The Art of the Application | Work Samples: Video and Audio Files

The Art of the Application | Work Samples: Video and Audio Files

We’re providing pointers to help you submit your best application.

Applicants to the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship who are submitting audio or video work samples are invited to submit up-to 2 longer length work samples. In addition, applicants need to upload two 2-minute excerpts. Excerpts should be taken directly from your longer length work samples. Artists who work in short-form and only have work samples that are around two minutes in length are allowed to upload up-to four separate work samples.

Video Work Samples

Your video excerpts are viewed first by the panel. Therefore, the first 30 seconds of your two-minute excerpts become extremely important. Think about what you’d like the panel to see first, and begin your excerpts at the exact moment you want the panel to start watching. When preparing your excerpts, we advise that you do not submit trailers or snippet reels. Instead, use continuous footage that clearly conveys the sequence of your work.

If your video work samples are documentation of a performance or installation, make sure the recording is good quality, and that they are edited to best portray your practice. Consider the angle and distance of the camera before you start recording. If lighting and sound are particularly important to your work, ensure your videos capture them just as you intend.

Before you upload your work samples, you’ll need to format them correctly, keeping in mind that applications will be reviewed online. Here are two important reminders:

  • When encoding your videos, use the codec h.264, as it is preferred for web viewing, and will ensure that your videos upload and play correctly. Please note that ProRes codecs are not supported by our online viewing platform. A codec is a method for encoding, decoding, and compressing data, particularly video. There are many codec and container combinations but h.264 paired with .mov or .mp4 are preferred as they are supported by a wide range of media players with little loss of quality.
  • Double check formatting requirements in the Application Guidelines. If your video files are too large, you’ll need to compress them. You can do so using video editing software, such as Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, iMovie, QuickTime, etc. 

The most important thing to remember when submitting video work samples is to give yourself plenty of time before the deadline. It may take more time than you expect for your application to upload and submit. Save yourself some stress and prepare your files well in advance. Remember, you can always upload all your work samples and then save your application, returning at a later date to complete and submit it.


Audio Work Samples

Similar to applicants submitting video work samples, the panel will review your audio excerpts first in your application. Longer-length work samples will not be reviewed until subsequent rounds. Keep in mind that your excerpts do not necessarily need to start from the beginning of the work. Consider using any two minutes you think will spark the panel’s interest, and begin your excerpts from exactly where you want them to start listening.

If your practice includes non-traditional forms of music/sound making, is installation-based, or requires special equipment for listening, you should briefly note this in the work sample description. This section will appear after you upload a work sample to your online application. Using one to two sentences, you can describe the methodology, instruments, or technology used to create your work.  

If your audio is from a live recording, make sure that the sound is clear and not washed out by background noise or poor acoustics. Your work samples are the most important part of your application, so take all the necessary steps to make a quality recording.

For more information about the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, visit our website and view our Fellowships FAQ.

– Hannah Berry, Program Associate, NYFA Grants

NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowships are administered with leadership support from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Find out about additional awards and grants here. Sign up for our free bi-weekly newsletter NYFA News to receive announcements about future NYFA events and programs.

Images from top: Phillip Stearns (Finalist in Digital & Electronic Arts ’14) Fragmented Memory – Detail, Custom Software, Binary Data, Organic Cotton, 2014; Martin Macica (Finalist in Folk/Traditional Arts ’18), Cello, 1998, Maple, spruce, ebony, boxwood pegs

Amy Aronoff
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