Travelling with film

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by neea, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. neea

    neea TPF Noob!

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    I read somewhere once that you should get airport security to hand check all your film because xray will screw it up.
    Yet a friend told me she's taken film in her carry on and nothings happened to it.
    I've also seen those.. lead (I think) bags to put film in.

    Have any of you guys used these or recommend anything else.
    I dont want to put used film in the cargo. I can lose my clothes, my hairbrush, toothbrush but not my pictures.
    And film will be expensive as they want to rip off tourists so I'd rather buy as much here as possible and take it with.

    Thanx in advance.
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Never had any problem passing film (400 ISO or below) through security checks at aiports. However, I heard that films with higher ISO rating (such as 3200) could get fogged by x-rays.
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You are correct in not wanting to put your film in with your baggage. The main reason being the x-ray machines for luggage are much more intense than the ones at security check. You can ask for a hand inspection or let it ride through your camera bag; I've done both and not had problems either way for films 400 ISO and under. Watch out if you're carrying infrared film; obviously it cannot be opened - try explaining that to one of them. ;)

    It's getting to the point where I'm happier shipping my film ahead to my destination and avoiding the airport altogether. But again - no worries if you're shooting 400 or under.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've taken a fair amout of film through a few airports with no problems.

    One tip I read was to take all your film out of the plastic canisters and put it in a ziplock bag. That way, it's fairly clear that you are not hiding anything. If the security worker is in a bad mood...they may want to open all of the film canisters. This is especially good if you ask for it to be hand checked rather than x-rayed.

    But as Terri said...there really isn't an issue putting regular film though the security gate x-ray.
     
  5. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    Once (or twice with 100ISO or lower) through the xray won't hurt much, but if you have to make many connections, or if the dummy working the machine can't see what it is, it will get xrayed quite a bit, and it is cumulative.
     
  6. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    I recently went through this. I am a musician and I was travelling in Europe on a tour, and I brought with me couple of different kinds of film including some Kodak P3200 (for indoor handheld shots). I asked for hand inspection of the P3200 at every security gate and got a few different responses. In Newark it was no problem. In Copenhagen one time they did it with considerable attitude and delay, and then another time without argument. In Dublin however, I was told it had to go in the x-ray machine, and when I asked to speak to a supervisor they told me the same, no exceptions. When I was told that it was x-ray or never leave Ireland I reluctantly put it through the machine, wishing I had kept it in my pocket and hoped for the best. I have not yet processed this role and will see what the results are. Since they were irreplaceable performance footage I was very annoyed.

    I've put slower film through the machines (carry-on x-ray machines) many times with no problem. I'm not sure they wouldn't open up a lead bag these days and insist that the film go through outside it.

    Dave
     
  7. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    I've traveled extensively with film. Usually 50 - 200 ISO. NEVER put it in checked luggage, the x-rays are much more powerful. Always hand carry. Best to try the clear ziploc but sometimes they just make you put it on the belt. 3rd world countries are the scariest with x-rays but so far (knock on wood) I've never had any film ruined.

    One ruse I use (I read it in a magazine and it sometimes works) is I made a lable for the ziploc bag that says "LAB - PUSH PROCESS for 3200ISO". I point to that and they will usually hand check it. But, like I said there are some that just don't care and make you x-ray it.

    Also, be aware that there a lots of museums and the like that have x-ray machines to enter so if you take film for the day just take what you need to keep the exposure down.
     
  8. Efergoh

    Efergoh TPF Noob!

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    If you are stateside, you can tell the security nerds to hand check. They cannot make you put it on the belt to be xray'd. They may give you attitude, but it is your film and your right.

    If they refuse, they are just being lazy, and breaking TSA policies.
     

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