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 its 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.

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. 

  1. Who Can Check Out Equipment
  2. Production Safety
  3. Reserving Equipment
  4. Checking Out Equipment
  5. Returning & Renewing Equipment
  6. Loss, Damage, & Fines
  7. Parking For Equipment Pickup & Return
  8. Advanced Cinematography & BA/BFA/MFA Thesis Productions 
  9. International Travel
  10. Film Sales & Processing

I.  Who Can Check Out Equipment

  • Students currently enrolled in specific production courses, having authorization from a course instructor, have access to equipment from the EDC. This includes most courses where media production is required. 
  • Courses with access to production equipment typically schedule a contract session with an EDC representative at the beginning of each semester. The contract session consists of a brief discussion of EDC policy, after which students sign an MTP Equipment and Facilities Use contract. 
    • By signing the MTP Equipment and Facilities Use contract, you agree to the following:
      • All checkouts from the EDC are temporary and Emerson College retains sole ownership of all borrowed equipment. 
      • You will adhere to EDC policies and procedures.
      • You are financially responsible for any loss, damage, or theft that may occur while EDC equipment is in your possession.  
      • You will return EDC equipment at the agreed-upon time and understand that exceptionally early or late returns may be subject to fines. 
  • Each course with access to EDC equipment is allocated a specific list of items. You are expected to adhere to the assigned list when requesting equipment. If you feel a project requires you to use an item that is outside of your allocated equipment, please discuss this with your professor.
  • Certain pieces of VMA equipment require special approval to check out. You must attend VMA workshops to become certified “approved operators” for the following items.
    • Advanced Cameras (Canon EOS C300, Sony PMW-F5 & PXW-FS7)
    • Advanced Rigging (Matthews Overhead Frames & Menace Arm)
    • Advanced Movement & Stabilization (Steadicam Zephyr, Kessler Pocket Jib, Kessler CineDrive)
    • Wireless Technology (SmallHD Wireless Monitor Package & Wireless Follow Focus Kits)
    • HMIs (Arri M18, M12, 575 and K5600 Jokerbugs)
  • Once you are trained on the proper use of your allocated equipment, you may use it to complete assigned projects. Use of EDC equipment is limited to assigned course work only. Using EDC equipment for personal projects, co-curricular shoots, and paid work, as well as sharing equipment with other productions, is strictly prohibited.

II.  Production Safety

  • Please complete the steps below before your scheduled pickup time. If you have not followed the appropriate safety procedures, the EDC cannot release equipment to you. 
  • Visual & Media Arts students must present a completed and approved Film Safety Form at the time of checkout. A new Film Safety Form must be completed for each checkout. We strongly recommend that this form be completed before you arrive to pick up your equipment.
    • Students should submit a location safety form on the VMA portal and have an all approved form in hand prior to their pick up time. 
    • For any questions or concerns regarding the VMA Film Safety Form, please contact the interim Director of Production & Safety, Homa Sarabi, at homa_sarabi [at] (homa_sarabi[at]emerson[dot]edu) or 617-824-8126
  • School of Communication and Journalism students must complete an Equipment Safety course on Canvas. To do this, they must review all pages in the class Modules section, then pass a quiz on the course material. EDC staff may request to see your passing grade or badge. 
    • Journalism students will work with the Administrative Associate to the Journalism Chair, Christopher Wilson, to receive a “badge” for their completion of the safety course. Badges must be presented at the time of equipment pickup.
    • School of Communication students must complete the safety quiz once per academic year.
    • You must be invited to the Equipment Safety course by your instructor. For any questions or concerns regarding the Equipment Safety course, please speak directly with your instructor. 

III.  Reserving Equipment

  • Students must make all reservations in person at the EDC front desk or the JPC Office. The EDC does not accept reservations over the phone.
    • Students in Advanced Cinematography and BA, BFA, and MFA productions are able to make reservations by email. A faculty member must approve these reservations, which are then confirmed and scheduled by an EDC manager.
    • The EDC typically stops vending equipment one hour before closing.
    • Selected courses are able to place reservations online through the “Patron Portal” at
  • Students may make reservations up to two weeks in advance of their pickup date.
  • Students typically reserve equipment for 24 hour periods during the week, and equipment checked out on a Friday may be kept until Monday. If you need to place a reservation for a longer duration, please speak with an EDC manager. 
  • When you place a reservation, please have the following information ready:
    • Preferred pickup date and time
    • Preferred return date and time
    • Full list of equipment you would like to check out
      • It is advisable to have “fall back” items in mind in the event something you would like to reserve is unavailable.
  • The EDC accepts a limited number of walk-in checkouts and “same-day” reservations when possible. 
    • Please note that during high traffic periods, we may not be able to process your request immediately, and we may not have your preferred items in stock if you do not reserve them in advance. 

IV.  Checking Out Equipment

  • When you arrive to pick up equipment, you should first check in with an EDC staff member. They will direct you towards your checkout area and bring your equipment and reservation agreement to you. 
  • The reservation agreement must be completed, signed, and handed back to an EDC employee before you begin loading out. 
    • The reservation agreement lists all of the components for each equipment package on your reservation. You are expected to go through each equipment package from top to bottom and check off all components in the “OUT-OK” column as you find them. 
    • Checking off the “OUT-OK” column signifies that an item was present and in good working order at the time of checkout. If an item is not functioning properly or not accounted for, do not sign for it.
    • If an item is broken/missing/extra/unusual or if you have any questions, please ask an EDC employee for assistance.
  • No one may sign your reservation agreement for you. You are allowed to have crew members assist you with checking through your equipment, but you must sign the paperwork if your name is on the order. 
  • Please arrive to pick up your checkout at your scheduled time. If you arrive too early, there is a chance that your equipment will not be ready yet or that we will not have space available for you to check through your equipment, particularly on high-traffic days.
  • You are expected to test all of your equipment and ensure that it is in good working order. Please plan accordingly and budget enough time to double-check that everything is functional. 
    • We recommend testing all of your equipment as a system: for example, ensure that your monitor receives a signal from your camera instead of only powering both items on individually.
  • The EDC may grant requests for additional items on a case-by-case basis during your checkout, but please try to ensure that you reserve all equipment beforehand. Depending on the size of the request, we may create an additional reservation for the equipment and ask you to pick it up at a later date/time.
  • Always double-check that the return time listed on your paperwork is correct. If there are any discrepancies or you would like to adjust your return time, please speak with an EDC employee. 
  • Reservations will be held for 30 minutes past the scheduled pickup time, after which the order will be canceled and placed back into storage. If you think you might miss your scheduled checkout, please call us and ask to change your pickup time.

V.  Returning & Renewing Equipment

  • When you arrive for your return, first check in with an EDC staff member. They will direct you toward your return area and provide help with moving your equipment if needed. 
  • You are expected to return your equipment at the originally agreed upon date and time. Early and late returns can be problematic for EDC personnel, as well as other students who need to use the equipment. 
    • If you will arrive more than fifteen minutes early or late, please call to let us know when you expect to arrive. We will do our best to accommodate you if possible.
  • You may request one 24-hour renewal of your equipment beyond your initial return time. This renewal is dependent on the availability of the equipment. 
    • You may not renew equipment that is already late. If you would like to request a renewal, please contact us at least one hour before your scheduled return time. 
  • If you are unable to return your equipment personally, you are allowed to have another student return it for you. Please keep in mind you are still liable for any loss or damage that may occur while the equipment is checked out under your name. 
    • If you are returning equipment for yourself and another individual, please separate the two orders when you arrive. This aids the EDC in checking in your equipment quickly and efficiently. 
  • Equipment returns are a two step process for the EDC:
    • The first step in this process takes place at check-in. An EDC staff member will work with you to ensure that all items signed for at checkout are accounted for and that there are no obvious signs of damage. 
    • The equipment is then sent to Quality Control, where we check the functionality of each item and work to identify any other issues that may have been missed at check-in.
    • If there are any issues with the equipment you returned, including loss or damage, an EDC staff member will contact you regarding replacement and/or repair costs. 

VI.  Loss, Damage, & Fines

  • To discourage late returns, the EDC assesses fines for all checkouts that miss their return time by one hour or more. 
    • Fines accumulate hourly for the first business day that the equipment is late, after which they are assessed daily. 
    • If your late return affects another student or faculty member’s reservation, you will be charged a double-booking fee in addition to any accumulated late fines.
  • If you lose an item or return something in a damaged state, we may need to charge you a replacement or repair fine. 
    • We strongly encourage you to test all equipment before leaving the EDC and communicate with us about any missing or damaged items during your check out.
    • If equipment is damaged on set, please contact us immediately. Do not attempt your own repairs. We will work with you to secure a replacement item if possible. 
    • If equipment is lost or stolen on set, please do not order your own replacements. EDC staff have access to discounts from several equipment distributors and we will likely get the best price for the item. We charge the exact replacement cost to Emerson College.
  • Misuse or mistreatment of EDC equipment outside of typical loss/damage may result in an additional fine at the EDC management’s discretion. 
    • This includes instances of excessive sand/dirt on or inside equipment/equipment cases, disassembly of equipment that is not meant to be disassembled, etc. 
  • Students can pay fines in ECCash or a personal check/money order made out to Emerson College. We cannot accept cash or credit cards.

VII.  Parking For Equipment Pickup & Return

  • If you are planning to use a vehicle (including rideshares) to pick up or return, you must complete an EDC Parking Request Form at least one week in advance.
    • If you have trouble accessing the Parking Request Form, please ensure that you are logged into Google with your Emerson credentials. 
    • We cannot reserve you a spot until the form has been submitted.
  • When your vehicle is about five minutes away from the EDC, please call us. A manager will check in with you and assign you a dedicated space to park.
  • Regardless of where you park, we recommend that you keep someone with the vehicle at all times in case the vehicle needs to be moved.
    • If you are picking up or returning alone, please place a sign with your phone number and name on the dashboard so you can be contacted if the vehicle needs to be moved.
  • If you are sharing a vehicle between multiple productions, please separate the equipment by individual reservation upon return. 
  • We are happy to provide rolling carts to shuttle equipment to and from vehicles. To take a cart from the EDC, a student must leave a non-Emerson ID with a manager. Carts must be returned to the EDC before your vehicle departs. 
    • Accepted forms of ID include driver’s licenses, state-issued ID cards, and passports. Please do not leave items containing sensitive information, like credit cards. 

VIII.  Advanced Cinematography & BA/BFA/MFA Thesis Productions

  • If you are working in a group, please designate one student as the primary point of contact with the EDC. 
    • This person will be responsible for making the reservation, requesting modifications to the reservation as needed, and completing the EDC checkout form. 
    • This person will also assume responsibility for paying any fines incurred throughout production. 
  • All Advanced Cinematography and BA/BFA/MFA reservations must be emailed to edc_staff [at] (EDC_Staff[at]emerson[dot]edu) with the professor for the class CC’d. After the professor approves the requested equipment, an EDC manager will schedule the reservation.
  • BA/BFA/MFA students may make reservations up to six months in advance. Advanced Cinematography students are still limited to scheduling reservations up to two weeks in advance. 
  • Reservation requests should include all of the information listed below:
    • Equipment list broken up by department (camera, audio, grip, electric). Be sure to include quantities of each item. 
    • Preferred pickup and return dates/times. Please note that we will not always be able to accommodate your requested dates/times, but we will do our best to get as close as possible. 
    • If any equipment on your request requires an approved operator, please list their name next to it. If you have not secured an approved operator for an item that requires one, we cannot reserve it for you.
  • To limit potential confusion, please try to book your entire order at once if possible. If you need to make modifications to your reservation, please try to submit them all at once. 
    • Due to the large size of these equipment orders, we stop accepting major modifications two business days before your scheduled checkout. Additions requested after this time may still be possible, but will likely be scheduled for a later date/time.
  • Please inform management of any schedule changes as soon as possible. If you arrive early or late without notice, we may not be able to accommodate you.
  • The student who places the reservation must be present at checkout to sign the reservation agreement.
    • You may bring crew members to assist with checking through the equipment and loading out. We recommend bringing no more than three key crew members/approved operators at one time.

IX.  International Travel

  • If you plan on traveling abroad with EDC equipment, please take the following steps:
    • Contact EDC management at least two weeks before the expected pickup date to create a reservation and provide travel information for an equipment manifest. 
      • Required Travel Information: 
        • Date of Departure from U.S.
        • Date of Return to U.S.
        • Destination(s) you will be traveling to (include country and city)
    • Contact Homa Sarabi, interim Director of Production & Safety, at least two weeks before your expected pickup date to obtain safety forms. 
      • homa_sarabi [at] (homa_sarabi[at]emerson[dot]edu) or 617-824-8126
    • Contact Alan Bowers, Director of Treasury Services, at least two weeks before your expected pickup date to obtain a Certificate of Insurance.
      • alan_bowers [at] (alan_bowers[at]emerson[dot]edu) or 617-824-8258
  • Certain EDC equipment cannot travel internationally. Please plan to be flexible as we work with you to create an equipment package. 
  • Per airline regulations, all batteries must be packed in a carry-on. If you attempt to travel with batteries in a checked bag, there is a possibility that the airline will seize them. Emerson College is not responsible for any equipment seized due to improper packing.
  • Please plan to meet with EDC staff for tips on proper equipment packing. Note, it is your responsibility to review regulations for all travel arrangements during your trip. 
  • Due to the precise paperwork required for international travel, your reservation will become “locked” two business days before checkout and we will be unable to make any further modifications. Please plan accordingly.

X.  Film Sales & Processing

  • The EDC sells Kodak 7266 Tri-X Black & White Reversal for $31 per roll.
    • We only accept payment in the form of ECCash or a personal check/money order made out to Emerson College. We cannot accept cash or credit cards. 
    • We do not sell color film or photo film. 
  • We ship to CineLab and ColorLab for film processing. 
    • Shipments are sent out every weekday at 4:00 P.M. If you need something sent out urgently, be sure to deliver it to the EDC no later than 3:30 P.M. 
    • It may take up to two weeks for your film to be processed and returned to the EDC. Please plan accordingly.
    • Emerson is not responsible for any mistakes made by the lab or hard drives that are misplaced by the lab.  
    • If you need film sent out after 4:00 pm, you may ship it yourself. You will need to pay for ground shipping one way, and the lab will send the package back to the EDC once they process the film.
    • If you have questions about processing your film, please consult your instructor.
  • Students must fill out a Film Services Order Form before the EDC will send out their film. 
    • You must include debit or credit card information for the lab to process your payment. Cash is not accepted.
    • Please write your name on your film can to ensure we can return it safely to you once it is processed. Cans may be provided by your instructor or the EDC.
  • Your instructor may send out film on behalf of your class. Please check your course syllabus or contact your faculty member for this information.