Jump to content
Marc Hoppe

Small plane comm system

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

I have a shoot where I need to tap into the comm system of a civilian fixed wing aircraft- I have the Remote Audio adapter for civilian fixed wing aircraft, but I have zero experience with this and it's a plug and leave the bag scenario. 

 

How hot is the signal that comes out of the comm system- is it a line level signal? I'll try to get a lav taped to the headset as well, if possible to cover bases, but what else should I be looking out for?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Marc

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Marc Hoppe said:

I'll try to get a lav taped to the headset as well

 

Have better experiences with that than plugging into the intercom. If you record it on another ISO track, that's a good idea.

 

Signal is line level and can be adjusted by the pilot. The bad thing is that there's a gate which will leave dead silence when no one speaks. The recording sounds quite weird. So you should record an ambient sound as well to mix under.

Another problem I encountered was, that in very small planes, there was no audio separation possible between intercom (between the passengers) and aircraft radio. In this case the air traffic control may rattle with some weather forecast over your audio take accidently. Very bad ass.

Sometimes intercoms are not protected at all against blowing noisee (why? I don't know). If so, I may fix a little wind jammer or foam over the mikes of all headsets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

Maybe both ways, iso'ed...?

 

+1 when in flight, there is no time / place / possibility to solve audio problems. It's too loud for proper monitoring anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed on all points, thanks guys.  I can't be in the plane, so it's a wire an d drop the bag situation, which means I need to preemptively cover as many bases as I possibly can!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have done a few of these over the years.  I use the Remote Audio cable for this.  True, the gating system is distracting. The threshold is pilot controlled,

but good luck trying to get an already distracted pilot to do a couple of test settings for you...  Make sure that the camera(s) have camera mics attached and 

tell Post Production to use the camera mic sound to fill in the gaps of silence.  Worked for me many times.

Edited by Ontariosound
typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would contact the company/pilot and request info on what type of comm system they are running so you can have the right connectors to tap into. I always do this to make sure. Then I just order the right connector and make up a cable. By now I have a bunch that I’ve made over the years. 

Like mentioned above, the gating system is a pain and unnatural so having an ambience mic will be good. 

As far as you not being in there, its going to be productions gamble. That being said, if you’re recording at 24bits you could record pretty low levels and hope for the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it's more involved, but HANDS DOWN the best setup that has worked for me is this -

 

Run a wired lav mic to each headset mic, "sister" it up, sometimes you can tuck it in with the existing foam. Run the lavs to a recorder (I've run up to 5 on a larger plane) Take care to dress the cable and address any pinch points and add strain relief where necessary.

 

This sounds 100% better, no weird gating, complete control of the levels, consistent ambient sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, jason porter said:

I know it's more involved, but HANDS DOWN the best setup that has worked for me is this -

 

Run a wired lav mic to each headset mic, "sister" it up, sometimes you can tuck it in with the existing foam. Run the lavs to a recorder (I've run up to 5 on a larger plane) Take care to dress the cable and address any pinch points and add strain relief where necessary.

 

This sounds 100% better, no weird gating, complete control of the levels, consistent ambient sound.

 

Another way, of course. But be sure that your lavs and preamps can handle that enormous SPL (not voice, but engine). You can't check on the ground - even if the pilot is so kind to do a test for you with engine at full throttle, the sound is nevertheless different and louder in the air, my experience.

The intercom system filters out a lot of engine noise (should be), but sounds more telephone-like, of course.

 

I once had to equip a tv presenter who should record himself in mini 2 person plane, with some Gopros. I gave him a Sennheiser MD 441 wired to a simple solid state recorder from Marantz and the result was perfect 🙂 But that's a different story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Mungo said:

 

Another way, of course. But be sure that your lavs and preamps can handle that enormous SPL (not voice, but engine). You can't check on the ground - even if the pilot is so kind to do a test for you with engine at full throttle, the sound is nevertheless different and louder in the air, my experience.

The intercom system filters out a lot of engine noise (should be), but sounds more telephone-like, of course.

 

I once had to equip a tv presenter who should record himself in mini 2 person plane, with some Gopros. I gave him a Sennheiser MD 441 wired to a simple solid state recorder from Marantz and the result was perfect 🙂 But that's a different story.

Good point! I used COS-11s (regular sensitivity) I also experimented with going line level in with P48 (788 or 744, probably both) Mic level worked best, if I recall correctly. As for plane noise - I used this setup in all types of military & commercial aircraft, helicopters such as a Sikorsky s76 (relatively quiet) as well as the C-130 Hercules, V-22 Osprey, DHC-5 Buffalo, CH-149 Cormorant, C5, C17, C2 Greyhound...others I can't recall at the moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone- as usual, your collective input was on point. 

 

I ended up tapping into the comm system, burying a mic in the earpiece of the headset, and attaching one to the boom arm of the headset- there was just the pilot, doing a "standup" of sorts, or a presenter to camera, if you will.  When I got everything back on the ground, the best sound seems to be predominantly using the lav on the boom arm of the headset, mixed with some of the comm system/headphone mic (those two sounded so similar playing back on the laptop speakers, but the comm system alone was exactly as you mentioned: distractingly gated. 

 

Thanks for your valuable input/affirmation! 

 

Cheers.

 

Marc

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...