Re: Fogged film from airport Xrays

From: Chuck Kleinhans (email suppressed)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2007 - 09:44:39 PST

On Feb 6, 2007, at 8:07 AM, DOMINIC ANGERAME wrote:

> I have just recently returned from screening my films
> in Havana. I had to travel through Mexico City to
> arrive there and had to return to the US again through
> Mexico, I hand carried my Bolex along with several
> rolls of EXR 50D and 250D 100 ft daylight spools. The
> film was xrayed in California, then twice in Mexico
> City and again in Havana. On return the film was
> xrayed again in Cuba, once in Mexico City and also in
> Dallas.

I haven't faced this problem recently, but I know what you mean. I
met a professional photographer at a wedding who has, post 9/11,
faced such massive problems, esp. with cameras being opened and
lenses uncapped by inept security people and then damaged that she
only travels by car and train. (she came 700 miles on a train to
this shoot.)

You can insist on a hand inspection (rather than x-ray) at all US
airports. By and large, the bigger airports handle this without a
flap, but you often have to wait a long time (up to half an hour).
Even then they may insist on x-ray. At small airports this seems to
often throw them off completely and they get all wound up about it
and try to bully you or just act like jerks. (having a job guarding
against "international terrorists" who might be boarding a regional
jet that's only going 300 miles to another little town must be so
boring that anything different can kick in the testosterone and make
you feel important)

My own experience in Cuba was that there was no possibility of
negotiation on entry or departure, and the x-ray machines were really

It might make you want to try video, but some of these inspection
machines also have strong electromagnetic elements.

A work around might be to ship yourself the film and return it from
the host country by a major international carrier like DHL which is
used to all the customs and packaging concerns and does this all the
time so they are up to date on what to do and how to meet the
requirements and practices of different places. I've met some
foreign producers who do this all the time...for them it's the only way.


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