Burbank, CA, January 23, 2014—Cinema Without Borders, an independent publication dedicated to Independent and International Cinema, has declared HP Workstations the most powerful systems for filmmakers as the winner of Seal of Excellence in the Professional Filmmaking field.
The 2014 iteration of the prestigious Seal of Excellence Award—received in the past by the Palm Springs International Short-Fest Film Festival, Vudu HD On-Demand, and Mitsubishi—is bestowed upon HP Workstations for excellence in the field of filmmaking and film editing. Cinema Without Borders’ team of editors, reviewers and experts has examined the film editing solutions in the market and determined that HP’s commitment to making the most flexible, upgradeable and reliable systems today makes HP Workstations the right candidate for receiving Cinema Without Borders’ Seal of Excellence. To learn more about HP Workstations, we had an interview with Jeff Wood, Vice President, Worldwide Product Management, Commercial Solutions Business Unit, HP
Bijan Tehrani: Congratulations for receiving the Seal of Excellence from Cinema Without Borders for excellence in developing the most powerful professional workstations in the market. Now that we see so many amazing products from HP for the filmmaking community, it has to be noted that there is not much competition anymore. What do you see in the future of the market?
Jeff Wood: Well thank you for the compliment! We feel that we are the best for the media and entertainment market for sure, and it is great to hear that people like you validate that. For HP, it is really more about solving customer problems. It is not just about how do we do a better job compared to our competition in this space, but more about solving the really tough problems our customers are facing. We talk to customers all the time who are faced with needing better and faster workstations and, in many cases, they want those systems at a lower price. So for us it is a challenge of how do we continue to innovate, not only with some of the industry trends like Thunderbolt which is featured across our Z Workstation line now, but also in areas our customers don’t know they need yet. Our full line of Z products demonstrates how we continually push the limits of innovation to bring our customers more power and performance. The invention of the world’s first all-in-one-workstation, the HP Z1, is a great example of a product we brought to market based on what we expected customers to need in the future—we noticed that office spaces are become smaller while power needs are increasing, creating the need for an all-in-one workstation.
BT: The design in the new ZBook series makes the system accessible to the user. With past Ultrabooks, it was nearly impossible to access the innards of the notebook to perform upgrades and repairs. How did you guys come up with the ideas behind that accessibility, and how have users responded to it?
JW: That’s a great question. Since HP reinvented the workstation business in 2009 with our new Z series of workstations, we’ve had not only reliability and quality in mind along with the innovation and performance that you find in our Z Workstations, but we also strive to make it far easier for customers to get inside the system and make any modifications they need. I think you have seen that in our workstation designs, which we now have extended to our mobile workstation line with the introduction of the ZBooks. The ease of use, serviceability, reliability and performance or our workstations is what we call ZDNA, and can it be found in any of our Z series of workstations and professional displays.
BT: Systems with ZDNA are virtually endlessly upgradeable. Depending on the project that you are working on, you could go ahead and add batteries, hard drives, and more memory. You’ve definitely opened up some great configuration possiblities!.
JW: Absolutely. If you take the ZBook 17, for example, we can put three internal HD’s in that system, whether they are SSD’s or spindle drives. Additionally, the ZBooks now support Thunderbolt, even from an external drive perspective and from a 3D perspective. The Thunderbolt IO cards are going to be critical for many of those customers in the media and entertainment market and, quite frankly, that is where we see a lot of peripheral design and capability. We are unique in the industry in that we offer Thunderbolt on all of our workstation products.
BT: People are always talking, even with the high-end systems, about the death of the desktop. I heard at an HP conference that there is actually growth in the desktop market.
JW: Well, what is interesting is that we are just finishing our fiscal year for Hewlett Packard and, as we look through calendar quarters and the workstation market, there has been a rise in workstation sales and overall volume in the market—the sales continue to grow. We continue to find customers who just have an insatiable demand for performance and the ability to do more and create more. Essentially they create at the speed of thought, and that is going to require more horsepower and sensibility in the systems. Now that we have integrated Intel’s new Ivy Bridge architecture, users have up to 24 cores of processing power in our high-end Z820 and, as you know, it supports half a terabyte of internal memory and 15 terabytes of internal storage. Not that everyone is going to buy that configuration, but they can if they need to. As we see some of our competitors who have been strong in this industry move away from the towers into more of a condensed version of their product without any expandability inside, it is going to be limiting for those creative types that might need more horsepower than that product can provide. We believe HP will continue to see growth and probably even market expansion from that perspective.
BT: How did you go about working with partners in terms of using different kinds of software on the HP system?
JW: It is very important to us in that we continue to work with what we call the triple A products: Adobe, Autodesk and Avid. We work very closely with all those folks to make sure that our workstations provide a high quality solution and the best performance in the industry with respect to those applications. As I think you know, my team of technical marketing engineers works very closely with those application vendors in managing the certification process, as well as the optimization process. For many years now, HP has delivered our Performance Advisor, which helps optimize the software solutions for our particular workstation product. At the end of the day, Performance Advisor gives you the ability to know you are going to get the best tuned performance for that particular application.
BT: Now that the professional community of filmmakers knows that their future is mainly with HP Workstations, are there plans for further developments and advancements to make new solutions for filmmakers?
JW: Absolutely. That is going to continue to be the challenge for us as a technology provider. You can envision that 4K displays are coming down the pipe. The graphics cards that you are going to need to drive that top-class revolution are going to have 4K, 8K and beyond and the cameras are going to ingest tons of data that will need to be edited and manipulated. All these things will have immense amounts of data and will require systems that will be able to perform and be able to run in real time with multiple timelines, video streams and audio streams. That is going to require a great computer with high-end performance. So we are going to see that since the data continues to get larger and larger and the resolution gets more deep and larger, we will make improvements on HP side that will be able to get the job done.
BT: CWB is eager to see what the future holds for HP’s workstations and their applications in filmmaking! Thank you for your time.