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Flying with film stock.

Rasmus Frostell

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Hi, i have a travel job coming up where we're shooting on 16mm. Since i've never done a travel job with film before i'm wondering how it works with the security and x-ray scanners. Can i ask security to hand-inspect the rolls in the dark bag or will they understand that it's film and have some kind of procedure for it? It's a 2 day shoot and we have 8 rolls of film.




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They should understand its film and won’t have to open the cans. They will do chemical swabs of each can and run their tests then see you on your way. Just be really upfront and let them know.  I usually mention stuff like that to the TSA person checking my ticket and ID. Just allow an extra 20-30 minutes Incase it’s busy and you have to wait for someone to take the film through. 

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I've flown with exposed and unexposed film before with no real issue, basically what Shawn said above.

You may have to request a supervisor or older TSA agent as younger ones may have no idea what you mean when you say it cant be X-rayed and that it is motion picture film. 

While I've never had to do it, I've heard several anecdotes about TSA asking to open the cans to verify the contents so bring a changing tent/film just in case. 

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