. Stand-alone or one-off feature length drama productions (telefeatures/telemovies) should be entered in Cat 21 or Cat 22.
Entry Fee: $70

Entry Fee: $70

Category 21: Feature Films - Budget under $2m

This category is for feature films intended for Cinema and/or VOD release made with a production budget of LESS than AUD$2 million. This amount excludes “P&A” expenditure budget for publicity, advertising or promotion of the film. Entrants may be required to provide verification of the budget. Entrants who shot a Feature Film with a budget under AUD$2m may choose to enter into Cat 22: Feature Films (Budget $2m and over) if they so wish, but they cannot enter both categories. A feature film must have a 50 minute duration or longer.

Entry Fee: $75

Category 22: Feature Films - Budget $2m and over

This category is for feature film productions made with a production budget of AUD$2 million or more. This amount excludes “P&A” expenditure for publicity, advertising or promotion of the film. A feature film must have a 50 minute duration or longer.

Entry Fee: $75

ACS GLOSSARY OF DEFINITIONS pertaining to the ACS Awards for Cinematography

This information explains the ACS’ interpretation of terminology and acronyms relating to the varied methods of digital moving picture acquisition, storage, distribution and its numerous platforms. We attempt to simplify for ease of entering into the ACS awards in the best-suited category and adhering to the Terms and Conditions. There may be other interpretations of these terms but ACS accepts these for the purpose of the defining an awards entry. Please contact your Branch Awards Coordinator for any further clarification.

CINEMA. A professional level motion picture theatre run by a business or organisation where the public can attend screenings, usually for a fee. When ACS refers to Theatrical Release it means in a Cinema. ACS does not acknowledge home theatre type projection facilities as ‘Cinema’.
TV. Free-to-air (FTA) television broadcast where an RF signal is received by antenna or satellite dish. ‘TV’ does not refer to the television set or monitor hardware. This is a free service
CABLE. A subscriber-based service providing video material via data cable connection or satellite connection. More common in the USA and Europe. Example: Foxtel
STREAMING (VIDEO). The process of continuously downloading video material via the internet at a speed which allows uninterrupted viewing even as the rest of the program is still ‘coming down’ from the website. Most video watched from the web is streamed to your device. VOD is streamed video.
DOWNLOADED VIDEO. Video material which must first be fully downloaded to a computer drive from an internet server as a video file type in order to be played, as opposed to streaming video.

VOD. Video On Demand. Video material held on a server that can be played at any time by the viewer via an internet/mobile data connection on a web browser, an app or with an end-user specific hardware device (like Apple TV or Fetch) connected to a screen. Examples: YouTube, Vimeo, online “channels” and advertisers. Included is BVOD (Broadcaster Video On Demand) aka ‘Catch Up’ TV apps such as SBS On Demand, ABC iView, 9 NOW etc. which replay their TV programs on demand. These are ostensibly free services.These are ostensibly free services.
**The term VOD includes SVOD, TVOD and WEB TV for ACS’ purposes. See below.
SVOD. Subscriber Video On Demand. Same as VOD but the user has an account with a login and pays by a subscription to access video material from a provider at any time, usually with unlimited views and selections. Examples: Netflix, Stan, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, Disney +
TVOD. Transactional Video On Demand. (Pay-per-view). Same as VOD but the user pays per view or item, either for rent or permanent purchase. It’s like a virtual DVD Library such as Blockbuster. Example: iTunes and Google Play.
WEB TV. Essentially the same as VOD, Web TV video material is held on a server and can be viewed on a computer, tablet, smart tv or smart phone via the internet on a website and may be sorted into channels. It emulates conventional FTA TV channels but is only hosted on the internet. Web TV channels may have a common theme.
PILOT. The first episode of a new series which may or may not continue into production. Pilots are sometimes of a longer duration than an average episode but are intended to be tied into the series’ ongoing storyline.
WEB SERIES. Like a TV Series but streamed from the internet via VOD services. An episode may be called a Webisode.
WEB. Short for the world wide web, ‘pages’ that are part of the internet computer network accessible by a web browser using URL’s.
HDD. Hard Disk Drive used by computers to store and share data including audio/video files
SSD. Solid State Drive. Like HDD but with no spinning disks. USB thumb drives and camera cards are also a type of SSD.

 
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