NAB Perspectives: Abekas’s Johnson Analyzes Mira’s New Ergonomic Control Surface

The Mira instant-replay server has been on the market and in OB trucks across the country for more than three years, but, at the NAB Show this week, Abekas has introduced a control surface for the device that promises to make life better for the person it affects most: the operator.

Chief Product Manager Douglas Johnson shows off Mira’s control surface, designed to increase comfort and simplicity for instant-replay operators.

With a specialized control panel and complementary graphical user interface (GUI), the Mira control surface simplifies operations and improves convenience and comfort for live–instant-replay operators.

“We’ve radically redesigned the control interface,” says Chief Product Manager Douglas Johnson. “We designed it so that we can reduce the possibility of double button presses, we made it more ergonomically friendly to the operator’s environment, and we put it all on one screen.”

The new control panel, which ships at the end of April, features a jog/shuttle dial on the right and a replay speed T-bar on the left. Wider and slimmer than most other panels on the market, it is designed to be comfortable and ergonomic. The layout accommodates a computer keyboard directly in front of the control surface. In this configuration, interaction with the GUI doesn’t require a second display or force the operator to move away from the action on-screen. Buttons are grouped with generous spacing to reduce the chances of multiple buttons’ being selected at the same time—a problem commonly encountered with other control panels.

With EVS pushing replay for the second screen, Dalet revamping its Sports Factory system, and Evertz throwing its hat into the ring with the introduction of Dreamcatcher, the replay market has seen notable buzz at the NAB Show this week. Mira’s new operator-friendly design is what Johnson feels separates Mira from the competition.

“All of the other manufacturers out there have a boxy, square control surface, and, in the trucks where they are mostly used, it occupies all of your desk space,” says Johnson, who joined Abekas in 2006 and has worked in professional broadcast video for more than three decades. “We designed it so that it’s a shallow design but wide, so it opens up the operator’s shoulders so they are more comfortably operating it.”

At its booth in the Lower South Hall, Abekas is also showing its profanity-elimination tool, Air Cleaner, and single-channel cut-and-play system, ClipStore.