The Digital Movie category is an opportunity for you to express your opinions and creativity through a short film. Hop into the director's chair and create your own cinematic masterpiece! Projects will be evaluated on such concepts as storyline, cinematography, and storyboarding. Check out the Helpful Tips section for some useful suggestions on how to make your movie.

Example Projects:

Documentary, Public Service Announcement, Commercial

Example Software:

iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Media 100, Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere

Specific Category Rules

  • Projects MUST contain a storyboard (see Digital Movie Scoring Guideline for details).
  • The judged video clip must not exceed 5 minutes. If it is part of a larger project, copy the five minutes that you want judged.
  • Projects must be displayed on a single computer or on DVD.
  • Internet connections will be provided at the State competition.
  • Displays and monitors must not exceed 24 inches.
  • Space will be assigned and limited to 3 feet per project.
  • Spelling and grammar will be judged on narrative and project.
  • Directions for re-launching the project must be provided, as well as any passwords. (May use narrative)

A project will be disqualified if any of the following occur:

  • The narrative description is missing. (see below)
  • Copyright information and credits are not included on the narrative or displayed with the project. (see below)
  • A storyboard is not displayed/available that clarifies the process used to create the project. (see scoring guideline)

If a project meets the above rules it will be judged using the following: Digital Movie Scoring Guideline

Narrative Descriptions

Narrative descriptions are required for all projects; the narrative description/project summary is now included in the PA Computer Fair Participation Packet. If the narrative is not provided, the project will be disqualified. Narratives must be detailed enough to provide the judges with any information to fairly judge the project. Attach additional pages if necessary.

Copyright Requirements

The PA Computer Fair Participation Packet includes a participation agreement that must be signed by all participating students on a project and their teacher sponsor. Part of the agreement outlines copyright expectations, as well as other project requirements.

Suggested sites to search for media:

The Pennsylvania Computer Fair, although educational, removes the student work from the classroom and therefore requires the student to get permission from the owner to use any copyrighted music, video, graphics, etc. Fair use does NOT apply. Remember to credit music or items that were created by yourself or friends as well.


Your storyboard should be a set of sketches, arranged in sequence on panels, outlining the scenes that will make up what you plan to film. All projects need to display the pre-production process used to create the project (not post-production photos after your project has been completed). This should be specific and as detailed as possible to give the judges the necessary background regarding how it was developed. You may choose to put it on your tri-fold display or bring a loose-leaf notebook with your notes.

  • The storyboard will not be judged for grammar or appearance, but should be legible and organized.
  • The storyboard is REQUIRED for this category. Projects without it will not be judged.

Click here for a sample of an ideal storyboard.

  • Make sure to set your camera's white balance to the type of light in which you are shooting so color is accurate.
  • While shooting with a hand-held camera, use smooth, controlled movements. Shaky and jerky camera movements are difficult to watch and unprofessional.
  • Be sure your audio is clear and audible. If the audience can't hear your movie, they can't understand it.
  • While editing, carefully select your shots and cut points and seek feedback from others.
  • Keep in mind the rule of thirds when framing your shots.
  • Make a detailed and concise storyboard; it will save you time when you are filming and will affect your project's score.
  • Get photo releases signed from everyone in your project in any media format.