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Filming In The Operating Room



Recording and sharing surgical and procedure videos can be a necessary and powerful tool for education, training, and showcasing medical innovations and techniques. Capturing these moments in the operating room (OR), and other clinical environments requires meticulous planning and adherence to strict protocols to ensure patient safety, privacy, and compliance with institutional regulations. In this guide, we will cover many of the most important considerations that your team should understand before filming in the OR.

Preparation & Planning

  • Permissions and Legal Compliance: Secure written consent from patients, staff, and the institution. Ensure all activities comply with HIPAA and other relevant privacy laws.
  • Pre-Production Meeting: Include the physicians, OR staff, and your production team. Discuss the procedure, filming angles, medical imaging and critical moments to capture.
  • Determine what immunizations are required to work in the OR.
  • Equipment Sterilization: Confirm which equipment can be brought into the OR and the process required for sterilization or biomedical approval.

Day of Filming

  • Check-in Procedure: Understand and follow the hospital’s check-in process for external teams, including health and safety briefings.
  • Dress Code: Wear appropriate scrubs, masks, and, if necessary, lead aprons. Always adhere to sterile field protocols.
  • Camera Placement: Work with the physician and medical team to determine camera positions to capture essential footage without interfering with the medical team.
  • Silent Communication: Establish non-verbal cues with your team to minimize disruptions.

Filming Etiquette

  • Minimal Interference: The primary goal is patient care. Ensure your presence does not disturb the medical procedures.
  • Privacy Protection: Be mindful of capturing sensitive patient information. Frame shots to exclude identifying features unless expressly permitted.
  • Recording Consent: Always have written consent from the clinical staff and patient before filming.


  • Editing for Compliance: Review footage to remove any identifiable patient information or anything else that might violate privacy laws or ethical standards.
  • Feedback Loop: Share the edited video with the medical team for feedback to ensure accuracy and appropriateness of the content.
  • Archiving and Sharing: Follow guidelines for secure storage and sharing of the footage, respecting all legal and institutional policies.

Vendor Qualification

  • Experience in Clinical Settings: Choose a production team with experience in medical environments, familiar with working around the sterile field, OR protocols and privacy laws.
  • Technical Requirements: Ensure they have appropriate equipment to capture necessary angles, like overhead shots, be sterilized or shielded, and experience in capturing high-quality surgical footage.
  • References and Insurance: Verify their track record with similar projects and confirm they carry sufficient liability insurance.


Filming in the OR and other clinical settings is a complex but rewarding endeavor that requires careful planning and respect for the clinical environment, patient privacy, and legal constraints. By following these guidelines, you can ensure a conflict-free production process that provides valuable education and insights to your organization and the medical community.

Download Our OR Filming Checklist Below!