In the business of full-on motion picture and television production and post production, it’s a workstation that allows you to get your work done. Why? That’s easy. Unlike laptops or a garden variety desktop, workstations are built to handle the punishment that is meted out twenty-four hours, seven days a week during intense production cycles.
Whether you’re working at a big studio like Dreamworks or ILM, or even in your busy home studio, robust workstations are specifically engineered with potent, leading edge technology such as dual liquid-cooled Xeon processors, hefty power supplies, gobs of RAM, massive RAIDs, potent GPUs and…well, you get the idea.
When it comes to workstations, HP is the market leader (read why in this article). You’ll find them in animation studios, color grading rooms and editing suites around the globe. I’ve been enthusiastic about their workstation products for years, finding them to offer more features for the money than competitors such as Apple and Dell. Others seem to agree (see this article about the HPZ820 RED Edition).
So when I received an invitation, along with several other journalists, to visit HP’s workstation headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado, I jumped at the chance to see for myself just what goes into designing and defining their workstation products.
I packed my video camera, with a plan at first to shoot a little footage here and there to turn out a modest five minute video about the tour upon my return. Shortly after I got started on the HP campus, however, I felt a much longer piece was in order.
“How often do people get a chance to tour the design labs of one of America’s most important computer companies and witness how workstations are made?” I thought. NYC Production & Post News is all about production, I figured, so I might as well make a production out of it.
When I got back to New York, I laid out all the shots on the timeline in Adobe Premiere CS6, the NLE that I use most often these days, and set about editing. When I finished, at 50 minutes the result was more a mini-documentary than the simple tour I first imagined.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” Arthur C. Clarke famously said. While HP won’t say it’s magic, come along on my tour of their Workstations Lab and you might be tempted to call it so. As I followed computers on a test course from a massive anechoic chamber that looks like the set of a science fiction movie to heating and freezing chambers to prototyping shops, I began to better understand why HP machines are among the most advanced workstations on the planet.
The movie begins with an in-depth look of HP’s entire workstation family of products from the innovative all-in-one Z1 workstation to the mother of all workstations, the extremely powerful Z820. Next is a little about HP’s history and philosophy, and finally comes the tour itself. So heat up some popcorn, grab a comfortable chair and watch my documentary “Behind the scenes at HP’s Workstation Labs”.