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Travelling with motion picture rolls in airports


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#1 Gregory PAUL

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:02 PM

Hello there,

I have planned a trip to Indonesia during april month. I will take my favourite AAton camera with me and I want to shoot some pictures there. Altough I plan to carry 2 or 3 400' 16mm rolls with me. I do know that my motion picture rolls should not meet X-rays in airport... But I'm worried about custom controls. I'll carry a changing bag with me and ask for a hand control. But do the guys at customs agree everytime to inspect the rolls by hand ?? Can they refuse to do so ? I'm afraid of that problem. I should meet at least 8 controls during my trip, it should be boring if each time inspecting my rolls by hand is a problem... So I wonder if somebody has an experience or advices about that.

Thanks for help, I'm really worried about that !

Gregory
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#2 Dominik Muench

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 03:07 PM

Hello there,

I have planned a trip to Indonesia during april month. I will take my favourite AAton camera with me and I want to shoot some pictures there. Altough I plan to carry 2 or 3 400' 16mm rolls with me. I do know that my motion picture rolls should not meet X-rays in airport... But I'm worried about custom controls. I'll carry a changing bag with me and ask for a hand control. But do the guys at customs agree everytime to inspect the rolls by hand ?? Can they refuse to do so ? I'm afraid of that problem. I should meet at least 8 controls during my trip, it should be boring if each time inspecting my rolls by hand is a problem... So I wonder if somebody has an experience or advices about that.

Thanks for help, I'm really worried about that !

Gregory



call up the security office a few days beforehand, youre not the first peson travelling with film, they know how to handle it and if you declare it in advance, the whole procedure should be quite easy and uncomplicated :9 good luck
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 06:44 PM

I travel with film all the time and I just carry the film in my carry on and let it get x-rayed. I've never seen even a hint of x-ray damage on the film. Those security x-rays won't damage film below 800ASA. Think about it, do airports want people screaming that the x-ray machine ruined all of their vacation pictures?

Don't put your film stock in your checked luggage that is for sure.

Take my advice you are asking for trouble if you refuse to let your film cans get x-rayed and you ask for a hand inspection. The people who work airport security can't be bothered with this, and they'll tell you over and over again that their machine will not damage your film, which is true. Plus you really run the risk of having your film ruined through the whole process of opening the film in the changing bag and letting non film people stick their hands in there.

I've been through plenty of airports in the "developing world" as well and also never had my film damaged. Even the poorest countries these days have fairly modern x-rays for the carry on items.

What you're proposing isn't worth the hassel, trust me, I have taken film through the carry on x-ray machine over 30 times and never once even had a hint of an issue on the film.

Having motion picture stock scanned is no different from stills stock.

R,
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 07 March 2006 - 09:33 PM

Some guidelines:

1. Checked baggage WILL get x-rayed, usually by a high intensity scanner type device. One pass will ruin unprocessed film.

2. Carry-on baggage devices are usually relatively low dose, but can cause noticeable fogging of high speed films in only a pass or two. All too often, the inspector sees a suspicious item, and scans it several times, so you can quickly have several passes. So if at all possible, request a hand inspection. In the USA, TSA guidelines allow requesting hand inspection of ANY motion picture film so it will not be subjected to x-rays.

3. Lead bags offer no real protection --- the opaque unknown object will likely be scanned multiple times.

4. Call the airport security office to determine procedures. Leave plenty of time for a hand inspection.

5. Carry a changing bag, and a practice roll for the inspector to know what they are feeling for.

6. Suggest and welcome inspection methods that will not harm film -- chemical or dog "sniffing" for explosives, use of a magnetometer "wand", etc.

7. Carry a professional ID - ASC membership, union card, etc. in addition to plenty of other ID.

8. Be polite and patient. They are just doing their job to protect you and the other passengers.

9. Whenever possible, buy and process film locally, rather than having to carry or ship it.

10. Whenever possible, consider shipping film via ground or commercial carrier -- e.g. FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. Work closely with the carrier to properly label and manifest the shipment. Avoid situations that are likely to put the package into the cargo hold of a passenger plane (e.g., "will call" at a passenger airline)

11. Carry a copy of the latest TSA regulations to help convince inspectors to hand inspect:

http://www.tsa.gov/p...90005198004a860
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#5 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 01:14 PM

I travel with film all the time and I just carry the film in my carry on and let it get x-rayed. I've never seen even a hint of x-ray damage on the film. Those security x-rays won't damage film below 800ASA. Think about it, do airports want people screaming that the x-ray machine ruined all of their vacation pictures?

Don't put your film stock in your checked luggage that is for sure.

Take my advice you are asking for trouble if you refuse to let your film cans get x-rayed and you ask for a hand inspection. The people who work airport security can't be bothered with this, and they'll tell you over and over again that their machine will not damage your film, which is true. Plus you really run the risk of having your film ruined through the whole process of opening the film in the changing bag and letting non film people stick their hands in there.

I've been through plenty of airports in the "developing world" as well and also never had my film damaged. Even the poorest countries these days have fairly modern x-rays for the carry on items.

What you're proposing isn't worth the hassel, trust me, I have taken film through the carry on x-ray machine over 30 times and never once even had a hint of an issue on the film.

Having motion picture stock scanned is no different from stills stock.

R,


I have known plenty of people who have had 400 speed film either ruined or faded by airport security.

Maybe the canisters help shield the effects to an extent.
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#6 Stephen Williams

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 01:37 PM

I travel with film all the time and I just carry the film in my carry on and let it get x-rayed. I've never seen even a hint of x-ray damage on the film. Those security x-rays won't damage film below 800ASA. Think about it, do airports want people screaming that the x-ray machine ruined all of their vacation pictures?

Don't put your film stock in your checked luggage that is for sure.


R,


Richard,

You usually shoot on 50 asa stock, don't you?

Stephen
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 02:30 PM

Take my advice you are asking for trouble if you refuse to let your film cans get x-rayed and you ask for a hand inspection. The people who work airport security can't be bothered with this, and they'll tell you over and over again that their machine will not damage your film, which is true. Plus you really run the risk of having your film ruined through the whole process of opening the film in the changing bag and letting non film people stick their hands in there.

R,

I don't agree with this at all. I've had 400ASA film badly fogged by an x-ray machine. I forgot to pull it out to have it hand checked and it was not nice when I got it developed.
Almost every time I fly I have unprocessed still film with me, and I have it hand checked every time (except in that instance when I forgot). It only takes a few minutes. They will ask you if it's higher than 800ASA, and sometimes say that they won't hand check it if it isn't, but if you're friendly and tell them that it's professional film and you can't risk it, they'll always do a hand check for you (at least in my experience). You could also bring a roll of TMAX 3200, or another high speed stock, (which I normally have anyway) and then you can tell them that you have film over 800 ASA without lying.
Letting my film be x-rayed is not something I'll ever let happen again.
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#8 Delorme Jean-Marie

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 02:34 PM

i had hand check in toronto, paris, cairo and alger airport no pb
toronto was 15/70 after camera test at imax corp. i was scared about the size of the neg in the x-ray.

my main pb was that i had to prove the us customs i wasn't entering the country to work illegaly.
in fact i was doing one day stop in san diego to wait for the director and then move to film in mexico.
It took me the hell of a time to prove i was not going to do something!!!
finally i missed my plane for LA and had to drive down to san diego and i'v been busted by the highway patrol!!!!
it was definitely not my luckyest day :)
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 10:39 PM

Well grimmett what can I say? I know I'm not lying and I know I have taken at least 100 rolls of film through the carry on baggage scanner. On my trip to Antarctica my film was scanned six times, no problems at all, the film was perfect.

As for film speed I usually shoot 50ASA, but I take 500ASA on several occasions for night shots, the 500ASA has never been damaged either. All of my Las Vegas night footage was shot on 5218, scanned numerous times and no issues at all.

So I guess those who want hand inspections can continue to do so, me, I'll keep doing things the way I've been doing them.

R,
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#10 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 11:17 PM

So I guess those who want hand inspections can continue to do so, me, I'll keep doing things the way I've been doing them.

R,


Unfortunately, I think you are likely to quickly change your mind when a job gets ruined by X-Ray exposure, which WILL happen someday if you continue to put unprocessed film through the baggage scanners. Since the TSA is so willing to hand inspect professional motion picture film, why not play it safe? A few extra minutes to go through airport security may save a reshoot.
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:29 AM

I shot some things in Greece last year and while traveling we went through New York >Athens >Santorini >Crete >Athens >Berlin >Frankfurt >New York.

I was able to hand inspect in the US and Germany fairly easily, with one or two TSA inspectors who needed convincing, but the Greeks were a pain in the ass. It was as if they were cavaliar about my concerns about the film I was carrying. One Greek agent was careless almost dropping the lens I had in my carry on case. Not a great experience. TSA inspectors are not all created equal. In Greece I wound up putting it through the machine several times instead of making a scene. I was relieved when the film was processed and transferred without any problems.

Travelling with film and equipment can be nerve racking.

Personally, I looked into buying and processing in Greece but Kodak film in Athens was approx. twice as much as in NY. So I carried it with me from NY.

Best

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 09 March 2006 - 01:32 AM.

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#12 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 01:56 AM

So I guess those who want hand inspections can continue to do so, me, I'll keep doing things the way I've been doing them.

R,

Are you shooting just for yourself, or is someone paying you to shoot? If you're shooting for yourself then of course you can, and will, do whatever you want, but if someone is paying you to shoot and you're putting their film through x-ray machines......well, in my opinion that's just being irresponsible and lazy. The five minutes you save by not hand checking isn't worth ruining a whole roll of film in my opinion.....but maybe that's just me.
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#13 Rolfe Klement

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 02:46 AM

I mentioned this before but I followed all the guidelines - took a changing bag etc and at Heathrow they refused to hand search my film. I even had printouts from BAA on it.

On arguing more and more they basically threatened to arrest me under section 53 of the Terrorist Act (the Vague clause)

I once went through LAX fine but another time they refused to hand search

my 2 cents

Rolfe
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 09:58 AM

Ok so what have we learned from:

Rolfe Clement:

"On arguing more and more they basically threatened to arrest me under section 53 of the Terrorist Act (the Vague clause) I once went through LAX fine but another time they refused to hand search"

And heel_e

"TSA inspectors are not all created equal. In Greece I wound up putting it through the machine several times instead of making a scene. I was relieved when the film was processed and transferred without any problems."

In both of these cases the gentlemen requested a hand search, Greece and Heathrow respectively, in each case they got a real hard time from the inspectors, ended up getting the film scanned any way, and then discovering that the film was fine. Sorry to Grimmett and John_P_Pytlak, but clearly these experiences support my position.

By refusing the x-ray and demanding the hand search you are risking a conflict with the authorities and possibly risking having your film scanned multiple times in the end as they try and make sure you don't have any thing bad in those cans.

I can see that travelling in the USA from airport to airport you can get away with hand searches by the TSA. News flash, the TSA only works in the USA!! Try demanding a hand search of your film in Singapore or Thailand and see what happens. Give them the famous line: "I'm an American you can't do this to me."

And yes Grimmett whether I shoot for myself or some one else I follow the same procedure. Those carry on bagage scanners will not damge film. I re-iterate that if they did people would have their vacation pictures ruined and then there would be hell to pay.

R,
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#15 Mark Williams

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 11:08 AM

What happens when you send your film by post clearly marked DO not x-ray.. From the UK To america? for instance.. FOR processing.. DO they X-RAY it anyway or do they hand inspect and DO you take a high risk ?
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#16 Chien Huey

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 11:20 AM

Does the TSA have changing bags there or do you have to bring your own? I was 2nd AC on a music video where the producer flew the film back to Miami for processing (not sure why since NY has lots of labs). When I asked him whether or not he had a changing bag, he wasn't sure what I was talking about.

I'd try not to fly with unprocessed film but in this case it wasn't my call and I'm nervous because he could let the TSA x-ray it and then go "the 2nd flashed all our film!"
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#17 Stephen Williams

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 11:27 AM

Does the TSA have changing bags there or do you have to bring your own? I was 2nd AC on a music video where the producer flew the film back to Miami for processing (not sure why since NY has lots of labs). When I asked him whether or not he had a changing bag, he wasn't sure what I was talking about.

I'd try not to fly with unprocessed film but in this case it wasn't my call and I'm nervous because he could let the TSA x-ray it and then go "the 2nd flashed all our film!"


Hi,

For sure you must bring you own changing bag, and a short end in a can to show them what they can expect!

Stephen
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#18 Chien Huey

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 11:31 AM

Hi,

For sure you must bring you own changing bag, and a short end in a can to show them what they can expect!

Stephen


Thanks Stephen. I will keep that in mind the next time a similar situation comes up. I guess they can always FedEx my smaller bag back to me.
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#19 Sam Javor

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:43 PM

when in doubt go to the source...

http://www.tsa.gov/i...ry/sum_film.htm
http://www.kodak.com...s_airport.jhtml
http://www.kodak.com...b/tib5201.shtml

Edited by zekthedeadcow, 09 March 2006 - 07:51 PM.

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#20 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 09:27 PM

We can thank Homeland Security for all these hassels
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Visual Products

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Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

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Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

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