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Will Montgomery

X-Ray Damage to 500T

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I shot about (6) 100' rolls this Thanksgiving of family stuff. (3) Vision2 500T, (2) Vision2 50T and (1) B&W Negative.

 

I was visiting relatives in North Carolina so I had to fly from Dallas. I shipped the film there with DO NOT X-RAY all over it. After shooting, I was in a hurry and threw the film into my suitcase thinking that maybe the whole X-Ray thing was a myth anyway.

 

Boy was I wrong. The 500T came back with a pulsing fog. Since I shoot with a K-3 I'm never quite sure if it's the film or the camera but the lab guys looked at the transfer and agreed it was probably X-ray damage.

 

The 50D came back fine and looked truely amazing... the colorist said it was the first time she worked with this stock and it was wonderful. No damage was visable.

 

So, if the bags did get zapped by a powerful x-ray, what would be the general limit to the speed of film so it wouldn't show damage?

 

Of course in the future I will send everything FedEx with DO NOT X-RAY all over it.

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Slower films with finer grains are generally less affected than fast films. Tungsten balance films have to use faster blue emulsions with larger grains than equivalent daylight balance films, so they tend to be more sensitive. But given enough exposure, x-rays can fog ANY film.

 

In the USA, the Transportation Security Administration allows hand inspection of ALL motion picture films, regardless of speed, if you request it, provide a changing bag for hand inspection, and leave enough time for the inspector to check the film by hand.

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In the USA, the Transportation Security Administration allows hand inspection of ALL motion picture films, regardless of speed, if you request it, provide a changing bag for hand inspection, and leave enough time for the inspector to check the film by hand.

 

Thanks for the input John, you're presence on these boards is really invaluable to film makers here.

 

It seems like even with a changing bag, its more likely that they would damage the film one way or another... unless I get lucky and have someone who is really well trained. Seems like I'd have better luck just FedExing directly to my lab from where ever I am rather than trying to carry it back on a plane.

Edited by Will Montgomery

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Hi,

 

I've had TSA people (at McCarran in Las Vegas) claim that the hand inspect was at their discretion. They didn't mind doing it, but this does open up the possibility of refusal.

 

If they really believe this, and he appeared to, the actual rules might not matter. Carry a copy of the regs.

 

Phil

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Hi,

 

I've had TSA people (at McCarran in Las Vegas) claim that the hand inspect was at their discretion. They didn't mind doing it, but this does open up the possibility of refusal.

 

If they really believe this, and he appeared to, the actual rules might not matter. Carry a copy of the regs.

 

Phil

 

Here are the current TSA guidelines for film 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.

 

Motion picture films are more sensitive to visible problems from x-ray exposures for several reasons:

 

1. You view successive frames, so any non-uniformity in exposure shows as flicker or streaking.

2. Magnification is usually high, so any increase in graininess from the x-rays is more noticeable.

3. Tungsten balance films use a faster blue-sensitive layer than equivalent speed daylight balance film, so the larger grains are more sensitive to x-rays

 

If you can, buy and process your motion picture film locally, avoiding the need to air ship your film. Or at least ship your film via an air shipper (e.g., FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc.), working closely with them to properly fill out the shipping documents and label packages as "Do Not X-Ray". If you MUST carry unprocessed film with you, do NOT put it in checked baggage. Try to arrange for hand inspection in a chaning bag you provide, but be sure there will be time for the inspection, especially during busy times for the security people.

 

Kodak has more information and things like "Do Not X-Ray" labels on its website:

 

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/support/...1.4.11.10&lc=en

 

dnx.gif

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hi,

you could also carry your film (raw or exposed) in FILM SHIELD bags which are lined with lead. they have protected my 3200 asa still films.

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hi,

you could also carry your film (raw or exposed) in FILM SHIELD bags which are lined with lead. they have protected my 3200 asa still films.

 

Generally, the lead lined bags do NOT assure the film will not be fogged by X-rays. If the security inspector sees an opaque object (the lead bag) on the x-ray, they are likely to run multiple passes through the machine. Higher powered X-ray scanners used for checked baggage will penetrate the thin lead bag anyway.

 

If you have motion-picture film as carry-on baggage, REQUEST A HAND INSPECTION. Do NOT put it through the machine (even with a lead bag), and especially, NEVER PUT UNPROCESSED FILM IN CHECKED BAGGAGE.

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1. You view successive frames, so any non-uniformity in exposure shows as flicker or streaking.

2. Magnification is usually high, so any increase in graininess from the x-rays is more noticeable.

3. Tungsten balance films use a faster blue-sensitive layer than equivalent speed daylight balance film, so the larger grains are more sensitive to x-raysdnx.gif

 

This is what the screeners don't understand, especially # 1.

 

They also don't seem to get that fogging is cumulative.

 

Couldn't Kodak come up with "ULTRA HIGH SPEED EI 6400 FILM: CANNOT BE X-RAYED" labels for 50D, 200T etc stocks with microscopic legal disclaimers someplace ? :D

 

-Sam

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