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Super 8 On board of a Plane


Mike Bao
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Hey folks!

 

I am about to fly for a vacation and I am planning to take a significant amount of Super-8 stock film with me as well as the camera.

Afaic there is no regulations against having film or film cameras on board,but my concern is the XRAY check in the airport.

 

Can it affect the film (500ASA and 200ASA) ? Any way around it or am I worrying too much?

 

Thanks a lot! :)

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I've always heard the rule of thumb is 800 or lower is fine in the carry on scanner, but if I have rolls of 35mm still, I ask them to hand check it. (except in the case of when I had about 20 rolls, I only had them check a couple of 3200)

 

But, I was going overseas and the 3200 went through 4 x-rays total (Ireland and Italy were not hand-check friendly-- the machines did say "photo safe", but not sure if they were any different than US ones) and the negs came out perfectly fine.

The only place they were hand checked was in the states.

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I don't know about other countries, but in the US I ALWAYS ask for a hand check. It doesn't take any time, and the TSA agents haven't ever minded. Occasionally, they'll ask what speed the film is, and I just say "oh, well it's movie film..." and they smile and say okay and take the film. Just be sure to be nice and thank them after they do the hand-check. At least that's how it goes in the US...

 

tib5201g.gif

This is 320 asa 16mm with x-ray damage from a baggage scanner. At the very least, it can't hurt to ask for a hand-check.

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How may checks would it be?

 

Just a trip somewhere back and forth is not going to hurt film of any kind.

 

S8 cartridges are way too big to be allowed on without X-raying if they take their inspection duty serious. There could so much inside in just one.

Edited by Andries Molenaar
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I don't know about other countries, but in the US I ALWAYS ask for a hand check. It doesn't take any time, and the TSA agents haven't ever minded. Occasionally, they'll ask what speed the film is, and I just say "oh, well it's movie film..." and they smile and say okay and take the film. Just be sure to be nice and thank them after they do the hand-check. At least that's how it goes in the US...

 

tib5201g.gif

This is 320 asa 16mm with x-ray damage from a baggage scanner. At the very least, it can't hurt to ask for a hand-check.

This is not from one exposure in a modern scanner. It is an urban myth.

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This is not from one exposure in a modern scanner. It is an urban myth.

 

It's from Kodak's website, so it's not an urban myth. Whether or not you think Kodak is being dishonest, that's up for debate, but they claim it's KODAK VISION 320T exposed in an INVISION CTX-5500 baggage scanner. Which to be fair is a checked-baggage scanner and not a carry-on scanner, but according to wikipedia it is "the most widely used, FAA-certified Explosives Detection System in the world."

 

Also, as far as allowing super 8 cartridges through without x-raying, I have done exactly that many times. It's not like they don't inspect them, they just swab them and use an Explosives Trace Detection machine to check for chemicals. I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but every major airport in the US is capable of that.

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It doesn't take any time, and the TSA agents haven't ever minded.

 

The first time I had someone check (and I always have a roll of something 800+ so I can legitimately have them check it), they did so begrudgingly, so I thought when I was going overseas this time they'd be even less apt to check, but they were insanely friendly about it. It was weird. So it may be hit or miss.

It was the Irish and Italians who refused to succumb to my pleas. -and I was trying to explain to them how important the film was (already exposed) and it was my profession, so, even more so I'd say. oh well.

It wasn't a job I was getting paid for, just leisure stuff haha

Edited by Travis Gray
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The first time I had someone check (and I always have a roll of something 800+ so I can legitimately have them check it), they did so begrudgingly, so I thought when I was going overseas this time they'd be even less apt to check, but they were insanely friendly about it. It was weird. So it may be hit or miss.

It was the Irish and Italians who refused to succumb to my pleas. -and I was trying to explain to them how important the film was (already exposed) and it was my profession, so, even more so I'd say. oh well.

It wasn't a job I was getting paid for, just leisure stuff haha

 

That's so funny. I'm surprised they gave you so much trouble in Italy, I thought they loved film. If I recall correctly, I had no problems in France a few years ago.

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My friend visited US this year. He put a good portion of his photographic films in the checked luggage because he didn't know of the x-ray problem.

Damage was rather evident when I scanned his films. The film (Portra 400) looked rather grainy and there were some odd blue circles. However most of the frames looked rather nice despite all that.

 

Had it been cine film though it would have been quite *ahem* arty film.

 

I wouldn't worry about the hand luggage scanners. Should be okay. If it's work, buy and process film in the country you are visiting to avoid having to think about something like this. After all, here in Europe even courier companies such as FedEx or UPS can't promise not to x-ray, at least not unless you are some big customer.

Edited by Heikki Repo
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US TSA has never given me trouble about a film hand check for any kind or speed. We just go to the side and talk about my wedding film business and generally have a grand old time.

 

I have sent some 50D through in a rush without issue and even some 200t. But 500 would scare me and anything higher than that, no way.

 

But whatever your opinion or stance, checked is bad! 50D might be ok but it will definitely fog 500T. If it doesn't then the machine was turned down or your bag wasn't checked. (Guess what. Despite what they say they do not always Xray all luggage. )

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My friend visited US this year. He put a good portion of his photographic films in the checked luggage because he didn't know of the x-ray problem.

Damage was rather evident when I scanned his films. The film (Portra 400) looked rather grainy and there were some odd blue circles. However most of the frames looked rather nice despite all

 

 

Obviously a processing error. X-ray makes coarse grain.?

 

Parcels are only x-ray-ed when there is a suspicion at customs. Or they open the parcel and yank out the film :)

 

Any idea of the heap of parcels. Who is going to inspect these all?

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It's from Kodak's website, so it's not an urban myth. Whether or not you think Kodak is being dishonest, that's up for debate, but they claim it's KODAK VISION 320T exposed in an INVISION CTX-5500 baggage scanner. Which to be fair is a checked-baggage scanner and not a carry-on scanner, but according to wikipedia it is "the most widely used, FAA-certified Explosives Detection System in the world."

 

Also, as far as allowing super 8 cartridges through without x-raying, I have done exactly that many times. It's not like they don't inspect them, they just swab them and use an Explosives Trace Detection machine to check for chemicals. I don't know what it's like elsewhere, but every major airport in the US is capable of that.

 

Somewhere there is a report of a group who took film through tens of checks. Just for testing.

After a few checks there is no visible damage. Only many many x-ray checks damage could be shown.

 

These 3 stops darkenings with sharp borders are just made on purpose for demonstration.

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I brought 4 rolls of Vision3 200T to Italy this summer. In the US, no problem with TSA hand-checking the film.

 

In Italy, however, they insisted it go through the machine, and flat out refused to hand check it. He looked at the film, pointed to the speed and said "not 800" then tossed it on the conveyor belt.

 

It came out fine though - no discernible fogging.

 

-perry

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In Italy, however, they insisted it go through the machine, and flat out refused to hand check it. He looked at the film, pointed to the speed and said "not 800" then tossed it on the conveyor belt.

 

Glad I'm not the only one! ugh, Italians! (I can say that, they're my people)

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One with fogging and too much blue (normally the images would turn out colorwise neutral, this is portra 400 after all and not some cheap consumer film):

scan0018_ilmanvarinmuutoksia.jpg

 

And another one with an odd blue area which is quite certainly x-ray damage:

scan0015_ilmanvarinmuutoksia.jpg

Show it to a lab technician from Kodak (if they have any left). It is processing trouble. Poor chemistry due to contamination or poor replenishing.

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Show it to a lab technician from Kodak (if they have any left). It is processing trouble. Poor chemistry due to contamination or poor replenishing.

 

I have trouble believing that because I had my own C-41 films processed in the same batch, no problems there. But sure, I can ask the lab about it, it's a very high quality one man business that only processes film (C-41 and E-6, 35mm to 4x5), nothing else so he should be able to answer my question.

 

Regardless, this film was in the checked luggage on a trip to US from Europe so I'm quite positive it has been subjected to x-ray.

Edited by Heikki Repo
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I will be bringing about a dozen rolls of film from the USA to Vietnam next spring for a film shoot. I'll have a bunch of 50D and the rest 200T and 500T. I'll be asking for a hand check and praying they don't go thermonuclear on me.

 

On the way back my wife's cousin works at the Saigon Airport so she will probably be able to help me get a hand check on the luggage.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some of the smaller airports are more dicey for X-rays? So recently from a Middle East airport I tried wearing some 35mm still films and the metal detector didn't go off. But the chap saw my bulging pockets :unsure: He was really OK though and unconcerned about the films. Maybe movie films being larger are more of a problem ?

Thinks super-8 films don't have any metal on them.

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