Airport security and unexposed film

I’m off to New Zealand and Austrailia next week. Taking 30 rolls of unexposed 35mm film–ASA 200, 400, 800–in my carry-on bag. Do I need to take each roll out of the container for the security folks?

Take the film out of the cans, discard the cans, carry the film in a see-through plastic bag.

This website has information on requesting hand inspection (regardless of film speed) at US airports. Leaving NZ may incur hand inspection problems; you may consider processing your film while there.

Of course, if the inspectors are having a day, you may be subject to x-ray anyway.

I’m going to Hawai’i in April. I plan on shipping my film to the hotel to be held for my arrival.

Some very good info onKodak’s website.

If you insist on it being hand inspected, then it’s a good idea to allow at least an extra thitry minutes going through security.

I’d always assumed that if the film were in an un-opened container that it would be reasonably assumed to be free of contraband. Of course, labels &c. can be faked. The last time I went to New Orleans I had a couple 400-foot rolls of unexposed 16mm film. Due to a malfunction in the camera’s motor (a nut had fallen off on the inside and shorted the electronics) I was unable to shoot anything. But I was thinking: What if I had shot the film? Obviously it would no longer be in a factory-sealed container. Film is kept in lightproof plastic bags that are inside of a metal can, and the can is sealed with some gaffer’s/camera tape. You can open the can, and the plastic bag should protect the film from exposure; but if you open the bag you’re screwed. (NB: 400-foot movie film is not in a “cartridge” like super-8 or or 35mm still camera film cartridges, nor is it in “daylight” spools that offer a little protection for all but about 10 feet of the film that is on the end.) So a visual inspection that would not ruin the footage would be: “Here is a film can with tape around it. Let’s open it. Here is a bag with something round and flat in it, but we can’t open the bag.”

So if, for whatever reason, you were unable to mail the film and were forced to fly it home in your baggage, how would airport security handle it? (A major production would undoubtedly ship it; but suppose you’re just someone who wanted to shoot 16mm on your vacation?) Would they happen to have a changing bag at hand?

Last time I went through security they would hand inspect film IS) 800 or greater but irradiate anything else. I tried to explain that this was exposed film and the x-rays would ruin it. They made me put the cannisters through the x-ray machine and the film was fogged. Bottom line, in the US, only transport 800 or greater film.

Why is carry on baggage considered more dangerous that shipped baggage? Every mad bomber knows that you can ship atomic bombs with no checks as simple baggage. It would make a lot more sense from a security standpoint to X-ray all baggage as it sits in the aircraft. That would eliminate any bad employees from slipping it on. It is checked on the A/C itself.
Film and stuff that people don’t want ruined should be put in solid cases and handcuffed to the passenger so that anything goes off or boom, they are the first to the scene.

Problems solved.

Are you sure the film was fogged by the X-ray machine? Was it checked luggage or carry-on? IIRC, there was a magazine article where they put ISO 1600 film through an X-ray scanner half a dozen times, and they were hard pressed to detect any fogging.

I don’t think it is. They both go through the X-ray machine. And according to the Kodak page linked above, the check-in luggage goes through a more powerful X-ray machine than carry-on.

Last time we just bought the film there, and had it developed there. There was a Wall-mart Super center just up the road, cost less there than at home, and had the advantage of knowing that the pictures came out before we got home. This only works if you stay in the civilized world, civilization being defined as a 20 minute drive or less to the nearest Wall-mart. Wasn’t really thinking of the X-ray machine, we just forgot the film at home, but it worked.