British Board of Film Classification

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A comparison is a compliance process whereby new versions of previously rated works are compared to the BBFC archive copies.

If a work is essentially the same then it can be passed as a Comparison without the need for viewing by BBFC examiners. Such submissions are charged a lower fee. Please see here for fee tariffs.

Companies may request a Comparison by selecting this option when submitting a work via the Extranet. There are several services available:


DVD/Blu-ray comparisons are conducted by the BBFC operations department. This is done by running the two versions side by side and detailing edits and other differences in a technical report.

Distributor Change

Where the rights to distribute a work pass from one company to another, there is no requirement for the work to be reclassified by the BBFC. It is often difficult for distributors to be sure they have the same version that was previously classified. If a work is essentially the same then it can be passed as a Distributor Change.

Technical Comparison

Distributors are occasionally unsure that they have the correct masters for duplication. The Technical Comparison service allows works to be sent in for comparison against the BBFC archive copy in order to check whether it is the same as the classified version. If a work is essentially the same then it can be passed as a Technical Comparison.

3D/2D Comparisons

The introduction of new 3D productions for DVD and Blu-ray release has led to an increase in the number of versions of the same work being submitted to the BBFC (i.e. Stereoscopic 3D, Anaglyph 3D, 2D)*.

  • *’Stereoscopic 3D’ refers to the new version of 3D featured in both theatrical and 3D Blu-ray releases.
  • ‘Anaglyph 3D’ refers to the older version of the technology which utilises glasses with red and green gels over each lens.
  • ’2D’ refers to normal standard definition and high definition releases on DVD and Blu-ray.

In order to deal with these different versions in the most efficient way possible, submitting companies may have the Anaglyph 3D and 2D versions passed at a comparison rate providing the following conditions are met.

  • The Stereoscopic 3D Blu-ray version must be classified first.
  • Any subsequent versions of the feature (i.e. Anaglyph 3D, 2D) may then be passed as 3D/2D comparisons (providing that they are the same edit/soundtrack etc) as they present less picture information than the Stereoscopic 3D version.

For queries regarding any DVD/Blu-ray comparisons, please contact the technical department at

A note on aspect ratios

If a previously classified work is being released with a lesser picture ratio then there is no need to resubmit for classification.


Content-identical 2D versions of classified 3D (DCP or IMAX) works.

If you receive a classification for a 3D DCP or 3D IMAX version of a theatrical film, trailer or advert then a content-identical 2D version can attain the same category and be processed at a reduced rate.

The reduced rate only applies if the 3D version is approved first. Should the 2D version be approved first, the 3D version will be examined and charged at the standard tariff as the enhanced visual experience retains the potential to receive a more restrictive classification.

If a DCP file containing both 3D and 2D versions is submitted at the same time, the 2D version will receive a further reduction.

Please see here for fee tariffs.

This process entails a risk that the subsequent works may be over classified. So, to allow maximum flexibility, particularly in those borderline cases where the 2D work might be acceptable at a lower category than the 3D version, the option to have the 2D work classified separately remains. In this case the standard tariff will apply.


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