TRF Equipment Distribution Policy

The Equipment Distribution Center (EDC) services the students, faculty, and staff of Emerson College by vending media production equipment for VMA and Journalism curricular use.

The mission of the EDC is to ensure that its customers have timely access to production equipment in good working order and to provide high quality technical and operational services in support of their projects.

In order to maintain a successful partnership between EDC staff and users the following policies and procedures are in place to ensure:

  1. Students and Faculty have timely access to the equipment specified for their particular courses
  2. The EDC is able to maintain maximum equipment availability, excellent customer service and quality control

At the start of each semester, eligible students wishing to use equipment and facilities must fill out and sign the Equipment and Facilities Use Contract. The Contract must be filled out for each production course in which any one student is enrolled. By signing the form, each student agrees to abide by these policies and procedures. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to read, understand, and comply with these policies. It is recommended that students keep this booklet for your reference.

Emerson College students currently enrolled in approved production courses, having authorization from a course instructor and showing valid Emerson ID may borrow equipment for assigned class projects. Due to the high volume and quick turnaround of student checkouts equipment may not be used for productions of any other kind, including but not limited to co-curricular organizations, paid shoots, or other personal projects.

Equipment checked out may not be signed out for, or loaned to, other students. In the case of a group project, one student will be primarily responsible for the equipment but group members within the class can be added to the reservation as “associated patrons” by EDC staff and equipment shared. The primary student, however, remains responsible for any penalties (see below) unless otherwise arranged with an EDC manager.

I. Familiarity of Equipment

EDC staff are available for assistance with any equipment operational questions, concerns or issues you may have. More in-depth training with equipment is typically done by faculty members during pre-arranged in-class demonstrations with equipment provided by the EDC. VMA also offers training workshops for certain specialized, advanced level equipment.

For VMA students, more information on safety training and advanced equipment workshops can be found at:
For Journalism students, more information on equipment workshops can be found at:

II. Reservation and Checkout Procedures

Process for equipment authorization:

  • Prior to the beginning of each semester, each faculty member determines the equipment required for each course’s curriculum, which is then sent to EDC managers. This list is known as the Allocation List.
  • Projects requiring equipment that varies from the course’s allocated equipment will require prior authorization from an appropriate faculty member and EDC managers
  • A student’s equipment authorizations are not cumulative and prior authorization for a specific piece of equipment does not ensure its authorization to a student in future semesters.
  • Once students are trained and given assignments, professors authorize the class via email to begin making reservations at the EDC with the specified equipment for their shoots.

Process for reserving and checking out equipment:

  • Reservations must be made in person and up to two weeks in advance (unless otherwise specified; determined by class type)
  • Some courses may be eligible to create their own, simple, equipment reservations via WebCheckout’s self-service “Patron Initiated Reservation” (PIR) system. PIR can be accessed at
  • Upon arrival at the EDC, it is the student’s responsibility to review the specified return time, thoroughly check the provided equipment list, confirm all items listed are present and in working order, then sign the loan agreement form.
    • The student signing the loan agreement form is solely responsible for loss and/or damage to and prompt return of the equipment, and will be charged accordingly.
    • Students should alert EDC staff if anything is missing, unusual, extra, or malfunctioning before leaving the EDC.
    • For crewed projects, it is recommended that no more than three key crew members be present to assist in check out and return of large or advanced orders of equipment.
    • Take note of how the equipment is packed; you must return it in the same organization.
    • On average, EDC checkouts take fifteen to twenty minutes. Students should ensure they have enough time to properly check their gear before leaving the EDC.
    • Reservations are held past pick-up time for one half hour. After this time the reservation is automatically canceled and the equipment is made available to other students.
  • Per VMA’s Director of Production and Safety, all students checking out equipment for VMA productions must have a completed safety form electronically signed by their instructor or the Director of Production and Safety.
    • In order to pick up their equipment, students must present their completed safety form, either electronically or on paper.
    • No VMA checkouts will be allowed without a completed safety form.
    • If a student arrives at the EDC without a completed safety form, their equipment is held for 24 hours and then released for general use if a completed safety form is not presented.
  • Students must return gear by the specified return time determined by the student and confirmed upon pick-up.
    • EDC staff check-in of equipment is a two-step process. First, the desk worker checks that all components have been returned without obvious damage. Next, the equipment is thoroughly checked ensure its complete and in good working order.
    • Students are able to leave the EDC after the first check but may be notified of an issue with the equipment discovered in the second check within one business day.

If a problem arises with the equipment during your checkout period, you are required to immediately notify the EDC staff and/or managers of the nature of the issue. Do not attempt repairs of equipment yourself. Unreported damage discovered may result in financial liability for the last user. Abuse of equipment will result in penalties or permanent revocation of borrowing privileges, as determined by EDC Managers. If a student believes there may be an issue with their equipment upon its return, they can schedule an appointment with EDC staff to review the equipment together.

Upon its return, no equipment may be signed out again immediately and consecutive periods may not be reserved. If you are not finished with your shoot and will need to continue to use the equipment to finish your classwork, you may be able to extend your original reservation, pending equipment availability and authorization. All reservation extensions require at least thirty-minute notice and must be arranged with a manager in person or over the phone. Please be aware that certain advanced equipment may have special sign-out periods and/or restrictions. 

III. Penalties

Because of the limited amount of equipment and space within the EDC and Annex, an equitable rotation among the students must be maintained.  Therefore proper use and timely return of the equipment is essential. Penalties will be enforced on the following:

  • Late return of equipment
  • Broken equipment
  • Improper, careless handling, or repacking of equipment
    • This includes shooting in foul weather or in sandy environments
  • Early return of large, appointment based, checkouts (e.g. Film 2, BA/BFA/MFA)
    • Early returns can be largely disruptive to EDC operations, due to space and staffing concerns. In the event a student attempts to return an appointment based checkout early, the student may be assessed a half day fine at the applicable tier.

Penalties include fines, replacement/repair charges and loss of all borrowing privileges for the rest of the semester (permanently, in the severest cases). When a student is assessed a penalty, they are provided one week to make a payment, appeal or set up a payment plan. After one week, their account is placed on hold and equipment privileges are suspended.

Late Fees—Late fees will be assessed for equipment after the first hour that it is late. Late fees are billed hourly, during EDC business hours, for the first 24 hours that the equipment is late. After 24 hours a daily fee is assessed for each successive day. Late fees accrue up to the replacement cost of the equipment.

Tier 1 = $30/hour for first day, $100.00 after first day VMA Advanced Cameras (Canon 7D, C100, Sony F3, F5, FS700, Arri SR), HMI lights, high end LEDs, high end grip (dollies, jibs, MoVI, sliders, steadicam)  
Tier 2 = $20.00/hour for first day, $75.00 after the first day Bolex, DSLRs (Canon 60D, 70D, Nikon D3200, D3300, D7000, D800, et al.), GoPros, JVC Cameras, Panasonic HMC150, Sony EX3, FS100, Photo cameras, mid-range lighting (Arri lights, Rifa lights, Mole Richardson lights, Kino Flo kits, LitePanel kits), advanced field audio recorders
Tier 3 = $10.00/hour for the first day, $50.00 after first day Elemental light kits, basic field audio recorders, Apple mobile devices (iPad, iPad Mini, iPod/iTouch), all tripods, video monitors, brick batteries, all microphones, light meters and grip equipment
Tier 4 = $5.00/hour for the first day, $25.00 after first day XLR cables, all basic batteries, boom poles, extension cords, sandbags, apple boxes and slates

Double Booking Fee—In the event a late return prevents the EDC from fulfilling another student, staff or faculty member’s reservation, the late party will be assessed an additional full day fee for that equipment’s tier. 

IV. Shooting on Emerson Property

To shoot on Emerson College property you must fill out the A1 Form.

  • Submit the completed form and your script to your instructor for his or her signature.
  • See Lenny Manzo for his signature. He will direct you to the Emerson Police Department, the appropriate building manager, and the Property Management Department. 

The only exception to filling out the A1 Form is a two-person shoot with one camera and tripod in a faculty or staff office with their permission and their supervision. 

To insure that the College and its students are in compliance with City of Boston fire regulations and Massachusetts special effects regulations—fires, candles, smoke, cookies, squibs, black powder charges, fireworks, explosive devices, or any other flame producing items are not permitted on College property.

Students are prohibited from making permanent alterations or modifications to Emerson College structures. The use of any prop, set item, special effects apparatus, or any other device of any kind that may result in damage to Emerson College property is prohibited. Students are advised to consult with their instructor for specific permissions and prohibitions.

Use of props and set pieces in Emerson College buildings may require you to adhere to the Emerson College Policies on Use of Performance and Rehearsal Facilities. This document can be downloaded at in the policies and forms section.

Shoots may not be conducted in the following areas:

  • Inside the lobbies of buildings
  • In front of or inside building elevators
  • On stairways
  • In any corridor
  • In rest rooms
  • Anywhere where building egress might be blocked in any way
  • Anywhere where building operation might be impaired in any way
  • Allen’s Alley
  • Boylston Place
  • Edgar Allen Poe Alley
  • Paramount Loading Dock

Certain areas within specific College buildings are off-limits:

  • At the Walker Building, 120 Boylston Street: In the Emerson College Library
  • At the Little Building, 80 Boylston Street:
    • Basement, College Fitness Center
    • 1st Floor, Main Lobby    
    • 2nd Floor, Mezzanine  
    • 2nd Floor, Dining Hall & Function Rooms
  • At 216 Tremont Street: Inside the Bill Bordy Theater and Auditorium (available for limited access)
  • At 219 Tremont Street:
    • Inside the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Backstage or Lobbies
  • At the Tufte Performance and Production Center
    • Semel Theater, Backstage and Lobby
    • Floor 5-Dressing Rooms
    • Greene Theater, Backstage and Lobby
    • Huret and Spector Gallery
  • At 150 Boylston Street
    • Floor L3 & Floor L2 – Athletics, The Skybox, Gymnasium
    • Floor L1 – Meeting Rooms, the Cultural Center, Piano Rooms, Student Organization Offices
    • Floor 1 – Laundry Room, Lobby, Meeting Rooms, The Multipurpose Room, the Terrace
    • Floor 2 – The Quiet Lounge, the Student Lounge, the Café, Meeting Room, administrative offices
  • At the Ansin Building, 180 Tremont St:  Floors 9 through 14
  • At 555 Washington Street:
    • Floor L1 – Theatre Support Areas
    • Floor 1 – Loading Dock, Scene Shop
    • Floor 2 – Scene Shop and Backstage Areas
    • Floor 3 – Paramount Studios and Atrium Lobby
      • Limited to single camera, two person shoots only.
    • Floor 4 – Paramount Studios and Atrium Lobby
      • Limited to single camera, two person shoots only.
  • At 559 Washington Street:
    • Paramount Mainstage Theatre, Lobbies and Backstage
    • Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre, Lobby and Backstage
    • Bright Family Screening Room, Lobby and Booth

All spaces managed by the Campus Center at 150 Boylston St. and the Cabaret at 80 Boylston may be used with permission the Director of the Campus Center at 150 Boylston St. (617-824-8680).

V. Film 2 Reservations and Checkouts

Once your instructor has authorized the class, all reservations can be made in the Film Annex on the first floor of the Little Building with the Film Equipment Center Manager only.

All pick up and returns will be made from Paramount 518 by appointment between the hours of 9am and 4pm.  Pickups are typically on Thursday and Friday while returns are typically on Monday and Tuesday.

Please make all reservations at least 2 weeks in advance.

Super 16 cameras are assigned by the faculty. If you are not assigned a Super 16, a standard Arri SR will be put on the reservation until the faculty authorizes Super 16 use. 

Please have at least three or four people present to go through each case to make sure all parts are accounted for and the kits are functional. Checkout periods are scheduled for a one-hour duration; students should plan on using the full hour.

Access to the Paramount loading dock will be available to you if you have a vehicle. At least one person must stay with the vehicle in case it needs to be moved.

Between the hours of 9am and 5pm, the loading dock must be used for checkout and return of equipment bins, unless you are bringing the equipment into the Paramount dorm.

Please remember Paramount 518 is not staffed full time and all pick up and return times are appointment based. For staffing reasons, early or late returns may not be accommodated.

VI. Advanced Camera Reservations

Certain cameras are reserved during specific checkout periods and must be reserved with an EDC Manager. These cameras include the Canon C100, F3, F5, FS700, and the A7S.

Please remember all pick up and return times are appointment based and staff is assigned to assist with these checkouts at their specified time. Please be sure to keep EDC Managers informed of any schedule changes that may affect your pick up and/or return times. If you arrive early or late EDC staff may not be able to accommodate you at that time. Early returns of advanced camera checkouts may be subject to a fine. Checkout periods are scheduled for one hour to pick up the equipment; students should plan on using the full hour.

VII. BA/BFA/MFA Reservations and Checkout

All equipment lists must be authorized by the faculty advising your project. Please note that faculty have set up equipment class allocation lists which take into account the needs of all BFA/BA/MFAs, and other classes that can have access to equipment from the EDC. For these reasons, initial equipment requests cannot exceed the allocation for any one shoot. However, if there is more than the allocated quantity of any item available on the day of pickup they can be added to the reservation at that time.

Please make all reservations at least two weeks in advance. BA/BFA/MFA reservations can be made up to six months in advance pending faculty approval.

Please remember all pick up and return times are appointment based and staff is assigned to assist with these checkouts at their specified time. Please be sure to keep EDC Managers informed of any schedule changes that may affect your pick up and/or return times. If you arrive early or late EDC staff may not be able to accommodate you at that time. Early returns of BA/BFA/MFA checkouts may be subject to a fine. Checkout periods are scheduled for one hour to pick up the equipment; students should plan on using the full hour.

Each shoot will have one designated producer who will make all equipment reservations under his/her name, unless otherwise dictated by required safety authorizations.

VIII. Equipment Requiring Special Authorization

Some equipment vended by the EDC requires special training and authorization by the VMA department as well as the Director of Production and Safety. This equipment includes: HMIs (including the Jokerbugs), Steadicam, F3, F5, FS700, MoVI, Sliders, and Jibs.

If the producer is not authorized to checkout specialized equipment, they must have an authorized user reserve, checkout and operate the equipment during their production.

IX. International Travel

Students, faculty and staff wishing to travel internationally with Emerson College owned equipment are free to do so with advanced notice. Upon reserving the equipment, the user must inform EDC staff so the EDC can provide a customs manifest. This manifest will itemize, serialize and authorize the equipment being checked out for the specified dates and locations. Both a physical and electronic copy will be provided.

International travel should be declared to EDC staff at least two weeks in advance.

X. Insurance

All EDC equipment is covered by Emerson insurance provided its use is for academic assignments. Productions shooting on public or private property may require a certificate of insurance (COI). To obtain a COI, students must file an A2 (public property) or A3 (private property) with VMA’s Director of Production and Safety. The insurance carries a $2,500 (equipment) and $10,000 (property) deductible for which the student could be liable. Claims are viewed on a case by case basis. If it’s determined that a student acted maliciously or directly caused damage, then the matter is decided by Dean of Students et all. Typically, claims are not made for EDC equipment as the cost of replacement and/or repair is often less than the deductible.

Rental from third parties (e.g. Rule, High Output, etc.) will often require a certificate of insurance (COI) and the student must provide approval documents to obtain a COI. Documents required are vendor’s name, address, phone/email, equipment loaned, loan dates, replacement cost of equipment and renter’s contact info.  The COI is valid only for a specific day, event or time and there is never blanket coverage. The College equipment insurance policy covers up to a maximum value of $250,000, of which no single piece can be worth more than $90,000.

The College does not have a preferred or recommended vendor to provide supplemental or “bridge” coverage to lessen the deductible but, in the event of a claim, the College would accept payment from any insurance providers used by a student.