Filming in the Operating Room

Extra steps need to be taken for infection control purposes when filming in the Operating Room.

Before filming:

  • Please make sure that either your Children’s contact or the video program manager ( ) has walked you through these steps prior to your first shoot in the Operating Room. You MUST be escorted by a Seattle Children’s employee while in the Operating Room.
  • The Authorization for Use or Disclosure of Public Health Information for Publicity Activities patient form must be signed by the patient’s parent or legal guardian before filming. The family should completely understand the reasons for filming, always let the family know that they do not have to participate if they are uncomfortable and it will in no way affect the care they receive.


  • You will need scrub pants, scrub shirt (note that scrubs run small), a mask, a hair cover and feet covers (booties). Your Children’s contact will get these for you.
  • No open toed shoes allowed.
  • A mask MUST be worn at all times in the Operating Room.
  • Your head and feet MUST be covered to enter the Operating Room.
  • You CANNOT have any exposed clothing (for example, no collars or -long sleeves sticking out under short sleeved scrubs).
  • There are jumpsuits available if you are in a hurry or would rather wear one.
  • You may leave your clothing in a locker in the locker room, or you can ask the Operating Room front desk for a plastic bag in which you can leave your belongings outside the Operating Room, but it is best not to bring extra belongings.
  • Please leave your Children’s press badge ON at all times – you can tuck it into your clothing if necessary.
  • NO CELL PHONES are allowed in the Operating Room, and pagers MUST be set to vibrate.


  • You will be allowed to carry only the basics (a camera, a tripod and a fanny pack with extra batteries) into the Operating Room, the rest must be left in your car.
  • No lighting equipment is allowed. The Operating Room staff should never be asked to adjust lighting for the cameras.
  • You must wipe down ALL equipment  (including tripod and fanny packs) thoroughly, with disinfectant wipes from the wipe bucket before entering the Operating Room. Wipe buckets are white with a blue top, please ask the OR front desk if you need help finding one.
  • Wear gloves when wiping down equipment, the chemicals in the wipes are harsh on skin

Ready to go into the Operating Room:

  • Once you are fully dressed in scrubs, with your hair covered and your mask on you may proceed into the Operating Room.
  • As soon as you enter through the double doors, the check in area/desk is on your right. Here you can speak to the charge nurse, who can direct you to the correct operating room.
  • Notice that you CANNOT go past the red line in the Operating Room if you are not dressed in Operating Room scrubs.

Once Inside the Operating Room:

  • Be sure to NEVER TOUCH anything that is green or blue, this indicates that it is sterile and clean.
  • Only essential people are allowed in the Operating Room, be sure to keep people to a minimum – usually a videographer and a Children’s escort.
  • You should be in the Operating Room before the surgery begins or the patient arrives.
  • Introduce yourself to the charge for the room (usually a nurse).
  • Explain why you are filming and what you hope to capture.
  • Ask them where you can stand and how close you can get to the surgeon, staff, patient etc.
  • If you need to mike the surgeon, ask the charge the best way to do so.

If you put a mike on the surgeon:

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Explain what shots you are hoping to get.
  • Find out what they are comfortable and not comfortable with you capturing.

Upon leaving the Operating Room you can change out of your scrubs and deposit them into the scrubs laundry bucket at the top of the staircase (the same staircase that led you down to the scrubs area).