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Shipping unprocessed stock: X-ray concerns?


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#1 Michael Mann

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 01:41 PM

Greetings.


I'm shipping some unprocessed Vision3 EK5207 250D from America to Norway, and just wondered if anyone had experience with Customs / X-ray difficulties while exporting stock?

As I understand, 250D shouldnt get into too much trouble even if it gets scanned once or twice.. and the shipper has put some DO NOT X-RAY slogans on the packing.

Is this sufficient prevention? Anyone got any horror stories?


Thanks

m
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#2 John Sprung

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 04:30 AM

We used to do that all the time, but that was like 12 years ago and more. The only time we had a problem was when the cans were stowed near some radioactive isotopes -- medical stuff -- on the plane.





-- J.S.
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#3 Dustan Lewis McBain

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:05 AM

We used to do that all the time, but that was like 12 years ago and more. The only time we had a problem was when the cans were stowed near some radioactive isotopes -- medical stuff -- on the plane.





-- J.S.

I just recently read an article on how nasa shot a project and they were concerned about going through the airport with all their footage. turns out that the X-ray would have ruined all their footage. So they had to get an ok from the government to not X-ray their film cans. But this is Nasa right? You'd think that they'd have it easy regarding the government. But they ended up waiting months for the ok, and even the day at the airport they had trouble. Bottom line is there was no way NASA was going to bring anything through the X-ray machine.
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#4 Ben Brahem Ziryab

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:05 PM

Ok, here's thing: You should always spare film from any x-ray machines. If possible, request a manual inspection of your film. From personal experience, I know that this is not always the case, especially in european customs and airports. I remember arguing with french custom office regarding this issue and they wouldn't manual inspect anything below 1000 ASA. So, basically no horror story yet for me, but I never ship or transport high-speed from one country to another. So ask for for manual inspection and make sure your films is below 800 ASA and they will be fine :)
Good luck :)

Edited by Ziryab Ben Brahem, 16 August 2010 - 07:06 PM.

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#5 Derek Kormendy

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 11:21 AM

I have had film shipped to me from afar! I have indeed had some wierd results on some of it. due to x-ray? Maybe! Here is clip of some plus x(not mine), but ended up with light streaking as my film did. If anybody can identify these effects as film that has been x-rayed, it would
put to rest my mental battle of ewhat caused this?


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#6 Dirk DeJonghe

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 11:28 AM

The streaking showing on the vimeo clip is due to a maladjusted shutter in the camera, the film is being moved while the shutter is still open and exposing the film. This has no relationship to x-ray fogging.
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#7 Derek Kormendy

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 11:39 AM

Dirk I can not express how much i appreciate your quick reply and expertise. now i can stop stressing that I have a freezer full of x-rayed 16mm film! I have 3 bolex cameras I use. One must have a shutter issue!

Derek
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#8 Dean Vian

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 10:47 AM

i have had x-ray fogging. You can request in the states to hand check. call before hand.
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#9 K Borowski

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:18 PM

If French customs says it only hand inspects film over 1000 (a non-existent speed for probably 20 years), lie and say the film is 1600 speed. Print up a fake label.


I'd never send film through an x-ray machine of any kind.
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#10 Juan Garza

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 07:39 PM

I have never shipped film, but i work at a U.S. Customs Broker company and know a lot about U.S. Customs Procedures,

U.S. Customs Officers have Loads of work and will take any shortcut available, its easier to dump your package on the conveyor of an X-Ray Machine than to manually inspect it. By Policy U.S. Customs is supposed to concede to any WRITEN request to manually inspect exposed film, but often times they see the papers after X-Rays, so efective comunication with the U.S. Port of Entry is Essencial.

My advise is Generate a Customs Entry and contact the MET Department at the port of entry with your entry number and remind them of your request.

Exposed Film does not pay any duties, but there could be a few User Fees if the Declared Value is over $2,000 USD, but should not exced $100 USD Unles your shipping enough film to circle the earth.

You have 2 Options for an Entry depending on the Unexposed Value of the Film.

If the value of the Unexposed film you are shipping is less than $2,000 USD you can fill a form CF-7523 by yourself at http://www.cbp.gov/x.../toolbox/forms/
Tape a Copy of the filled form to the package
and fax a copy to the MET and ACS department of the Port of Entry, along with a writen request that the film be manually inspected in a light tight enviorment and not be exposed to X-Ray.

Istructions on filling form CF-7523

BOX 1. You can imput any reference number (Entry Number)
BOX 2. You can guet the Port Code an Phone number at: http://www.cbp.gov/x...contacts/ports/
BOX 3. Shipping Date
BOX 4. Shipping Company's Name
BOX 5. Estimated Arrival Date. (Acurracy not necesary)
BOX 6. Self Axplainatory.
BOX 7. Number of Packages.
BOX 8. Item Description and Oficial Unit of Mesure (Film is Square Meters=Linear Meters of Film * Film Format / 1000) "Exposed Film X M2
BOX 9. UnExposed Value of the Film in USD
BOX 10. the HTSUS No. for exposed Film is 3704.00.0000
BOX 11. Name and Address of Someone in the US (Could be yorself if you have a US Address)
BOX 12. Signature of Person on BOX 11 or a representative
BOX 13. Leave Blank
BOX 14. Name and address of Consignee (may be Same or different than BOX 11, Maybe a Lab)
BOX 15 & 16. Leave Blank
BOX 17. Same as Box 4
BOX 18. Signature from someone from Shipping Company.
In the lefover space on boxes 7 to 10 write in thik bolg big letters:
"DO NOT X-RAY"
"SENSITIVE MATERIAL"
"PLEASE INSPECT MANUALY IN A"
"LIGHT PROOF ENVIORMENT"



If the value of your shipment is over $2,000 USD. you'd better get a Customs Broker at the port of entry. you can guet a list of Licensed US Customs Brokers active in the port ate the port information page at : http://www.cbp.gov/x...contacts/ports/

Remember Customs Officers are Beureocratic creatures (you need a lot af patience and explain yourself several times) but they are also human and they respond better to a nice and polite request than to an aggresive or nagging demand.

Don't get to technical on them, often times they don't know what you are talking about.

I hope this information is useful to you all
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#11 K Borowski

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:24 PM

Yes, very informative.


I've never shipped film through customs. It is good to know the proper procedure for the least likelihood of confusion.
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#12 Juan Garza

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:00 AM

if anyone would like more info on customs procedures for Informal Entries (less than $2,000 USD) or Formal Entries (more than $2,000 USD) just ask.

P.S. Not a sale atemp.
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#13 Chris Millar

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 12:44 AM

It still comes down the the monkey on the day - I've had to physically manhandle film away from an officer in a nearby country before she exposed it - I would estimate her age in the early thirties, I left still unsure if she was aware of how film works... A more far away country, involved a gun toting escort to the head security goon, an even farther away country involved a bribe (just for the stories sake).

I've managed to argue (pleasantly in %95 of instances) through my film without x-ray at every other stop otherwise.

Most pleasant thus far has been NZ (relaxed) Hong Kong (efficient and clued up) and one time at the UK, where I got a wink from the customs lady :D
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#14 Chris Keth

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 10:36 AM

Seems like by far the easiest thing to do would be to process the film here and transport the processed negative. Why isn't that an option?
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#15 Robert Lewis

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 04:18 PM

I have imported fresh Ektachrome 100D film from the USA to the UK in 100ft packs and the package carried the required international customs declaration. After exposing it, I returned it to the USA for processing and again the package had a completed international customs declarion. Being concerned about the vulnerability of the film to Xray, I also put a sticker on the package which clearly said that the package contained exposed cine film for processing and asking that the contents of the package be not exposed to Xray. Shortly thereafter I received back the processed film, and it was excellent.

I have on many occasions carried both unexposed film and exposed film out of and into the UK to and from a number of European countries and on all occasions the film has been taken through the normal Xray checks,sometimes more than once in the course of a journey involving more than one flight, and I have never had a problem either with Customs Officers or as a result of Xraying the filmstock. Indeed, since I was also carrying my camera (and sometimes two of them), I have found that on more occasions than not there is a fascination with the camera(s) and what they are.

Xray strengths on personally carried goods is, I understand, weaker than the the strengths used on luggage which is to be loaded in the hold, but having experience with both levels, I am not sure whether there really is a problem.

Is there any real evidence that there is a problem?

Edited by Robert Lewis, 18 December 2010 - 04:20 PM.

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#16 Fred Neilsen

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:05 PM

Xray strengths on personally carried goods is, I understand, weaker than the the strengths used on luggage which is to be loaded in the hold, but having experience with both levels, I am not sure whether there really is a problem.

Is there any real evidence that there is a problem?


There used to be an article on a lab's website (Neglab) which explained that the civilian xray machines were fine, giving a small amount of even radiation, and were safe for anything under 500asa, to my understanding, the luggage Xrays, however, use a much stronger concentrated beam, looking for any suspicious shapes, the suspect bags are then either X-rayed properly or hand checked (it may be the other way round, the beam being there to get a more accurate look - I'm not too sure), it is this beam that often appears as Xray fogging, which is why the fogging looks like small blotches, as opposed to a consistent fog across the entire reel.

Edited by Fred Neilsen, 18 December 2010 - 05:06 PM.

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#17 K Borowski

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 05:35 PM

This topic has been beaten to death.


X-ray exposure, like light exposure, is CUMULATIVE. Multiple trips through the X-ray are NOT OK, even for slower stock. And because images are rapidly evaluated one after the other at 24 fps, X-ray exposure variations that wouldn't be visible were these still photographs will become painfully apparent where irregular X-ray fogging occurs on one frame, then not on a subsequent frame.

It even depends on the orientation of the film going through the machine.


Always hand-inspect film, even if it is 50-speed.

And I second getting film processed here. Avoid the hassle of all this X-ray stuff, casually send your film through the X-ray machine (I'd still carry on), and take advantage of some of the many excellent ECN labs in the Unitest States of America.
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#18 Dean Vian

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:47 PM

in france you can request the police to hand check the film I did this very recently.

You can also get a fake sticker that says the film is inferred film which can not go through the x-ray machine. The countries I have had no luck at all with hand checks are England, Italy and Canada. Holland, France, USA, and China were ok (some after a lot of explaining). Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick were 'no way' even if it was inferred.

In the UK and most places Fed Ex x-ray everything. DHL in the UK if you go directly to the sorting office they hand check as they do not have the x-ray machines (especially in more provincial towns).

I have put film through and it was fine, but the thing is its a risk, and the film that I had fogged was 100 asa.

these stickers are handy http://motion.kodak....ooting/xray.htm
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#19 Dean Vian

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 06:52 PM

also just to let you know the best Reversal lab for Ektachrome by far in my opinion and I used spectra, pro 8, pac lab and andec in Berlin is Tony Scott's Film and Foto ltd in Ealing , London.. so save yourself the shipping from the UK to the States unless your really attached. Wes Anderson used him for the reversal stock in 'Life Aquatic' . I have never had any dirt, scratches or staines like I have with the other reversal labs.

Edited by Dean Vian, 18 December 2010 - 06:52 PM.

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#20 Robert Lewis

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:50 AM

I have read and re-read this thread, and it appears that there is very little (if any) hard evidence that shipping film (either unaccompanied or taken through personal checks as cabin luggage) carries any significant risk. I say this based on my own personal experience of shipping both ways and the fact that only two contributors to the thread have provided anything like evidence of a problem. There seems to be anecdotal evidence of difficulties in getting customs officers in some countries to undertake physical checks of film rather than Xray it, but that is not evidence of there being a significant risk that Xraying film at the strengths generally used will damage filmstock. True, a couple of contributors have said that their film was damaged, but one was later said to be caused by a maladjusted shutter, and of the other we have no information about the circumstances. If there is a significant problem, I would have expected rather more hard evidence in support, bearing in mind the number of members this forum has.

As to making false declarations or affixing "fake stickers", I suspect that those who engage in these acts might be committing offences and could find themselves fined or worse if caught out - and this without any real evidence that there is a need to do these things.

So, where is the evidence?
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