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Equipment Access, Reservations and Production


ECAT community producers may use portable production, post-production, and studio production equipment on a first-come, first-served basis. Equipment may not be used in hazardous situations.

Note: Equipment may not be used in hazardous situations that compromise the safety of the users or equipment. Portable equipment may not be used outside of Massachusetts without prior approval of ECAT staff and acceptance of the insurance co-payment option.




A. Project Proposal Conference

No reservations for equipment or facilities can be made without a completed Project Proposal Conference, and a separate Project Proposal is required for each Program, or for Episodes of a Series.

By telephone or in person, complete a Project Proposal Conference with ECAT staff, preferably a minimum of 24 hours BEFORE the first reservation under this project. During this conference, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Title or Working Title of the Program you would produce;                  

  • A brief description of the type of production you will do -- i.e. is it a studio talk show, a field documentary, event coverage, etc;

  • The length of the final program;

  • Whether it is a series or not;

  • Whether it is to be LIVE;

  • The date you project for completion of production work ("Planned End date");

  • What equipment and facility time you think you will need to complete your project.


PLEASE NOTE: The purpose of this conference is to assure that you have everything you need to do your shoot, and that you are using the methods and materials best suited to your production. Nothing in this conference concerns the content of your program, subject matter, etc. Program content is strictly yours to control. But we may need to know a few things about what the program will contain (for example, will slides be shown, is it a team sport shoot, will a public audience be involved, etc.) in order to provide the appropriate resources.

B. Field Production Resources

1. The amount of equipment available for a given project will be determined by ECAT staff during the Project Proposal Conference, based on the needs of the project, and the equipment available at the proposed time of the project production.

2. Equipment must be reserved no more than 13 weeks in advance.

We cannot guarantee availability of equipment requested with less than 48 hours notice.

3. In the event of facility bookings in excess of 75% of available resources, the staff may institute a per project budget of Usage Dollars, in order to more equitably control access to resources.

4. Equipment Check-out

Equipment must be checked out at the ECAT office by the community producer named in the project proposal as Producer or Co-producer. The staff will enter the check-out information into the computer and a hard copy will be signed by the community producer.

Approximately 30 minutes should be allowed for checking equipment in or out.

5. Exceptions - If there are compelling reasons to get equipment at other times than the regularly scheduled check-out times, a staff person must approve such a request. That staff person is responsible for following through with the check-out and must also be responsible for setting up the check-in time with that user.

6. Return of Equipment - Community producers are responsible for notifying the staff if there are any problems with the equipment by submitting a completed Equipment Trouble Report. Community producers may not attempt repair of damage to equipment. Community producers may not borrow additional equipment until all items have been returned in good working order (normal wear and tear excepted).

7. Completion - All projects are given an initial 13 weeks for completion from the date of the first reservation. Producers are expected to deliver a disc/file for cablecast no later than this "Planned End date." A single, 13-week extension will be considered at a Project Extension Conference with the ECAT staff.

C. Editing

1. Community producers coming in to Edit must check in with the staff member on duty. If a producer fails to check in, the producer may be listed as a "No Show", and his or her edit time given away.

2. Community Producers must consult with the staff engineer before bringing in accessories. There are areas posted as off-limits to the public in the edit rooms. Unauthorized connection of external devices is a major violation, and grounds for suspension of membership and its privileges.

3. Edit times must be reserved no more than 13 weeks in advance. Producers may reserve only one four hour block per day in advance. However, on the day of an edit session, a producer may extend this edit time if the room is available, or make an additional reservation of up to four hours.

4. No one may reconfigure the wiring of any edit station. Violation of this rule will result in the immediate and permanent loss of all access privileges.

D. Studio Facilities

1. The ECAT staff person on duty during a studio production is not to be considered part of a crew.

2. Crew position assignments are the responsibility of the community producer. All studio crew must be certified or approved by the ECAT staff.

3. A Studio reservation is not confirmed until the community producer has confirmed, at minimum, the assignment of a Director for the production.

4. Producers must consult with the staff before bringing in accessories to the control room. There may be areas posted as off-limits. Studio time must be reserved, no less than one week and no more than 13 weeks in advance. A studio production block of up to 6 hours may be reserved in advance. The studio reservation may be extended on the day of production if time is available. Hours of studio use are firm; therefore all community producers should allow time to strike sets and clean up before their time is up.

5. No one may reconfigure any studio wiring. Violation of this rule will result in the immediate and permanent loss of all access privileges.

E. Cancellations

Community producers must give at least 24 hour notice when canceling any reserved use of ECAT equipment, facilities, channels or classes. If a community producer is more than 20 minutes late without notification, the reservation may be canceled. (See Minor Violations) Repeated instances of failure to make a timely notice of cancellation may result in a suspension of privileges.

If a community producer is more than 20 minutes late, the cancellation will be designated as "No Show." After three "Late Cancels" the producer will be notified that his or her membership privileges are at risk, and that a minor violation has been noted.  Three "No Shows" constitute a Major Violation, and may result in a 90-day suspension of member privileges.

F. Digital Media Storage
1.    ECAT has limited digital hard drive and network storage capabilities that are allocated to members by reservation according to resources available and number of users.  Access Members will be assigned hard drive space for a period of four (4) weeks, after which the drive will be wiped clean and reassigned to other projects.  This process will happen without prior notification.
2.In the event that a producer needs more time than allotted for the use of production facilities, it is the responsibility of the access member to alert ECAT staff.
3.    Access members may use storage assigned to them at their own risk.  ECAT is not liable for lost or stolen work left on computer lab workstations or digital media storage devices.  In the event of technical difficulties, ECAT staff will make every effort to save project files, but is not liable for any unrecoverable digital assets.
4.Digital storage devices are the property of ECAT and are not permitted to leave the facility.

G. Computer / Internet Usage
1.Do not alter system settings, software or hardware configurations, or any other part of individual workstations or the network that may make it difficult for others to do work or may cause damage (temporary or permanent) to lab resources.  Doing so is strictly prohibited and is a major violation.
2.Installation of any software on any ECAT computer without consent of staff is forbidden and is a minor violation.
3.Each station is equipped with virus detection software and we ask that you remain mindful of the possibility that a virus may exist on discs you bring into the ECAT.  ECAT is not responsible for lost material or damage to discs caused as a result of a computer virus.
4.Technical problems should be brought to the attention of the ECAT staff and recorded on a Trouble Report Form.
5.Computer users are responsible for the safety, content and use of their material.
6.Computer resources are not to be used for illegal or criminal activity.
7.Be mindful of copyright infringements and the use of others’ work.  You are fully liable for any unauthorized use of any material including, but not limited to, audio clips, graphic images, software applications, text, video clips, etc.
8.Be aware that duplication of software programs for use on computers outside of the lab is considered software piracy and punishable by law.
9.It is understood that ECAT has full, uncensored access to the Internet and that access to such resources requires critical and discretionary use by everyone.
10.    ECAT does not filter or restrict access to any Internet resources.  This means that we are not aware of activity of any minors using our facilities. Parents of minors should be aware of their child’s activity and regulate as they see fit.