Technical requirements | British Board of Film Classification
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Technical requirements

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.


Links for:


Video file submissions for Classification under the Video Recordings Act 1984

There should be one file per submission where possible. We will accept a submission split across multiple files where that is the most practical approach.

The file must be mpeg4 video, AAC audio within the .mp4 file type as defined by

  • ISO/IEC 14496-10 - MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding
  • ISO/IEC14496-3 - MPEG-4 Part 3
  • ISO/IEC 14496-14 - MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4 file format)

This is generally referred to as “Main Profile”.   Quicktime encoders are known to introduce sync and drift issues in various software (i.e. Windows Media Player), so please use an alternative encoder. Files supplied using a Quicktime encoder may fail the technical check and require re-submission.

  • The resolution must be 1280x720p ( commonly called 720p ), unless 720 x 576 is the only version available.
  • The video bitrate must be in the range 1.0 – 5.0 mb/sec using fixed or variable bitrate encoding.
  • The audio bitrate must be 96 kbit/sec stereo audio multiplexed with the video.
  • Conventionally video is stream 0 and audio stream 1, with subtitle tracks (if any) at higher numbers. This is preferred and may be mandated in the future if it is found to be appropriate.
  • The BBFC reserves the right to reject a file if it is not of suitable quality for classification. The expectation is that file based submissions will be less vulnerable to defects than discs but any issues that do arise will be handled as technical faults.


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.

Please note the requirements for audio and subtitle tracks3D and Digital Onscreen Graphics remain the same.

A guide as to how to submit online can be found on our extranet here.  Please note an extranet login is required.  

If you do not have an extranet account you may request one here.


DVD/Blu-ray content for Classification under the Video Recordings Act 1984

  • All submitted works must play on a normal consumer DVD player, Blu-ray player or Sony Playstation 3.
  • DVDs should be region 2 or region free (region 0). Both Pal or NTSC standards are accepted. Blu-ray discs should be region B.
  • Digital video files (i.e. .avi, .mov, .mpg, etc) burnt to a data DVD are not acceptable.
  • Works can be submitted on DVD-R, DVD+R (single or dual layer), BD-R or replicated (factory pressed) check discs. 
  • Other formats such as (but not limited to) video CD, DVD RW, mini DVD etc and tape formats such as DigiBeta etc are not accepted.

Multiple audio, language and subtitle tracks

  • 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.

3D submissions for release on Blu-ray and DVD 

  • Anaglyph 3D submissions (i.e. older style 3D works which require red/green glasses) can be submitted on Blu-ray, DVD or digital file.
  • Stereoscopic 3D works for release on 3D Blu-ray must be submitted on Blu-ray disc. We will also accept 'side-by-side' 3D versions on Blu-ray, DVD or digital file in place of a stereoscopic work.
  • Please note we cannot accept an Anaglyph 3D in place of a Stereoscopic release. This is due to the difference in quality of the 3D effect.

Please contact the customer helpline if you have any questions regarding DVD/Blu-ray releases on 0207 440 0299 or at premises are closed until further notice, but we're still working. Please contact us on as this phone line is not currently in use.


Watch & Rate (Digital Services)

  • Works can be supplied by way of non-physical medium (download, FTP, streaming, etc). Where a work is to be viewed (or downloaded) on a remote streaming platform the details of this must be noted during submission.
  • We recommend digital video content is delivered in the following specifications. We are happy to accept works of higher quality and different formats.
  • Resolution: 720 x 576 or higher.
  • File Format: Mpeg4 file (a true .mp4 file, not a QuickTime .mov with Mpeg 4 encoding)
  • Video data rate: 1.5-5 Mb/s VBR 
  • Works should have the BBFC Code number and submission date in the file name using the following format: FILM_NAME_SubmissionDate_BBFCcodeNumber.filextension

Although digital delivery is encouraged, W&R will accept submission by disc (DVD/BD/Data storage discs with data files on).

Please contact the Digital Services department if you have any questions regarding technical requirements for Digital releases at


Theatrical Releases (Films, Trailers, Public Information/Campaigning Films, Student Shorts)

  • 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 or Unique's MovieTransit. (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 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 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 as .mp4 files as long as they are less than 100mb in size.
  • For any content that is being released solely on 35mm or 70mm film, or IMAX please contact the Projection department.

Please contact the Projection department if you have any questions regarding technical requirements for theatrical releases on on 020 7440 1590 or at premises are closed until further notice, but we're still working. Please contact us on as this phone line is not currently in use.


Video Games

The following is required for each video game submission:

  • A completed Video Games Submission Form ( via the BBFC extranet )
  • A content complete* build of the game on physical media (CD, DVD, memory card, etc.)
  • An indication of the most contentious elements in the game and where in the game they occur
  • Access to all cutscenes (see below)
  • Access to any DVD style extras or unlockable content
  • Supporting material that enables easy access to all parts of the game (cheats, save games, etc. See below)

*While we accept that bug fixing and optimising will continue right up until a game is released, the BBFC requires a content complete version of the work. If changes are made to the content after its classification, the version released would not be the version classified and its sale or hire would be a criminal offence.

Cutscenes and Additional Content

The BBFC defines a cutscene as a non interactive, linear cinematic, whether pre-rendered or generated in real time. This is unlikely to include user-generated replays, fly-throughs and in-game hints and cut aways. However, scenes of over 15 seconds in length, or those which contain significant, contentious material are required. Where cutscenes are generated in real-time but vary in detail dependent on player input, only the generic versions of those cutscenes are required. The ability to change camera angle or perspective is unlikely on its own to prevent a sequence from being considered a cutscene.

Cutscenes can be provided either within the game itself (provided they are accessible via a debug menu) or on separate media.

Please ensure that any DVD style extras or unlockable content (i.e. bonus videos, trailers, image galleries etc.) are made available and give details on how these can be accessed. For any video extras, please also give an approximate total running time.

Where relevant, please ensure that any in-game unlockable content (i.e. extra levels, characters, mini games, weapons, power ups etc.) are also accessible.

Please provide the following, where relevant, to ensure that all parts of the game are easily accessible.

  • Debug Menu (with instructions on activation and use)
  • Command console (Typically for PC games, please include instructions)
  • Cheat codes (god mode, level skipping, ammo, weapon unlocks etc)
  • Walkthrough
  • Save games (Please ensure that these are taken at regular points during the game and/or give access to all unlockable content)
  • Synopsis / Script
  • Details of game controls
  • Manual

Gameplay footage

Gameplay footage can be helpful in reaching a classification decision. If provided, please ensure that it is concise and is limited to the contentious elements of the game. Such footage should not normally exceed 60 mins running time

Copies of footage that may have been submitted to other ratings boards are perfectly acceptable and can be provided on DVD or any other digital file format. 

Please contact the customer helpline if you have any questions regarding technical requirements for video game releases on 0207 440 0299 or at premises are closed until further notice, but we're still working. Please contact us on as this phone line is not currently in use.


Use of Digital On-screen Graphics (DOGs) on submissions to the BBFC

The BBFC fully appreciates the industry's concerns over piracy. Its anti-piracy measures have been accredited by the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the security of submitted material is treated very seriously.

While the BBFC prefers not to have DOGs on submissions made for classification, it will, given the understandable concerns of the industry with regards to piracy, accept DOGs, subject to adherence to the standards laid out below.

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.





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