Re: current x-ray machines, dv tapes, and other digital media

From: Madison Brookshire (email suppressed)
Date: Wed Jan 18 2006 - 10:14:02 PST

In response to:

> Several sources that I checked said the same - that checked luggage
> goes thru stronger x-ray machines.

Sam wrote:

>Definitely, those will cook your film. I think you're safe with
>magnetic media. But I'd keep it out of check-in baggage anyway.

Yes, the checked luggage x-ray machines are much stronger than the carry-on
x-ray machines. Accidentally, I just imported some VHS tapes to Korea via my
checked luggage. There was dropout. And the VHS looked like shit. But that
was probably true before they flew over the pacific.

When I fly, if I'm flying with film especially, I print the TSA website page
that says what you can request to have hand checked etc. I don't know that
I've ever had to show it to anyone, but it helps to have documentation (i.e.
their own policies) behind what you're saying. Of course, this may not apply
in other countries, and waving US policies in the faces of people who
haven't asked for them has got the US in trouble more than once. But perhaps
that's mixing the personal and the political too much.

BTW, I know we're talking primarily about magnetic media here, but what they
say to you at the x-ray machine about it being safe up to 800 ASA is only
true for still film. All motion picture film is considered "special" under
their guidelines and must be hand searched if you request it. I've had
different amounts of luck with getting my movie film zapped. Some S-8
kodachrome (not to wax too awfully melancholic... but it was three rolls of
kodachrome of the where the Monarch butterflies migrate to in Mexico, c'est
la vie) did not do too well (fogged and some flashes resembling light leak)
while some 16mm ektachrome didn't come out worse for the wear. Peter Hutton
recently showed some footage from Indonesia that he claimed was not only
x-rayed but run and re-run through many international x-ray machines before
he could finally get it developed. And it looked like the gorgeous kind of
film you'd expect from Peter Hutton. So who can say?


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