Thank you for your interest in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a possible film or video location. UNC-Chapel Hill reviews all requests in detail to determine if they are compatible with the University’s mission and purposes. The purpose of these guidelines is to outline and simplify the process of planning and executing film productions, other than those being done by news organizations for news purposes. For convenience, the words “films” or “filming,” as used in these guidelines, include motion pictures (documentaries, commercial video productions, etc.), television shows, blogs, commercial still photography and digital imaging.
It is imperative that the campus community functions normally, and production crews not disrupt the University’s academic mission or its normal daily operations.
In considering a film request, the subject matter of the film and the potential disruption of administrative or academic programs or other scheduled activities will be of primary consideration in determining whether to grant permission to film on campus. Campus units and students requesting to film on campus will be addressed separately. Generally, the University does not approve requests to film commercials or advertisements on University property.
All requests should be sent to the media relations office within the Office of University Communications: (919) 445-8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The following information must be provided before processing a film request:
- A written letter of request that includes the size, scope, dates, times and security needs associated with the project.
- A full script and/or synopsis of the film.
Once the University has received the above information, the request will be reviewed internally. The length of the approval process will vary depending on the scope of the request. Considerations of requests will also depend upon the schedule of University classes and events, the availability of desired locations, parking and security.
As stated above, a copy of the final script and/or thorough synopsis must be submitted to the media relations office before a request can be considered. Although we require that a script be submitted to the media relations office a minimum of two weeks in advance of the desired shooting dates, or a minimum of one month in advance in the case of full-length feature films, we recommend submitting requests well in advance of these minimum requirements to ensure proper approvals.
Any changes or revisions in the script following submission must be brought to the attention of the media relations office.
The University reserves the right to deny filming requests 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 alcohol use, violence, nudity, racism, sexism, overtly sexual scenes deemed to be obscene, subjects derogatory toward higher education or that portray students, faculty or staff in a negative manner.
Most areas of the University campus, subject to availability and academic schedules, may be used for filming based on approval, with the following exceptions:
- South Building
- Wilson Library
- The Old Well
- Residence halls while occupied by students
All filming at interior locations require advance permission, and no filming will be allowed in libraries or classrooms during exam periods.
Note: Filming in a classroom requires notice to all students in class.
The production company should submit a location agreement to the University, allowing adequate time to process the agreement through the University’s Office of University Counsel. No filming can begin without a signed location agreement. A template containing mandatory elements may be found at this link.
The University, as a state-owned property, is prohibited from charging a daily location fee. However, fees will be charged, and an additional facilities-use agreement will be required when filming at certain venues such as the Dean E. Smith Center or Memorial Hall. In addition, the University will charge actual rental costs for locations such as performance venues and may require a separate location agreement for those venues. The production company will be responsible for any other fees incurred such as parking, staffing and security for all locations.
Construction and Special Requests
Special requests affecting University buildings and grounds (removal of bike racks, flagpoles, tree and shrubbery pruning, etc.) must be submitted to the media relations office as soon as possible and will be subject to approval. Representatives from affected University departments, along with a media relations representative, will be present during scouting on campus to discuss these requests.
Temporary construction must be done in a way that does not damage University property or endanger students, faculty, staff or visitors. The University’s Facilities Management Office must approve such alterations in advance. The University will require a list of specific materials the production company would like to use and the manner in which it will use them.
Any campus property that is altered must be returned to its original state. A final inspection by a production company liaison and the appropriate University officials is required at the end of the production.
A $1 million certificate must be provided with the University named as additional insured for the days of preparation, set up, the actual filming and the tear-down time. Additional insurance may be required if special locations are used. All insurance requirements must be met before shooting begins.
University names, nicknames, trademarks, logos, mascots, landmarks (e.g. the Old Well or the Bell Tower), building and unit names may not be used in commercials, advertisements, films or non-news broadcasting programs without express written permission from the University. This restriction also applies to clothing or other items such as pennants bearing University logos used as costumes or set dressing. Permission to film institutionally identifiable items will depend on the use of the item. A script or storyboard will be required before any decision is made on the use of identifiable elements.
Larger productions may require a fire permit. The production company is responsible for notifying the Chapel Hill Fire Department about the project and obtaining any necessary fire permit(s). A copy of the fire permit(s) must be submitted to the University at least five days before the crew arrives. Other requests with the Town of Chapel Hill, such as closing streets, are subject to approval from the Town of Chapel Hill and are the production company’s responsibility.
Parking and Security
Parking on campus is extremely limited. The media relations office will assist with coordinating parking and security, as needed. The production company should provide the media relations office with a list of parking and security requests as soon as possible. A list of production vehicles, including size and dimensions, must be provided to the University in connection with the project. The University will work with the production company in an effort to accommodate the parking needs, but there is no guarantee that on-campus parking will be available.
Production vehicles may only park in the areas agreed upon prior to filming. If vehicle parking by the production crew will affect pedestrian routes, film crews must set up appropriate signage and safety barriers to alert pedestrians. Charges for parking on-campus will be billed separately. The UNC Police will provide agreed-upon security and will bill the production company separately for these services. The list of security needs should include the number of security officers and the hours they will be needed.
Use of Drones
The use of drones for filming will be decided on a case-by-case basis and will be subject to approval by the UNC Police and the Office for Campus Safety and Risk Management. In addition to the regulations issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, the University has a policy outlining the use of drones during filming on campus. You can find the FAA drones regulations here:
and the University policy here:
Smoke Free Policy
The University of North Carolina is a smoke-free environment. Smoking is therefore prohibited in all indoor and outdoor facilities on University owned and leased property with no exception, including within vehicles parked on those properties. This policy also applies to any fraternity or sorority officially recognized by the university.
The production will credit the University for its cooperation as “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”
Follow this link for a downloadable pdf version of the Campus Film Guidelines.