The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced that the HP DreamColor Display will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Sat., Feb. 7. Technical staff from HP and DreamWorks will be recognized at the ceremony for the development of the HP DreamColor LP2480zx Professional Display. The DreamColor Display is receiving the Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) for the impact it’s made in film – providing affordable, consistent and stable color throughout the film production process. To learn more about this amazing achievement by HP we interviewed HP’s Greg Staten.
Greg Staten is the DreamColor Architect in Hewlett-Packard Displays Engineering Group and is the product architect and designer for the HP DreamColor color-critical display line. He works directly with major visual effects houses, animation studios, photographers and design studios around the world to ensure that HP DreamColor Displays include features and capabilities designed specifically to enhance their workflows and simplify their deployment and management.
Prior to joining HP, Greg was the Principal Product Designer at Avid, Inc. where he drove the design of the Symphony and Media Composer digital video editing systems. He has consulted with major studios on post-production workflows and has worked as both a colorist and finishing editor. Greg is a graduate of Rice University and he and his family reside in Houston, Texas.
Bijan Tehrani: Is this the first time that HP has been given an award by the Motion Picture Academy?
Greg Staten: That is our understanding, we have been doing research and we cannot locate another instance where HP has been awarded a scientific or technical Academy Award.
BT: I have personally witnessed all of the progress HP has made for business professionals. Please tell us a little bit about the award and the nomination and how this nomination has come about.
GS: Every year, the Academy Scientific and Technical branch, asks various companies if there is any technology out there that is in use and is making any significant contributions, The CTO at DreamWorks approached us and told us that they felt HP DreamColor displays had significantly benefited the industry over a number of years and they felt it was time for us to consider an application. We pulled together all of the required documentation and submissions forms for the Academy and then the Academy did their own investigation into how HP DreamColor displays are used and whether or not it has made an impact in the industry. They found that it did and awarded us a Scientific and Engineering Award.
BT: Independent filmmakers claim that that the HP DreamColor display reduces budgets and saves time for filmmakers because they don’t have to re-shoot scenes. How do you think that HP DreamColor has affected the world of Independent filmmakers?
GS: That is something that is really exciting to us; the display was originally created to solve a problem in the animation and digital effects market —they needed a display that could accurately show their content. It also had to be affordable enough so that they could deploy it to different kinds of artist. The added bonus is that we developed a display that has helped independent filmmakers. We have seen people use HP DreamColor on sets and on location — it is very exciting that we have developed this product that has meant so much to the film industry. We want to bring the technology into the hands of folks who otherwise would not be able to access it. We have reduced the cost of our displays which means that more folks are able to use them in their productions.
BT: Are these display projects ongoing?
GS: Absolutely, our latest generation the Z27x and the Z24x, expands on our commitment to professionals. One of the things that are exciting about in the Z27x is that because of the way we develop it we are able to have customers upgrade their displays to add additional functionality, ensuring that we are meeting all of our their workflow requirements.
BT: How many different systems are compatible with the HP DreamColor display and How many different HP DreamColor displays are there?
GS: We have customers who connect these displays to computers running Windows, Linux, and OS X. And we have customers using these on set or on location who directly connect their HP DreamColor displays directly to the output of their camera, using it as either a dailies monitor or even as a large framing and focusing monitor for the DP.
We have three HP DreamColor displays in release, one of them is the original HP DreamColor display, which was released over seven and half years ago. We keep offering these displays far longer than a typical display because we know that films have a long production cycle and our customers do not want to have to switch out displays during production. We have the Z24x and the Z27x which are 24- and 27-inches respectively. We also have an HP DreamColor option in our mobile workstations, a 15-inch option which has been available for the last 4 years. The Z24x sells for $599 retail and you can find it for less online and the Z27x sells for $1,599. I have seen the first generation available online for under $1,000.
BT: How do you think the award will help gain more recognition for the work that HP is doing in the film industry?
GS: Certainly we hope the recognition will be twofold. Internally we hope it will shine a light on the importance of HP’s role in the film industry and help us better address and apply the needed attention to the customer issues and workflows, ensuring that we keep our focus on doing the right thing for filmmakers and artists. Externally it means a lot because having this type of recognition means that we can increase awareness of HP DreamColor technology and hopefully allow filmmakers to produce better content for less money.