Tektronix WFM5000 Wows MIRA Mobile

When it comes to specifying and building out new mobile broadcast trucks, the list of requirements is long and deep. At MIRA Mobile Television our latest 53-foot HD truck, designated M7HD, went online in August 2008 and was no exception. It required extensive time and effort to get it out into the field—a demanding team effort. That said, we must have done something right as this unit has proven to be in high demand with customers who hire us to do on-site production for live HD broadcasts at major events such as NCAA football games.


The expectation for quality is comparable to a studio. But the equipment we take on the road needs to be exceptionally versatile and reliable while still falling within budget parameters. Another important factor is weight—lighter is better when outfitting a studio on wheels. Since we typically work with freelance production staff at event locations, we also try to make sure that our equipment is of a type commonly used in the industry. There is value in having equipment on board that our clients are familiar with.

(L-R) Steve Delmarter and Ed Wlasiuk, MIRA Mobile employees, appear with one of the Tektronix WFM5000 waveforms used in the M7HD truck. Given these and many other considerations, one of our easier choices was the Tektronix WFM5000 waveform monitor. This instrument enables our mobile studio operators to quickly and easily verify and adjust video and audio content from multiple signal sources. In addition, we use our WFM5000 units to monitor the quality of tape machines to ensure that they are properly adjusted.

The M7HD truck is wired for up to 16 cameras. The WFM5000s allow us to precisely adjust the various cameras so the outputs all look the same and the viewer at home won't be able to detect any variation during transitions from camera to camera. Since the WFM5000 is portable and as light as a feather—slightly more than three pounds—we can easily take it to where the action is on location to adjust camera setting or debug any problems. Optional battery power saves time and adds convenience.


The M7HD is equipped with four WFM5000 waveform monitors for use during events. We provide each operator with two instruments so they can look at multiple aspects of signals at the same time. This is helpful, as they don't have to switch the display as much as they would otherwise. The new TandemVu display is also helpful in allowing various displays to be overlaid and positioned. Our goal is to make sure the signal is correct as early as possible in the system. If we can identify and correct picture problems early in the supply chain, there's less need for that downstream.

In evaluating equipment, the Tektronix WFM5000 monitors stood out for a number of reasons. As I mentioned, familiarity is key. We found that, almost across the board, our operators and customers had used Tektronix instruments in the past. As such, the unique Tektronix gamut displays—the arrowhead, diamond and split diamond —are well understood by operators. This reduces the learning curve and improves results. We found that the Tektronix monitor displays are sharper and brighter with wider viewing angles. We also liked the responsive controls and, of course, the compact dimensions and light weight.

So are we happy with the WFM5000? Let's just say that another set will be finding their way onto M8HD, our next HD truck.

Steve Delmarter is a mobile production truck engineer-in-charge for MIRA Mobile Television. He has worked in television engineering in the video/broadcast industry for 32 years and with MIRA for six years. He may be contacted at sdelmarter@miramobile.com.

For additional information, contact Tektronix at 800-833-9200 or visitwww.tektronix.com/video.