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Old March 10th, 2003, 11:24 AM   #1
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Airport screening of tapes.

When Iím wrong Iíll admit it (just ask my wife). Iíve stated that it was unsafe to have your tapes in your luggage while they undergo baggage screening. The reason being is that these machines are much more powerful than the ones located at the passenger checkpoints. Additionally, there are signs advising individuals to remove any film products (throw-away cameras, film canisters, etc) from the bag prior to screening.

Iíve been suggesting that these machines could harm tapes as well. I just completed a training class where the students were all baggage screeners. I posed the question of harming tapes to them. All said that there should be no problem or damage to any tape going through our CTX machines. At least two people came up to me afterwards and informed me that professional photographers still do not take a chance with their tapes. They remove them and take them with them as they go through the passenger checkpoint.

What would I do? I know what type of equipment is used at this airport (Chicago Midway). I also put a lot of trust into the people manning this equipment. If they say its safe Iíd have to agree with them that itís safe. Not all airports have the same type of equipment. I have also lived my entire profession life training for the worse case scenario. So the answer to the question of would I tempt fate by putting my tapes through the baggage screening? The answer is no, but thatís me. I suggest that itís up to the individual as far as what you do. It could be safe.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 01:35 PM   #2
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Don,
I have flown a bunch since 9/11 and even before that I always had the screeners hand check my cam stuff including tapes. I found that if you ask in a decent way they will generally help you out. True at MDW,ORD,DFW,STL and ATL.
Up to now anyway. My next trip isn't until June so things might change then, I hope not.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 01:55 PM   #3
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Don L.,
Thank you so much for posting that follow-up. I know that many folks read the original thread and got sweaty palms.

Good follow-up and good suggestions.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 03:58 PM   #4
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I do not see any major changes in the way we do business anytime soon. We began 100% scgeening of all checked baggage in January (all domestic US airports). That change caught a few people by surprise. We are using bigger and to a degree better equipment to check the large checked luggage. Just go to any airport and see the difference between what is being used at the checkin area vs. the passenger checkpoints.

Same points as before for checked baggage. Do not lock the bag before having ot screened. If TSA needs to open a locked bag and the owner can't be found they will bust it open. You will have the chance to lock the bag after it's been screened.

Reguarding the checkpoint. Same rules apply as before. You can ask for a hand search of items you do not want put in the x-ray. No problems there.

My best suggestion is to allow for extra time to get through all the screening. Especially if you are carrying a lot of electronic gear.

Dispite what you hear - air travel has been and will remain the safest mode of transportation.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 04:08 PM   #5
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During a January trip to Canada, TSA at O'Hare opened my (unlocked) checked suitcase. Nothing appeared disturbed, despite having a full load of winter clothing and some camera gear. They enclosed a notice of the search, re-closed the bag and then locked it with nylon ties placed through the zipper lock holes. They also searched me at the security point (I guess I must look suspicious). Overall I rate these procedures with an 'A'. Much more courteous, professional and, yes, thorough than years past.

I (thankfully) doubt that the airplane ploy will be feasible for terrorists in the U.S. again. Now if only the nuclear power plant people can get with a similar program.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #6
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Ken I agree with you. In speaking with flight crew members since 9-11 they all say the same thing sit buckle up and enjoy the ride. Just make sure you stay buckled up! It's been proved that even a 747 can make a barrel roll!.

Glad you had a good experience flying. Most folks going through the screening process at our airports have the same remarks.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 07:02 PM   #7
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Hey guys,
did you notice this whole thread was out of the Chicagoland area?
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Old March 10th, 2003, 10:31 PM   #8
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nuclear power plant people

I'm one of those nuclear power plant people and let me tell you we have the same airport search each day i come to work .
I'm control room staff and worked in this industry for 35 years and I'm searched every shift and when I carry anything electronic I am asked to turn it on to verify its use.
So the nuclear power plants are there!
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Old March 10th, 2003, 10:48 PM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Don Bloom : Hey guys, did you notice this whole thread was out of the Chicagoland area? Don B. -->>>

No, I hadn't. That's funny!

Stankern: Actually, I've no doubt that many, if not all, plants have stringent security procedures for their employees these days. I also have little doubt that most plant employees are highly committed to security.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 03:02 PM   #10
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Bad experience in Singapore and Heathrow

Well my experience is very very bad, going out of Singapore I had my hand bag (read all electronics, cameras and related stuff) and I had to stay more than half an hour while the opeartor of the X-ray machine (?) changed the modes an looked at the screen for five or more minutes each.
then at Heathrow they passed the bag as if nothing but a police officer kindly asked me to open thebag and give him everything one by one! I took me more than an hour just to pack everything in there and thats not the worst of it near the plane a stwardest told me I cant carry that bag into the plane so I explain to her that this is my equipment I work with that its very fragile etc. So she says Its ok Sir" take it put a sticker that says FRAGILE and drop it on a shute.... And I can hear the THUMB when it hit the down floor, Needless to say I promiss her that if anything was brken ill be back to kill her and all her family... then she called the captain....

=(
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Old March 11th, 2003, 03:45 PM   #11
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I have flown numerous times with a hardcase of equipment and I have never had a problem when asking the folks to please hand check the stuff in the case. I explain what everything is, show it to them, open everything up and presto! I'm thru. Now it takes more than a few minutes, I have alot in the case but I allow enough time to get thru. I would rather wait at the airport for an hour than take the chance of not getting thru in time to make my plane. I also made sure this hardcasre I bought would fit the dimensions the airlines have for carryon baggage.
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Old March 15th, 2003, 06:24 PM   #12
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Do not put your tapes through a scanner

I found this out the hardway, going to Mexico to shot a documentary, I put 10 of my 15 tapes through the scanner, and recked all of them. I shot two tapes before being able to check the footage, and lost a lot of good material.

Not to metion the fact that tapes are really expensive in Mexico, at around 15-20$ US at some places. I cleanned out the city just to get 15 tapes. Do this in Africa and you are........

I am back in Mexico at this moment doing followup shoots, and I am not chancing it with checkin luggage. Going back to Canada the tapes will sit with my bottles of tequila (in zip-locks incase I drop the bag), and will never leave my paws!!

I also take my camera as my cabin luggage, I just don't trust people not to break it, or send it to Afganistan by accident.

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Old March 16th, 2003, 10:18 PM   #13
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How did it damage your tapes? What does an X-ray damaged tape playback like, image wise?
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Old March 17th, 2003, 10:04 AM   #14
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Lot's of drop outs

When I checked the tape there were lots of dropouts. I tried three tapes and all had the same problems, I had used one before leaving and it was fine. I had put a box of tapes in my checkin, and they were fine too.

On this trip I broght a rough edit, and forgot it in the camera, and it has the same problem now too.

My XL1s does get some dropout with both Sony and Panasonic tapes, but not the level of the scanned tapes.

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Old March 25th, 2003, 02:02 AM   #15
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Traveling with tape? Since 9/11 I have logged about 50,000 air miles. I shoot both video and still photos. My experience with security has generally been good. The information that says X-Ray will not damage videotape is based on the fact that video is a magnetic medium and not emulsion based light sensitive silver halide film. With that said I am still too paranoid to place videotape in my checked luggage. As a magnetic medium we all kno we should protect it from magnetic exposure such as electrical motors. I wonder if Michaelís drop-outs could have been caused by his luggage being paused near some source of magnetic interference? Just a wild theory, but food for thought? Not knowing what happens to my tape through the entire handling process is enough for me to keep it with me.

My traveling system is to carry the XL1 by hand, out of the case, onto the plane. It sits between my feet, or on my lap for take off and landing. The tape and other job critical items are in a carry-on bag. By having the camera out of a bag I never get hassled about having it and a carry on bag.

I believe the official TSA rules are that you have the right to not have your film x-rayed. In practice, I have found this to not be true. On many occasions security has just flat out told me it is the law, everything must be x-rayed, including my 35mm film, which can be damaged. Even though I request a hand search, my videotape has never been damaged when they do x-ray it.

And of course international travel is a different story, Canadian Customs is hard enough to get through, shopping for tape in Mexico, tough.

Sorry I wrote a novel here.
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