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HP Launch Event: From Workstations To IndyCar And DreamWorks

HP EliteBook 8740w

Here we have HP's new mobile powerhouse, the 8740w. It's hard to see on camera, but the 8740w and its DreamColor screen have some of the best color reproduction available in the mobile space today. Plus, it's one of the few laptops available with DisplayPort, which leads us to...

8740w Running Three Monitors

...the 8740w driving three external monitors! Eyefinity through a laptop? You betcha! This is actually where the idea for Eyefinity came from. Now, it's possible for an artist or engineer to stay mobile, yet retain the ability to dock and expand out to multiple displays.

HP And Gil de Ferran Motorsports

HP and IndyCar? Not a likely partnership, but compiling data and statistics plays a major role in auto racing. Teams like Luczo Dragon Racing rely on huge amounts of data pulled off the track to make its cars faster and its understanding of its driver that much more comprehensive.

The IndyCar Legend Himself!

Gil de Ferran, former IndyCar driver and Indy 500 winner, is the president of Luczo Dragon racing. During the HP event, Gil talked about the complexities of the rules behind IndyCar, as well as the role HP plays in his team. Preparation is half the battle for IndyCar teams, so compiling as much data as possible on the track during practice and actual races is crucial.

HP On The Track

Davey Hamilton, an IndyCar veteran and driver for Luczo Dragon, shows us a typical track-side setup for any given IndyCar team. Luczo Dragon uses three HP Envy 13 laptops and an additional three LCD monitors. Through an antenna on top, the laptops pull data from sensors located all over the car, which allows the crew to constantly monitor engine data and tire pressure, among other things.

HP And Real-Time Motion Capture

PhaseSpace, a motion capture company based near San Francisco, demoed its real-time motion capture tech for us at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Whatever the two actors, both covered head-to-toe in red LEDs, did was immediately shown on the screen behind them. Instead of the actors moving on the screen, however, it was a magical genie and a small robot. All of the data was taken in by 48 sensor cameras located around the studio, which fed into two Z800 workstations.

Using An HP Tablet As A Camera?

Later in the demo, PhaseSpace showed us how they can use a tablet PC as a video camera. Red LEDs are attached to the tablet, so the sensors can tell where in the studio space the tablet is. Then, all you need to do is point the tablet at a given point within the studio, and it will show the characters and their virtual environment from whatever angle you desire. A little much to take in through a single picture, but hopefully you get the idea.

Day Two: Roaming Around DreamWorks

The next day, HP took us to DreamWorks Studios up in Glendale. Along with Pixar, DreamWorks is one of the leaders in computer-animated feature films, with movies like the Shrek trilogy, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Kung Fu Panda bringing in billions of dollars worldwide.

The Fun Stuff: Making Movies With DreamWorks

Before DreamWorks starts animating and rendering its movies on its HP workstations, all they are is ideas on paper. From an artist's sketch to the real rendered deal, the average DreamWorks movie takes five years to complete.

Concept Art Is Half The Battle

Much of the creative process at DreamWorks is concept art and storyboarding, much of which is done by hand or in programs like Photoshop or Sketchbook Pro.

  • gilbertfh
    Wow I went through 25 slides and found nothing really groundbreaking over any other company out there. Good job HP!!! Hopefully your new products are better quality than they have been in the past.
  • That Z200 is one ugly PC, and unfortunately, i will no doubt have to support many of these craptastic machines three years down the line!!!
  • JohnnyLucky
    "PhaseSpace showed us how they can use a tablet PC as a video camera."

    Does the iPad have this capapbility?
  • powerbaselx
    Honestly, this seems no inovation at all from HP. Changing the CPU's and the graphic cards and showing Dreamworks uses HP PC's with Photoshop to create animation movies characters do not impress me at all. It's pretty banal. Other companies show much more than this. :-(
  • gaevs
    I think i double posted, anyway, nothing great with HP, but i do like some of their products.
  • eaclou
    I'm surprised they didn't show their new business-class IPS-panel LCDs, the ZR22w and ZR24w. I just got the 24" model and it's really nice, so far better than the Dell U2410 (which is wide-gamut, to complicate a direct comparison, but I think it's superior, especially at $425 for an IPS display)
  • huntluck
    Nice advertisement
  • builderbobftw
    Watercooling on HP?

    That;s nice, but you still can't OC.
  • fancarolina
    I like their Z800 board but it's not a 24-core board. It's 12-cores with 24 threads.

    Xeon 6-core x 2 Chips ≠ 24-cores.
  • Nintendork
    No AMD Magny Cours, just a boring event.