Studio Manual

Please read the following manual carefully. It will provide valuable assistance in accessing facilities and installed equipment for your production work. Please note that you are responsible for all the information in this manual.


The Production Center and its resources are a wonderful privilege. As a Cinema and Media Arts (hereafter referred to as "CMA") or Digital Journalism and Media (hereafter referred to as "DJAM") student you have access to upwards of four million dollars of equipment and facilities. The Production Center Staff desires to make our facilities as open and available as possible to you. To accomplish this goal, you, and every other member of our community, must exercise your privileges responsibly.

This policy statement is a contract that binds both Student and Production Center to terms. Before being allowed to use the Biola University Production Center facilities or equipment, you must sign the agreement found at stating that you have read and agreed to the terms herein. If you do not comply with the terms of this contract, penalties (including loss of studio and equipment privileges and/or financial responsibility for any damages) may apply.


The Production Center facilities exist for two fundamental purposes. The primary purpose is education of our majors by supporting the Snyder School of CMA/DJAM curriculum. Secondly, the facilities are made available to to the CMA/DJAM Department students for extracurricular production projects (ex. editing a missions video or shooting a drama). Finally, on occasion, rentals are made to other Biola departments or outside entities. Production Center rentals generate funds to repair and update equipment and are used for other studio needs. Rentals are considered secondary and are permitted only when they are deemed not to interfere with primary educational purposes.

General Production Center Rules

  1. The Production Center is a busy facility. Please pick up after yourself and maintain equipment properly. Each room has a proper configuration and should be returned to such state when you leave. If there is confusion as to a proper state of a room, please inquire with Production Center staff. The Production Center reserves the right to assess a $75 cleanup fee for not returning a room to its proper configuration when you leave.
  2. Report equipment or facility problems immediately (especially if it may put the safety of others at risk) to the Equipment Room (ER) and the Director of Studio Operations. Please do not assume that someone already knows the equipment is broken or not running properly. The faster you report the damage, the faster the repair.
  3. When in the Production Center, observe safety precautions with ladders, electricity, lights, etc. Read and abide by the rules in the safety section of this manual. Take safety seriously; your life and the lives of others are at stake. Students caught using unsafe studio practices will be removed from Production Center access.
  4. In the Production Center, approved receptacles for plugging in studio and field lighting are as follows:
    Studio ABates/stage-pin paddles in the overhead pipe grid
    Studio BBates/stage-pin paddles in the overhead pipe grid
    Convergent NewsroomEdison receptacles in the overhead pipe grid
    Note: Using general, wall electrical outlets for lighting will trip breakers and cause important equipment to turn off. A fee from Facilities Management may be assessed for resetting breakers.
  5. Always plug and unplug any cable (electrical, XLR, USB, patch cable, etc.) by grasping its connectors. Never pull by the cable or wire.
  6. Food and drink (including water) are allowed ONLY in the kitchen and lobby. Food in a production area is unprofessional, creates a mess, and attracts insects. In addition, a drink spilled onto a piece of electronic equipment may destroy it. Users found with food or drink in other areas may lose access to the Production Center.
  7. Use house lighting instead of studio lights for general illumination. They are much cheaper in terms of power use. They also bring down air conditioning and bulb replacement costs.
  8. Do not move or unplug lights that are red tagged and aimed at a standing set. This means they have been set. If there is no standing set, you may move the lights.
  9. Do not leave trash or personal property in the Production Center. Please place unwanted class papers, scripts, props, and other trash into the wastebaskets. Take other things with you. Items left in the Production Center are transferred to Campus Safety or disposed of immediately.
  10. After using equipment or furniture, return them to their normal storage place (even if they were not in that place when you found them). Do not leave extension, microphone, or other cables lying on the floor. Leave the studio, as you would like to find it. Please go out of your way to help keep things neat.
  11. Learn how to use each piece of equipment properly before you attempt to use it. Please do not make assumptions about proper equipment use. There is always a best (professional) practice for using equipment. Staff is happy to help teach best practices if desired.
  12. A professional never steps on a cable.
  13. Never use gummy tape (for example, masking tape or duct tape) on anything. Using these tapes will leave an adhesive mess. Instead use paper tape, gaffer tape, or other tape that is designed to come off completely.
  14. No dust-causing activities are allowed in the Production Center. This includes sawing, sanding, spray-painting, and set elements that cause dust.
  15. Turn off all equipment after use to save power and to maximize equipment life. Computers in the Production Center are an exception to this rule.
  16. A hold will be placed on equipment checkout account until outstanding fees are paid in full. If excessive or grossly negligent damage or loss takes place to Biola owned equipment or facilities restriction of use for the remainder of the semester will apply.
  17. All fees, unless approved by the Production Center Manager, must be paid on the Production Center Payment Portal.
  18. Sleeping is not allowed in Production Center facilities under any circumstances. Penalties for students sleeping in the Production Center are as follows:
    SecondStudent(s) will lose door access to the Production Center for remainder of semester.
    ThirdStudent(s) will be referred to Student Life.
  19. Please note that the Production Center is under regularly reviewed video surveillance.

Access Accounts

There are five separate user accounts for CMA/DJAM patrons:

1Production Center AccessBuilding access maintained by Campus Safety.

2ER Equipment CheckoutAccess to equipment checkout to complete class assignments.

3Production Center Computer NetworkAccess to the Production Center network resources.Account automatically granted with registration.
4Department E-mailAn e-mail list for important department announcements.Account automatically granted with registration.
5Canvas AccountProduction Center Advanced Training Seminar access.Account automatically granted with registration.

Production Center Access

Access to the Production Center is obtained by using your Biola ID card at any of the proximity card readers. The card readers allow 24-hour access to the Production Center. To access the building, hold your card in close proximity to the reader. A record of all entries is kept. Access is granted each semester to CMA and DJAM students who read and sign the Studio Manual.

If you are inside the Production Center and hear someone knocking on the door, do not open the door. Remember, all authorized users of the Production Center should have their own access. You are responsible for anyone you admit into the Production Center and safety of everyone in the building is compromised by unauthorized access.

Do not prop any Production Center door open unless actively loading. If outside talent or others are helping with your project, let them contact you when they arrive. Phone extensions in the Production Center are:

Equipment Room5464
Hallway Outside Editing Rooms5596
Director of Studio Operations3618
Production Center Supervisor of Technical Operations4726
Production Center Repair Technician3617

Production Center Etiquette

The Production Center is to be used for completing student projects. The edit bays exist to support the Snyder School of Cinema and Media Arts, and conversely, the Convergent Newsroom lab exists to support the Digital Journalism and Media students. Students are required to use the resource that corresponds to their department.

The Graphics and Photo Studio exists to support Photojournalism. If a student enrolls in a photojournalism course, he will be given card-key access to this room. Cinema and Media Arts students may be approved for use on a case-by-case basis. All other space in the Production Center, unless taken by prior reservation with the Director of Studio Operations, is available for students from CMA or DJAM.

Do not use a computer workstation when a class (other than your own) is in session out of respect to the class.

Clean up after yourself. If a room is not returned to its original working order with gear put away where it belongs when you leave and it is determined you are the cause of the mess, you will incur a $75 cleaning charge. Professionals always leave a space as good or better than they found it.

As a community of believers we are to act with utmost integrity. Be reminded that students will be held to the policies in the Undergraduate Student Handbook & Guide to University Policies while using the Production Center and conduct issues may be reported for disciplinary action.

Reserving Edit Bays

Audio and video editing systems can be reserved through our online reservation calendar Skedda. Please visit Services and Resources page of the Production Center website for information on how to book a location. There may be a restriction on the maximum amount of time that can be reserved each week due to student traffic. Occasionally, an edit bay will be blocked out for a special project. The amount of editing time you reserve should be reasonable for your task.

Reservations require the booking holder to confirm their attendance within 15 minutes of the reserved time by responding to an automated email. A reservation may be canceled by staff if the room is not occupied within 15 minutes of the reserved time.  The edit bay then becomes available on a first-come, first-serve basis. A first-come, first-served user in this scenario need not vacate the bay if the original party arrives late.

Reserving Studio A or Studio B

Studio A and Studio B are important assets and are monitored more carefully than other facilities. Studios can only be reserved by filling out a Studio Reservation Request Form. A cleaning deposit of $250 is required if you plan to build a set. This deposit is acknowledged by use of the studio and through the studio reservation form. If a cleaning fee is assessed it will be paid on the Production Center Payment Portal. Placing sets outside the door is not removing them. If Production Center staff must clean the studio or remove your sets or materials, your deposit will be forfeited. Production Center Staff must be contacted to make a Studio Reservation.

Some sets are to remain in the studio and are not to be moved. If you are not sure, please consult the Director of studio operations.

You are responsible for making your set safe. You may secure your set by screwing your set pieces to the “nailing strip” on the studio walls. If production lights in the studios do not function properly, have frayed cables or are in any way damaged, please bring them to the Equipment Room. If you fail to tell staff they are broken, repairs will not be made, and lights will still be inoperable when you need them.

Sets can be assembled but initial construction must take place outside the Studio to avoid causing dust. Absolutely no dust-causing construction such as sawing, sanding, or spray painting is allowed in the studio. Dust clogs the air conditioning, changes the acoustic properties of the foam on the walls, and makes a mess. Touch-up painting by hand is allowed with proper drop cloths in place.

Ensure that you reserve enough time for construction, production, and striking or removal of the set when done. At the end of your shoot all set pieces and props must be removed and properly stored. If production runs longer than expected you may be tempted to leave the set striking for another day. This is unfair to others who may be scheduled to use the studio and you will forfeit your cleaning deposit.

Loss and Damage Deductible - $750

Your Loss and Damage deductible is applied toward loss or damage of equipment when equipment is used according to the rules laid out in the Studio Manual. This deductible will be used toward the cost of repair/replacement. You agree to be financially responsible for lost, stolen or damaged equipment in your care, as follows: (a) If you have exercised proper care and followed all rules and procedures in this Manual, you shall be liable for up to $750 for any loss or damage incurred. (b) If the loss or damage is the result of your failure to exercise proper care, your failure to follow the rules and procedures in this manual, or any intentional act on your part, you shall be liable for the full value of the loss or damage incurred. In either case, Biola University agrees to waive any right of subrogation by its insurance carrier against any student checking out equipment. If the loss or damage is deemed excessive, you may lose all access privileges.

The above fees will not be assessed unless there is an equipment infraction as denoted above. You will be notified by email of any infractions. This will give you a chance to respond, if you believe an error has been made, before you are required to pay.

Be familiar with the proper operating procedures for any equipment you check out. Equipment must only be used only for its intended purpose. We are happy to help if you need instruction with equipment if time permits. Be sure to locate the information you need to properly operate equipment.

Studio Rules

  1. Clean up after yourself.
  2. To reserve Studio space, please submit a Studio Reservation Request form.
  3. The studio must be returned to its proper configuration after use.
  4. A $75 cleaning fee applies for all messes left in Studio by unreserved parties.
  5. No set construction without an approved Studio Reservation Request form.
  6. Do not leave gear unattended in the studio. A two-week equipment checkout restriction will apply.
  7. If damage is caused or found to lighting or electrical equipment, discontinue use immediately and notify Production Center staff.
  8. 2000W max per dimmer.
  9. Do not plug production lights into wall sockets. Always use overhead dimmer packs.
  10. Lights with ballasts (fluorescent and LED lights, for example) must not be dimmed with the overhead dimmer packs.
  11. Lights must be hung neatly in grid or placed neatly on racks after use.
  12. Safety cables must be used when hanging lights overhead.
  13. Inspect ladders prior to use, and do not use if damaged.
  14. Do not use equipment unfamiliar to you. Ask Production Center staff for training.
  15. Use of the studio implies acceptance of all safety and use policies found in the Studio Manual.

Legal Issues

There are a number of legal issues of which you must be aware. Read the following section carefully.

Copyright Notice

All projects using any Biola University equipment, other than rental equipment, must have a Biola University copyright. We cannot legally and ethically provide free equipment for use on projects that receive monetary gain. In that case, you will need to rent equipment and facilities. Equipment and facilities rentals are handled through the Director of Studio Operations. 

Financial Gain from Productions

Because Biola is a not-for-profit educational institution, persons who give gifts to Biola are allowed to deduct the gift from their taxable income. It is inappropriate for anyone to ask for donations to Biola (for which donors receive a tax deduction) and attempt to make a profit using the donations. In addition, under IRS law it is illegal for anyone to personally profit financially from using facilities and equipment belonging to a nonprofit organization unless they have paid a fair, market value rental fee for the use of the facilities. This means as long as you are using the facilities for educational purposes you are safe. If you attempt to use facilities or equipment for commercial purposes you are violating our non-profit status and have broken the law.

Students and faculty, are not allowed to produce commercial content using Biola’s equipment for free, and receive money as a result. Therefore, if you create content using Biola’s equipment or facilities without paying for its use, the content becomes the property of Biola and any money from its sale belongs to Biola. This can be as simple as checking out a camera to record a friend’s sporting event, or shooting wedding photography with compensation.

In order to demonstrate good faith with our non-profit status, all creative content made with free use of Biola equipment and facilities, must bear the copyright notice: “Copyright [year] Biola University.” Since you do not own the copyright, you may not make copies and sell them, put them on the Internet or distribute them in any way without permission from the Snyder School of CMA/DJAM of Biola University. You may make copies of projects for yourself for personal use, to use in a résumé reel and for other non-commercial aspects. Biola’s equipment insurance covers non-profit use only.

Equipment Rental

If you are being paid to do production work, even if the work is for a friend’s wedding or another department of Biola University, it is considered commercial work. You must pay rent for any equipment and facilities you use. We offer students and alumni attractive rental rates for equipment and facilities. Contact the Director of Studio Operations for rates, reservations and use policy. The Equipment Room does not handle equipment rentals or reservations for rentals.

When equipment is rented, Biola insurance no longer covers the equipment. Therefore, equipment will not be rented until the renter provides proof of insurance for the full retail value of the equipment being rented. Rentals must provide insurance for full replacement value of gear rented with Biola named as the “Loss Payee and Additional Insured.” Facilities rentals also require a liability policy. This insurance can be obtained through commercial insurance brokers. Contact the Director of Studio Operations for details.

Be aware that if you are going into the production business, and particularly if you plan to hire others to help you, there are many legal issues you need to consider, such as paying payroll taxes for your employees and having liability insurance.

Fund Raising

While Biola will provide free use of equipment and facilities for approved projects, we do not have the budget to pay other production costs. However, if you or someone you know is willing to give a gift to Biola to be used for your production, follow these steps:

Have your donor(s) write their check(s) to Biola University, and designate it “Biola Film Projects” or “Digital Journalism and Media.” Your name cannot appear on the “note” or “memo” line of the check. Donors should be friends or family. Do not solicit gifts from your place of internship. You can bring the donation check, or have your donor send it to either the CMA or the DJAM Department office, to make sure it gets credited correctly. Do not send it directly to Biola University Accounting. The donor will be sent a letter acknowledging his/her gift. However, a gift specifically designated toward a specific project or a specific person given by you or a family member does not qualify as a tax-deductible donation. Donations must be made generically to the Snyder School of CMA/DJAM.

All film project donations are deposited in the Biola Film Projects account, and all Digital Journalism and Media projects are deposited in the “Digital Journalism and Media” account. The Snyder School of CMA/DJAM will keep track of the money you raise and the amount you spend. Our records are the final authority on accounting. Reimbursements can be made against deposited funds one week after the deposit. This allows time to confirm that Biola has actually received the funds. (The check has cleared). If any money you raised is not spent by the time you graduate any balance will remain in the Biola Film Projects account to be used on other student film projects. If you spend more than you raised, you will only be reimbursed for the amount you raised and deposited. If additional expenses beyond the amount raised are charged to Biola, this amount will then be charged to your student account. Under no circumstances are you allowed to make Biola responsible for costs involved in a production. Please see the contract section.

If Biola receives a gift for expenses toward producing a student media or film project, the disbursement of that money will be subject to all of Biola’s accounting procedures, as required by law. That is, Biola cannot give you the money, even though you, your family or friends may have donated it. The donated money now belongs to Biola. You will only be reimbursed for reasonable expenses associated with your production. This means you will need to keep receipts for anything you spend and for which you wish to be reimbursed. If the reimbursement is for food, all who participated in the meal must be listed with Biola ID numbers if applicable. Both the itemized and charge receipt must be included. Before spending money on a project, it would be best to check with your advisor as to whether or not it is reimbursable. Remember that the project will belong to Biola. Biola will have distribution rights if you use Biola’s equipment for free or if Biola receives tax-deductible donations to help with it.

Of course, you are welcome to raise money entirely apart from Biola. However, the investors in your project would not be able to receive a tax deduction from Biola for the investment.


Although it is the policy of the Snyder School of CMA and DJAM that our students need not spend additional money (beyond Biola’s normal fees) to complete any course assignment, from time to time students may desire to borrow or rent equipment or facilities not available through Biola. In most cases, even if the rental fee is minimal or even entirely waived, the renting agency will still require that insurance be provided.

Understand that Biola cannot provide insurance coverage through our insurance carriers unless the equipment or facilities are rented or borrowed through Biola. That means that you cannot pay for a rental directly, then have Biola provide insurance. Even if Biola did provide insurance, our insurance would protect Biola—not you. If you rent or borrow equipment in your own name, you alone are responsible for it!

If you are proposing to rent equipment or facilities outside of Biola, list this information on the Greenlight Production Form. along with the price, dates, etc. Biola does not have funds to pay for this extra insurance. If your project is approved, you may contribute or raise money for the rental, insurance, etc. The donations will be placed into our “Biola Film Projects” or “Digital Journalism and Media” fund, and any money not spent on your project in a reasonable time will be used for other student projects. It usually takes at least three weeks to provide proof of insurance for equipment rental.

If you are raising funds to produce a non-class related independent film or Digital Journalism and Media project you will work under the guidance of the Snyder School of CMA or DJAM. Any funds raised for your project will be processed though the department overseeing your work. These departments will have discretionary authority over use of funds raised, under the ultimate authority of the University.

Many locations that you might wish to film (a city park, for example) will require proof of liability insurance. If the insurance required is not more than the coverage Biola already has, then there is only a charge for preparing a certificate proving insurance coverage.

Allow three weeks for the paperwork to be processed. See the CMA Production Coordinator in the CMA office to initiate the paperwork for the purchase order, the rental, and insurance. Do not contact Biola’s Purchasing Department or Risk Management office directly.

Requirements for Media Production from the Risk Management Office

The following requirements are subject to being changed at any time by Risk Management.

  1. The use of Biola University’s insurance for media production is a privilege. The use of insurance increases Biola’s liability. Productions that incur excessive risk or liability will not be supported. Pyrotechnics are not allowed.
  2. All CMA/DJAM projects that require use of Biola University’s insurance (i.e. anytime you use equipment from the Equipment Room), a Greenlight Production Form must be filled out and approved. CMA/DJAM students are responsible for all insurance charges associated with the media production and must provide the Biola account to which related insurance costs will be charged; this will be provided to you after talking with the Cinema & Media Arts Production Coordinator, . If Biola University insurance policies are used to insure the film’s activities and rentals, then Biola University must own the copyright and all distribution rights to the product.
  3. According to Employee Handbook Section 6.71, a student or staff person cannot sign contracts obligating Biola University. Contracts must be submitted to the CMA Production Coordinator one month prior to the start of the film project to provide adequate time for processing and approval. Occasionally, Biola needs to negotiate both contract and insurance requirements, which takes time. The Snyder School of CMA/DJAM should keep a copy of all items submitted, for their records.
  4. Providing proof of Liability Insurance to an organization involves obtaining an insurance certificate. Insurance certificates naming the other party as an additional insured cost $60 per certificate. (“Additional insured” means that the other entity is being added to our policy coverage). The certificate will name the other party for a one-month period, beginning with the first date their services or location is being used. If a film shoot is delayed (and Risk Management is notified) before the effective start date of a certificate, we can cancel the certificate without any charges. If Risk Management does not receive a cancellation notice prior to the effective date, the $60 will be charged. Information needed for a certificate includes the following: the name of the organization to be added, the full address including the ZIP code, phone and fax numbers, the contact person’s name, dates the insurance is needed, and the name of the media production. Please use the certificate request form to begin the process of requesting a certificate of insurance from Biola's Risk Management office.
  5. In addition, if the insurance certificate is needed for a rental agency, there will be an additional insurance charge of $1 per $100 of value of the rented item. For example, if an item valued at $5,000 is rented, it will cost an additional $50 to insure the item being used. This is in addition to the $60 additional insured charge. Charges may change without notice. If your film project is renting equipment, Risk Management will need to have the full replacement value information so that your rental is added to our policy. You must provide a written list of all equipment to be rented with the insurance value needed for each piece of equipment. The list must be on official stationery from the rental agency.
  6. One member of the project should be appointed as liaison with the Risk Management office to arrange for appropriate insurance coverage. Requests from any other person will not be accepted. This streamlines the approach and ensures that the changes are approved for the film project.
  7. Students are financially responsible for lost, stolen or damaged equipment in their care, as follows: (a) If the student has exercised proper care and followed all rules and procedures in this Manual, the student shall be liable for up to $750 for any loss or damage incurred. (b) If the loss or damage is the result of the student's failure to exercise proper care, the student's failure to follow the rules and procedures in this Manual, or any intentional act on the student's part, the student shall be liable for the full value of the loss or damage incurred. In either case, Biola University agrees to waive any right of subrogation by its insurance carrier against any student checking out equipment.

Use of Copyrighted Material

You may not use copyrighted material in any production without permission of the copyright holder. To do so is a violation of law. If you are caught, you could be subject to a lawsuit. Biola University will not knowingly allow anyone to use our facilities or equipment to produce material that violates copyright law.

No project will be accepted for course credit if it contains copyrighted material unless you have written permission from the copyright owner. No projects will be accepted into the Biola Film Festival if they violate copyright laws.

You are not allowed to store any copyrighted material without permission on Biola’s computer network.

You may be tempted to try to cheat on this rule thinking no one will ever know, and the project will only be shown in class. However, it is beneficial for you to obey this rule, because:

  • As a Christian you must obey the civil authorities, and copyright infringement is against the law.
  • Copyright is a real-world issue. You need to create within the legal structure.
  • Copyright violations cheat copyright owners out of income that is rightfully theirs. It’s stealing.
  • If you want to enter your project into a film festival or some other contest, you will not be able to do so if it contains copyrighted material.
  • If you get caught violating copyright law the copyright owner could sue you.
  • If Biola finds you have included copyrighted material in projects turned in for a grade, you will receive a failing grade for the project.

If you do use copyrighted material in any project, you must turn in paperwork that does the following:

  • List all items (such as music, graphics, pictures, etc.) included in the project that were not created by you. The list must include the name of the item, and the name and address (if possible) of the owner of the copyright.
  • Give the basis for its use, such as permission of copyright owner, Biola’s license, etc.
  • Provide a copy of a letter from the copyright owner granting permission to you to use the material in your film or video. The exception would be the use of public domain material, or copyrighted material for which Biola has already paid a license fee, such as our music libraries.

For background music or soundtracks, Biola subscribes to music libraries for which we have paid a license fee. You may use this library free of charge for any class project or other project owned by Biola. If you would like more information on music and SFX libraries available to you for student projects please visit our Services & Resources page. We are not licensed to allow you to use library music in productions that you personally own or those from which a profit is made.

Other music, such as music from streaming services, is copyrighted and may not be used without permission. You would usually need permission from the owner of the music and the lyrics (the writer or the publisher), the recording company, the recording artists, and the musician’s union.

As you can imagine, it is usually very cumbersome and expensive to get permission to use recorded music. You may use music which you personally own (because you wrote it and recorded it) or which a friend or acquaintance owns and gives you permission (in writing) to use. If you receive permission to use someone else’s music, be sure you get permission on paper. Turn in a copy of your permission letter with the assignment. For your convenience, a sample Music License Form is available in the Forms section of this site.

Also, do not use visual materials without permission. This includes copyrighted photographs, posters, paintings, advertisements, trademarks etc.

Do not adapt a copyrighted story for your script. You can use an idea or premise others have used, but the details need to be original. Things that are public knowledge (news happenings) are not copyrighted, but a particular viewpoint or telling of the story may be.

If you write a script for class, you own the copyright on the script, even if you don’t register it. That would be true about anything you write or create, unless you are creating it for pay as “work for hire.” In that case, the company who hires you owns the rights.

By allowing your script to be produced as a student project you are giving Biola University a license to use your copyrighted material. If you don’t want to allow Biola to use the material you wrote, do not permit it to be produced using Biola equipment or facilities. If you do permit its use, you are implicitly granting a license for its use, but you may make other use of it in the future. In other words, you are granting a non-exclusive license for the use of your work.


Do not use recognizable images of people without their permission. This violates privacy laws. You may record a large group of people in a public place (people in chapel or walking across campus, for example), but don’t use close ups of people without their permission in writing. All release forms must be turned in with the assignment.

You may record from public streets, sidewalks, parks, etc., without violating privacy laws as long as you do not record people close up. People give up some of their right to privacy by being in a public place. However, it is illegal to photograph on private property without permission. If you shoot on private property, be sure to get permission in writing.

A sample Film/Video Consent and Release Form is available in the Forms section of this site.

Public Location Permits

If you plan to record on public property (streets, parks, etc.) you will need a permit from the appropriate city or county agency. If you don’t have a permit, police may stop your project. For students, permits are often free. Fill out the paper work at the appropriate office a minimum of one week before you plan to shoot. If your project requires traffic control or police officers on duty for safety reasons, you will be required to hire them and pay for them.

Private residences do not need permits, but you must obtain a release form from the owner of the property. A sample Location Release Form is available in the Forms section of this site.

Libel and Defamation

It is against the law to publish or broadcast something about another person (or company) that is not true, especially if it defames their character. If you record or broadcast a story, you should have convincing evidence that it is true. You might have to defend yourself in court.

That means you have a responsibility to check your facts, especially if what you say would libel or defame someone. If a person is accused of doing something wrong (but not convicted) you should make sure you do not represent the accusation as being fact. You may say (if it is true) that the person is accused of the deed, or you can use the word “alleged” when referring to the misdeed.


Film, television and audio recording production can be hazardous if not done properly. You will need to form the habit of good safety practices.


Do not stand on the top or second step down. Do not reach so far from a ladder that the bulk of your weight is over the side. This could cause you to fall. Check the condition of the ladder before climbing. Do not climb rickety, shaky or broken ladders. If you find defective features of a ladder, tag with "Do Not Use" note and notify Production Center staff immediately. Wear rubber, not leather-soled shoes when climbing a ladder. Never attempt to climb a ladder in high-heel shoes. As a general practice, designate someone to hold the ladder securely for you.

When using an extension ladder, make sure the base of the ladder is on solid ground. Also, make sure the base cannot slide out. Aluminum ladders are excellent electrical conductors. Touching electrical lines with aluminum ladders could kill you.


Electric shock can kill you. Be very careful in using electricity. Always verify electrical equipment is grounded (except for battery operated equipment). If a piece of equipment has a grounding prong, it is to be plugged into an outlet that will accept it. Do not use ungrounded wiring.

Only a qualified electrician can “tie in” to a power system. Do not attempt this on your own. If done improperly, it is potentially lethal for you and anyone who touches any of the equipment connected.

If an extension cord is used, confirm that it also has a grounding prong. Inspect extension cords before using. If they are worn (especially if any bare wire shows) DO NOT USE THEM. Tie a knot in the cord at the trouble spot, and return it to the ER to be repaired or replaced. If you find an extension cord or piece of equipment with the grounding prong missing, do not use it. Return it for repair or replacement.

Water and electricity can be a deadly combination. Do not let electrical equipment get wet. If a piece of equipment gets wet, let it dry out thoroughly before trying to power it up. If you must work in a potentially hazardous environment (such as shooting near a swimming pool or other standing water), take extra precautions so that no one can come into contact with water and electrical equipment at the same time. If you are working near water or on damp soil (such as on grass), use an extension cord with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). This device senses a bad ground situation and cuts off power. If a light fixture or other electrical device falls into water, unplug the power cord before reaching for the device. If you are using lights or other electrical equipment outdoors and it looks like it may rain, unplug the equipment and quickly move it to shelter. If it actually starts raining, the most important thing is to quickly unplug all the equipment, then cover or move it.

When working with electrical equipment, ensure that you do not create a ground path through your body. For example, do not touch an electrical device with one hand and a water faucet with another. Do not touch a light (or anything else that is plugged in) if you are standing on the ground (or wet floor) with bare feet. Never touch two lights at the same time. When working with electricity wear rubber-soled shoes.

Remember, if you should come into contact with a live wire or faulty piece of equipment, you will get an unpleasant shock, but it won’t kill you unless some other part of your body is in contact with a ground. This ground could be a pipe, a grounded piece of equipment, damp soil, or many other things.

In case of a downed power line, the voltage is much higher. Even walking across ground near the wire can kill you. Stay entirely away. If a person is in contact with a downed power line do not attempt to move them or the wire. You will not help them and may kill yourself. Call 911.

In private residences the highest concentration of electrical power is in the kitchen and laundry room. Often the washer, dryer, garbage disposal, dishwasher, microwave, and refrigerator are on separate circuits. Use these outlets to power your lights. On the other hand, all bedrooms may be on one circuit. Consider what other equipment may be drawing power from the source when calculating total load. To calculate capacity, use the formula: Volts x Amps = Watts. Thus, a typical 15-amp circuit at 120 volts will support 1,850 watts of lights. Also, a 20-amp circuit can support 2,400 watts. It should be noted that most home circuit breakers will trip at 80% of total capacity. It is good practice to leave some room and not run the breaker to its total capacity. Don’t blow circuits by connecting too much lighting equipment.


Lights get very hot. Do not try to adjust barn doors or change bulbs with your bare hands. Use gloves. Always unplug a lamp before changing the bulb. Never put anything that will melt in contact with the hot parts of a light fixture. Usually, only the extreme ends of a barn door are cool enough to have gels attached. If you do suffer a burn, get cool (not cold) water on it as quickly as possible. For severe burns, seek medical attention as soon as possible.


The greatest danger from fire on a movie shoot is from lights. The most dangerous are small, open-faced lights, often used on location. They can easily set drapes and ceilings on fire. Do not put them near flammable material.


Never step on cables. Doing so will damage the wire inside of them. All cables (including microphone cables) should be laid out in an orderly fashion and taped down with gaffers tape or covered up with rubber mats if they must be in an area with traffic. This is particularly true when filming in a public area where you cannot control traffic. If tripping over your cable injures someone, you may be legally liable.

Moving Vehicles

Filmmakers are tempted to do really unwise things with vehicles to get a shot. Remember, the laws of physics, as well as traffic laws, apply to you. Do not ride or permit anyone to ride on a car’s hood (even if strapped down), or stand up in a moving convertible or lean out a car window, etc., to get a shot. Do not attempt to film cars driving dangerously, sliding sideways etc. Do not use lights or cameras mounted to the exterior of a moving car unless using proper equipment. Mounting camera equipment to a car often involves a required permit from the local authorities. These kinds of shots should only be done under very controlled conditions and by experienced stunt drivers. Shots like these may not be used in student films.

Traffic Control

You are not authorized to stop or interrupt traffic on public streets. If your project requires traffic control you will need to get a permit (from the city or county involved) and pay for police officers to control traffic.

Firearms and Knives

No guns, even fake or toy ones, are permitted on campus. Do not use real guns even off campus. Blanks can injure or even kill people. Do not bring switchblades, butterfly knives or other illegal and dangerous kinds of knives on campus. Do not attempt to use squibs to simulate gunfire.

If you are using fake guns and/or knives off campus, make sure that the situation is carefully controlled. For example, if you are using a fake gun on a public street, gang members or police officers using real guns may join the “fight.” If fake guns or knives are to be used in any public place (a street, for example) you must secure a permit from the county or city involved. This will usually involve considerable costs for traffic re-routing, security, notification of neighbors, and so on.

If you plan to use a fake gun indoors at a private residence, local authorities (such as the city police or county sheriff) must be notified in advance. This reduces the likelihood of trouble if a neighbor calls the police. The person to contact is the watch commander with time of day and location of shoot.

Fire, Explosions, Pyrotechnics, Fog Effects

Do not use explosives or smoke effects that require burning anything. Do not use flammable liquids or gas, such as gasoline or propane. Do not use any effect that requires open flames or the burning of any substance. Do not use explosions or other means to simulate explosions (such as compressed air), which cause things (such as rocks, dirt, dust, etc.) to fly through the air. All of these are potentially dangerous and require trained and licensed specialists. Biola does not allow the use of fog machines in the Production Center. Fog machines often set off the fire alarm system and cause false alarms for Campus Safety and the Fire Department. Students using any of these unsafe practices may have studio privileges revoked.


Do not film scenes that require breaking glass (even sugar glass or breakaway bottles), furniture, or other items that could be potentially dangerous.

Booms for Microphone or Camera

Be very careful when operating a boom that you don’t hit someone. Look around carefully to make sure that no one is in the path of the boom. If using a large boom, know that it cannot touch an overhead electrical wire; this is common cause of death in film and video production.

Falling Hazards

Do not use rigging to support people, or heavy objects (such as lights) over people’s heads. Always use safety chains on studio lights. Lighting stands and C-stands can do considerable damage if they fall over. Weight their bases well with sand bags so that they won’t fall. If you are using reflectors on a windy day, you will probably need to station a grip at each reflector. For lights, make sure the power cord comes straight down to the ground from the light and then lies flat on the ground. A cord making a diagonal from the light to the ground is likely to be tripped over and could pull the stand down.


Improper lifting can cause permanent back injury. If you are lifting a heavy object from the ground, squat beside it rather than bending over. Let your legs, not your back muscles, do most of the lifting. Get help lifting if needed so you will not risk back injury.


In case of a serious accident: If on campus, call 5111. If you are off campus, call 911. If in doubt, make the call. If an injured person may have neck or back injuries, do not attempt to move him or her unless it is absolutely necessary. If a person is bleeding heavily, apply pressure to the bleeding wound with a clean cloth (or the cleanest cloth you have). Your shirt will do if nothing cleaner is available.

Think through in advance what you will do in case of an accident. For example, know how to reach medical assistance, and have a charged cell phone with you.

Personal Security

Do not film in dangerous places, such as on busy streets, in known gang areas, etc. Students should not walk alone late at night almost anywhere, including on campus. If filming in remote desert or wilderness areas, be aware of dangers such as getting lost, getting dehydrated, snake bites, being injured in a fall, turning an ankle, etc. Make sure you are well prepared with a plan for any such dangers.

    Schedule of Fees

    A hold will be placed on equipment checkout account until outstanding fees are paid in full. If excessive or grossly negligent damage or loss takes place to Biola owned equipment a restriction for the remainder of the semester will apply. Fees must be paid on the Production Center Payment Portal.

    DescriptionAmountSection Title
    Studio A/B Cleaning Deposit
    (additional dumpster fees assessed as necessary)
    $250Reserving Studio A or B
    Production Center Cleaning Fee$75Production Center Etiquette
    Student Liability for Equipment Loss and Damage$750Production Center Access