All works submitted to the BBFC for classification should be the full, final edit in the correct screen ratio with final sound mix.

The only exception is for Advice Viewings.

All moving footage must be classified including multiple versions of a feature e.g. director's cut, audio commentary etc and any bonus content or moving menus that will form part of a final product.  

The only exception is where a distributor considers footage to be exempt.

Files can uploaded directly to the Horizon platform.  There can only be one file per submission.  File resolution should ideally be 1920x1080p and a bit rate of 10mbps or higher.

The following codecs and formats are acceptable:

Video Codecs

  • MPEG-1 Video
  • MPEG-2 Video
  • MPEG-4 Video
  • H.261
  • H.262
  • H.263
  • H.264/AVC
  • H.265/HEVC
  • VP6
  • VP8
  • Vp9
  • DNxHD
  • Theora
  • XDCAM
  • XDCAM HD422
  • XDCAM IMX
  • DV
  • DVCPRO
  • DVCPROHD
  • ProRes
  • AVCHD
  • AVCIntra
  • Cineform HD
  • Intel Indeo
  • JPEG2000 (J2K)

Audio Codecs

  • AAC
  • MP3
  • AC3
  • FLAC
  • WMV
  • Vorbis
  • PCM
  • WAV

File Formats

  • MP4
  • M4V
  • 3GPP
  • MOV
  • AVI

The files must not be protected in such a way as to make copying or streaming reliant on specific hardware or decoding. That is, it must not have DRM or encryption enabled. To use such techniques would render impractical the storage of the content for the purpose of the statutory archive.

Delivery of digital files can be made by direct upload of the files on Horizon.

  • If the work is a foreign language production and will be released in the UK with English subtitles, then this will need to be submitted for classification.
  • If the work is also available in a dubbed English version, this will also need to be classified.
  • If the work is an English language production it is not necessary to submit foreign language tracks or foreign language subtitles which may be featured on a DVD or Blu-ray. If these are submitted they will be ignored.
  • If a work is to be released with subtitles for the hard of hearing then these do not need to be classified but the BBFC will include them if they are present.

Audio commentaries and other alternate audio tracks also require classification. The only exceptions are audio descriptive tracks (e.g. for the visually impaired) which involve very simple and short descriptions of the action on screen. 

There are no particular restrictions on audio formats, although surround sound audio tracks will generally be ignored unless this is the only audio track present.

  • Films and trailers for digital exhibition must be submitted as a JPEG 2000 wrapped in a DCI-compliant interoperable 2K Digital Cinema Package (“DCP”) mastered at 24 Fps for 2D and 48 Fps for 3D. Our projector can accept higher frame rates if your content runs at a higher speed.
  • The DCP for features or short films must come in on a USB hard drive, CRU or HDD or digitally via Motion Picture Solutions' LANsat, Unique's MovieTransit or QubeWire. (Please contact those companies directly for more information.)
  • Please ensure, where possible, that DCP's are un-encrypted. If your DCP does require a KDM (Key Delivery Method) or key to unlock your DCP content, please email projection@bbfc.co.uk for the server details to create your KDM. KDMs must be sent to the above email as a zip file.
  • Films and trailers that are only being shown in cinemas on DVD/Blu-ray or other video media such as ProRes must be submitted to us on a DVD or Blu-ray struck from the theatrical master.
  • Trailers can be directly uploaded via Horizon or submitted as a zip file via a download link, such as Aspera, WeTransfer, DropBox or other file sharing sites or on a USB.
  • DCP film trailers or short films (up to a file size of 10Gb) may be made available for the BBFC to download from an FTP (file transfer protocol) server or a download link from a file sharing platform.
  • Public Information/Campaigning Films are to be submitted directly via Horizon.
  • For any content that is being released solely on 35mm or 70mm film, or IMAX please contact the Projection department.

Please contact Projection if you have any questions regarding technical requirements for theatrical releases.

Non-linear material being released on video games should be submitted as Video (VRA) classifications. Gameplay and linear material from video games that requires classification will be submitted to us by the Video Standards Council, who run the PEGI rating system in the UK.

Our anti-piracy measures have been accredited by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the security of submitted material is treated very seriously.

While we prefer not to have DOGs on submissions made for classification, we will, given the understandable concerns of the industry with regards to piracy, accept DOGs, subject to adherence to the below standards.

The work should not contain large anti-piracy logos or captions on screen (e.g. “Property of…”) that obscure the content or make it difficult for our examiners to classify the work. Examples of DOGs which have resulted in our being unable to classify a submitted work include ones which:

  • are scrolling, flashing or otherwise dynamic rather than static.
  • contain more than 10 characters.
  • contain dark or bold colours with a transparency of less than 50%.
  • are located in the middle of the picture rather than along the top or bottom edge.

Further advice can be provided upon request.