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Stony Brook University Media Relations


Guidelines for Film, Video, and Photographers on Location Permits and Use

Stony Brook University has historically been supportive of the filming and photography industries and works cooperatively with local film commissions and other agencies and organizations to encourage production companies to film on Long Island. In addition to feature films, documentaries and television productions, the university has provided settings for various other kinds of filming, videography and photography projects.

Step One: Determine Filming Category

The Offices of University Media Relations and the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration are responsible for evaluating requests for and processing filming location permits, as well as supervising film shoots. For convenience, the word “filming” as used in these guidelines shall include motion pictures, filming, videotape, still photography and digital imaging. Audio recordings also would be included.

Certain categories of filming do not require a revocable permit. These include:

  • News media coverage of news events
  • Students attending Stony Brook University and working on a project assigned by a faculty member and that is required for a grade
  • Filming by a Stony Brook University school, college or department for internal use such as producing a training film for staff or faculty.

Filming projects involving a filming location permit from the University Offices of Media Relations and the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration:

  • Feature film productions; short films, etc.
  • Educational videos by external organizations
  • Documentaries that are not news productions
  • Documentaries that are news but wherein permits are required by the network to which a producer has submitted the film.
  • Filming of events or activities on university property for the purpose of commercializing the filmed material for showing in theaters, on television entertainment programs, for production of DVD’s, etc.

Step Two: If Permit is Required:

If the Media Relations Office determines a proposed filming project does require a filming location permit, a staff representative will direct the producer to the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, which will consult with the producer about the university’s policies and procedures on filming, including requirements for insurance, fees and university services such as security, parking and electrical needs that could be involved in the proposed production.
If the producer or location scout wishes to proceed, the production company would be asked to send a written (e-mail is preferred) detailed proposal describing the company, the project, university services needed for the project, timetable, synopsis of production, a copy of the script and a statement as to whether or not the producer proposed to use the name, images, logos and marks of the university.

Step Three: Determining Approval of Project:

The university strives to balance the needs of campus with requests for film projects. As such, the University Media Relations Office will evaluate the proposal. In determining approval for a film project, the university will consider the filmmaker’s relationship to the university, the purpose of the project, the potential disruption(s) to campus, the potential use of university trademarks and images, and the proposed use of the film. 

Media Relations Office, in conjunction with the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, would decide whether or not to move forward with processing a filming location permit and whether or not to allow use of the university’s name, images, etc. in the proposed film production. In either case, the applicant would be informed of the decision as promptly as possible.

If the decision is made to move forward with the filming permit process, the applicant would be invited to “scout” the campus for appropriate filming locations under direction of the Office of Media Relations. Pictures taken during scouting would be for internal use only and would not be authorized for publication or broadcast.

The applicant also would be asked for more detailed information, especially in the case of major filming productions that could significantly affect or interfere with the routine operations of the university. When determined to be necessary, the producer or location scout could be asked to meet with representatives of campus offices such as parking and transportation services, the police department, student affairs, legal affairs, disability services, fire safety, facilities services and other offices that may have an interest in the proposed production.

Representatives in the Media Relations Office would discuss the proposal with representatives of administration, facilities, and the colleges/schools involving areas where the applicant would propose to film and determine if the deans and other affected parties are agreeable to the filming project in their areas of campus.

The University Media Relations Office would then evaluate the project and in consultation with the Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, and determine the filming permit use fee for the project.

The University Media Relations Office would obtain reasonable estimates from campus service providers for anticipated costs for security, parking and other university services and would list these estimates in the proposed filming location permit, along with the filming location permit use fee based upon the nature and extent of the activities as determined by University Media Relations. The combined total of the university services and the use fee would be shown on the filming location permit as the deposit required in advance (payable by certified or cashiers check) before the producer would be allowed to start filming.

Step Four: DRAFT of Location Permit

A revocable permit representative in the Office of the Vice President for Administration would send the applicant a DRAFT copy of the location permit to review and share with his/her contracts manager or legal counsel.

  • If the applicant wants a change in any of the legal language in the filming location permit document, this would initiate a process requiring the applicant to send a written request for such changes to the Office of General Counsel, Media Relations and the Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration,. The request would be reviewed and the applicant would be provided a response.
  • If the applicant accepts the terms of the filming location permit as shown on the draft document, a representative in the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, would ask the applicant to print two original copies of the document and to have an authorized company representative sign and date both copies, then send BOTH originals to the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration,. The package of materials also must include the required insurance documents.
  • The Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration would review the documents and determine if the insurance document is in compliance with university requirements. (Note: To avoid delays, especially on tight filming deadlines, it is advisable to send the insurance information to the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration earlier in the process.)

Step Five: When the Application Package is Received:

The Revocable Permit Office would arrange for an authorized university representative to sign both originals of the filming location permit. One permit would be sent to the applicant and the other would remain on record with the university. The applicant’s certified or cashier’s check would be deposited and held until completion of the filming project.

Step Six: Compliance

During filming, the Office of Media Relations would oversee compliance with provisions of the filming location permit, resolve conflicts on filming locations if they arise and assist producers with their requests for unanticipated university services.

  • Filming productions should take precautions to safely cover electrical and other cables on sidewalks and other pedestrian areas to avoid hazards and to provide safe access for people with disabilities.

Step Seven: Upon completion of the filming project:

  • Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Facilities and Services would arrange for university departments that provided services for the project to send invoices to the Procurement Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, which would determine the actual total cost of university services compared to the estimated costs for which a deposit had been collected in advance.
  • The Procurement Office would pay the invoices for university services from the deposit received from the permittee.
  • If the total cost for university services exceeds the deposit amount, the permittee would be billed for the difference.
  • If the actual expenses for university services total less than the amount deposited for university services, the permittee may submit a written request to University Communications for a refund and the excess deposit funds would be sent to the applicant in the form of a check.