Filming and Photography

Harvard Medical School has a long tradition of working with members of the news media to help improve the public understanding of biomedical science, elevate the public discourse on matters of scientific importance and help increase public engagement in the scientific enterprise.

Requests by journalists, photographers, television and film crews to observe or film anywhere on campus are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

We make efforts to accommodate the news media’s needs and provide reasonable access, within limits. However, our priority remains ensuring that the work of faculty, staff and students is not disrupted by media presence.

The project must be a legitimate news endeavor carried out by a journalist or a news crew working for a news outlet; an independent production company working on behalf of a news program or an independent filmmaker. The project’s primary goal must be to inform and educate the public on matters of medicine, health, biomedical science and should be consistent with HMS’s mission, vision and values.

When we do grant permission to film on campus, we do so with the following stipulations:

  • HMS faculty, and staff may terminate any interviews and/or filming if the crew interferes with the workflow or infringes upon the privacy or safety of faculty, staff and students.
  • Media crews using recording video or audio recording equipment must be escorted at all times
  • To avoid disrupting scientific experiments and avoid contamination, videographers, photographers, sound technicians and other crew members are prohibited from touching any lab equipment.
  • Media crews are urged to use minimal equipment and small-size cameras whenever possible.
  • Media crews are urged to make every attempt to obtain needed footage and interviews in the most expeditious manner in order to minimize disruption to HMS faculty and staff and interference with workflow.
  • Media crews are prohibited from filming any students without their written consent.
  • Faculty and staff are deemed pre-consented for filming and photographs. However, if they prefer to opt out, that wish should be honored.
  • Long-form news features and documentaries generally require the signing of location agreement and appearance release, as drafted by the Office of the General Counsel.
  • HMS security should be notified in advance of any media crew’s arrival.
  • Documentary crews planning to spend extensive time (more than half hour) filming on campus must present a certificate of liability coverage ahead of time.

Note: The above stipulations are intended for one-time, episodic news-gathering activities. Long-term news-gathering projects (i.e., series, long-form documentaries) that involve multiple return visits by the crew or prolonged news presence on campus may require a separate memorandum of understanding (MOU) that specifies the conditions and parameters of the specific project.


Ekaterina Pesheva
Director of Media Relations and Science Communications