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Old July 26th, 2003, 12:55 PM   #1
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Taking Camcorder on Airplanes

I'm flying to NewYork to videotape a wedding. First time taking equipment on a plane. I am NOT letting my DVX100 go as luggage on the plane. I want to make it a "carry on". The problem is, the case that I have it in looks like a top secret weapons case. Can anyone tell me what will happen during the "check" before I get on the plane?

My wife's sister said that any DV Tapes that go thru the x-ray will be wiped out (erased). Is this true? Is there anyone willing to share their flight travel experience with DV equipment?
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Old July 26th, 2003, 01:00 PM   #2
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btw

For a joke.

My wife an her sister said I should dress up in a Black 3 piece suite and wear black sunglasses. Then carry the case on the plane.

Thought it was kinda funny.

The problem is, all the GOOD camcorder cases look like experimental nuclear weapon boxes.

Blame it on Hollywood.
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Old July 26th, 2003, 01:05 PM   #3
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Yeah, I wouldn't trust any type of recordable media through an X-Ray. Definitely carry your tapes on.. as for the camera case, I think it'll be fine. When they check it, they'll see it's a camera obviously. Unless you refuse to open it ;)
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Old July 26th, 2003, 01:12 PM   #4
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X-rays Do Not harm DV tapes or cameras. This has been discussed on the forums before (even with FAA members here) and there is no damage from x-rays. X-rays do damage film, but not magnetic recording media.

Another old rumor was the magnetic fields are used to generate x-rays and it was the magnetic fields that damaged the tapes. This is false also. If the magnetic fields were strong enough to erase a tape, the monitors used to view the luggage would not work.
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Old July 26th, 2003, 01:40 PM   #5
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I've carried my GL2 on board a number of times without any problems. The only time I have had to open my Kata bag was to let them see the WD-58H. This was shortly after 9/11 and the woman couldn't figure out what it was as it passed through the scanner.

Sandy
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Old July 26th, 2003, 02:22 PM   #6
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I just came back from another trip, 10 days in Hawaii to do a job. I had my case as always loaded to the hilt plus a laptop case that not only had the laptop but chargers and audio stuff both as my carryon's. My wife had a 1chip cam with batteries and cables and more audio stuff in her carry on plus her purse.
Guess what they looked at. The laptop, that's it.
I had a pd150, WA lens, 3 batteries, 14 tapes, shotgun mic, wireless recvr,transmitter, filters, cables, LANC control, and more in my camera case .
I've travelled many times and many miles since 9/11 and have never had a problem with my stuff or with the tapes being wiped out.
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Old July 26th, 2003, 04:35 PM   #7
 
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I travelled with my XL1 (camera body in a soft case, Lenses and accessores in a tough leather bag) and they were my two carry-on items. No one batted an eye. This was after 9/11. No damage to tapes caused by xrays and I wasn't even worried about it. I did not store them overhead... I kept them by my feet the entire flight.
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Old July 26th, 2003, 04:56 PM   #8
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The screeners are getting a lot better at their job and are using much more sophisticated equipment. I travel by air several times a month and have rarely been asked to open a bag. The operators can recognize most anything through the viewing screen. More emphasis is also placed on the explosives residue detector. (That swab they pass over your zipper on your carry on)

As others have stated , Xrays do not effect DV tape.
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Old July 26th, 2003, 05:03 PM   #9
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I went through airport security with my XL1s in a Kata bag and also hand-carried all the accessories in a second bag: wireless mics, batteries, tapes, duct tape, etc, and no one asked for a hand inspection at all. Was simple enough.

I also put my cell phone and Palm organizer in there to avoid having to empty my pockets. Just keep a good eye on the far end of the x-ray machine to make sure no one picked up and walked off with my bags.

I did have to take off my boots and send 'em through the x-ray machine. No one seemed to mind the smell... :-0
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Old July 26th, 2003, 05:56 PM   #10
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I routinely take my VX2000 on commercial aircraft (I carry it in a Lowepro Minitrekker backpack).

Airport security doesn't care what the case looks like. It will be x-rayed and, if they have any questions, you'll have to open it for inspection. X-rays have no effect on video tape.

As for dressing in black, wearing sunglasses, etc., that alone probably won't get you the "special" security treatment, beyond secondary screening (having a wand passed all over you). However, it is a very, very, very bad idea to engage in any kind security-related humor when you fly these days. The wrong joke can get you arrested. Best advice is, cooperate fully with the security people, be pleasant, don't joke (unless it's about the weather or something equally innocuous).

Also, though taking off your shoes is "voluntary," if you don't do it, you are automatically subject to secondary screening at most US airports. It's much easier to simply take them off.

If you carry a computer, take it out of your carryon and put it in a separate bin for x-ray.

Make sure you empty your pockets of anything metal, with particular emphasis to cellphones, PDAs, etc.

I fly a lot for business, and I've got it down to a science. I always wear a jacket of some sort, and simply put all my metal (including my watch) into my jacket and then put the jacket through x-ray. I carry a lot of electronics, but only take out the computer. One time in 10, the inspector will ask to look in my carryon bag. I've never had anyone look at my camcorders, either domestically or internationally.

And someone else gave very good advice about keeping an eye on your stuff as it goes through the scanner. If you are selected for secondary screening, insist that it be done in sight of your possessions, and don't take your eyes off them for one second -- there are thieves that specialize in stealing things during the inspection process.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 09:03 AM   #11
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Most of what has been said is O.K. for here in the States. However, if traveling to and within most foreign countries it
is a good idea of take batteries out of any device and put
them in a baggie or loose in a side pocket of the luggage.
I have had to take loose batteries out of my luggage
and hand carry them separate from my camcorder while traveling in India. This was pre-9/11. It's a big world out there and it's
not all like "home", but the majority of it is interesting.

Happy traveling, Nick
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Old July 27th, 2003, 10:43 AM   #12
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India's policies about batteries are relatively unique in the world. As of last December and January, when I was there, _standard_ batteries, i.e. AA, 9-volt, etc., weren't allowed in the aircraft cabin and had to be placed in checked bags. However, the rule _was_ not applied to camcorder batteries, the battery on my laptop, etc. We went through a number of inspections in a number of cities, and this was the standard pattern: camcorder and laptop batteries, okay, batteries for my MP3 player, and loose "standard" batteries, not okay.

To my knowledge, India is the only country in the world that has this peculiar policy prohibiting some kinds of batteries as carryon. It is certainly _not_ true of any European country, Morocco in North Africa nor any Asian country that I'm aware of, including China, Japan, Thailand or the Hong Kong SAR.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 10:46 AM   #13
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You probably want to keep the batteries with your cameras for domestic travel. On several occasions I've been asked to power up various devices. If the device can't be powered up you can't get on the flight. At Kennedy Space Center, all electrical devices had to be powered up and demonstrated before admittance.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 02:45 PM   #14
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Paul, Jeff,
Thanks for the updates. One almost needs a pocket guide (sans batteries) that gives the latest rules. And of course the rules get interpreted by whomever is at the inspection counter at any given moment.

Nick
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