"HP has been working alongside independent filmmakers for a very long time" Rick Champagne, a conversation about HP & HP Bridging The Borders Award


Every January Cinema Without Borders offers its HP Bridging The Borders Award at International Palm Springs Film Festival. HP Bridging The Borders Award goes to a film that helps bringing people of our world closer together.

HP Bridging The Borders Award is sponsored and its award provided by HP Workstation department.  Filmmakers such as Andrzej Wajda, Ari Folman, Terry George and Kieron J. Walsh have won this award in previous years.

We are planning to run five articles about HP Bridging The Borders Award and HP’s presence in film industry. For our first article we interviewed Rick Champagne is Worldwide Media & Entertainment Segment Manager for HP Z Workstations division.

Working closely with customers and industry partners, Rick helps guide HP’s marketing and strategy within the M&E industries. With a long history of managing products such as Painter, Autodesk Mudbox, Softimage, and the 3ds Max and Maya Entertainment Creation Suites, Rick has been in the service of Artists and other Creative Professionals for nearly two decades.
Rick spends much of his personal time in his technological and creative pursuits. Rick studied Graphics in college and holds a Master’s in Business Administration.

Cinema Without Borders: HP Bridging the Borders Award has been awarded to well-known international Filmmakers such as Andrzej Wajda, Ari Folman, Terry George and Kieron J. Walsh and several young filmmakers. Please tell us about HP’s support of filmmaking community through this award and the other ways that HP comes to help the filmmakers.
Rick Champagne: HP has been working alongside independent filmmakers for a very long time and it’s something that we’re very passionate about. We know that story is first and foremost in filmmakers’ minds, and our goal is to help them convey their stories by removing any technological barriers that could otherwise get in their way. HP Z Workstations are designed and built specifically to help filmmakers and other creative professionals deal with massive amounts of data, whether it’s video, 3D models and scenes, or rich simulations and VFX. When you are dealing with this much data and tight timelines, we know that reliability is paramount. HP Z Workstations bring together the best technologies, including Intel® Xeon® processors, NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics, Thunderbolt™ 2, ECC memory, and the new HP Z Turbo Drive, and then we certify it all with partners like Adobe, Autodesk, Avid and The Foundry. We also provide lots of room to upgrade, so your HP Z can grow with you. For example, our new HP Z840 can have up to 2TB of RAM, two Intel® Xeon® processors for up to 36 cores, and up to 10 internal drive bays for loads of fast, on-board storage. It truly is an amazing workstation!
In addition to the hard work we do in our labs, we also love to support our customers by working with organizations like Cinema Without Borders and through avenues like the Palm Springs Film Festival. We’re very proud to be a part of the Bridging the Borders Award and look forward to the next festival!

CWB: HP Z Workstations have a strong presence at the film industry. How this was achieved and what does the company do to keep the high level of products and the services it offers?
RC: HP has been in the film industry since 1939, when we sold our very first product, an audio oscillator, to Walt Disney Studios. We’ve been in the film industry ever since working closely with our customers to continue pushing the boundaries and delivering best in class products that are focused on our customers’ needs. It really has been years and years of hard work and paying close attention to our customers that HP Z Workstations have earned the trust and respect they enjoy in the industry today. We continue to drive innovation, while focusing on performance and reliability – all of which our customers place a great deal of value on.

CWB: Many independent filmmakers were using Mac Pro systems and Final Cut Pro for editing and post work on their films, do you see a considerable migration to HP among these filmmakers and if this is true, what are the reasons for it?
RC: Apple has a strong cult following built on their legacy of catering to creative professionals. Apple has changed a lot as a company over the past few years, and many of their customers have taken notice of the technological leaps and bounds HP Z Workstations have been making. We live and breathe to serve Creative Professionals every day, and it’s something that we do with passion. We also know that software from companies like Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, and The Foundry is also moving at an increasingly fast pace. Applications like Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, Autodesk Flame and Maya, Avid Media Composer and Pro Tools, and The Foundry’s NUKE 9 have all advanced to make better use of system resources. That’s one of the reasons why we choose to make HP Z Workstations so flexible with a tool-less design. Our customers can protect their investments by upgrading their hardware when the project demands it, or when their primary software comes out with an update that helps them get their job done faster. Customers adding HP Z Workstations to the workflow have noted the inflexibility of the new Mac Pro. For example, it only comes in a single processor configuration which limits many of the applications our customers use. It also has a low cap on system memory and onboard storage. It also only comes with highly customized graphics cards which cannot be upgraded to the best that AMD and NVIDIA have to offer. This has not gone without notice, and these are the reasons why more and more Mac Pro customers have been considering HP for the first time, and why we are welcoming new customers every day.
CWB: Portable workstations play an important part in filmmaking today, specialty when it comes to work from location. Do the HP ZBooks (that are actually the prize given to the winning filmmakers) offer what is needed by filmmakers?
RC: The HP ZBook is a true workstation that gives filmmakers the power they need to capture an idea or make an edit anywhere, anytime, all in a mobile form factor. We see a lot of customers using HP ZBooks on set and on location as a production workhorse. It contains the same Z DNA that is found in our desktop Z Workstations, including Thunderbolt™ 2 and either AMD FirePro or NVIDIA Quadro graphics. The ZBook 17 also have an HP DreamColor display option. HP DreamColor displays are perfect for someone who needs a color critical viewing, editing, and color grading environment. We’re proud to be presenting an HP ZBook to the winner of the HP Bridging the Borders Award.

CWB: One of the issues for independent filmmakers today is the limited budget they have. Do you consider HP Workstations affordable?
RC: From a price/performance perspective, HP Z Workstations are very well-priced. With all of the flexibility that we discussed with the HP Z Workstations, independent filmmakers can get the basics to start and then have their Z grow with them as their project evolves. HP Z Workstations also offer a number of different types of processors, memory, graphics cards, and other options that enable filmmakers to choose from a variety of different price points to balance performance and price and really find something that makes the most sense for them. HP also has some pre-configured “Smart Buy” options that offer additional savings.


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CWB News Department

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