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Documentary Rules

History fair projects in the documentary categories, individual and group, must follow the general rules which apply to all history fair entries (see link at right).
In addition to the General Rules, documentaries must conform to all of the following specific rules.

Rule 1: Time Requirements
Documentaries may not exceed 10 minutes in length. You will be allowed an additional 5 minutes to set up and 5 minutes to remove equipment. Timing will begin when the first visual image of the presentation appears and/or the first sound is heard. Audio and visual leads will be counted in the time limit. Timing will end when the last visual image or sound of the presentation concludes (including credits).

Note: Use your set up time to prepare your documentary for presentation, focus equipment, adjust volume, etc.

Rule 2: Introduction
You must announce only the title of your presentation and the name(s) of participants(s). Comments prior to or during the presentation, including live narration, are prohibited.

Rule 3: Student Involvement
You are responsible for running all equipment.

Rule 4: Student Production
All entries must be student-produced. You must operate all equipment. You must provide the narration, voice-over, and dramatization. Only those students listed as entrants may participate in the production. Only entrants and the subjects of their interviews (participants in a historical event or experts) may appear on camera.

Rule 5: Entry Production
Your entry must be an original production. You may use professional photographs, film, slides, recorded music, etc. within your presentation. However, you must integrate such items into your presentation and give proper credit at the end of your presentation (per Rule 6 below) as well as in your annotated bibliography. You must operate all editing equipment used in the production of your presentation. Using material created by others specifically for use in your entry violates this rule.

Note: Remember that different equipment may affect how your documentary appears on the screen. You may wish to test equipment provided at competitions beforehand, bring back-up copies of your documentary in different formats, and/or bring your own equipment. There is no penalty for displaying your documentary on a laptop computer and may students use them successfully as a backup measure.

Rule 6: Credits
At the conclusion of the documentary, you must provide a list of acknowledgments and credits for all sources. These credits should be brief - not full bibliographic citations and not annotated. All sources (music, images, film/media clips, interviews, books, web sites) used in the making of the documentary should be properly cited in the annotated bibliography. The list of credits counts toward the 10-minute time limit and should be readable by viewers.

Rule 7: Displays
Stand alone displays are prohibited.

Rule 8: Computer Entries
You must be able to run the program within the 10-minute time limit. Interactive computer programs and web pages in which the audience or judges are asked to participate are not acceptable; judges are not permitted to operate any equipment. Students must provide and be able to run their own computers, software and other equipment. Internet access will not be available.

TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT DIFFICULTIES IMPORTANT NOTE: Screens and TVs will be available in all Documentary rooms, in addition to a VCR and DVD player. HOTRHF provided electrical DVD player equipment has been found to often be outdated or unable to display certain types of newer programs burned on DVDs and Copy DVDs. If a DVD is being used HOTRHF suggests the student bring their own DVD player if available. If the student does not have a personal or school DVD player they can bring, HOTRHF suggests a VHS tape be prepared as a backup in case there are technical problems with provided DVD player equipment and DVD compatibility.

HOTRHF Note: Rules listed on this web site are now confirmed for 2014 by National History Day.