Equipment Use & Borrowing Provisions

THE STATE OF WISCONSIN • UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATION ARTS Instructional Media Center (IMC) • 3160 Vilas Hall • 821 University Ave • Madison, WI 53706 608-263-6664 • •


A Use & Borrowing Agreement (webform) for the current semester must be completed, signed and submitted online before a user is allowed to use any production equipment from the Department of Communication Arts. Users are required to present their valid UW Student ID for equipment reservation/checkout and post-production suite access.


Department of Communication Arts facilities are to be used only for completing Communication Arts course assignments by students currently enrolled in a Communication Arts production class.


IMC editing suites are only open during posted Desk Hours.  Please see for the most up to date hours. Students must follow any additional sign-up rules and hours posted in the IMC. CA 155 and 355 students may sign up for two continuous hours, up to 15 hours per week of computer time. CA 465, 467, 468, 522, 609, 651 and 659 students may sign up for three continuous hours, and up to 30 hours a week of computer time.

Editing reservations must be made through

Reservations by phone and e-mail are not accepted. There may only be one editing slot per group of students working on group projects. Student login information for is, and should remain, confidential. If the IMC believes an account has been compromised, that account's access to reservations will be suspended until the student's password can be reset in person and their identity can be verified. Access to is also available in the IMC.


Users enrolled in CA 465, 467, 651, and 659 are able to reserve and checkout after hours keys for the purpose of accessing facilities outside of normal IMC Desk Hours. Keys can be checked out for up to 24 hours. Keys must be picked up during Desk Hours within 15 minutes of the reservation time, or the reservation may be canceled and the keys made available to other eligible students. After Hours Keys are only valid for use outside of Desk Hours; all other times, students should enter through the IMC and reserve suites as outlined in "Editing Reservations" above. Please see for the most up to date hours. Only one set of keys may be checked out at a time.

Under UWS 18.06 (12), Wisconsin Administrative Code, it is illegal to duplicate or request the unauthorized duplication of a university key. It is also illegal to transfer, loan or give a university key to an unauthorized person or to retain a key after the termination of the specific university appointment for which the key was issued. Violation of UWS 18.06 (12) may result in a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than 90 days or both.

A fee of $75.00 per key will be charged for replacement of a lost key. A new key will not be issued until payment is received.


The IMC will not guarantee technical support of equipment outside of Equipment Circulation Hours.  Please see for most up to date hours. If IMC equipment is malfunctioning after hours, the student using it should refer to the IMC KnowledgeBase or email the IMC. IMC staff will be able to troubleshoot the equipment once Desk Hours resume.


Equipment reservations must be made through

Phone and email reservations are not accepted. Cancellations are accepted in person, or online up to 30 minutes before the reservation's start time. In the event of illness or emergency, cancellations will be accepted by phone. Equipment reservations for all courses should be booked in advance at least one week prior to the intended checkout date, as equipment is limited. The user who reserves the equipment must be the person who checks it out and returns it. Users are only authorized to check out equipment with which they have received training.


Equipment for CA 155, 355, 465, and 651 circulates out of the IMC during published Equipment Circulation Hours only. No equipment checkouts, returns, or exchanges may occur in the IMC outside of published Equipment Circulation Hours. Damaged equipment may be inspected outside of Equipment Circulation Hours at the discretion of the IMC staff.  Please see for the most up to date hours.

CA 155 and 355 students may reserve equipment for 24 hours (or Friday to Monday), up to twice a week. CA 465, 467, 468, 609, 651 and 659 students may reserve equipment for one week. No equipment reservations will be permitted between semesters.

Core equipment (camera, lenses, tripod, etc.) for CA 467 and 659 will be checked out to students for the semester. It will be placed in an equipment locker, where students will have access to it at appropriate times via a key set they can check out from the front desk. If an item is found to be broken or missing, the liability will fall on the group that checked out the key set for that particular locker. Because groups share lockers, the IMC reserves the right to investigate and interview students to determine liability. If equipment breaks, please notify the IMC immediately. A la carte equipment (optional lighting and grip) for CA 467 and 659 will also be available for checkout on an individual basis.


The IMC will hold equipment for 15 minutes after the reservation time. After these 15 minutes, there is no guarantee the reserved equipment will still be available. The reservation itself expires one hour after the reservation time, and a new one must be made in order to check out the equipment.


Returning equipment late will not be tolerated, as it is an inconvenience and detrimental to other users. Late returns will affect your class participation grade. Late returns are dealt with as follows:

  • 1st late return: The TA of the offending student will be notified of the late equipment return.
  • 2nd late return: The offending student will be required to meet with their TA to discuss plans to prevent future offenses. The student will not be allowed to check out camera equipment until the IMC is notified that this meeting has occurred.
  • 3rd late return: The offending student will be required to meet with their class instructor to discuss plans to prevent future offenses. The student will not be allowed to check out equipment or reserve editing time until the IMC is notified that this meeting has occurred.

If an emergency arises, please call ahead and notify IMC staff in time, so that other arrangements can be made. Failure to notify IMC staff of a significantly late return may result in involvement of the Dean's Office and UW Police, as well as revocation of a user's use & borrowing privileges.


Users must return equipment on time and remain present while the IMC staff performs a preliminary cosmetic check of the equipment. Afterward, users in CA 155 and CA 355 are free to leave. Users in CA 467 and CA 659 are expected to participate much more in checking over the equipment. If the IMC finds poor equipment packing or items misplaced in kits, users may be asked to correct these errors during the check-in. Please budget at least an hour for returning equipment in CA 467 or CA 659.

Check-ins will be performed in the order the equipment is received, although equipment with the earliest checkout time will be given priority.


Users are financially responsible for all equipment. It is the responsibility of the user to check equipment for damage and/or missing pieces before leaving the IMC. Failure to notify IMC staff of damaged and/or missing items during checkout will result in a charge for said loss or damage upon check-in, regardless of who was responsible. This also applies to equipment lockers—once users leave with the locker key, they are liable for any damages found with equipment in that locker thereafter (unless they can somehow prove otherwise). Users should inspect and test all equipment thoroughly and ensure IMC staff has noted the findings to prevent any unexpected charges.

In the event of equipment transfer, the user who checked out the equipment from the IMC, unless the other user is present at checkout, will be solely responsible, regardless of who originally caused the loss or damage. If equipment is checked out to a group (more than 1 person), all members of the group are responsible for any loss or damage to equipment. Each member would then be responsible for an equal portion of the replacement or repair costs.


The State of WI Self-Funded Property Program (SFPP) will only cover certain damages or losses by students. All other losses are the responsibility of the user checking out the equipment. All losses and damages are subject to a $1,000 deductible, with one exception: there is a $2500 deductible for theft when there is no sign of forced removal. As an example, if a student or group of students incurs $1,000 in damages, they will be required to cover the full cost. If a student or group of students incurs $1,200 in damages, they will cover the first $1,000 and The State of WI Self-Funded Property Program will cover the remaining $200 if not otherwise excluded by the SFPP. Claims must be reported immediately to UW-Madison Risk Management (email BusSvc Property Claims). Late claims are subject to denial.

If the loss involves theft or vandalism, the local law enforcement agency must be notified. In order to file a claim on the users' behalf, the IMC needs an initial brief written report (e-mail is fine) telling us who, what, when, where and how the claim occurred. Theft or vandalism claims require the filing of a police report.


Keep the safety of your equipment in mind at all times. Mounting equipment to moving vehicles (including bicycles, cars, skateboards, drones/unmanned aircraft, etc.) is prohibited. Use of equipment in or on water, in sandy or dusty situations, in areas of extreme temperature and humidity, or during snow or rainfall is prohibited. Use of equipment outside of Dane County requires permission from your instructor and the IMC.

If you feel that your project absolutely needs to violate these restrictions, you will need to obtain permission and specialized training from your instructor and the IMC ahead of time.

When loading and unloading equipment, users are encouraged to find assistance, so equipment is not left unguarded and easily stolen. Transportation of equipment on open vehicles such as mopeds or bicycles is prohibited.

Do not store equipment in a vehicle overnight or for long periods of time. Equipment stored in vehicles is at a much higher risk of theft than equipment stored indoors, and extreme temperatures (heat from sunlight or cold during winter) can damage equipment. Instead, bring equipment into your residence for safekeeping. When transporting equipment, we strongly recommend placing it in the trunk or out of sight if possible, to minimize the risk of theft when your vehicle is unattended.


Users should not repair, alter, or modify any equipment at any time. Users should contact the IMC immediately by phone, email, or in person upon discovery of any equipment problem.

Users are expected to report damage, loss, or theft occurring during their loan period as soon as possible and no later than the start of equipment check-in. If IMC staff discovers a lost or damaged item during check-in, a bill will be presented to the user as soon as possible afterward. Please note that it can take time to get a current price or quote on certain pieces of equipment or repair services. After a bill has been presented, a user has 30 days to submit payment in the form of check or money order only. Once payment has been submitted, there can be no refund or return of the check or money order, even if the lost item is found.

If payment is not received or payment arrangements made by the due date, the user's name will be submitted to the University and a hold will be placed on their records and registration. This hold will be removed once full payment is made. A user with a university hold will not be able to check out equipment or use facilities until payment has been made.

The Department of Communication Arts will not accept equipment purchased or repair quotes acquired by the user as payment for damaged/lost equipment. The IMC will be solely responsible for arranging these services.


All equipment returned to the IMC must be clean and free of grime such as but not limited to dust, dirt, sand, mud, grease/oil, and water.

In the unfortunate event that equipment does get dirty and IMC staff must clean it, a fee of $100/hour of cleaning will be billed to the responsible user(s).


The Department of Communication Arts carefully selects and maintains trusted equipment brands and models. Any outside equipment employed by a user requires TA/instructor and IMC staff approval. If the user is granted permission to use outside equipment, that equipment will not be supported by the IMC staff in the event of corrupt footage or data, or equipment failure.


Professional movies and television shows abide by rigid safety standards, your productions must do the same. Please keep the safety of your cast and crew in mind at all times. Class projects that do not follow these safety guidelines may receive a zero from class instructors and future privileges with IMC equipment may be restricted or revoked for the student or students involved.

To keep shoots safe, students are required to abide by the following restrictions:

  • Do not shoot scenes inside a moving vehicle or staging a scene involving a moving vehicle.
  • Do not shoot scenes with weapons (real or simulated).
  • Do not shoot scenes with simulated acts of public violence. An example of an act of public violence would be staging a robbery on State Street.

If you feel that your project absolutely needs to violate these restrictions, you will need to obtain permission from the course instructor ahead of time. To obtain permission, you will need to provide a safety plan and may need to hire an off-duty police officer.

Additionally, do not shoot scenes that contain any form of actual illegal activity. When in doubt, ask your instructor. Do not put the safety of your cast, crew, or the public at risk.


UAS operations by students, employees, or visitors for recreational or hobbyist purposes are not permitted on UW premises, and UAS operations without proper approval from UW-Madison and the FAA are strictly prohibited.

UW-Madison policy allows for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by faculty, staff, and students in connection with instructional, research, outreach, and other institutional uses. However, gaining approval to operate UAS in Communication Arts courses and on the UW-Madison campus, interiors, and exteriors is extremely unlikely due to time-consuming approval processes and remote pilot certification requirements. Consult UW-Madison's policy as well as your TA and instructor before considering UAS operation for a class project.


The IMC has temporary parking permits available for checkout by IMC staff. Permits are to be used by IMC users for temporary loading & unloading. Permits must be hung from a vehicle's rearview mirror with the lot number visible for a permit to be valid. Permits are only valid for the space marked on the Vilas Hall loading dock as "Reserved for Communication Arts Instructional Media Center." IMC Staff reserves the right to tow any vehicles in violation of this policy at owner's expense and at any time. Priority for permits is given to students enrolled in CA 467 / 659 at IMC Staff discretion. There are also three metered, 25-minute loading zone spaces opposite the IMC reserved space available to non-permit holders.


Users in CA 467 and 659 will have access to lockers to store equipment. Keys to these lockers will be issued on weekends of shoots. Lockers must be cleared of all personal items one week after the expiration of a user's use & borrowing period. Items found in lockers after the deadline will be disposed of.


IMC Staff will attempt to assist each user with their production needs. IMC staff strives to keep equipment in good working order at all times, but equipment failure can occur. If a user discovers a malfunctioning piece of equipment, the issue should be presented to IMC staff so equipment can be fixed in a timely fashion.

Due to time constraints, IMC staff cannot provide detailed instruction on equipment shown in class.

Students must contact their TA or instructor if a refresher is needed or a class was missed in which particular equipment or techniques were taught. IMC staff members are available to help with technical problems arising with Communication Arts facilities but are not available to answer instructional questions.


Users are required to save all production data to the Storage Area Network (SAN). Any data stored directly on an IMC lab computer's hard drive is subject to deletion at any time. The Department and IMC staff members are not responsible for the loss of any data stored on the SAN or computers in the unlikely event of a system failure. The Department of Communication Arts is not responsible for damages of equipment or losses of computer data as a result of operator error, malfunctioning equipment, or damage to property or persons resulting from use of equipment.

Users are strongly encouraged to back up their own data using an external hard drive, USB storage device, DVD, etc. All data stored on lab computers and the SAN will be deleted upon the expiration of a user's use & borrowing period.

Users are encouraged to transfer any data they want preserved off the SAN using any of the previously mentioned backup methods. IMC staff members are available to assist with these transfers.


Students in CA 355, 466, and 659 will have access to the online screenwriting and production software Celtx during their use & borrowing period. Licenses to use the software are loaned to users by the Department of Communication Arts on a temporary basis. All data stored in Celtx will be deleted upon the expiration of a user's use & borrowing period. Users are responsible for exporting their own materials if they wish to keep them after their use & borrowing period has ended.


Users of computer equipment in Communication Arts facilities should be aware that instructors and IMC staff have the ability to monitor usage of computers. This ability may also be used for remote assistance and troubleshooting. We expect all users to comply with University computer usage guidelines.


The ownership of projects produced in Communication Arts courses is shared between the students and the Department of Communication Arts. The department reserves the right to use any student projects for the purposes of instruction while students retain ownership over their original creative works. However, CA 467 students need to pay attention to script property rights, as they may include further restrictions for publishing and sharing content.


When users fill out their Use & Borrowing Agreements, they must also grant Communication Arts permission to use their projects for promotional purposes. Primarily, Communication Arts intends to embed users' video projects on Communication Arts websites to promote the department's media production courses. Users may revoke this authorization in writing after completion of their course if they so choose.

KeywordsEquipment, Borrowing, Agreement   Doc ID113122
OwnerPeter S.GroupCommArts IMC
Created2021-08-18 10:00:38Updated2024-01-19 16:02:46
SitesCommArts Instructional Media Center
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