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Bringing unexposed film stock across the border


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#1 Rogelio

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 05:51 PM

Does anybody have the experience of bringing unexposed film stock from the US into Mexico?. I'm planing on bringing a few cans of Eterna 500 across the border but I'm afraid Mexican customs would ask me to open up the cans for inspection of something like that.
What should I say to them so they can believe that the cans are actually filled with unexposed film and they can not opend them?
Same thing when I come back from Mexico, Would American customs officers ask me to open up the cans fo film for inspection or X ray them?
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#2 Charles MacDonald

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Posted 10 June 2006 - 06:42 PM

Does anybody have the experience of bringing unexposed film stock from the US into Mexico?. I'm planing on bringing a few cans of Eterna 500 across the border but I'm afraid Mexican customs would ask me to open up the cans for inspection of something like that.
What should I say to them so they can believe that the cans are actually filled with unexposed film and they can not opend them?
Same thing when I come back from Mexico, Would American customs officers ask me to open up the cans fo film for inspection or X ray them?

1) you may want to have a customs broker perfare formal documents _ if it is US made film, (we apperntly don't make any in canada any more) you should be able to have it enter mexico, and back duty free. FOrmal documentts may halp the shipment to be seen as more authentic. (of course that may clash if you are planing to do commercial filming under a visitors visa.

2) Carry a changing bag, and make it available if the officer wants to confirm that it is film. of course you have to have camera tape and extra black bags also.
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#3 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 09:44 AM

Also whole cans of film have a very precise weight. You might try convincing them to weigh it. This worked a couple of times with British customs. They also had sniffer dogs that apparently can detect drugs and explosives. I do not know how "sophisticated" Mexican customs protocol is.
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 02:11 PM

Does anybody have the experience of bringing unexposed film stock from the US into Mexico?. I'm planing on bringing a few cans of Eterna 500 across the border but I'm afraid Mexican customs would ask me to open up the cans for inspection of something like that.
What should I say to them so they can believe that the cans are actually filled with unexposed film and they can not opend them?
Same thing when I come back from Mexico, Would American customs officers ask me to open up the cans fo film for inspection or X ray them?


If you are personally carrying the film, bring along a changing bag and a roll of "practice" film. Allow plenty of time for a hand inspection.

I'm not an expert on customs law, but I think US-manufactured film like Kodak would be covered by NAFTA.

If other security inspection is needed, explosive "sniffers" (canine or atomic absorption) and magnetometer scanning will not harm unprocessed film. Any X-ray inspection carries risk of fogging film.

Consider purchasing and processing the film in Mexico, eliminating any risk in border inspection:

MEXICO
Kodak de Mexico S.A. de C.V
Edificio Punta Santa Fé - Torre B
Prolongacion Paseo de la Reforma #1015 - Piso 9
Col. Santa Fe
C.P. 01376, Mexico D.F., Mexico
Phone: 52-55.1105.1730
Fax: 52-55.1105.1705

http://wwwmx.kodak.c...ctoMexico.shtml

http://wwwmx.kodak.c...dexMexico.shtml
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#5 Steve Wallace

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 11:35 PM

Upon returning from Mexico, the customs people at the Aeropuerto de San Jose del Cabo (outside Cabo san Lucas) would not do a hand inspection. I tried to tell them about regulations, but the were not resonsive,

In the end everything was fine though. I had alot of super 8 (tri-x, e64t, and kodachrome), also I had Fuji still film, 800 ASA and that was even okay.

Best advise is, get them to hand inspect in the states, and expect to scan it upon return. With only one set of scans hopefully you'll be okay. I think the kicker is when you get it scanned multiple times, in multiple ports of entry.

oh yeah, always hand carry. the x-rays for checked luggage are quite a bit stronger than the ones used for carry ons.

Edited by steve wallace, 12 June 2006 - 11:37 PM.

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#6 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 09:45 AM

"Checked Baggage" on passenger airlines is often screened using a "CAT Scan" type X-ray machine, with very intense beams that will likely fog any unprocessed film. NEVER put unprocessed film in checked baggage.

Carry-On baggage (that you put on a conveyer by yourself) usually receives a low overall dose of x-rays, rather than an intense scan. But multiple passes through the machine can quickly add up (many times a security inspector will take several passes to try to identify a suspicious object). So try to avoid any x-ray exposure, and ask for a hand inspection, which is specifically allowed for motion picture film by TSA rules:

http://www.tsa.gov/p...90005198004a860

Travelers & Consumers Printable Version
Transporting Special Items

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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#7 Will Montgomery

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 07:38 AM

I've had film "nuked" by bagage xrays. Only the film over 200T was noticibly affected for some reason... probably luck.
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