Friday, July 13, 2018

High (Voltage) Wire Act




My brother-in-law Peter visited last year and showed me and my wife some of his favorite short videos on YouTube. When I saw this one featuring a man inspecting high voltage lines, I knew that I would show it to my students. It's a lovely little video narrated by the electrical inspector who talks about his work, and his life, and even tells a story about how his suit is a special kind of Faraday cage.

I knew my students would find this video interesting. There are a lot of intriguing electrical details and small events that could almost go unnoticed, and which could form the basis of some interesting physics questions and demonstrations. Our technical school has an Electrical Technology shop, and students in the shop would already know about this kind of work, and would be excited to watch this and share their knowledge. This video is a perfect example of what I like to add to my instruction toolkit.

The version I first watched on YouTube was of poor quality, and there was no indication of who actually made the video. It was obviously clipped from a longer video about dangerous or exciting work. There are many copies scattered throughout YouTube, and I spent a lot of time hunting for the best and most complete version. I finally found a high-definition version of the clip. I used Filmora to clean up the beginning and the end of the audio track. I did watch other videos about high-voltage line inspectors, but this one best suited my purposes. It's calming, actually, rather than all hyped up, and you get a sense of the man rather than just a focus on the details or the danger of the job. The music sets the mood perfectly. There's a joke at the end that mostly goes over my students' heads.

I eventually discovered that the the clip is from an IMAX movie called "Straight Up: Helicopters In Action." It was produced in 2002 by SK Films for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and apparently aired as a cable TV broadcast by INHD, which later came to be called MOJO HD. I also came across a comment that it had appeared on Discovery HD.

Cross-posted to Teaching Is . . .

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