HP's Bridging The Borders Award & the world of workstations


In 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival Cinema Without Borders will present HP’s Bridging The Borders Award to a film that helps to bring people of our world closer together.

The prize of the winning film will be a HP Elitebook 8770W mobile workstation. The following is our interview with Ray Gilmartin , the Worldwide Market Segment Manager for HP Workstations (focused on the Media & Entertainment market segment).
Prior to joining HP, Ray spent over a decade in Product Management at Avid Technology. Ray’s prior experience includes Product Management roles in Interactive TV technology as well as hands-on production and post-production experience in numerous national and international TV and film projects. Ray currently resides near Boston Massachusetts with wife and two children.

Bijan Tehrani: What’s new in the realm of HP workstations?
Ray Gilmartin: 2012 was a huge year for us – there where a number of new products that we recently introduced. One of the more outstanding products is our HP Z1 all-in-one workstation. What we introduced this year is the world’s first all-in-one flat panel workstation. We’ve enabled users to have complete access to the inside of the system to be able to upgrade all components. Inside the system is 100% tool-less, so customers will be able to upgrade memory, swap out the hard drives, and swap out the graphics hardware very easily. It really is a revolutionary innovation for the workstation from HP. The all-in-one Z1 workstation was introduced last spring along with our 17 inch EliteBook 8770W mobile workstation and the 15” EliteBook 8570W. These new systems are giving users more of what they need and what they’ve asked us for — faster processors, faster memory and higher-end graphics cards. These new mobiles are really a true workstation, just in a mobile configuration rather than desktop. The example I always like to give is on our 17 inch mobile workstation you can install up to 32 gigs of memory, which parallels what some of our desktop competitors offer only in their higher-end desktop systems. Likewise, with the Z1 you can install up to 32 GB of memory. This year we also introduced upgraded versions of our Z desktop workstations from the Z200, Z400, Z600 and Z800 to the Z220, Z420,  Z620 and the Z820, which is the flagship station of our workstation product line. Our workstations feature the very latest Intel processors, and we pride ourselves at being the first to market with workstations that feature these new Intel Xeon processors.  One additional product is the new Z820 RED Edition. We designed this customized product in conjunction with RED and Adobe.  Together, we’ve introduced a customized workstation that addresses the needs of RED Camera users. We offer the HP Z820 RED Edition through two exclusive partners: Tekserve, based in New York, and Pro Max, based in California. This workstation is a Z820 which has been optimized for RED camera users; we’ve configured it with 64 GB of memory, a liquid cooling option, high-end NVIDIA Quadro graphics hardware, dual 8-core Intel Xeon processors,   and we’ve worked with Tekserve and ProMax to optimize the operating system, making the system easier to operate for customers who may not have familiarity with Windows.  Tekserve and ProMax have developed their own optimized images of the Windows operating system specifically designed for these users. Aesthetically, we’ve replaced the brushed aluminum sides and front bezel with an anodized black exterior that’s consistent with RED’s signature look, as well as replaced the standard blue power button with a RED button. From a functional perspective, the system is the only workstation that has integrated RED MAGs  built right into the front bezel and integrated RED Rocket hardware. We’re very proud of what we’ve put together for RED camera users to make their professional lives easier and more productive.

BT: Is it true that there are more people leaving the competitors and going with HP, especially in the entertainment industry in regards to film editing and other areas of production?
RG: HP’s workstations are currently number two, second only to the Apple Mac Pro, in the Media and Entertainment market, which we refer to as “M&E”..  What we’ve found is that M&E customers are looking at alternatives to that platform due to the  lack of new developments on the Mac Pro. They’re naturally migrating to us because of all of the innovation that we’ve introduced in comparison to our competition over the past five years.  Namely, in 2008, we introduced the world’s first color-critical LCD display, the HP DreamColor display. This is the world’s first 10bit, over-one-billion color display in a flat panel format developed in conjunction with leaders in the Media and Entertainment industry. In 2009, we introduced the first tool-less workstations, the Z800 and the Z600.  The design for these products was largely driven by input from M&E leaders during our annual customer advisory councils. In 2010, we brought the world’s first color-critical mobile workstations to market, integrating the HP DreamColor display into our mobile workstations. And in 2011, we enhanced them to full 10-bit capability at the request of our M&E customers. In 2012, as I mentioned, we brought the world’s first all-in-one flat panel workstation, the Z1 to market. So if you take a look at what we’ve done over the past five years compared to our competition, we have specifically addressed the needs of the media and entertainment industry and customers have come to the conclusion that HP is paying attention to their needs. 

BT: As a member of the media, I was surprised by the major movie projects that use HP workstations for production. I know for legal reasons you cannot name the projects, but can you name the companies that have used HP for their productions?
RG: Absolutely. We have very close relationship with ISV’s, independent software vendors, the leaders in providing applications for media and entertainment. These partners include Autodesk, Avid, Adobe, Assimilate, RED, and many others. We have a long standing relationship with these companies to the point to that, when they sell their products turn-key, meaning when they include a computer with their software, they overwhelmingly choose and recommend HP workstations. As an example, Autodesk Flame products ship on the HP Z820 workstations; AVID Media Composer also ships on the Z820 workstation; although Adobe does not sell turn-key products, we have a very close and increasingly productive relationship with Adobe, and HP and Adobe have many high profile joint customers like the Bandito Brothers who help us jointly drive our product design. , If you look at some of the work the Bandito Brothers have been coming out with over the past five or so years, such as Act of Valor (which was #1 when it was released earlier this year), and Waiting for Lightning (which is an upcoming documentary on skateboarder Danny Way), the HP Z workstations played heavily in their production workflows. We look at Bandito Brothers as a good example of our workstations being used in live production.  Historically, we built our reputation in the Media and Entertainment industry at the top of the performance pyramid with animation and special effects customers, who require the highest performing systems of any M&E customer.  With DreamWorks Animation, going back now 12 years, we’ve had a very close relationship helping them bring an average of 3 films to the theaters annually.  HP Workstations in one way or another have been utilized in pretty much every major visual-effects intensive blockbuster film that you can think of that‘s been released over the last several years.

BT: HP will once again be giving an award at the Palm Springs Film Festival in January 2013. What is the prize that you have this year and why do you think it is the perfect choice for a filmmaker?
RG: We are giving away an HP Elitebook 8770W mobile workstation. This is a true workstation in a mobile form-factor, we really made no compromises.  The system will come installed with the maximum amount of memory: 32 gigs of memory, NVIDIA Quadro 5000M graphics hardware, and the latest quad-core Intel Xeon processor. This system also has the DreamColor display option; So, the 8770W will feature a DreamColor, 10bit display capable of over a billion colors for on-location and on-set color-critical work. This is the system reflects what is used out in the field by video professionals every day, creating some of the highest-end film and television content there is. This prize will be awarded to one lucky person at this year’s festival.

BT: How do you see the future expansion of Hewlett Packard and their approach towards the entertainment industry?
RG: As I mentioned, HP workstations are currently number two in the media and entertainment market, second only to Apple. We are seeing customers who are dissatisfied with the lack of innovation they’ve seen  from Apple for video and film Pros.  These pros are looking at alternatives, and they’re looking at what HP has to offer. They value our commitment to their market, as evidenced by the innovative products that we have introduced specifically for the M&E market over the last several years. They see that HP is committed to this market. Media and Entertainment is HP Workstation’s second largest market, second only to engineering, so it is an incredibly important market to us. A lot of our innovation comes from our long-standing relationships with leading customers who’ve directly helped us design great products, and we look forward to bringing even more exciting innovation to this industry.


About Author

Bijan Tehrani

Bijan Tehrani a film director, film critic and writer, works as editor in chief of Cinema Without Borders while teaching Language of Film and Film History at workshops nationwide. Bijan has won several awards in international film festivals and book fairs for his short films and children's books.

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