The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a beautiful, historic campus much beloved by alumni and visitors alike. Accordingly, the university receives many requests to film or photograph campus for both personal and commercial reasons.
In general, UW–Madison allows filming and still photography in the following instances:
1. UW–Madison campus/physical environment is used as an unidentifiable, non-specific backdrop for film or photography.
2. UW–Madison campus/physical environment is identifiable, but the film or photography is news or research-related. Special rules apply when filming events on campus, so filming may not be allowable in certain circumstances.
3. UW–Madison student film/video/photography projects created in the fulfillment of academic requirements.
We do not allow commercial film/photography/other production that is of the University of Wisconsin–Madison for the sole use and profit of the originator of the work.
Additional approval is necessary for filming or photographing in areas where filming and photography have the potential to pose safety and security risks, disrupt research, education, or other functions of the university, or compromise privacy interests or the welfare of research subjects.
UAV/drone use for the purpose of capturing film footage is generally not permissible.
Several locations and programs on campus — including the Wisconsin Union, the Arboretum, Allen Centennial Garden and the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery — have additional policies specific to their unit regarding photography and visitors. Please see their websites for information about those locations. For questions regarding specific locations, please start by contacting Tricia Nolan (email@example.com or 608-265-9005).
Please Note: In the event that conduct of a party constitutes a violation of this policy, the university reserves the right to pursue all available remedies to the fullest extent of the law.
Process — Noncommercial Production
For noncommercial production (eg: filming research techniques, etc.) contact Tricia Nolan or 608-265-9005) for requirements and additional information.
Process — Commercial Production
Production companies or individuals should:
- Familiarize themselves with the rules governing commercial film/television/video/photography production at UW–Madison (see remainder of this document). Contact Tricia Nolan with any questions;
- Fill out and submit the Film/Television/Video/Photography/Other Commercial Production application;
- If/when the application is approved, work with University Communications to execute a signed location agreement.
Daily Permit Fee
Independent films: $500/day
Studio-backed films: $1,000/day
Commercial advertisements: $1,000/day
This fee includes the cost of conducting scouting tours and the UW–Madison filming liaison assigned to assist the filming process.
Additionally, the UW–Madison will charge actual costs incurred, including electrical, security and transportation costs.
Location Rental Fees
In addition to the daily permit fee, UW–Madison charges the actual rental costs for locations on campus such as performance venues, athletic facilities or any other space with a public rental cost.
In order to ensure complete approval had been obtained by all necessary departments of the university, we request that applications be fully completed and received in university office at least 7 working days prior to the first day of prep or shooting. If an application is received later than this deadline, a rush fee of 10% of your Daily Permit Fee will be charged.
Special event parking permits are available from our Transportation Services office for half-day or full-day rates. In addition, special parking requests (such as large trucks, etc) must be approved by Transportation Services. University Communications and Marketing will work with your production company to assist with parking needs.
All companies must complete the Film/Television/Video/Photography/Other Commercial Production application, and submit it to:
- When shooting on campus, you must provide a certificate of general liability insurance with the following limitations:
- Commercial General Liability – $1,000,000 each occurrence/aggregate
- Automobile Liability – $1,000,000 combined single limits
- Worker’s Compensation – statutory
- The following Additional Insured language applies to both Commercial and Automobile coverage and must be shown on the certificate: The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System, its officers, agents and employees.
- The Certificate Holder should read: University of Wisconsin–Madison; Attention: Risk Management, 21 N Park St, Suite 6101, Madison WI 53715.
- Filming of interior locations is not permitted when classes are in session, with rare exception. It is essential to the university that its students, faculty and staff have access to all university facilities.
- No filming will be allowed in classrooms or libraries during midterms, finals or other relevant times. Filming in a classroom is not permitted without prior written permission of the faculty member.
- A complete copy of the final script or storyboard must be submitted to the university for approval. This copy should include all final revisions or changes to the script.
- The university must be notified of any changes or additions occurring after script approval has been granted.
- The university reserves the right to reject a script in cases where it considers the project’s content to be in conflict with the goals, policy and mission of the university. Examples of such subject matter may include drug or excessive alcohol use, excessive violence, nudity, racism, sexism, overtly sexual scenes deemed to be obscene, and subjects derogatory toward higher education, or that portray students or faculty in a negative manner.
Placement of Filming Equipment
- All filming equipment must be set up in a manner that does not create safety hazards. Film crews must ensure that the placement of equipment does not create tripping hazards, fire hazards, blocked exits or other safety concerns.
- The production company must take care to protect grounds, facilities, furniture and flooring. Crews are required to use lay-out board on top of all non-carpeted areas so that filming equipment is not directly touching the flooring.
- Mats and other cable coverings must be used when cables are laid out across walkways, hallways, or any other public locations where they present a potential safety hazard.
- Cones must be placed around all production vehicles and generators.
- All signs must be attached to stanchions. You may not hang signs on any university property, including trees, buildings/facilities, poles, etc.
The production company must create and place signs around location to advise guests, visitors, students and employees in advance that they may be photographed, filmed or otherwise appear on camera. Signs should read: “Please be advised that by entering this area for this event you consent to be photographed, filmed or otherwise appear on camera for the purposes of (NAME OF PRODUCTION by PRODUCTION COMPANY).”
- In all cases, the production company is responsible for contacting/notifying the Madison Police Department to obtain necessary permits.
Care on Location
- You must comply with all city, state, and university codes, statutes, rules, and regulations, including fire codes, and all environmental, health, and safety rules and regulations that govern the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
- The production company is required to have a qualified first aid person present at all times while on location.
- The production company is responsible for ensuring that its employees and contractors adhere to health and safety regulations while on location.
- The production company is required to notify the university of any damage to the property. All damages to property will be the responsibility of the production company.
Modifications and Construction
- You may not remove university-owned objects on location without prior approval from the university.
- You many not drill, nail, glue or alter any campus property without prior permission from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
- If permission is granted, the production company is responsible for returning modified property to its original state unless other agreements have been made with the university.
- All temporary construction must be conducted in a manner that does not damage university property or endanger faculty, staff, students or visitors.
- The production company must obtain prior approval from the university before constructing any building facades or other set materials that could obstruct fire lanes or affect the safety of pedestrians or building occupants.
- All electrical needs must be presented to the university in advance of the project. The university will decide on proper placement of generators on location.
- If electricians or alterations are required, the university may charge appropriate fees.
Fire Protection Equipment
- The use of fire hydrants and other fire protection equipment on campus for the purposes of filming must be coordinated with Risk Management in advance of the project
- The university cannot guarantee that on-campus parking will be available.
- Production vehicles and staff are only allowed to park in the areas agreed upon prior to filming.
- Vehicles cannot obstruct city streets or university traffic. If you anticipate traffic patterns must be altered for filming, you must notify the university before filming begins.
- The production company is required to disclose loading and unloading needs so that the university can approve a schedule prior to filming.
- No vehicles can be placed on university grounds without prior approval from the university.
- Designated “no smoking” areas are to be observed under all circumstances
- Smoking outside is permitted, but only in areas far enough from doorways, windows and ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering buildings or facilities. All cigarettes should be disposed of in a responsible manner.
- Firearms are barred in all university buildings and facilities.
- The university reserves the right to eject any crew members or persons in any way connected with the production company for displaying behavior that is deemed disruptive to the operation of the university. Such instances include being offensive in language or behavior to students, faculty, staff, administrators or university guests.
Use of University of Wisconsin–Madison Name/Icons/Colors
- Unless you have obtained prior written approval, you will not be permitted to identify the University of Wisconsin–Madison as the fictitious location either directly or indirectly. You will therefore not be permitted to:
- Identify the University of Wisconsin–Madison through its name, signs, logos, or recognizable structures.
- Use cardinal red or white to imply connection to UW–Madison or mimic the university’s school colors.
For questions, more information or to arrange a scouting visit on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus, please contact: