>Some months back Kodak issued
a warning regarding new X ray >scanners being installed
at airports. Has anyone suffered a mishap or >heard of one
Yes - a roll of Fuji 8671 (500 ASA color neg) that I forgot about in
a bag came back from the lab with about a 50% grey base fog and grain
so big it looked like dancing rocks. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Of course, if you can, mail your film with a "DO NOT X-RAY"
sticker rather than take it through the airport. And of course, if you
have to take it through the airport, avoid the X-ray by showing the
cans to security and explaining.
Oh No Ben!!
Look what you
have done! Now everyone that shoots music videos just got
the latest effect. Expect to see many PAs lurking around
airport security stations with duffel bags full of exposed
film asking if they could put it through just one more time.
I had a project in Helsinki last February and was worried
about the same thing. The advice I received back then from
Kodak (UK), was to take the film stock as hand luggage.
Most, if not all of the newer hand luggage X-ray machines
use really weak x-ray radiation and I was assured that these
would not effect the film. Whereas the checked in luggage
goes through a stronger x-ray machine and that would cause
some fogging on the film. Even after these comforting words
I was still quite nervous, while watching my stock roll
through the machine.
was not effected, which was confirmed by a speedy "clip"
& stock test. However I made sure that the rushes got
developed in Helsinki to avoid them going through the machine
again, as I was warned about multiple passes! It is best
to ask the airport staff to put your stock through the most
technologically up-to-date machine and also to tell them
what you are putting through. To the best of my knowledge
though, it still remains quite a risk take.
Maybe more could be done between the film manufacturers
and the airport authorities ???
This is not true - the roll I wrote about that got messed up was run
through the "hand luggage" security X-ray, NOT the baggage
check X-ray. Apparently the old machines didn't do much damage, but
the new higher-security ones are much stronger. And to hear Kodak tell
it, the machines outside the US have always done damage.
The hand luggage machines WILL fog your film SEVERELY. And I can't imagine
that anyone would check a bag with their film in it, unless they had
no regard for their footage. Not only is there the bag check X-ray to
worry about, there's the potential temperature and moisture damage.
From my personal experience ( I am sure others out there have more).
I have taken film all around the States, Being insistent that the film
be Hand examined (bring a changing bag, and a roll of slug film to show
them what they will be feeling), and leaving extra time, has allowed
me NEVER to need to have hand carried film x-rayed.
I have taken film into and out of Ireland, and England ( again with
no problems). In fact leaving Ireland I was brought to a special room,
where I lined up the cans. Opened up the untapped one with the slug/test
film and then the Security man just touched the outside each and every
can of film. Without asking to examine it further. What I find usually
happens is that, once you get to the hand inspection station, either
they have the Bomb particle sniffer, or after two cans of film being
checked in the bag, the line becomes so long behind me, that they just
say, "go on through".
It has only been on the Eurostar, and visiting England's Parliment where
I had to have my film x-rayed ( the guards all thought my Bolex was
rather cute, and they actually knew what it was). By the way, U.S. Monuments
and the like will also X-ray. To enter The Statue of Liberty, we had
to have the Panavision camera x-rayed ( they thought it was a lawn mower).
Never had still film fogged yet, and I always forget about that and
send it through. What about Using Fed-ex, or something of the like?
Would that avoid the X-ray problem?
Balazs Bolygo writes :
>It is best to ask the airport
staff to put your stock through the most >technologically
up-to-date machine and also to tell them what you are
Up-to-date doesn't necessarily equal weaker, or safer. The
problem with the newer machines (apparently also coming
into use for hand luggage?) is their _variable_ strength.
But I've noticed some airports now have notices advising
you to submit film for hand inspection - previously it was
"no exceptions" and "don't worry, this won't
do any harm to your film". A glimmer of hope and enlightenment.
The cumulative effect of multiple security checks is an
important point, especially on faster film stocks.
It's all a pain in the proverbial, (even for the humble
holiday stills that I choose to bring home rather than process
at some local 1 hour lab in the mall or street market).
But in a tussle between fogged film and hijacked aircraft,
film is going to come second most of the time.