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Film X-rayed through airport. Need help!


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#1 Sanji Robinson

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 02:57 AM

Dear Knowledgable Cinematography Community,

 

I'm currently in the middle of an island in the Caribbean on a shoot for a short film. We are shooting on 16mm film, which we brought with us from the United States.

 

The film was X-rayed three times (once in LAX, once in Bogota, Colombia and once at the destination). We tried to ask for manual inspection, but the security people didn't have a clue on what to do (Yes, that includes the folks at LAX...).

 

We tried to minimize the x-ray by putting the films in the changing bag before running it through the xray machines.

 

The film that we are using is Kodak 7217 (Vision 2, 200T) and Kodak 7212 (Vision 2, 100T). Both were bought through eBay. On top of the x-raying, the films are also past their expiration date (although not by that much probably). The film was x-rayed while unexposed.

 

What do you think the film might be like after all this? Still shootable? I plan to rate the films at 100 and 50 ASA, respectively. Also I am not using an 85 filter...I'll just let it go blue and fix it later in the DI.

 

Also note It's too late to purchase anything directly from Kodak since it will take too long to bring anything it to the island (and they probably x-ray the crap out of it too).

 

Help is appreciated. 

 

Peace


Edited by Sanji Robinson, 06 March 2015 - 03:00 AM.

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#2 Heikki Repo

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:11 AM

Some years ago I asked courier companies about x-ray. Most of them replied to me that they x-ray everything. Since then I have sent film many times through couriers and in mail to processing or received fresh film sent by someone to me in mail. I haven't had any problems.

 

As long as you had the film with you on the plane and didn't put it in with the luggage I think you should be okay. Just make sure to overexpose by one stop per decade of expiration + possibly 2/3 stops as you might with fresh film.


Edited by Heikki Repo, 06 March 2015 - 04:11 AM.

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#3 Perry Paolantonio

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 08:55 AM

The general rule is that if it's in your carry-on luggage, the intensity of the x-ray machines isn't enough to do serious damage. If it was in checked baggage, and was scanned, those are a lot stronger. I can't speak from experience on checked film, because I've never done it. But I've taken plenty of film (motion and still) through x-ray machines over the years and it's never been an issue. Most recently I took some Super 8 7207 to Italy and back, and there was no issue. I wouldn't be too concerned if it was in your carry-on baggage.

 

-perry


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#4 Kenny N Suleimanagich

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 09:25 AM

Carry-on you'll be fine. I used to be really paranoid about this, but there's no reason to be. I've even put 500T through a carry-on. Try and be vigilant on your return flights about hand-checking. 

 

Also, you need to literally hold your film in your hand and ask the TSA to hand-check it. If someone doesn't know, ask to see somebody who does. I've done this several times at several airports, including LAX.


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#5 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 12:40 PM

Kodak has a whitepaper document regarding x-ray exposure and film. 

 

http://www.kodak.com...b/tib5201.shtml

 

They recommend hand-inspection for all motion picture film:

Request a hand inspection for all motion imaging origination films. Testing shows fog on motion imaging films even after a single X-ray scan. This increased fog flattens the entire toe region of the sensitometric curve reducing shadow detail in a telecine or projected image. However, Explosive Trace Detection instruments provide no risk to motion picture films and can be used in conjunction with hand inspection to provide a non-destructive method of motion film inspection.

 

However with 100T and 200T film you're less at risk of seeing any visible effects. The thing with the scanners is that the energy pattern is not a uniform base exposure on all the film; you get wavy or banded patterns. A very faint pattern that might be hidden in the base fog would be okay for a still frame with C41, but with ECN you're obviously seeing 24 variations a second, which is why I think the tolerances for x-ray exposure are essentially 'avoid whenever possible'.


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#6 Sanji Robinson

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 12:59 PM

Thanks everyone!

 

I know the X-ray scanners effects on film is less damaging when going through the airport. However, the film went through three times!

 

Is it less bad when with unexposed film, as opposed to exposed?

 

Also, what can I expect from a stock of this age (V2 100T, 200T). What can I expect (thinner blue layer, more grain) ?


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#7 Kar Wai Ng

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 01:05 PM

X ray exposure is cumulative. It doesn't matter whether it was xrayed before or after camera exposure. Effect is the same.


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#8 David Cunningham

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 03:48 PM

I wouldn't be too worried with slow film like that. 500t might be a different story. I've only ever noticed it on portra 800 and tmax 3200 still films.

Now if it goes though 3 more times on the way back, that might be pushing it.
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#9 David Cunningham

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 03:52 PM

FYI. Shooting a critical shoot on 10+ year old film from an unknown storage scenario is dangerous. If that film was just left sitting in a beaureu or desk in an office for 10 years it will almost certainly have a very slight gamma ray fog and slight chemical break down fog and reduced contrast. It will be hard to distinguish that from whatever the X-rays may or may not have done.
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#10 Mark Dunn

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 03:58 PM

I missed the bit about eBay.

If you possibly can, get a clip test without the film being X-rayed again. Tricly I know, but maybe less tricky and expensive than a reshoot. You will be taking a risk.

If you go ahead, for heaven's sake don't let them X-ray it another 3 times.


Edited by Mark Dunn, 06 March 2015 - 03:59 PM.

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#11 John E Clark

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 05:29 PM

FYI. Shooting a critical shoot on 10+ year old film from an unknown storage scenario is dangerous. If that film was just left sitting in a beaureu or desk in an office for 10 years it will almost certainly have a very slight gamma ray fog and slight chemical break down fog and reduced contrast. It will be hard to distinguish that from whatever the X-rays may or may not have done.

 

In some wyrd sense... it wouldn't matter... given the film is old, where the 'fogging' originated from.

 

I've not carried 'motion picture' film through airport x-ray machines, but have taking ISO/ASA 3200 film through, with no obvious effects. But given that it is still film, and each frame can be adjusted... that may be different for motion picture film, which if one did a DI adjustment for each frame, if it were needed... would be tedious to say the least.


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