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Richard Tuohy

X-ray danger: post, hand luggage or cargo luggage the least risky

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I wish to send a quantity of stock from Europe to Australia. I have done this before with normal air-mail postage and had no problems with x-rays. To save on postage, I am thinking that it might be possible to have the film carried by a relative on their return travel. Question is, would it be better (less risky from an airport x-ray point of view) to have the item carried as hand luggage, for it to go in the cargo hold with the normal luggage, or would it be better still just to post it?

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I wish to send a quantity of stock from Europe to Australia. I have done this before with normal air-mail postage and had no problems with x-rays. To save on postage, I am thinking that it might be possible to have the film carried by a relative on their return travel. Question is, would it be better (less risky from an airport x-ray point of view) to have the item carried as hand luggage, for it to go in the cargo hold with the normal luggage, or would it be better still just to post it?

 

 

Do not put film it into the cargo hold it will be xrayed and ruined. You can do a carry on with "hand inspection" If the rolls are new and sealed you should have no problem. As long as you have booked travel well inadvance and paid for the travel with a credit card or thru a Travel agent.

 

Travel thru England has in the past been a problem but they have gotten better about hand inspection of film products in recent years.

 

If the if the film has been recaned you might carry a changing bag in the remote chance they want to inspect the contents. Usually they do a swab test for residue

 

Check the Kodak web site for advice and get a copy of the actual regs for the countires you will pass thru -handy to have with you if there is a problem

 

I would not post unprocessed film thru the mail FedEx and DHL are good choices and understand the issues regarding film materials.

Your experience may be different and without complication. I shoot commercially so ultimately it's someone elses film and my resposibility it to protect it.

Edited by asparaco

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I wish to send a quantity of stock from Europe to Australia. I have done this before with normal air-mail postage and had no problems with x-rays. To save on postage, I am thinking that it might be possible to have the film carried by a relative on their return travel. Question is, would it be better (less risky from an airport x-ray point of view) to have the item carried as hand luggage, for it to go in the cargo hold with the normal luggage, or would it be better still just to post it?

 

I've gone through a similar excercise recently.

 

All I can say is :

 

1. Allow extra time - Manual scans take time (half the time is used to convince them that it is needed)

2. They will tell you that film up to 3200 ASA can go through the machine. You have to insist the contrary.

3. Ion scanners scan for explosives and nitrates. Keep your film away from fire-works and amunition!

4. They will take the film out of the foil wrappers. Only send the film when you intend to use it.

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I just went through carryingon film and a K3 and I would agree with everything Wolf said there. They really resist it because it means they have to leave the line and actually do some work. "HAND INSPECTION PLEASE, UNEXPOSED MOTION PICTURE FILM." "LAST TIME I CAME THROUGH I HAD FILM AND IT GOT ALL SCREWED UP AND WASHED OUT FROM THE XRAY MACHINE, HAND INSPECTION!"

 

The dude had a real problem with that but said absolutely nothing about the Krasnogorsk-3 which could double as a russian made machine gun or something :rolleyes:

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If they need 3200 speed film or higher, then say that's what it is. Say you're making an experimental film with T-Max 3200 (although obviously since this isn't a stock used for moviemaking they had to use some regular old 320D cans). I have heard 800 at airports. I personally am uncomfortable with anything faster than ASA 100 going through their machines.

 

Regards.

~Karl Borowski

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One pass thru the carry on luggage scanners may not fog film but repeated passes thru will fog all film at all exposure indexes. That is a key point to remember

Edited by asparaco

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I have heard 800 at airports.

 

I have been told 800 at every airport I've been through. And even that is probably incorrect. Remember these people aren't photographers, so don't assume anything; watch over all hand inspections and have a changing bag/tent handy just in case.

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There was another thread on a simalar topic recently and John P at Kodak referenced a document about inspections of "professional Film" . I Would suggest looking for that documnet, printing it out and using a yellow hi-lighter to mark "Motion Picture film" and HAND INSPECTION.

 

You may be better off to send it fed-ex with all the required paper work. they have their own planes and so they have latitude for how they check cargo. IF you do use a shipper, slap the Kodak DO NOT X_RAY labels on all sides. and make "Motion picture film do not xray" the first line in your description of contents.

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There was another thread on a simalar topic recently and John P at Kodak referenced a document about inspections of "professional Film" . I Would suggest looking for that documnet, printing it out and using a yellow hi-lighter to mark "Motion Picture film" and HAND INSPECTION.

 

You may be better off to send it fed-ex with all the required paper work. they have their own planes and so they have latitude for how they check cargo. IF you do use a shipper, slap the Kodak DO NOT X_RAY labels on all sides. and make "Motion picture film do not xray" the first line in your description of contents.

 

For the USA, here is the current TSA policy regarding x-ray inspection. ALL motion-picture films should be honored with a hand-inspection:

 

http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?content=090005198004a860

 

 

Transporting Film

 

WARNING: Equipment used for screening checked baggage will damage your undeveloped film.

 

Traveling with Film

 

Never place undeveloped film in your checked baggage.

Place film in your carry-on baggage* or request a hand inspection.

 

* Carry-on screening equipment might also damage certain film if the film passes through more than 5 times.

 

None of the screening equipment - neither the machines used for checked baggage nor those used for carry-on baggage - will affect digital camera images or film that has already been processed, slides, videos, photo compact discs, or picture discs.

 

General use film **

 

You should remove all film from your checked baggage and place it in your carry-on baggage. The X-ray machine that screens your carry-on baggage at the passenger security checkpoint will not affect undeveloped film under ASA/ISO 800.

 

If the same roll of film is exposed to X-ray inspections more than 5 times before it is developed, however, damage may occur. Protect your film by requesting a hand-inspection for your film if it has already passed through the carry-on baggage screening equipment (X-ray) more than 5 times.

 

Specialty film **

 

Specialty film is defined as film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher and typically used by professionals.

 

At the passenger security checkpoint, you should remove the following types of film from your carry-on baggage and ask for a hand inspection:

Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher

Highly sensitive X-ray or scientific films

Film of any speed which is subjected to X-ray surveillance more than 5 times (the effect of X-ray screening is cumulative)

Film that is or will be underexposed

Film that you intend to 'push process' Sheet film

Large format film

Medical film

Scientific film

Motion picture film

Professional grade film

Other Tips and Precautions:

 

If you plan to request a hand inspection of your film, you should consider carrying your film in clear canisters, or taking the film out of solid colored canisters and putting it into clear plastic bags, to expedite the screening process.

If you are going to be traveling through multiple X-ray examinations with the same rolls of undeveloped film, you may want to request a hand-inspection of your film. However, non-U.S. airports may not honor this request.

If you plan to hand-carry undeveloped film on an airplane at an international airport, contact the airport security office at that airport to request a manual inspection.

Consider having your exposed film processed locally before passing through airport security on your return trip.

We recommend that you do not place your film in lead-lined bags since the lead bag will have to be hand-inspected. If you have concerns about the impact of the X-ray machine on your undeveloped film, you can request a hand inspection.

You may still consider bringing a lead-lined bag if you are traveling through airports in other countries as their policies may vary. Check with your airline or travel agent for more information on foreign airports.

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