Inside security at Hollywood's Paramount Pictures

The challenges behind keeping one of the world's major movie studios secure


Hilbert and Lam say Paramount faces both internal and external theft, potential stalking of its celebrity and executive staff, workplace violence, and vandalism. To address its threats Paramount employs a mix of contract and in-house guard staff to patrol the grounds, deal with crowd control, special events and traffic. All studio employees are badged and more than 200 video surveillance cameras are integrated into a Lenel management system. Lam and his staff are in the midst of migrating its analog video system into an IP-based system that will be monitored in a new command center that is slated to open by the end of the year.

Rick Madrid, Paramount's head of security investigations and emergency services, oversees one of the more unique missions specific to the movie industry. His group is responsible for making sure unreleased movies are protected during the private screening process. Having a movie hit the streets or the internet before the scheduled release date could spell disaster for the studio which routinely invests tens of millions in a project.

Madrid tracks the progressive versions of films being screened through proprietary editing ques, watermarking and good old fashioned police work. During a film's various screenings, Madrid and his team don night vision goggles to make sure there is no covert recording being done during a screening.

"We cannot compromise a new release during the screening process. It is like protecting the secret," adds Madrid. "We have a very close relationship with local law enforcement to help us curb potential bootleg copies of new releases hitting the market."

Security, it seems, is never "a wrap" when it comes to protecting one of America's flagship studios.