Every June Cinema Without Borders offers its HP Bridging The Borders Award at Palm Springs ShortFest International Short Film Festival and market. 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. Several young filmmakers from around the world has 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.
Bijan Tehrani: Please tell us about 2015 HP systems and products that are targeted towards film industry and filmmakers.
Rick Champagne: Last fall we launched our new line of high performance HP Z Workstations powered by Intel® Xeon® processors. These new Workstations are designed to take on the challenges that the film industry is being confronted with; ultra-high resolutions, high frame rates, loads of footage, and inevitably, greater bit-depth. 4K is no longer coming, it’s here – in a very big way. Not only are people shooting in 4K regularly now, but we have customers shooting at 6K resolutions to reframe and stabilize to get the shot exactly the way they want for their 4K presentation. Separately, we have customers shooting 12 to 14 cameras simultaneously to create fully immersive 360 degree video for VR applications. To deal with all of that complexity, we introduced the HP Z840 Workstation powered by dual Intel® Xeon® processors. This extreme performer can house up to 2TB of RAM, up to 36 Intel Xeon processor cores, top-of-the-line dual NVIDIA Quadro or AMD FirePro graphics cards, and up to 10 internal drive bays for loads of fast, on-board storage.
Since the fall, we also introduced the second generation of the HP Z Turbo Drive – an unbelievably fast bootable PCIe SSD drive. Simply put, HP Z Turbo Drive provides 4 times the performance of standard SATA SSD drives by eliminating bottlenecks and employing newer technology. If you’re dealing with a lot of video content, the HP Z Turbo Drive is the fastest bootable drive available for HP Z Workstations.
Most recently, HP announced many new displays including a 27” 4K display (Z27s), a 27” 5K display (Z27q), and a 32” color-critical DreamColor 4K UHD display (Z32x). With the release of these new displays and the HP Z Turbo Drive, HP has a complete 4K production workflow solution. Earlier this year, HP DreamColor technology was also deeply honored to receive an Academy Award in Scientific and Engineering.
BT: Still a question we are asked by independent filmmaker deals with affordability of HP High-end workstations, what is your response to that?
RC: The Z840 has proven itself in film production time and time again for its extreme reliability and performance. Our customers know that the cost is far outweighed by the benefits to their productions. For anyone who doesn’t need as much expansion capability, we have the HP Z640 which is also an extreme performer, with a slightly lower price point. For anyone who is more price-sensitive, we have the single-processor HP Z440, which still allows up to 8 Intel Xeon processor cores, 128 GB of RAM, and up to an NVIDIA Quadro K6000 or AMD FirePro W7100 – still a very capable performer. For anyone on a budget, HP Z Workstations also offer the Z230 Workstation, the HP Z1 all-in-one, and HP ZBook Mobile Workstations. Within all of these, anyone can customize their Z Workstation to balance, CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage to find the right option for them.
BT: The migration of film editors leaving Apple Macintosh and Final Cut Pro for other systems and programs is now a known fact, is this something continuing in 2015 and do you see more filmmakers and editors are making HP Workstations as system of their choice?
RC: It’s hard to argue that the release of Final Cut Pro X caused a lot of uncertainty amongst its user base. Since that time, we’ve all seen other NLE vendors working hard to win over these customers, with some vendors having publicly stated tremendous growth year over year. HP has also been working hard to deliver award-winning technology that was heavily influenced by our Media & Entertainment Customer Advisory Councils, and it has been paying off. We’ve continued to deliver innovative new products that deliver the reliability and performance filmmakers and video professionals demand. We also recently launched some new training to help people making the transition from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro maximize their performance – with everything from shortcut keys to optimizing the hardware. http://on.hp.com/fcp2pp
BT: How reliable are HP ZBooks for filmmakers that work on remote locations that have no access to a tech person.
RC: Like all HP Z Workstations, HP ZBooks are designed for reliability and performance, and we have extensive testing in our labs to ensure just that. We also have certification programs with partners such as Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, and The Foundry. Our ZBooks have been road tested time and time again – from onset video monitoring, to road editing, and we’ve even seen them as mobile motion capture workstations for people doing mocap in the field. “Z DNA” is at the core of every ZBook.
BT: When it comes to Mobile Workstation everyone wants the lightest, slimmest and most powerful. Do ZBooks fit in this category?
RC: One of the newest ZBooks is the ZBook 15u – our thinnest and lightest 15” ZBook. We also have a smaller 14” in an UltraBook form factor that is very light and portable. The heftier 15 and 17” ZBooks do come in higher performance configurations, so there is a bit of a tradeoff.
BT: 2015 marks the 9th anniversary for Bridging the Borders Award and the fourth for HP Bridging The Borders Award, how significant is this award and its prize?
RC: The HP Z Workstations team is passionate about what we do and we love to support our customers in a variety of ways. Working with organizations like Cinema Without Borders through avenues like the Palm Springs Film Festival is just one example of how we love to get engaged with our customers at all levels. We’re very proud to be a part of the Bridging the Borders Award and always look forward to seeing the amazing work showcased at the festival.