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odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder

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Steve Kownacki
odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:16:20 am

Wasn't sure which of the fine forums to post this but I'll try to describe what I have. Customer dropped off what he said was a cockpit tape from his son's aricraft and he just wanted a dub. It's just the pilot communicating with the tower, nothing incriminating or terroristic. From what I can hear it's probably 15 minutes duration.

All I can tell you is:
8mm data-type tape
I can hear audio on my digi8 camcorder
The video appears scrambled

Customer couldn't tell me anything about the recording format. I'm just curious now if it's possible to have this dubbed. Thoughts?

Maybe its one of these:
http://www.drs.com/Products/WRR818.aspx

http://www.teac-aerospace.com/DataRecorders/VSC-80B.htm

Thanks for the guidance.



Steve



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Mark Suszko
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 2:18:07 pm

Put it back in the aircraft where it was recorded? Not much help, I know.


Typically, to get a long record duration, tapes like that are run at a lower speed. Maybe your deck can only play the SP speed and not SLP.


Or perhaps it is digital-8 and your deck is analog hi-8. As I understand it, Digital hi-8 decks are backwards-compatible with analog hi-8 tape, but the reverse is not true. The audio may be on a separate PCM track, which I think was common to both kinds of deck, but this is just hazy conjecture at this point. Hi-8 didn't last very long before DV took over.

Perhaps one of the decks used for security recordings could play it. Do you know if the recorder was connected to an actual camera, like a HUD camera, or to some kind of character generator with alphanumerical data? What kind of aircraft was this? And how did this guy look at the tapes before?



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Steve Kownacki
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 3:16:12 pm

Thanks Mark. The guy was never able to play them, he just got it from his son (and for some reason wasn't able to get any info from him). Appears that the audio may be on the AFM tracks. I have a digi8 cam that plays Hi8 & 8mm and usually selects play speed of SP or LP. Reading the TEAC site more closely this may be my issue:

Recognizing the expanding operational video requirements of the Arny and the limitations imposed by the existing AH-64 AVTR, the TEAC/Merlin system includes a standard 525-line V-80AB-F Hi-8mm and a scan converter that converts the 875-line RS-343 video signal to an RS-170 "standard" 525-line format prior to recording.

By down-scan converting an 875-line signal to 525 lines, a standard video recorder can record and reproduce the 525-line signal at 400 TV lines of horizontal resolution that an 875-line signal will reproduce on a videocassette recorder. Using a scan converting system, the signal can also be converted back to the 875-line format for playback in the cockpit on existing AH-64 video displays. Also, the videotape may be left in the 525-line format or converted back to the 875-line format on the ground.




Steve



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Mark Suszko
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 3:42:55 pm

Okay, so this tape is from the HUD camera of an Apache attack helicopter.

Before the "Flowers By Irene" delivery van arrives at your front door, are you sure you're legal to be playing with this?

Sounds like it was set in the higher-line-resolution format and so probably not playable by you, except for the audio track.



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Steve Kownacki
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 3:52:02 pm

Ding dong. Flower delivery. YIKES! They're here!

True on the resolution I think.

Years ago a guy did bring a tape about the choppers & militia and I took one look, literally tossed it out the window and told him it was in the front yard & come and get it. That was scary.

Steve



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Bill Davis
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:24:07 pm


Out of sheer coincidence, I was the voice talent on most of PR stuff that went to congress relating to the Apache during their production life.

It was originally a product of McDonnell Douglass prior to their sale to Boeing - and the main manufacturing plant is out here in Mesa, AZ.

I'll never forget how weird it was to narrate the ghostly green IR scenes of an Apache during Desert Storm combat popping up to take a "picture" of the battlefield (after which the aircraft could drop below the hill and target stuff based on the geometry of that snapshot!)

What was really amazing was when a whole mess of opposing soldiers actually jumped up from their concealed positions in a combat situation and literally tossed their weapons asside and surrendered directly to one of the Apaches - simply because of it's arrival on the scene. First time I think an opposing force literally surrendered to a THING in the history of warfare!

Reminiscing asside, If the tape isn't marked "Secret" or "Classified" or other wise restrictively labeled, you could argue that it's a tax funded government video and therefore public domain. There might be someone around these parts who has a machine to that spec who could read it.

The primary question being what's it worth to find the gear in operational condition and someone who could make a dub. If it's important and I could help, let me know.

Good luck.



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cowcowcowcowcow
Mark Suszko
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 10, 2010 at 11:44:15 pm

When I was freelancing in the 80's after college, I did some forensic taping jobs for various lawyers. I was a grip and assistant camera on this one job that netted (at that time) a record multimillion-dollar jury award. Why I bring this up will become clear in a sec.

The victim was a little boy paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak, due to a botched delivery. What I was there to help shoot was a tech demo by the Rehab Institute of Chicago. They were basically modifying some tech inspired by the head-tracking gun aiming system of the Apache Attack Helicopter. In the Apache, the gunner looks thru a helmet-mounted reticle, and any place he turns his head and looks, the gun points. For this kid, around 8 years old, the techs from RIC rigged a pair of eyeglass frames with clear lenses. Around the perimeter of the lenses were replaceable decal icons. The frames also held an IR LED and detectors, and all this was hooked to an early Apple II computer on the back of his wheelchair. The IR beam bounces harmlessly and invisibly off the eyeball, and the computer tracks the rolling of the eyeball and figures which icon the kid is looking at, like a gaze-driven mouse, and double-blinks read as clicks. The icons drove the mac's early speech synthesis, same as Steven Hawking's rig. Doesn't sound like much now, some still cameras today will track your eyeball in the viewfinder and focus where you look... but back then, pre-internet, all of this was like science fiction come to life.

Using the tech, we were able to document that the kid was not completely vegetative, that he in fact could string the icons together into sentences and for the first time could communicate his needs and feelings thru this hi-tech ouija board, including "yes/no". "Im hot/cold", "I need a drink". And "Please", "thank-you" and "I love you Mom". He could also demonstrate some knowledge of colors, shapes, letters and numbers, as I recall. His parents had been tutoring him best as they could all that time, without ever knowing if any of it was sinking in at all. ....At all. For 8 years.

The video proved the lawyer's case that the kid was aware and could make use of specialized tutoring and could have a better quality of life if the award money could be spent on perfecting and advancing this technology, as well as customizing his cognitive therapy. I go nuts if I can't get on the internet for a day; imagine being locked into your body as a child since birth and nobody knows you're not severely mentally disabled, only paralyzed.

I found it one of the more meaningful experiences of my career to have been a witness and play a very small part in a project that turns a technological sword like Apache gunship weapon-aiming technology, into a peaceful ploughshare type technology that allows human minds, trapped in ruined bodies, to reach out and interact with the world and communicate.

Every time I see an attack helicopter, I think of that little boy telling his momma he loves her, after 8 years of being "locked-in".

Hell yes, you can get yourself a hankie.
I did.


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Steve Kownacki
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 11, 2010 at 1:54:25 am

Thanks Bill. Crazy story.
This tape is more for my interest at this point, the customer said to forget it and toss the tape. I'll check with the folks at the airline association and local nat'l guard facility.


Steve



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Carlton Rahmani
Re: odd tape format - 8mm data-type cokpit recorder
on Jun 12, 2010 at 9:02:18 am

I'm a pretty new to Creative Cow, but this is definitely the most intense thread I've read so far! Kind of shows that post-related fields extend FAR BEYOND the reach of reality television and youtube as a lot of people would believe.


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