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SHIPPING MY FILM


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#1 Luke Chimi

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 01:44 PM

Hello,

Fotokem is my favorite lab, but now I am planning a feature, so the risk of shipping my film across country is very real.

X-Rays seem inevitably based on luck, and I would rather not spend a ton of money making a movie only to fog my film because some overzealous security figure man wants to save the day and find a WMD.

There is a courier service known as Reels On Weels that prevents your film from being X-Rayed or handled inproperly. They also quoted me around $350 per shipment, even if that is 1 roll...

I would really love to use Fotokem, and yet I knowledge on the X-Raying subject seems mixed. I even called my local UPS store and they guy sort of assumed they don't X-Ray anything domestic, but was not positive. Well, it is a big deal to be positive in this instance.

I would be willing to hand deliver the entire feature by driving across country, but that would require I wait for the entire film to be shot until I drive it out to California. I don't know if that can be bad to let exposed film sit for weeks. Would refrigerating it make a difference?

I know most people will just suggest going to a NY Lab, but I have not enjoyed my experiences with them. Although I have not tried PostWorks.

But I would much rather use Fotokem, is there an affordable and guaranteed way to ship my film to Fotokem and avoid X-Rays. The Kodak site lists becoming a "Known Shipper" but when I mentioned that to the UPS Store guy he just went silent in confusion.

Any thoughts?

Luke
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 02:23 PM

Just process it where ever you are, in the USA a lab is a lab. Focus on more important issues.

R,
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#3 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 02:39 PM

Luke,

If you are near a NY lab, why not have them process one or two test rolls to make sure you like their work. If it looks good, then you won't have to anguish over shipping you masterpiece to Burbank.

If you still want to ship the film, I'd recommend FedEx. They say their shipments are not x-rayed and I have used them many times without an issue. In fact, I never bring film near an airport anymore. If the film is not delivered via camera truck, then it always goes FedEx to the location and again to the lab after the shoot.

Box the film carefully and label it with the "Do Not X-Ray" stickers available from Kodak These can also be downloaded from the Kodak Website: http://www.kodak.com.../....10.6&lc=en

You should also check with FotoKem to see what shipping services they recommend.

-Fran
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#4 Luke Chimi

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 03:13 PM

Luke,

If you are near a NY lab, why not have them process one or two test rolls to make sure you like their work. If it looks good, then you won't have to anguish over shipping you masterpiece to Burbank.

If you still want to ship the film, I'd recommend FedEx. They say their shipments are not x-rayed and I have used them many times without an issue. In fact, I never bring film near an airport anymore. If the film is not delivered via camera truck, then it always goes FedEx to the location and again to the lab after the shoot.

Box the film carefully and label it with the "Do Not X-Ray" stickers available from Kodak These can also be downloaded from the Kodak Website: http://www.kodak.com.../....10.6&lc=en

You should also check with FotoKem to see what shipping services they recommend.

-Fran


Thanks for the info, I have shipped film via Fedex without issue in the past, and the UPS guy called telling me he called corporate and they in fact do not X-Ray anything domestic. So, maybe this won't be much of an issue after all.

I am considering Postworks in NY, and it will round out to be the same price as Fotokem. It's not the processing I care about, because most labs at least have that down, it's the transfer. Fotokem has given me the best transfers that I have ever recieved.

I will be finishing on Video with my dailies, no rescanning, so the initial transfer has to be done well. Also, I love the Fotokem staff, they are incredibly nice, clear, and articulate. They understand when I explain this is the only transfer I will have, and the results show it.

I suppose I will give Postworks a try with a test and that will depend on what I do.

Thanks for the response Fran,

Luke

Just process it where ever you are, in the USA a lab is a lab. Focus on more important issues.

R,



I have come to realize after using 5 different labs that this is not a true statement at all. This is an important issue when making a film, at least I think so.

L,

Edited by Luke Chimi, 23 February 2007 - 03:11 PM.

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#5 Elliot Rudmann

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 03:14 PM

Just process it where ever you are, in the USA a lab is a lab. Focus on more important issues.

R,


Not all labs are created equal. I will be in the same dilemma as Luke in about a month, as I will probably ship my film to Fotokem and I am in Boston.

I have shipped film via UPS ground and had no problems. Fran - would you suggest Fed Ex ground? I see no reason why they would x-ray stuff shipped via ground. I have heard that they do random x-ray checks.
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#6 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 03:15 PM

If someone were to ship their film and paid for insurance on it, would that insurance cover the cost of the stock at least if it was X-rayed, causing some fogging?

curious
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#7 Luke Chimi

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 03:26 PM

Not all labs are created equal. I will be in the same dilemma as Luke in about a month, as I will probably ship my film to Fotokem and I am in Boston.

I have shipped film via UPS ground and had no problems. Fran - would you suggest Fed Ex ground? I see no reason why they would x-ray stuff shipped via ground. I have heard that they do random x-ray checks.


Elliot,

UPS just called and confirmed to me that they do not X-Ray anything Domestic. I will call corporate to double check, but he seemed very adamant about this.

It might not be 100% true but I feel like if they aren't X-Ray crazy maybe they will at least take a look and consider "Do Not X-Ray Stickers"

I am still going to get to the bottom of this. I will find out for sure before shipping years of work.

Let me know if you find anything out,

Luke

If someone were to ship their film and paid for insurance on it, would that insurance cover the cost of the stock at least if it was X-rayed, causing some fogging?

curious


I would guess probably not, I had the hardest time ever getting money from UPS after a camera magazine I was having modified got crushed on one of their trucks. It took about 8 weeks and the thing was physically damaged.

They would probably give you an even harder time when you are trying to prove something like fogged film which probably is almost imperceptible to the naked eye.

Luke
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#8 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 05:25 PM

Not all labs are created equal. I will be in the same dilemma as Luke in about a month, as I will probably ship my film to Fotokem and I am in Boston.

I have shipped film via UPS ground and had no problems. Fran - would you suggest Fed Ex ground? I see no reason why they would x-ray stuff shipped via ground. I have heard that they do random x-ray checks.


Hi Elliot,

I haven't used UPS, but I have sent film via FedEx Ground. The last time was December 2006: I shipped four 200-foot cans of 7201/7218 to Philadelphia from Pasadena and had no problems. I was told it does not get x-rayed, but I covered the box with those Kodak warning labels anyway. As a precaution, I always check with the shipper just before sending film because who knows if and when these x-ray policies will change.

After the film was exposed, I shipped it from Philadelphia to FotoKem in Burbank, again using FedEx Ground's 3-Day Service It's surprising how economical this is. Production usually sends work-related film FedEx Priority Overnight, but this time I was trying to save a few bucks to keep my wife from having a coronary--these rolls were home movies, after all!

BTW I agree with you about FotoKem. It's my regular lab and does great work.

-Fran
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#9 Michael Collier

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 05:40 PM

At least talk to PWNY. I used them on my last film (and first film actually, all the rest were video) and they were very pleasant to work with. The only error on their part was charging tax when it was not applicable. With one email they corrected that. They are friendly and helpful, and my transfers look really good.

That said, I UPSed my film to PWNY (and UPSed it from Media Distrabutors) and this is up to Alaska, so you know it probably went through canada (unless it hit one of the UPS night trips from Anchorage to their hubs). There was no fogging affect apparent. Now also keep in mind my relative inexperience with the whole lab proccess. I found nothing objectionable or in error with my work.
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#10 Matt Pacini

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 06:55 PM

I've been through this, and UPS told me that they DID X-ray film.

FedEx said they don't if it's shipped ground.
So, what I do is ship only FedEx ground, and I put my film in lead-lined bags that I bought at my local photo store, just to be sure.
Insurance isn't going to pay for you to reshoot, only the film stock, and probably not even that.

MP
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#11 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:31 PM

One thing to consider when shipping film via ground services is the time of year. In the summer, I don't feel comfortable putting film on a non-temperature controlled truck for a three-day cross country trip. If I had to do this I'd be sure to put it in some kind of cooler.
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#12 Luke Chimi

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 07:52 PM

I've been through this, and UPS told me that they DID X-ray film.

FedEx said they don't if it's shipped ground.
So, what I do is ship only FedEx ground, and I put my film in lead-lined bags that I bought at my local photo store, just to be sure.
Insurance isn't going to pay for you to reshoot, only the film stock, and probably not even that.

MP


Lead lined bags is a great idea, and thanks for the X-Ray advice. Fedex ground seems like the answer.



One thing to consider when shipping film via ground services is the time of year. In the summer, I don't feel comfortable putting film on a non-temperature controlled truck for a three-day cross country trip. If I had to do this I'd be sure to put it in some kind of cooler.


Led lined bags in a cooler via FedEx ground...

Maybe this will work.

Luke
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#13 Fran Kuhn

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 08:18 PM

Lead lined bags is a great idea, and thanks for the X-Ray advice. Fedex ground seems like the answer.
Led lined bags in a cooler via FedEx ground...

Maybe this will work.

Luke


I wouldn't count on lead-lined bags to protect film from x-ray. You should check with the bag's manufacturer to see what level of x-ray it will protect against. I recall reading something about these new "film killer" scanners used on airport baggage being quite capable of damaging film even if it's in lead-lined bags. If ground carriers use these (and I'm not sure if they do or don't) you may have a serious fogging problem.
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#14 Michael Most

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 09:32 PM

I am considering Postworks in NY, and it will round out to be the same price as Fotokem. It's not the processing I care about, because most labs at least have that down, it's the transfer. Fotokem has given me the best transfers that I have ever recieved.

I will be finishing on Video with my dailies, no rescanning, so the initial transfer has to be done well. Also, I love the Fotokem staff, they are incredibly nice, clear, and articulate. They understand when I explain this is the only transfer I will have, and the results show it.


First of all, shipping via ground is the last thing you want to do. FedEx air is probably the safest. Having said that, any reputable lab in the country has processing just as clean as FotoKem, telecines that are at least as new - in many cases, newer - and colorists just as reliable and talented. PostWorks in particular transfers and in some case finishes many network programs - The Sopranos (transfer) and 30 Rock (transfer and finish) among other current ones - and countless commercials and features. With credits like those, I'm quite sure anyone going there is in good hands. And I say that as someone who spent nearly 30 years in Los Angeles, and now is head of technology for a lab in Miami. Nothing against FotoKem, which is a good lab, and in which I have a number of friends, but L.A. doesn't have a monopoly on the ability to process, handle, and transfer film. There are many experienced, talented people in other markets as well, particularly New York. If you have the ability to process and/or transfer with a reliable facility that is local to the production location, you're better off in almost every way - turnaround time, ability to see and possibly react to any problems, and above all, physical safety of the film itself.
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#15 Dominic Case

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 06:53 AM

Forget the lead bags.

If anyone is X-ray scanning, they want to know what they are shipping. If the scan shows up a lead bag and they can't figure out what is in it, they turn up the heat and scan again until they CAN see what's inside.

At that point the lead bags have become invisible to the x-ray and therefore they don't protect your film.

If the above were not true, then we could assume either that anyone could ship anything inside a lead bag and get away with it (which somehow reduces the security effect in the first place :ph34r: ) or that they just X-ray the containers but don't bother to look to see what the x-rays show :huh: .

Process locally! That way you can also go in to see your dailies or to discuss any problems in the lab in person.
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#16 Luke Chimi

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Posted 24 February 2007 - 11:24 AM

Thanks everyone for the input, you have all made some good points. I will run a test through Postworks.

I don't think I'll be treated like The Sopranos, (which is my issue with NY Labs thus far) but maybe they will do a good job and I won't have to worry about shipping craziness.

Luke
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