Mira Mobile To Roll Out Two HD Units in 2009

By Ken Kerschbaumer
Mira Mobile Television will roll out two HD trucks in 2009: M8HD, a 48-foot unit with a 35-foot expando side in April for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and M9HD, a 53-foot unit with 51-foot expando that will hit the streets in August. “The financing was there because we’ve had a long, successful track record with our lender and there is a fairly significant contract with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area,” says Frank Taylor, Mira Mobile, general manager.
M8HD is 1080p-capable courtesy of a 3G router from Qustream and will operate in side-by-side, dual-feed mode with M7HD. Mira is opening a field shop in the Bay Area, where both M7HD and M8HD will be housed and maintained.
M8HD will have an on-board complement of seven Sony 1450 HD cameras (five hard, two handheld or four hard, three handheld). Lenses are provided by Fujinon and consist of three 72x, two 88x, and three 22x handheld lenses.
A Grass Valley Kalypso HD with advanced effects will provide video switching with routing via the Qustream 144×304 HD router. Video monitoring throughout the mobile unit will be via LCD displays incorporating the Evertz VIP multi-image viewer system. M8HD will carry a six-channel EVS XT[2] HD/SD server and two four-channel EVS XT[2] RPOs, along with EVS X-File and Xnet Hub.
The audio mixer will be a Calrec Omega with Bluefin. Two Qustream 256×256 audio routers will be incorporated in M8HD to provide AES and analog audio routing.
The trucks will hit the road in what could be a very volatile market if ad revenues decline and broadcast production budgets in turn are slashed. But Taylor believes any cuts will most likely come in the form of fewer cameras or instant-replay capabilities and not necessarily in fewer HD productions.
“If the credit crunch makes it so vendors can’t build trucks because financing isn’t available, it doesn’t matter what the HD demand is,” says Taylor. “That could extend the life of 16:9 SD trucks.”
It also could mean more work for smaller HD trucks. M8HD operates as a seven-camera unit in standalone mode. Says Taylor, “It will do a lot of midsize HD shows like college events or Major League Soccer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.”
Mira Mobile Television is a Pacific Northwest-based mobile-facilities company founded in 1982. It operates seven mobile units (three HD expandos, two digital expandos, one digital straight, and one analog expando) from its offices and field shop in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, BC.

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