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Part 2: Broadcast Innovator Jerry Gepner

Industry guru talks about his new job at Vitec Group, industry trends By Charlie White

(8/19/05) Jerry Gepner created some of the most sophisticated broadcast trucks in the industry during his tenure as president of National Mobile Television (NMT). The recipient of five Emmy Awards and holder of eight patents in the fields of television production and virtual imaging, he is best known as an innovator and expert in live television production and related fields. Gepner has now joined the Vitec Group as its Chief Technology Officer, and DMN’s Charlie White talked with him about where he’s been and where he’s going in part 2 of this two-part interview.

DMN: One thing I’m sure you’ll be good at, Jerry, is the ability to predict trends and see where the industry’s going. As you were talking about before, you’re hearing a lot about HDV. What do you think about that? Do you think broadcasters are going to embrace HDV?

Gepner: That’s a really good question.

DMN: Everybody seems to be asking that question these days.

Gepner: Yes, that’s the $64 million question. I think there will be a move initially at certain levels of broadcasting to HDV. Networks like Discovery and Discovery Health and some of the other near-reality programmers, those who are producing actualities, are proving the value of the smaller format technologies.

DMN: Sure, smaller equipment, less risk.

Gepner: Yes, when they give the doctors the cameras, when they give the cops the cameras and have them shoot stuff; they get really valuable content and look just fine.

DMN: They’re hardly going to send an HDCam SR into those kinds of conditions.

Gepner: No, they’re going to be spending a lot less than the networks would spend on an HD ENG camera. That said, it’s a different level of production. I don’t think we’re going to see this massive sea change where we go from very high-end camcorders or cam/disk-corders with all the professional features and things like that, where everybody’s going to just throw them away and say, “You know, we’re going to go to the $6000 or $7000 camera platform.” Ain’t gonna happen. 


DMN: Well, what about newscasts, though? Everybody seems really hot on HDV for newscasts.

Gepner: That’s why I said different sectors of the market place are going to react differently to it.

DMN: Yes, you know network is not going to be going with HDV for 60 Minutes or something, but perhaps…

Gepner: Well, you know for B-roll they might. But, you’re right.

DMN: For series production, they’re going to stick with HDCam SR or higher.

Gepner: Exactly, or the Panasonic VariCam, or whatever their flavor happens to be. But yes, at the affiliate level and the local news level, absolutely.

DMN: It’s going to be hot. It already is, don’t you think?

Gepner: I don’t know Sony’s sales figures;  I understand Sony’s doing well with their product. I understand JVC is just introducing their product. Panasonic is predicting great growth for their product and related lines. So everybody’s pretty excited about it, and these guys usually don’t get that spun up unless there’s something in there that tells them they’re going to have customers. 

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Related Keywords:Jerry Gepner, broadcast trucks, National Mobile Television, NMT, Emmy Awards, patents, television production, virtual imaging, innovator, live television production, Vitec Group, Chief Technology Officer, Charlie White, interview

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  • Part 2: Broadcast Innovator Jerry Gepner by DMN Editorial at Aug. 19, 2005 7:25 am gmt (Rec'd 3)

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