How to Film Actors in Uniform Without Breaking the Law

7 years ago  •  By  •  0 Comments

Hangar 30 serves many local and national community service organizations that provide valuable services to the SMVF (service members, veterans and their families) community. In many instances these organizations wish to feature a service member (or a uniformed actor) in a film or photo project. At Hangar 30, we are often asked, “is it okay to film an actor in a military uniform, and does it matter if the subject has ever served in the military?”

service member in uniform

There are many things to consider when putting uniformed talent in a video. These considerations are the same whether the subject is an actor or a current or former service member.

In fact, there is an entire section of the US Code dedicated to our Armed Forces, and an entire section of which that applies to actors portraying military service members:

Title 10 US Code 772: (f) While portraying a member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, an actor in a theatrical or motion-picture production may wear the uniform of that armed force if the portrayal does not tend to discredit that armed force.

Often, we hire actors to portray service members for resiliency and safety roles for our Department of Defense and nonprofit organizations clients. In all cases, we strictly adhere to the US Code above, and employ additional safeguards to guarantee compliance.

6 rules to follow when filming actors in uniform:

  1. Actors portraying members of the military must wear civilian clothes to and from the location where they will be filmed or photographed
  2. When using a uniformed actor in a video project, be sure to adhere to all published military appearance regulations.

    When using a uniformed actor in a video project, be sure to adhere to all published military appearance regulations.

    All actors portraying members of the military will adhere to grooming standards consistent with military regulations

  3. All references to rank will be correct for each branch of service
  4. While wearing the uniform, standard policies will be observed. For instance, covers (hats) will only be worn while outside or under arms when inside. Boot laces will be tucked in and bare arms will be as current policy
  5. Under no circumstances will an actor portraying a service member use alcohol, illicit drugs or portray their use while in uniform
  6. No actor in uniform will promote a political party or show support for any candidate

There are many other nuances associated with portraying an actor in uniform. However, our general rule is: if you’re being respectful to the armed force being represented and following their uniform regulations, you should be in the clear.

Do you have questions about using uniformed actors in a film or photoshoot? Fill out the form below to get in touch