Mira Mobile To Unveil Next-Generation M11 HD in 2011

In February 2011, Mira Mobile’s sixth HD mobile-production truck will hit the road, and, while M11 HD is similar to M7 and M9 in size and layout, the latest addition to the Mira Mobile family is a next-generation truck, especially when it comes to the EVS complement.

“We’re expanding the EVS complement on this truck to 28 channels, which is more than any of our HD trucks currently carry,” says VP/GM Frank Taylor. “That’s being done principally by adding a fourth RO and having two six-channel LSMs. That’s a next-generation move for us in recognition of the fact that our larger HD trucks are just doing bigger and bigger shows, so we’re expanding the infrastructure of this truck.”

Mira Mobile does much of its business in NBA and NHL games, and the ongoing demand for HD, especially for road games, brought the possibility of M11 to the table.

“For our NBA and NHL clients alone, the uptick in HD has been noticeable,” Taylor says, “and the overall demand for HD is up, so this truck is coming into existence because of that growing demand.”

M9 hit the road in June 2009 with no contract and has had no trouble finding work, so M11 will follow suit in early February.

“We saw with M9 that, even though the economy had slowed, M9 still was very successful,” Taylor says. “Now, with everybody putting it back into high gear in terms of moving their programming to HD, we’re pretty confident that M11 is going to have a successful launch.”

Identical to the size and shape of M7 and M9, M11 will be a 53-ft. trailer with a 51-ft. expanding side. The truck will be powered by a Grass Valley Kalypso switcher, a PESA router, Evertz conversion equipment, a Calrec Sigma audio console, and Sony cameras. The truck will roll with seven hard cameras and three handhelds, although Taylor says the truck will have the ability to handle up to five handhelds, depending on what clients need. All of Mira Mobile’s HD trucks will be converting to Chyron HyperX3 graphic systems by the end of this year, so M11 will hit the road with a HyperX3.

“M11 is our sixth HD truck, so, out of a nine-truck fleet, we’ll have six HD trucks and three SD trucks remaining,” Taylor says. “We retired one SD truck in 2010, and I suspect that, as we continue to see HD grow and SD begin to recede, we will probably retire an SD truck every 12 months. That could be accelerated, depending on how things go, but we’re probably going to be out of the SD business within 24-36 months.”

Mira Mobile effectively converted one SD truck to HD, and that particular conversion was successful because of what that truck was tasked to do, Taylor says.

“With an SD-to-HD conversion, it depends on the level and scope of events and what the clients that were using that truck were looking for,” he explains. “Our judgment is that it’s generally better to build the truck from the ground up, particularly if it’s going to be for a contract client that has very specific needs. I do not see us converting any of those SD trucks to HD, unless there’s a really specific application where it makes sense.”

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