The Montana State University – School of Film and Photography (“SFP”) equipment (“gear”) and facilities (i.e. “rooms/studios/labs/lab space”) are managed by Equipment Checkout (“Checkout”) and are available only to current SFP students, staff, and faculty.

NOTE: This is a revised rulebook updated to coincide with MSU’s current COVID-19 policies and may differ from the standard SFP Student Rulebook. Students are solely responsible for knowing and understanding all of the contents within this document as well as MSU policies regarding COVID-19.

The use of SFP equipment and facilities is an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19. By signing this document, students have been made aware of this risk. It is highly encouraged that students take measures to protect themselves and others by following proper safety procedures.

All students enrolled in any course requiring any SFP equipment, lab space, or classroom use MUST read, understand, and agree to the Student Rulebook before using SFP equipment or facilities.

Equipment Checkout employees have the right to refuse service to anyone who is disrespectful and/or abuses the SFP Student Rulebook and/or MSU Code of Student Conduct. Non-SFP students are NOT allowed in SFP facilities without previously specified permission from a faculty/staff member.


Equipment Checkout is split into two parts: Film and Photo.

Film Checkout is located in the Visual Communications Building (“VCB”) Room 214, while Photo Checkout is in VCB Room 143. Students rent equipment exclusively for work on projects to complete course credit. It is forbidden for students to reserve equipment for anyone but themselves or their group. Violation of these policies will result in a loss of equipment and facility privileges.

For instruction on how to use equipment or perform specific lab/studio/darkroom tasks, students must make arrangements with the appropriate faculty member. Checkout does not teach students.

This document is a legally binding rulebook, which holds the user financially responsible for either the cost of repair or replacement of damaged or missing gear valued under $1,000 or the cost of the insurance deductible. Unpaid charges for late returns, loss, or damage of equipment will be reported to the Business Office and a hold will be placed on the student’s University Account.

Students are expected to interact with Equipment Checkout employees in a cooperative and professional manner. Students must understand that any disruptive and uncooperative behavior will result in the loss of equipment rental and facility privileges.

All SFP Equipment Checkout policies are subject to change at any time. Don’t hesitate to contact Checkout with any questions or concerns.


To reserve equipment from either Equipment Checkout or use SFP facilities students must…

  • Be currently registered in an appropriate SFP class requiring the use of equipment or facilities
  • Properly fill out, sign, and submit the SFP Student Rulebook
  • Show proof of having paid SFP program fees to your SFP faculty member and attain their signature

Due to the safety of Film and Photo Checkout equipment and all SFP students/employees/faculty, non-SFP students are NOT allowed in any of the facilities and may not reserve/use SFP equipment. Models/actors are allowed in studio spaces during shooting, rehearsals, screenings, or other specified times only. SFP students allowing non-SFP students in these spaces may lose all equipment/facility privileges.


To book equipment with Checkout, students must use the Connect2 online software, found at sfpcheckout.msu.montana.edu. These bookings will then be passed onto Checkout. Checkout will contact you if there are any issues with your booking request. Please note that filling out an online booking form does not guarantee availability of requested gear. Bookings are only made when authorized Checkout personnel log the request into the Checkout computer system. Feel free to call Checkout with any concerns about your booking. Check the SFP website for current Film and Photo Checkout phone numbers.

Students are responsible for all equipment checked out under their name. Every piece of equipment must be returned on time and in working order. If the student cannot pick up a booking, THE STUDENTMUST CANCEL ONLINE OR CALL AND CANCEL or they will be fined.

Due to the limited amount of gear, it is imperative that students share the equipment with one another when working in groups or on group assignments. Failure to share/coordinate equipment may result in a permanent loss of equipment/facility privileges.

For Film related equipment bookings, a single student will be delegated the role of “Producer”. The Producer is responsible for placing the booking as well as any fines accrued and/or damages perceived to equipment. The Producer also is responsible to keep their film set in compliance with SFP social distancing policies.

EQUIPMENT PICK-UP: It is the student’s sole responsibility to check that all the booked equipment is accounted for and operating properly before leaving either Checkout window. Claiming that equipment was broken upon pick-up will not suffice unless it is reported to Checkout before leaving the building.

If any equipment is lost, stolen, or severely damaged while in possession of a student, that student will be responsible to pay for the full replacement as determined by authorized Checkout staff.

Students will receive an “Equipment Pick-Up Time” from Checkout upon the completion of a booking online or in person. It is only during this time that students may pick up equipment from the VCB.

EQUIPMENT RETURN: Students must drop their equipment off at the Checkout window at the specified time provided to them when the student initially booked their equipment. The student will receive a call if there is an issue or question regarding their equipment.

ROOM BOOKINGS: Rooms must be booked through Checkout. Book a time to use a space at the corresponding Equipment Checkout or online and return to pick up the key to the room when you are told to do so. You are allowed a minimal amount of time to reserve a room, so please return the key as soon as your time is up. Room bookings apply to specialty stations, or workstations, that are one of a kind and may need to be booked often.

Food and beverages are not allowed in any of the facilities. Facilities are expected to be treated respectfully and not abused by students or faculty. Violation of these policies will result in a fine and/or loss of Equipment Checkout privileges.



FILM ROOM BOOKINGS: Rooms such as the screening rooms (150 & 182), the Conference Room (148), or Studio B (233) may be booked at the front desk upstairs and then confirmed at the Film Checkout window. Without visiting the Film Checkout window, students will not get the respective room key.

The Sound Theater (236) is open only during normal Film Checkout business hours with no exceptions. Film Checkout keys may be returned after hours via the drop box located outside of Film Checkout. There will be no after-hours use of the Sound Theater.


PHOTO ROOM BOOKINGS: Workspaces such as the Photo Studio (211), Individual Labs (114–116, 118–121), the Bookmaking Room (155), the Demo Room (145), and the Digital Print Lab (146) must be booked at the Photo Checkout window or online through Connect2. These facilities are available only to Photo students in PHOT 258 and above, and the student must have a warranted use for the space and be certified on any equipment the space may contain.

Studio bookings are booked in three-hour time slots with a six hour per day maximum. Printing bookings are booked in two-hour time slots with a six hour per day maximum. Individual Labs may be booked for 3 hour-time slots with a maximum of six hour per day maximum. If a student does not show up for their booked time within the first fifteen minutes, without notifying Photo Checkout ahead of time, they will forfeit their booking. Back-to-back bookings on one station are prohibited.

Checkout employees will complete a checklist for both Photo Studio and Individual Lab bookings both before and after student use. Students are held responsible for any damages and must be properly trained by faculty to use the equipment. Keys must be returned by posted closing time. All Photo facilities (except the Digital Editing Lab) are closed when Photo Checkout is closed.

The Alternative Processing Lab (117, “Alt. Lab”), the Intermediate Lab (138), and the Fundamental Lab (135) are non-reservable, first-come/first-serve spaces. The Alt. Lab may only be used by students who have taken PHOT 359 or another SFP “alternative process” class. The Intermediate Lab may only be used by students in PHOT 213 and above and the Fundamental Lab may only be used by students enrolled in PHOT 113.



EDITING LABS: SFP students enrolled in SFP production courses have access to the Non-Linear Editing Lab (159, “NLE”), the Digital Editing Lab (153, “DEL”), and Graduate Edit Bay (237, “GEB”) depending on their specific course.

Students must book specialty Editing Lab spaces through Checkout ahead of time. Failure to comply may result in temporary or permanent loss of lab privileges. These labs, like Checkout itself, are closed during university holidays and extended breaks such as winter/summer break.

The DEL is exclusively for Photo students in PHOT 258 and above. The NLE is only available to undergraduate Film students in production-specific courses. Similarly, the GEB is only available for Film MFA students.

During normal Checkout business hours, facilities must be booked with the respective Film or Photo Checkout.

The copying or altering of software is expressly forbidden. Food or beverages are not allowed. Editing Labs are expected to be respected by students and faculty alike.

Students have key-pad access to the Editing Labs based on their production course and GID. Please note, these key-pads will take a few weeks into the semester to get up-and-running. Lab access codes are for students only. Sharing this code is expressly forbidden and will result in immediate and permanent loss of facility privileges.


If a student requests to book equipment within a time that is not allotted (same day or within 24 hours), they may pay a $15 fee to have Equipment Checkout prep the equipment. The student must allot at least 3 hours’ time for the equipment to be prepared.

If equipment is returned to Checkout more than one hour late, it will result in a late fee. Kits with three or more items, such as camera or lighting kits, are a $5.00 per day charge beginning one hour after required return time and will continue to accrue until the kit is returned. One or two item kits are a $1 charge per day, beginning one hour after required return time. Unsupervised/abandoned equipment is also grounds for a late fee.

If equipment is returned broken or damaged (or malfunctions during the shoot), students must provide a legible, detailed note regarding the issue/malfunction. Students are held financially accountable for any lost or broken items. Students may not repair or replace these items on their own. If a student sanitizes the equipment on their own and it damages the gear, the student will be held financially responsible. If Equipment Checkout must clean or re-pack equipment, a $5 fee is in place for each kit that must be cleaned or re-packed. This is up to the discretion of Equipment Checkout.

A “No Show” fine may be charged if equipment is not returned or picked-up by the Producer/student, unless another arrangement is discussed with the appropriate Checkout staff member.

All equipment such as (but not limited to) cameras, fluid-head tripods, lights, lenses, and other electronics may be damaged when stored in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Equipment may not be stored in parked cars or unheated garages overnight. CHECKOUT WILL CHARGE A MINIMUM $25 COLD FEE PER KIT when inspecting any equipment that is too cold to the touch. Equipment is considered cold if it reaches a low temperature of 40ºF.

If the late equipment return prevents another student’s booking from being carried out as normal, the late student will also be charged a $25 feeIN ADDITION to their previous late fee. This is outlined as the I.S.E. fine, or the Impact Someone Else fine.

Use of SFP Equipment for anything other than classwork will result in an automatic suspension from booking ALL equipment. A meeting with Equipment Checkout must take place before the student can potentially book equipment in the future.

Failure to pay Checkout fees will result in a hold being placed on the student’s account with the registrar’s office. Students will NOT be able to reserve equipment or use SFP facilities until all fines or fees have been paid in full. Only authorized Checkout staff can remove holds during normal business hours Monday through Friday.


It is UNIVERSITY POLICY that vehicles may be parked in the back alley loading area of the VCB for up to twenty minutes ONLY IF Campus Police are notified. This area may only be used for loading/unloading equipment, sets, or supplies used in SFP-related projects.

Report theft of SFP equipment to Campus Police AND Equipment Checkout IMMEDIATELY. Failure to report to the appropriate authorities may result in the student being charged for full replacement costs.


The Photography department uses various photographic chemistries that have been deemed “hazardous waste” and must be treated with caution. CHEMISTRY MAY NOT BE DISPOSED OF DOWN THE DRAIN. Chemistry must be disposed of in its respective, appropriately labeled Hazardous Waste Container. If chemistry is poured down the drain, notify Checkout immediately. Consistent failure to comply with these protocols results in a permanent loss of equipment and facility privileges.

It is required to wear gloves to work with chemistry. Students are responsible for their own gloves and other Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”). Safety Data Sheets (“SDS”) are located at Photo Checkout, Fundamental and Intermediate Darkrooms, the Alt. Lab, the Digital Print Lab, and inside each of the Individual Labs. Alt. Lab chemistry is managed by faculty; therefore Equipment Checkout is not responsible for Alt. Lab chemistry up-keep.

Personal chemical containers must be properly labeled with student name, date of mixture, chemical contents, and safety precautions/information. Abbreviations may not be used. All containers must have a tight closing lid.

Violation of any of these policies will result in fines/fees and/or loss of Equipment Checkout privileges.

We strive to create a safe environment for students to perform their studies. Since working with SFP chemistry from home would mean a loss of a controlled safety environment (including building safety systems, chemical safety staff, professors, proximity to emergency responders, and more), it is expressly forbidden to remove any MSU-provided chemistry from the VCB. This includes chemistry purchased through SFP such as C-41 or RA-4 as well as chemistry used by students in the darkrooms and the Alternative Process Lab. Failure to comply will result in a permanent loss of equipment and facility privileges.


Evening hours are available for Photo Students only and are subject to change. These hours are for students to use the lab spaces for homework assignments. Students must enter the building by swiping their CatCard at the front south-entrance. If a student’s CatCard does not work, they must contact the CatCard office. Propping of doors after-hours is expressly forbidden and may result in loss of lab privileges.

Students must be respectful to checkout employees, understanding that there are limited checkout employees available on evening/weekend hours. No gear is allowed to be booked, checked-in, or checked-out aside from NRI’s (Non Reservable Items) associated with finishing darkroom materials. Due to extensive closing procedures, checkout employees will dispose of photographic chemistry one hour before posted closing times. Students must be aware that all Photo Lab closing procedures begin one hour before the posted closing time, therefore students must begin cleaning-up and exiting the building in a timely manner. Checkout employees have the right to close labs early if little to no activity.


Checkout sells various items such as gels, diffusion, gaff tape, china balls, chemistry, dry-mount tissue, canned air, etc. These items are available for sale to anyone, including non-SFP students. Items sold are subject to change.

Checkout does not accept any form of payment. Upon collection of a Sales Receipt from either of the Checkout windows, payment will be received at the front desk in the upstairs lobby of the VCB. Credit, debit cards or checks are the only acceptable forms of payment (cash payments are not accepted). Supplies cannot be refunded.


Students must be enrolled in SFP classes in order to rent a locker.

FILM LOCKERS: Lockers may be rented at the Film Checkout window for the duration of one semester once the proper paperwork is signed. Keys must be returned before the semester’s end. Failure to return a locker key will result in a fine and a hold on the student’s account with the registrar’s office.

PHOTO LOCKERS: Lockers may be rented at the Photo Checkout window. Lockers in the Fundamental and Intermediate Labs may only be rented on a semester basis and must be returned to Checkout by the end of the semester. Students who have passed through the Photo gate and are enrolled in Photo production courses both semesters may rent a locker in the Finishing Room or Intermediate Lab for the duration of the academic year.

All lockers must be returned by noon on the last day of the spring semester. Failure to return a locker to Checkout will result in a $75.00 fine and a hold on the student’s account with the registrar’s office.


Lost possessions will be taken to the front desk of the Visual Communication Building (VCB 202). Items left for a month will be taken to the Strand Union Building (SUB).


All students are required to follow MSU guidelines regarding COVID-19. If asked to wear a mask by any staff or faculty member, students must do so without disagreement.


All of the above policies are subject to change.