beeThanks to many readers, I think there’s a pretty clear game plan emerging for how to do The Nines Trailer Challenge. Several people have offered specific help, both advice and hosting. Bless you. Your email addresses have been duly noted for future follow-up.

Here are the questions I asked, and the answers I got.

1. What’s the best video format for sending out the trailer footage?

For good quality, DV or Motion JPEG are platform-agnostic choices that will end up in solid web video. I’m meeting with the editor tomorrow to start figuring out just how big the files would end up being.

Some participants will want smaller files for an easier download experience. MPEG-4 is super-compressed, but can be up-rezzed acceptably. It will never look as good as the DV footage, but that’s a trade-off that some people will accept.

There are other possible formats, but at a certain point, the paradox of choice kicks in. Offering the footage in six flavors could actually make it less useful, increasing confusion and limiting torrent seeds.

2. One clip, or many?

Almost everyone felt that separate clips in a .zipped file would make life simpler. Some readers suggested distributing project files for Final Cut or Avid. My gut is that a folder of clips is pretty much just waiting to be dropped into a bin, so there’s no great advantage in creating separate templates for FCP or Avid (or whatever editing system you chose to use).

We’ll also include portions of Alex Wurman’s musical score, perhaps as a separate download. Using the “official” music won’t be a requirement.

3. Should it be a competition? If there’s a competition, how long of a deadline?

Across the board, yes on a competition. A week would be enough time; adding in a second weekend might be even better. At this point, the start of August is looking like a possibility, but the exact dates are TBD. The prize would be bragging rights, and inclusion on the DVD if we can clear rights issues.

4. What’s the best way to get the footage out there? Torrent? Download?

A torrent is pretty much a must for the big (DV) file. With good initial seeding, a clear start date, and fair practices on everybody’s part (i.e. keep seeding), it should work out. But I’d still like more information and examples of people who’ve done this thing successfully.

In terms of traditional downloading, generous offers of bandwidth should help with getting the smaller files distributed — and possibly setting up the initial torrents.