Wind Beneath My Wings

Theorizing and planning is all well and good, but sometimes you just need to try it out.

There are just times when the only real way you know something is possible is to take a whack at it. And Sunday the 16th of July, I found myself contemplating just such a thing. But first, a little background.
I guess I could be categorized as somewhat of an outdoorsy person. In fact, if I can’t get outside for an extended amount of time, cabin fever sets in hard. Given that trait, I suppose it would come as little surprise that my entire life thus far has been filled with travel, novelty seeking and sport. For this little experiment, the sport in question is skydiving. More specifically; wingsuiting. Yay! Look at me! I’m extreme… The truth of the matter is, getting dressed up in a nylon, flying dress and diving out an aircraft at 12,000 feet after completing the training, qualifications and a good amount of experience is a relatively safe endeavor. It’s certainly safer than some other “activities” I may or may not record in the future.
So, back to the point of this little post.
I’ve often worn a camera when doing jumps. Aside from the eternal amazement that we live in an age where we get to glide around the sky and punch holes through the occasional cloud, I’ve always been fascinated with the sounds recorded by the action cameras so prevalent amongst the EXTREME community. Hahaha. Mostly, this has to do with any tiny gaps in the housing that cause all sorts of whistles and shrieks. It got me thinking about trying to upgrade the audio side of things to see what kind of recordings I could make while in flight. And so we arrive at Sunday morning with a pair of Rode Wireless Go ii mics and a helmet with an audible altimeter and one free internal pocket.
Now, before we go any further, I should warn you, there will be no amazing audio of the climb to altitude in our club’s Cessna 208. There’ll likewise be no incredible exit into clean airspace, followed by a sonically rich recording of flying belly to earth, transitions, and flying on my back… It pains me to say, dear reader, I struck out on that front. The recordings themselves do exist, but here’s the thing. The plane is LOUD. The pilot’s small window was blasting my rear mic right in the face. In other words, LOUD. The wingsuit flight speeds are FAST. Which equals LOUD. All of this means, with only 24 bit and sensitive mics (From RODE’s own literature: “These are sensitive microphones that are designed to pick up sound from all around in great detail.”) the high speed portion of this experiment was doomed from the start. Think the worst clipping you can imagine and then double it. Sad face.
It’s not all bad news. I did capture some audio from the canopy flight after deploying my parachute. Admittedly, I ruined some of it by speaking. I’ll leave a clip below for you to have a listen to.
So what does it all mean?
Like most things, this failure of sorts has left me pondering a more ideal set up with more capable mics (for this quite ridiculous line of inquiry I’m following). I will grant you, it is essentially just recording wind noise. And wind noise = wind noise = wind noise. That being said, coupled with good footage, high quality audio, and perhaps some interesting sonic interactions between the gear I’m wearing and the wind – not to mention the option to play with introducing different apertures for wind to pass through – the results COULD be unique.
Or they could be utter garbage and not worth anyone’s time. But that loops back to the introduction. Where sometimes you just need to have a go and find out.
And in the end, I’ll get to have fun doing something that most people will never even contemplate doing. Stay tuned! WARNING! The first 6 seconds or so are loud AF. This part of the recording is when the pilot chute has been thrown and the canopy is initiating its inflation sequence. After that, it’s smooth sailing.