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Old April 17th, 2007, 11:27 PM   #1
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XH-A1 & Airplane Ride

Gonna take a short seaplane ride in Seattle next month and I want to be able to capture audio from the aircraft intercom system as well as other cabin/engine noise.

Here's what I'm thinking...

Using ENG-44 mixer...

1. Mini plug (or 1/4") / XLR from the intercom to the mixer, then out to cam CH1
2. Shotgun mic (Rode NTG-2) mounted on the camera, to the mixer, then out to cam CH2.
3. Would likely have to set the shotgun level fairly low as I plan to use the cabin/engine audio as background in the end.

Thoughts/recommendations?
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Old April 18th, 2007, 05:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dearl Golden View Post
Gonna take a short seaplane ride in Seattle next month and I want to be able to capture audio from the aircraft intercom system as well as other cabin/engine noise.

Here's what I'm thinking...

Using ENG-44 mixer...

1. Mini plug (or 1/4") / XLR from the intercom to the mixer, then out to cam CH1
2. Shotgun mic (Rode NTG-2) mounted on the camera, to the mixer, then out to cam CH2.
3. Would likely have to set the shotgun level fairly low as I plan to use the cabin/engine audio as background in the end.

Thoughts/recommendations?
Check carefully to make sure the plug for the intercom follows standard wiring. It's going to be hotter than regular line level so some pads are going to be required to avoid overload. Also, I'm not 100% sure of this when it comes to intercoms, but generally ANYTHING plugged into the aircraft electical system has to meet very stringent requirements, especially if the aircraft is being operated in commecial service at the time. Better check it with the pilot/operator ahead of time before you settle on a plan because you might not be able to tap into the system at all without special equipment.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 06:03 AM   #3
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I don't think you'd be violating any FARs plugging into the intercom system like that, but an alternative solution is to put a lav inside the earcup of your headset.

Watch the refplections off the windows. It might help to wear dark clothing. I got some awesome shots flying right seat in a Beaver last year in Alaska. Have fun.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #4
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Another way to pickup the pilot's radio chatter would be to use a hand held radio tuned to the same frequency. Most will have a headphones jack that you could use via a mini-jack or just attach a lav. to the speaker. Let us know how things worked out. Remember that small plane cabins are quite loud.

Don Jones
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Old April 18th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #5
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Thank you for the replies/advice...

Steve...When making the arrangements, I told the pilot what I wanted to do with filming, connecting audio to the intercom, etc. and he didn't indicate there would be any problems with that. I will double check, though before plugging in.

Jim...I don't have a lav in my kit at this point, so that one is out. It's a little further down the list in the "nice to have" category at the moment. Great idea though and one I'll remember. Yeah....this ride is in a Beaver. My wife chartered me an hour last September for my birthday, but the operators with the Beavers had stopped flying tourists for the season. She hooked up with an outfit, "Seattle Seaplanes", on Lake Union and I got the ride in a Cessna 185.

Don...Another great idea. Thanks.

I have a rather cheap Casio digital recorder that I might also clip to my clothing and turn on and just let it pick-up whatever it hears. It does a surprising job in small meeting rooms. Something useful might come from it.
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Old April 18th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #6
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There are a fair number of variables in this arena. Civilian aircraft are standard 1/4" mono plugs for the headphones with a separate plug for the microphone (that's pretty close to 1/4" but not quite). The output level on civilian aircraft audio systems is higher than standard headphone levels (but I can't find the reference right off hand), so you will need a bit of pad to bring them down. There's no concern with plugging things into the intercom system. The intercom itself has to pass FAA certification and its job is to protect the aircraft electrical system from anything you might do to it. There are specialty cables that you plug into the intercom, plug your aviation headset into the cable, and it provides a T off to an XLR plug to go into your mixer. I'm sure Trew would have them. Oh, and everything is different in helicopters, which use the military standard instead of the civilian standard.

BTW, the interior of light aircraft is a very noisy space. You really need some serious isolation in your headphones if you want to monitor what you are capturing on your equipment.
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