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#1 Steve Williams

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:10 PM



I'm leaving this Wednesday for Italy (from the US). I've already read a few threads on this site about traveling with S8 film. I'm starting to get a bit nervous based on what I've read and others experience. I thought bringing the film with me on my hand carry on, asking for a hand inspection, would suffice for the TSA (and a like). My question is that my film has the potential of hitting the x-ray machine at least 4 times (since I have a connecting flight where I will be going through security again overseas).
So here are my questions....

One, if I am forced to xray my film... what should I do to alleviate a deadly exposure blast? I've read on one thread where a member had taken his film out of the box/wrapper and laid it down flat.

Two, I was hoping to bring one of my cameras (814) on board the plane with me. We usually fly overhead of a Volcano while landing at the airport, and I would like to capture it. I've seen some footage of people shooting film on domestic flights with no concerns. Just curious your guys's experience... As one member put in a recent thread, the cameras resemble uzi's...

any advice is highly appreciated.

Steve

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#2 David Cunningham

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 08:47 PM

First, I have never had them force me to X-ray film. They have always (the past 2 years or so) been very kind and courteous. I doubt you will have trouble with them. Just tell them it's sensitive high speed film that you do not want continually x-rayed because you've seen it "fog" before. They won't argue.

If for some reason it has to be x-rayed, I don't believe it's position or anything else will matter. The rays will shoot through it no matter what.

I've shot mine out a plane window before and never had any issues. People usually know what it is and start asking questions, especially once they hear it go. :)

Dave
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#3 Steve Williams

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:51 PM

Dave, as always... Very thankful
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#4 Adam Brown

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:17 AM

Just know that this does vary from airport to airport and from TSA agent to TSA agent. I've had really pleasant experiences with courteous and friendly people and I've had unfortunate incidents with complete jerks. Ultimately, they're trying to do their job, and I can chalk up the cases of the "jerks" to either their not knowing what the protocol is with that particular matter -- or maybe they were just jerks, who knows?

But, you should know that regardless of who you end up asking to hand-check your film, you have the right to request it not pass through an x-ray. They have the tools necessary to hand-check things for a reason. Below is directly from the TSA's website:

Undeveloped camera film is not prohibited, but you should only transport it in your carry-on baggage; the equipment used to screen checked baggage may damage undeveloped film.
If you are transporting high speed (800 ISO and higher) or specialty film, you may request to have it physically inspected when presented at the screening checkpoint instead of undergoing x-ray screening. You may also request that all of your undeveloped film be physically inspected instead of undergoing x-ray, particularly if your film has or may be screened by x-ray more than five times. To facilitate physical inspection, remove your undeveloped film from the canister and pack it in a clear plastic bag. We recommend leaving your film in the unopened manufacturer’s packaging.

Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.


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#5 Phil Soheili

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 04:43 AM

When flying just recently I was told to switch off my camera as we were approaching Milan. They say ANY electronic devices (not only cell phones) must be shut off. Try to "keep it to yourself" while you're shooting. If you travel with others maybe they can watch for the hostesses.. Good luck! Buon Natale a Napoli!
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#6 Marc Marti

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:41 AM

I've passed the same unexposed films (100ASA) through 3 airport scans, and nothing happened, but I always keep them in the hand baggage.
I used to ask for a hand inspection, but the staff always told me the same: 100ASA film will not get any damage...

The worst thing that happened to me was at the Dublin airport: The staff was very rude, and after scanning my bagagge, they told me to get out the camera and film, put them on a tray, and scanned it again. Impossible to explain that it could be harmful for the film... No listening at all. <_<
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#7 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:47 AM

Personnel have hardly an idea what silver-based film is. Discussion are fitile.
They will not be bothered by your demand or protest and all wiil be scanned. Otherwise you will have to abandon it.

Modern x-ray scanners don't fog film. No even the 1600 ISO ones. Suggestion that it will be harmed are just urban myth. So don't bother and just let them go through.
Don't put them in leadbags or such. They just will boost the doses to see through it.

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 08 December 2012 - 10:48 AM.

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#8 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:54 AM

Personnel have hardly an idea what silver-based film is. Discussion are fitile.
They will not be bothered by your demand or protest and all wiil be scanned. Otherwise you will have to abandon it.

Modern x-ray scanners don't fog film. No even the 1600 ISO ones. Suggestion that it will be harmed are just urban myth. So don't bother and just let them go through.
Don't put them in leadbags or such. They just will boost the doses to see through it.


Added

You will be better buying film in the Europe (cheaper) and send it home after exposing.
It is also an urban myth that all postal parcels are x-rayed or gamma-rayed. They are not.

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 08 December 2012 - 10:56 AM.

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#9 Will Montgomery

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

Modern x-ray scanners don't fog film. No even the 1600 ISO ones. Suggestion that it will be harmed are just urban myth. So don't bother and just let them go through.
Don't put them in leadbags or such. They just will boost the doses to see through it.

You may be right about the carry on scanners but the luggage scanners are much more powerful and will definitely fog 500T. I've had it happen. In the U.S. I've never had a problem having them hand inspect it however.
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#10 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 01:09 PM

I've never had film fogged-- still or cinema when it went through a few carry-on scanners. Def do not check it. And, try to ask for a hand-inspection; but if they say no, well then thems the breaks. Remember, the scans build on top of themselves, so try to have it scanned as little as possible.
I almost always recommend just talking with Kodak and the hotel, or house you'll be staying at, to try to have the film shipped over and picked up when you get there, and then just ship it back. for processing. This saves vital room in carry on for other important things ;)
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#11 David Cunningham

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:10 PM

Actually a few good points here. On a trip from the US West Coast to Italy you'll surely expose your film to more solar gamma rays than scanner x-rays. Unfortunately not much you can do about that since even if you ship it to Italy and pick it up there, it will fly by plane.

Also a good point is foreign inspection. I've only asked for hand-check at US airports. I can imagine foreign airports to be more intrusive and less welcoming. US TSA inspectors have been trained to be polite and strike up conversation with people, especially those asking for hand inspections. It helps them to identify nervous and/or lying people. :)

Lastly, it is technically true that one scan through the x-rays should not fog your 500T. But, you start running it through multiple times and it will definitely start to be noticeable. You can say that even up to 1600 will have no affect, but I can promise you that I've had TMAX P3200 fogged by two trips through the carry-on scanner, and that's technically 800 speed film. In fact, I believe the TSA recommends nothing 800 or higher through the scanners.
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#12 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 02:21 PM

Last I checked on the TSA, they really only have to hand inspect 800ASA and higher-- though they will inspect other things.
I also find it quite useful if you happen to have with you some business cards detailing who you are , any Carnets you may need, as well once I just brought my SR3 body and mag with me to show 'em, hey, it goes in here! (that was for a shoot in Africa, where ya know, not the same knowledge of film as the US/Europe/Asia)
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#13 Gregg MacPherson

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

that was for a shoot in Africa, where ya know, not the same knowledge of film as the US/Europe/Asia


This edges toward a question that may be relevant. Are all scanners and scanner operators posing the same level of risk to the film. LAX vs Mumbai or Nigeria. Do they all have the same standards for scanning gear and operators?
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#14 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:31 AM

Also a good point is foreign inspection. I've only asked for hand-check at US airports. I can imagine foreign airports to be more intrusive and less welcoming. US TSA inspectors have been trained to be polite and strike up conversation with people, especially those asking for hand inspections. It helps them to identify nervous and/or lying people. :)



Do a reality check.

You are far too optimistic. Have they ever caught someone with contraband from their targetlist? Nope they never did.

The reputation of the US and its TSA is much worse then of any of these services elsewhere. Nobody gets tazered abroad. No granny is checked in her diapers. Nobody gets lifted from wheelchairs or is made to walk. And nobody got killed over an inspection. That is just from US news sources.

I recall even from before 9/11 a visit to Liberty Island in New Jersey where the behaviour of the operators was very rude and intrusive. Very damaging too as I lost appetite for traveling the US rather quickly.

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 09 December 2012 - 03:34 AM.

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#15 Matt Stevens

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:08 AM

I will be flying out of JFK next month for Saigon and unfortunately it's terminal 4, the worst terminal in the nation for TSA theft and rudeness (and that is using TSA's own statistics). They are nasty mother you know whats. For Super8 film we place it in my wife's purse so that they do not have to turn the X-ray machine up high. They would need to with my Pelican briefcase. Last trip I brought 100D, Tri-x (160), 200t and 500t and no fogging. I'll be bringing 100D, plus some 200 and 500T this time. All Pro8mm cartridges.

So basically, if your carry bag is thin, no worries. If it is a thick material, stick it in a purse or even take it out and place it on a tray.
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