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Sony at NAB 2005: Debriefing with Alec Shapiro, Part 2

XPRI and Vegas roads to converge on HD highway? By Charlie White

(5/17/05) In this second part of an exclusive two-part interview, Senior Vice President of Sony Electronics Broadcast and Production Systems Division Alec Shapiro talks with Digital Media Nets Charlie White about the possibly intertwined future of Sony s editing system XPRI and its software cousin, Vegas. He also talks about how the HD transition has reached a tipping point but notes that Sony is still introducing SD products as well.

DMN: Lets talk about editing. I want to ask you about Sony Vegas. Now I noticed that at this years NAB, Vegas 6, even though it was a brand new version, was downplayed on the show floor. Was there a reason for that?

Shapiro: Not really. In the back area off the floor, we actually had a Vegas classroom that had 30 seats and was doing four or five training classes a day. It was filled to capacity all four days. No, I think that what were trying to do is to work well with NLE companies, and I think we were just trying to show them all off fairly, in a fair and consistent way.

DMN: I see, you are in a delicate situation, because you sell Sony Vegas but at the same time you also work with its direct competitors.

Shapiro: Absolutely.

DMN: Now, lets talk about XPRI. When I reviewed XPRI eight months ago, reps from Sony told me that further interactivity was planned between Vegas and XPRI. I couldnt get a whole lot more out of them about that then, but can you tell me more about that now? Are there more plans for interactivity between Vegas and XPRI?

Shapiro: There are lots of discussions about it, as we start looking at a next-generation XPRI that will work with HDV, and desktop versions of XPRI.

DMN: So are you signaling, perhaps, that there could be some sort of Vegas/XPRI hybrid that we might be seeing in the future?

Shapiro: Absolutely. I cant say that were doing that, but theres no reason why we wouldnt do that.

DMN: Well, because the user interface in Vegas is so popular, and so user-friendly, it seems like it would be a shame not to use it with XPRIs high-powered hardware.

Shapiro: Sure. Its a good idea.

DMN: As far as the hardware underneath XPRI, youve been using the Targa 3200 card with XPRI, and now I guess youre in another delicate situation because Pinnacle was bought by Avid. Are you going to be buying Targa 3200 cards from Avid now?

Shapiro: Thats just the nature of our business. Were in that era of  ?co-opetition, so we work very closely with competitors.  For example, its critical that we have the interfaces for XDCAM with Avid, Grass Valley, and others because they represent the installed base. 

DMN: The Targa 3200 card is getting a little long in the tooth, and it seems like if I were you?if I were Sony?I would be looking around for some better hardware that perhaps was more capable for the next generation of XPRI/Vegas.

Shapiro: I really cant comment, but thats probably a good point.

DMN: Let me ask you a wide-shot question, Alec. You have a new boss, Sir Howard Stringer?Im wondering if youve had a chance to meet with him and if you see some changes about to take place. How is a Sony going to be different under the new boss?

Shapiro: Were excited about it, mainly because at heart, hes a broadcaster.

DMN: That makes a huge difference, doesnt it?

Shapiro: Yes, we think that it bodes very well for us.

DMN: Have you seen, so far, any changes in the broadcast and production systems division as a result of this management change?

Shapiro: No, nothing yet.

DMN: Are you anticipating anything? Have you heard anything?

Shapiro: Nothing yet. Ive read some of the interviews with him. Hes got some pretty interesting ideas.


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Related Keywords:exclusive two-part interview, Senior Vice President of Sony Electronics Broadcast and Production Systems Division, Alec Shapiro, Charlie White, intertwined future, editing system, XPRI, Vegas, HD transition, tipping point, SD products

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