Airport X-Ray Machines Causing Blemishes on Film?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jay Taylor, May 23, 2003.

  1. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    We recently had three rolls of ASA 400 Kodak High Definition Film x-rayed only once during an airport security check. After having the film developed there were noticeable dark blemishes visible in the blue sky portion of the photos. Anywhere there was a significant area of a light color there were dark blemishes visible. The problem was negligible in areas of the photo where there was foliage, objects or people.

    Fortunately during the other security checks we had the film hand checked rather than x-rayed and five rolls of film were not x-rayed at all. The five rolls of film that were not x-rayed were ASA 400 Kodak Max(?) and did not have a blemish problem.

    I read the May 2002 thread on this subject but was wondering if X-Ray machines have changed to improve security.

    Do you think these blemishes were caused by the x-ray machine, bad developing (Wal-Greens send out), bad film (expiration date was in 2004), or what?

    Jay Taylor
     
  2. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    Usually your film will not be bothered by the X-ray machines unless you are running 800+ speed film. It would be interesting to know if the newer machines they are using are stronger. If you are ever in doubt or have pictures that you for sure cant lose just have them hand checked.

    KyleS
     
  3. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    You may be able to get away with 100iso film now, but the newer scanners are ALOT stronger.

    The only way to correct your problem is PHOTO SHOP I'd think

    Brent

    Hey, you saved 5 rolls!
     
  4. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    The three rolls of film that were x-rayed were taken on a side trip from Oahu to Maui. Since we may never make it back to Maui those pictures were very important to us.

    At the end of our vacation when we were departing Oahu I politely asked the security lady if she would please hand check the film. She pointed to a large sign that explained that film slower than 1000 ASA would not be effected by the x-ray machine.

    I explained that since the film had already been x-rayed I was concerned that repeated exposure would damage the film.

    She said it wouldn't effect the film.

    I asked her again if she would please hand check the film.

    Then her supervisor came over to see what the delay was.

    After explaining once again they finally hand checked the film but by their mannerisms you would think that I was asking them to each donate a kidney.

    I realize the importance of airport security but does that mean we can no longer have decent vacation photos? I suspect that the 1000 ASA sign is incorrect using current x-ray equipment and procedures.

    Jay Taylor
     
  5. Mark Sherman

    Mark Sherman Supporting Actor

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    A bit of advice for people who are traveling with film. to be sure that your pictures are safe the best thing to do is have the negatives developed before you get on the plane on your return trip so that the X-rays will never be an issue, then have the prints developed at your Local shop.


    Another thing is to FED-EX your Film to yourself. since they do not get x-rayed you should be all set.


    jay is it possible for you to scan and put a link to your pictures I would like to see what they look like. I might be able to tell if it was the x-ray or the lab that made the mistake but I do have to see the pictures in order to tell.


    Thanks
     
  6. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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  7. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Mark,

    Will do. I'm at work now and the pictures are at home but I'll post a link to some example photos when I get a chance. Your opinion on the cause of the blemishes will be appreciated.

    Other factors: I had Picture CDs made of all 8 rolls at the time they were developed. Only the Kodak 400 ASA High Definition film went through the x-ray machine and only the High Definition film had the problem, which makes it questionable whether it was the film or the x-ray.

    Jay
     
  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I was going to double Mark's suggestion, if getting them developed at the destination is not an option. You can fedex stuff back home for things that cannot go through security or are banned items. Fuel canisters for backpacking stoves tend to fall under the banned items even if they are empty or even brand new and never used.

    Jay
     
  9. Mark Sherman

    Mark Sherman Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Jay. let me know when you have them
     
  10. Seth_L

    Seth_L Screenwriter

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    I do a lot of flying for my job and I travel to many airports. I think every airport I've been thru lately (post 9/11) has a sign telling you not to put any unexposed film thru the x-ray machine.

    Seth
     
  11. James E

    James E Stunt Coordinator

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  12. Kim Donald

    Kim Donald Stunt Coordinator

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    Lead Film bags are cheep and will protect your film and the the film WILL be hand checked after going thru the x-ray machine. I used these on a trip to Russia a few years ago on the advice of a pro photographer who had told me that the x-ray machines were much stronger in Russia.
    kd
     
  13. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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  14. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    You could also use a mail-order photo processor. Mail the completed rolls from your vacation spot to the developer, then have the prints and negatives forwarded to your home so they're waiting for you when you get there.
     
  15. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    I will say it could very possibly be the Kodak film, when I worked at a camera shop/lab I saw a lot of defective rolls of Kodak come through even in one time use cameras that you knew there was no way for the customer to gain access to the roll without you knowing it was enough to make me switch to Agfa, I've never looked back, I personally had several rolls of Kodak that ended up having a very bad blue tinge on all the prints almost as if they were shot in florescent lighting but were outside shots. When my parents were professional photographers and ran a studio for many years they shot on Kodak Verichrome in there Mamiya's but also preferred Agfa for there 35mm stuff because it generally had more vivid colors especially for outside shooting.
     
  16. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    Mark & others,

    Here's a link to an example photo showing the blemishes:

    Photo Blemishes

    Jay Taylor
     
  17. Tom Meyer

    Tom Meyer Second Unit

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    that doesn't look like fogging. Fogged film usually has bands across the entire length, not the blemishes like those on your film. Looks like the lab or bad film. Have a look at :

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/servi...01.shtml#SEC47

    for examples.

    I've also traveled recently, passing 30-40 rolls of Fuji Velvia (ASA 50) and NPH (400) through 10 different x ray machines (including 1 in Nepal, which I guarantee doesn't have the latest technology) and had no problems. And last year, I even let several rolls of 3200 speed B&W (on the way home from New Zealand --- I was too tired to fight it) film go through three different xray machines and had no fogging problems either.
     
  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Jay, Tom is right, those blemishes are not x-ray fog. Like he said, x-ray fog is generally wide colored lines going across the shorter dimension of the picture, ex. horizontal lines on a vertical shot.


    Were all the shots with the blemishes shot through an airplane window? If so, I expect it is actually something on the surface of the window. They are not in focus, so it is not dust on the negative during printing. I suppose there is a slight chance it is an extremely dirty surface in the printer at the lab, possibly the negative side of the printer lens, but I tend to doubt it. I expect if you look at the negatives in question very closely you will see the blemishes, which will be light, not dark.
     
  19. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    What kind of camera were these shot with? I seriously doubt it is bad film. It could be a lot of dirt on the rear exterior surface of the lens.

    If you are lucky, it was an exceptionally dirty printer and they can be printed again without the dust.


    Just a couple extra thoughts.
     
  20. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Scratch that about the lab. I'm too used to transparencies, which would show dust in the printer as dark. You shot negatives, which would show dust in the printer as light. So, the dust or whatever it is was most likely there when the film was shot and will have to be touched out if you want it removed.
     

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