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.

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. This is done through the booking system Connect2 and must be agreed to each time equipment or rooms are booked.

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 check out equipment exclusively for work on projects to complete course credit. It is forbidden for students to book equipment for anyone but themselves or their in-class 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.

Non-compliance with this rulebook may result in SFP room and equipment use privileges being revolked. Which holds the user financially responsible (up to $1,000) for either the cost of repair or replacement of damaged or missing gear. 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 Equipment Checkout or use SFP facilities, students must:

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

To ensure the safety of Film and Photo Checkout equipment, facilities, and all SFP students/employees/faculty, non-SFP students are NOT allowed in any of the facilities and may not book/use SFP equipment. Models/actors/crew members etc. 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 and some rooms with Checkout, students must use the Connect2 online software, found at sfpcheckout.msu.montana.edu. These bookings are then passed onto Checkout. Checkout will contact you if there are any issues with your booking request. Please note that making an online booking does not guarantee availability of requested gear. 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 before the chosen pickup time 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 shall take on the role of “Producer”. The Producer is responsible for making the booking as well as any fines accrued and/or perceived damages to equipment.


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 prior to pick-up may 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 choose an “Equipment Pick-Up Time” in Connect2 when making a booking online or in person. It is only during this time that students may pick up equipment from Checkout.


EQUIPMENT RETURN: Students must return their equipment to Checkout at the time chosen in Connect2 during the initial booking. The student may return equipment early if they so choose, but never late. Bookings with two or more resource may not be permitted to be returned within 30 minutes of posted closing time. Equipment return is available during Checkout’s standard operating hours but not available during evenings and weekends. The student will receive a call if there is an issue or question regarding their equipment.

Single Item Resources checked out for use in labs and studio spaces managed by Checkout must be returned no later than 30 minutes prior to the posted closing time. These items must remain in the Visual Communications Building

For all equipment returns, the student must wait for Checkout to acknowledge the return before walking away.


ROOM BOOKINGS: Some rooms can be booked through Connect2 online. Other rooms must be booked through Checkout. If a student has questions about what rooms they have access to, see Checkout. Book a time to use a space at the corresponding Equipment Checkout or online and pick up the key to the room at the specified pickup time. You are allowed only the booked amount of time to use a room, therefore keys must be returned as soon as your time is up. Room bookings include specialty stations that are one of a kind and may need to be booked often by many students.

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.

Keys for bookings that require the use of spaces outside of normal operating hours must be picked up prior to Checkout’s posted closing time and returned the following business day by 8a.m. The drop box outside of Film Checkout should be used to return these keys.  


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. Students are advised to speak with Film Checkout to ensure their request was received and booked. Without visiting the Film Checkout window to confirm their booking, students will not get the respective room key.

The Sound Theater (236) is open only during normal Film Checkout business hours with no exceptions. There will be no after-hours use of the Sound Theater.

For rooms returned during Checkout operating hours, the student must wait for Checkout to acknowledge the returned key(s) before walking away.


PHOTO ROOM BOOKINGS: Workspaces such as the Photo Studio (211), Individual Labs (114–116, 118–121), the Bookmaking Room (155), Imacon Scanner (153), 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 255 and above, and the student must have a valid class-related use for the space and be certified on any equipment the space may contain.

Studio stations are booked in three-hour time slots with a six hour per day maximum. Printing stations 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. Back-to-back bookings on one station are prohibited.  Failure to pick up a room key within 30 minutes of the booked time will result in a canceled booking and a potential no-show fine.

Checkout employees will complete a checklist for Photo Studio and Individual Lab bookings at the time of check out and check in. Students are held responsible for any damages and must be properly trained by faculty to use the equipment.. All Photo facilities (except the Digital Editing Lab) are closed when Photo Checkout is closed.

Keys must be returned by the time designated in Connect2. If a key is checked out close to the posted closing time, it must be returned 30 minutes prior to Checkout’s closure or when requested by a Checkout employee. Failure to do this may result in a fine and/or loss of privileges.

The Finishing Room (110), 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.

The student must wait for Checkout to acknowledge the returned key(s) before walking away.



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 (Imacon Scanner, Film Scanning Room, Senior Edit Bay, etc). 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. 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 will gain access by typing the last six digits of their 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 has any issues with utilizing key-pad access, see Checkout.


If a student requests to book equipment with a check out time sooner than allowed by Connect2, they may pay a $15 fee to have Equipment Checkout prep the equipment. Checkout reserves the right to deny or delay pickup time for any reason.

If equipment is returned to Checkout more than 30 minutes late, it may result in a late fee. Any item with a barcode is subject to a $5.00 per day charge beginning promptly after specified return time and will continue to accrue until the item(s) is returned.

If equipment is broken or damaged (or malfunctions during use), students must promptly and clearly communicate the issue with Checkout upon return. Students are held financially accountable for any lost or broken items. Students may not repair or replace these items on their own. 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 including 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 $25 PER KIT for equipment found to be at or below 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 Impact Someone Else (I.S.E.) 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.

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. Outstanding Checkout fees at the end of the semester will result in a hold being placed on a student’s academic account by the Registrar’s Office.


It is UNIVERSITY POLICY that vehicles may be parked in the back alley loading area of the VCB 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 the appropriately labeled Hazardous Waste Container. If chemistry is poured down the drain, notify Checkout immediately. Consistent failure to comply with these protocols will results in a permanent loss of equipment and facility privileges.

Students are required to wear gloves to work with chemistry. Students are responsible for their own gloves, and can request safety glasses from Checkout if desired. Safety Data Sheets (S.D.S) 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 lid (i.e. plexiglass).

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.


Photo Checkout is open after normal business hours. This is subject to change. These hours are for students to use the lab spaces for class assignments. Students must enter the building by swiping their CatCard at designated card-reader entrances. If a student’s CatCard does not work, they must contact the CatCard office. Propping of exterior doors or contacting Checkout employees to let students in after-hours is expressly forbidden and may result in loss of lab privileges.

No gear is allowed to be booked by an employee, checked-in, or checked-out aside from Single Item Resources (S.I.R.s) associated with finishing and darkroom materials. Fines and expendables cannot be paid for outside of evening hours. Due to extensive closing procedures, checkout employees will close labs one hour before posted closing time. 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 may close Checkout as early as 8p.m. if the labs are not in use.


Checkout sells various items. These items are available for sale to anyone, including non-SFP students. Most items for purchase are located at Film Checkout. Items sold are subject to change.

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, checks, or Apple Pay are the only acceptable forms of payment (no cash payments). All sales are final.


Students must be enrolled in SFP classes in order to check out a locker. Lockers must be returned by noon on the final Wednesday of the semester. To return a locker, inform Checkout that the locker has been cleaned out and left unlocked. Students are required to sign and agree that the locker has been returned. 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.

FILM LOCKERS: Lockers may be checked out 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 checked out at the Photo Checkout window. Lockers in the Fundamental and Intermediate Labs may be checked out on a semester basis and must be returned to Checkout by the end of the semester. Students enrolled in PHOT255 and above and currently have a Finishing Room locker checked out may extend their locker booking one semester at a time if enrolled in a production class the following semester.


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 of the above policies are subject to change.