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Head Mounted Sight

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"Drake, check your camera. There seems to be a malfunction."
[Drake hits camera]
"That's better. Pan it around a bit... Good."
―Pvt. Drake and Lt. Gorman, regarding the camera on Drake's HMS (from Aliens)
Head Mounted Sight

The Head Mounted Sight.[1]

The Head Mounted Sight (HMS),[2] also known as the Helmet Mounted sight,[1] was a headset-like device worn by the operator of an M56 Smartgun.[2] Incorporating an eyepiece, camera and microphone,[3] the HMS allowed users to see targets detected by the Smartgun's infrared tracker.[4]

The Head Mounted Sight was used by Smartgunners in the United States Colonial Marine Corps in 2179. Notable users include Private First Classes Jenette Vasquez and Mark Drake[5] and Private Peter O'Neal.

OverviewEdit

Vasquez and Drake with sights

Private First Classes Jenette Vasquez and Mark Drake with their Head Mounted Sights.

The Head Mounted sight was one of the 4 major components of the M56 Smartgun, the other being the M56 combat harness, stabilized articulation arm and the gun itself.[2] The right side of the band of the HMS incorporated a tactical camera,[3] which could transmit video to one of the monitors in an M577 Armored Personnel Carrier,[5] and a posable[5] eyepiece with screen, while the left side of the band featured a boom microphone.[3]

When the infrared tracker mounted above the M56 Smartgun's barrel detects a target, it will flash a red Moving Target Indicator (MTI) light in the headset's eyepiece.[6] A small video screen beneath the MTI light relays images from the headset's tactical camera, and when the camera is pointed at the gun's target, the tracking system will overlay a set of cross-hairs, in the form of a lighted box or rectangle, onto the screen over the target's centre of mass.[6] At the same time, the articulation arm self-steers the gun to aim at the target, and, as soon as it had done so, a target lock circle lights on the screen to indicate that the target was boresighted.[4] In the case of multiple targets or infrared false-target decoys appearing in the sight, the operator can simply steer the lighted box to bracket whichever target they actually wish to engage.[4]

To use the HMS, it must be plugged it into the tracking and comms system in the M56 combat harness.[2]

Behind the scenesEdit

Beyerdynamic HM 560

A Beyerdynamic Headmicrophone HM 560 with M 560, box and sheet.[7]

The Head Mounted Sights used in Aliens were made by Pinewood Studios' Otter Effects,[8] who also made most of the Marine equipment for the film,[9] out of metal and cast plastic pieces.[10] The base of the headset is a Beyerdynamic Headmicrophone HM 560 headset with M 560 microphone,[7] while the "knuckle"[11] of the screen arm is part of an Olympus OM T28 Macro Twin Flash 1 with a blue, circular part from the hinge of a Vivitar 2500 Zoom Thyristor Electronic Flash on it. The output connector is a Neutrik NCLNECF connector.[7] The eyepiece features a miniature TV screen and a small hole to facilitate stereoscopic vision for the actor.[9] The camera on the headset is smaller and has different detailing than the cameras on the standard Marine helmet.[9]

While only 1 of the headsets made for Jenette Goldstein (Private Vasquez) is known to have survived filming[9] and was sold by the Prop Store (missing a piece on the microphone and with some residue from Goldstein's makeup still on the temple foam cushions),[10] 2 of the ones made for Mark Rolston (Private Drake) are known to have survived,[9] with one in the possession of Alien prop collector Harry Harris[11] (with a reproduction microphone boom).[12]

AppearancesEdit

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 36 (1995), Boxtree Ltd..
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 18 (1995), Boxtree Ltd..
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 17 (1995), Boxtree Ltd..
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual, p. 20 (1995), Boxtree Ltd..
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 James Cameron (writer and director). Aliens (1986), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
  6. 6.0 6.1 Dave Hughes, Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. Aliens magazine, Vol. 2 #22, p. 35 (1994), Dark Horse International.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 http://web.archive.org/web/20141228035632/http://www.ebay.de/itm/Beyerdynamic-Kopfmikrofon-HM-560-Headmicrophone-Schlagzeugermikrofon-Headset-/231433303629
  8. http://www.otterfx.com/film_special_effects.htm
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 http://aliensarchive.tripod.com/aliens/vasquez/m56.html
  10. 10.0 10.1 http://www.propstore.com/product/aliens/pfc-jenette-vasquez-jenette-goldstein-smartgunner-headset/
  11. 11.0 11.1 http://www.harryharris.com/accdrake.htm
  12. http://www.harryharris.com/headset.htm

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