New HP’s Z Displays are promising higher quality and better performance for the filmmakers and editors. To learn more about this matter we interviewed Larry Mahoney, the worldwide product manager for HP’s Z Displays, stationed at the HP Workstation headquarters in Fort Collins, CO. Larry is responsible for the feature definition and lifecycle management for all HP Performance Displays – the HP Z Displays and HP DreamColor Display.
Bijan Tehrani: I think the new announcement from HP is a very important announcement for filmmakers. As always, color accuracy is an important part of film editing and when you are getting your work to the final stage and even during the shoot, you want to make sure you have the same kind of color palate all through your film. Please tell us about the new announcements.
Larry Mahoney: This product announcement is very important to film makers, but we think it is broader than that as well. These two new DreamColor Displays are great for video editing and post production, animation, special effects, photography and even product design. Overall, the new products are perfect for any professional who requires accurate color management. What we announced on April 6 was two new DreamColor Displays – the Z27x and the Z24x – and they have increased performance from the previous generation with a dramatically lower price points. Currently being offered in the US, the Z27x is $1,499.00 and the Z24x is $599.00. The HP Z24x DreamColor Display delivers the color accuracy and consistency that has become synonymous with the HP DreamColor brand, at less than 25 percent of the price of the original HP DreamColor Display, so we are really happy with the prices and the performance of the products.
BT: When will these displays be available to the market?
LM: We are taking orders already and shipments will begin in April for both products.
BT: What are the different features that are available on the new models of the HP DreamColor Displays?
LM: With these displays, we really listened to customers to understand what they wanted in the new product. The previous product, the HP DreamColor LP2480zx Professional Display, has become the gold standard in most major animation studios, as well as the major visual effects studios. HP wanted to create something that would continue the DreamColor legacy and up the bar in performance. One of the things we did in both products was increase the internal color precision to 14 bits, which drives a 4.4 trillion internal color palate. That enables the DreamColor Engine to produce accurate 10-bit color at output after doing the color space remapping. Another feature is the HP Ultra Black technology in the Z27x, , which helps maintain CRT-class black levels across wide viewing angles for those in film, animation and special effects. Customers will really appreciate this feature because that is what they had with the CRT back in the 2005/ 2006 time frame. Another key feature on the Z27x is the advanced wide gamut LED Backlight that covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color space while improving luminance and chrominance uniformity. With the Z27x, we have included an internal calibration engine. That means that calibration is as easy as plugging the color device into the display and pressing calibrate with no host software required. We support the HP DreamColor Calibration solution on both displays. But the Z27x also supports third party professional-class color instruments from Photo Research, Klein Instruments and Konica Minolta, so our high-end customers can select which device they want to use. The Z24x has a 24-inch 1920×1200 wide-angle IPS panel which is the same as our previous LP2480zx. The Z27X has 60% more pixels, at 2560×1440 resolution. It also is able to accept 4K input covering the Ultra-High Definition standard as well as cinema 4K 4096×2160. The user can view the 4K content at 1:1 or scaled to fit with high quality scaling. Additionally, the Z27x has Ethernet-based remote management, so if a studio has a number of DreamColor Displays deployed, they can centrally manage those and query remotely, for example, how many hours it’s been since the last calibration. This makes it very easy for technicians to know when it’s time for recalibration.
BT: One thing I really liked about the early version of the DreamColor Display was the different angles that you could look at the monitor and still see the same levels of sharpness and the same image that you see from the front. That is important when you are in the film business and you have a group of people working on the film and they can judge what is going on. How is this feature with the new displays in terms of the angle?
LM: Both DreamColor Displays have really excellent color production regardless of the viewing angle. On the Z27x, we have gone above and beyond to produce that CRT-class black levels at wide viewing angels.
BT: In the previous models you could remove the display from the stand and leave it flat on the desk and change the angles. Is this a possibility in any of the newer models?
LM: Yes it is, and we have made it easier in this new generation. We have equipped what we call HP Quick Release 2, which is even easier to use so you can quickly detach the head from the stand. You can VESA mount the display and we have actually gone beyond that and enabled the user to detach the quick release plate from the stand and mount it to any hardware and have quick release functionality. We find people in the field, on set, and in live action that take advantage of this feature and mount the plate to a portable stand. We also included mount holes for mounting a 3rd party SDI adapter to the back of the Z27x.
BT: There is always the issue of maintenance and great technical support is something that has always been offered for professionals. So when you are working on a project, you can’t afford to sit and wait to see when a problem will be resolved, how will it be with the new HP models, in terms of tech support?
LM: Both of these displays come with three years of HP support that includes next business day advanced exchange replacement if needed during those three years. This is also extendable to five years; HP has legendary customer support and we take customer satisfaction very seriously.
BT: How do you think these products will affect the film market?
LM: Performance has been extended over the previous product with the internal color palette of 4.4 trillion colors driven by 14-bit internal color precision. We have made it easier to calibrate, and have created calibration algorithms with studios and initial results show very accurate calibration that is actually below the level of human color error detection. The Ethernet based remote management on the Z27x makes it the easiest ever DreamColor to manage. , We expect many studios that are capturing live action at 4K and beyond to be interested in the Z27x as it is the most affordable color-critical display with 4K input support. For more information, people can visit hp.com/dreamcolor.