Get Adobe Flash player
Handheld T&M The broadcast emergency service Then there’s the Harris HD-STAR, a portable, battery powered, multi-format HD and SD monitor generator that features a video test signal generator, color monitor, waveform monitor, vectorscope, serial data analyzer and an audio analyzer/monitor. Or Hamlet’s MicroFlex, another multi-format multi-standard handheld waveform, vector, audio and picture monitor. This one has a built-in 3.5” VGA TFT display that shows the image in 4:3 or 16:9 formats along with conventional waveform, vector and audio displays and error data analysis. Six plug-in FlexiScope option modules can be added to allow operation in a variety of current formats. For those of you that like acronyms, the MicroFlex is capable of monitoring 3G, HD SDI, SD SDI and composite video signals and audio in its embedded or AES/EBU formats and generating HD SDI and SD SDI video and audio signals (depending on the installed modules). Audio is an important area for T&M, not least with the ongoing loudness debate and the complexity of testing and monitoring up to 16 channels at anytime. Then there’s the requirement to check Dolby E in transmission and lip sync. Dolby makes a handheld diagnostic tool that can monitor and generate Dolby E as well as Dolby Digital and PCM bitstreams. The DM100 Bitstream Analyzer has a built- in test-signal generator and can be used to check anything from satellite playout to a home theatre system. Waveform monitors and vectorscopes are still hugely important. For example, a waveform monitor (occasionally referred to as a ‘light meter for video’) will display the brightness of a picture and in a multi-camera situation can help to calibrate the camera, ensuring that all the feeds are the same. They can also be used to monitor video signals, diagnose a signal problem, assist with exposure decisions or aid colour correction. One poplar option for camera hire companies is the LV5380 from Leader. This waveform vectorscope is a multi-SDI monitor with a TFT LCD screen. Along with an embedded audio signal display featuring Lissajous and level- meter configurations it also offers simultaneous display of two SDI signals, screen capture to USB memory and on-picture gamut error monitoring. Not handheld in the same way as other T&M tools, it is still thin enough, light enough and portable enough to be used for just about any video production or monitoring requirement. There are others. The Datavideo VS-100 is a miniature signal monitoring system that has HD/ SD SDI inputs. Ideal for matching the outputs of cameras on a live production it can be used in various modes including waveform monitor, vectorscope, parade and histogram. It also has HDMI outputs for use with cheaper HD monitors. Finally, there’s Tektronix’s WFM2200. Launched at NAB 2012 and ideal for both field and studio operation the WFM2200’s display can be partitioned into four quadrants, each displaying a different parameter, such as waveform, vectorscope, audio levels and closed- caption decode. This particular portable device also has a built-in video/audio signal generator. With all that in mind, hopefully you can see just how crucial T&M is and how mobile devices have now come to the fore. We all know that T&M isn’t sexy. But to say it’s essential would be an understatement. Perhaps if we called T&M “disaster avoidance”, “technology rescue” or “the broadcast emergency service” it might not have such a bad rep. 38 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BAY067JUL12.indd 38 05/07/2012 22:24