HP's Best Kept Secret

Rountable Post's CTO and senior colourist Jack Jones meets the HP ZBook Studio G7, and he's impressed.

 

Roundtable Post Production is a boutique full-service picture and audio post company based in Central London specialising in high-end documentaries. Jack states upon arrival at their new, second, London facility that “you’ll find HPs throughout".

Roundtable has carved out an enviable reputation as a go-to post house for independent feature documentaries with credits including: Whitney: Can I Be Me and Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love -  both feature documentaries directed by Nick Broomfield. They are currently finishing an Amazon Originals documentary series.

With ever-increasing demand from their returning customers, Roundtable has taken on a second building around the corner from their original base which they have just fitted out to the highest specification.

Before we sit down to start recording, Jack continues.. "Through Escape Technology, we’ve got to know HP a lot better and with the recent expansion into our second building, we’ve now invested in a lot more HP workstations. HP is a core part of our infrastructure; they’re powering our onlines and you’ll find their monitors all the way throughout the facility as well. To me, HP represents high quality hardware with a nice aesthetic. The build quality of the systems is fantastic. Particularly the Z8s. It’s important to be able to access the components of those machines if you’re replacing or upgrading, which is a core requirement for any facility."

Roundtable have HP Z8s powering their Flames as well as their Baselights. "The HP Z8 performance is just second to none for our Colorfront system - it’s just lightning fast. You can be rendering DCPs at 120 frames per second. We have invested in DreamColor monitors in our finishing suites and Z monitors as GUIs for our offline suites. You get incredible pictures off them. And importantly you can calibrate them to a colour accurate standard which is vital for the work we do."

 

Jack Jones meets the HP ZBook Studio G7 laptop

 

First impressions

I love technology. I grew up working on early Windows PCs and that evolved into a love of anything technological. The first things I consider when I’m looking at a new piece of kit are how it can function well for me, see the limits of it, and what I can potentially get out of it that I wasn’t expecting. And to see if it was going to be the right kind of thing for us

My first impressions of the ZBook Studio G7 was that it was an absolutely stunning device;aesthetically pleasing and surprisingly light for a workstation. I was blown away by how light it actually was compared to things I’ve historically used for this type of work.

Dreaming in colour

As a colourist, when I first opened up the laptop, the obvious first thing to look at was the screen. The colours on the screen are just stunning. It can achieve P3, it can hit 600nits. It’s a beautiful, beautiful display, as you would expect from a DreamColor. It’s on a laptop. It’s perfect.

 Roundtable Post Production Suite 3 webimage

Performance fit for post

The first thing I did when I started playing with the Z Book Studio G7 was look at the processing and performance, to push it to its limits. I expected the system to be pretty powerful - because that’s the brand, that’s what I know Z to mean with HP - and even then it surprised me. The NVMe SSD storage means that you can be playing back DPX and EXR sequences in real time.

With the Nvidia Quadro graphics cards, you can push it anywhere – from running Avid to high-end 3D modelling and even to playback, multi-node rendering and exporting on Resolve. You can run any application you want on it. You can be plugging in external IO boxes and connect to reference monitors through Thunderbolt and outputting to second monitors in 4K through HDMI.

You can use it like a workstation, except it's portable. It’s designed for what I do.

Remote working

This is HP’s best kept secret. Z Central Remote Boost is one of the top remote access solutions there are for the post production industry. You can connect it into your laptop using it and just stream the pixels to any other location. And of course, it comes free with the laptop.

Details matter

It’s about more than just performance. Whilst it can be more powerful and you can render things really quickly, it’s important that you actually enjoy using the machine. And there’s so much to love about it. The sound quality is just fantastic. I mean it’s probably the best sounding laptop I’ve actually used. And I can’t love the keyboard enough. The keyboard is amazing. Just the way it looks is stunning. The way it unlocks when I just look at it is great. I love the power of the Quadro series and the graphics cards which you actually get in what is a very lightweight laptop.

It’s a laptop that can work for everyone. It certainly fits into a lot of environments from on-set to production teams through to post production itself. It ticks every box.”

 

Roundtable and Escape - A true partnership

 

"..... they’re more than just a reseller to us. They’re our technical services partner and an extension of our IT infrastructure and team helping us grow as a business from design through supply and after sales support."

 

With Escape Technology’s support, Roundtable Post Production has just expanded into a second building to create a high-end finishing environment with two Baselight suites (one with Christie projection), two Flame online suites, Dolby Atmos audio and ten offline suites.

“I’ve known Escape Technology for seven or eight years and they’re more than just a reseller to us. They’re our technical services partner and an extension of our IT infrastructure and team helping us grow as a business from design through supply and after sales support. The infrastructure for our new facility has all come through Escape Technology and they’ve been on site – Covid compliant – to help us get through the installation stage as well.

Escape have been great. The staff there are awesome, especially talking to their CTO, Lee Danskin. Their tech team has got involved at every stage, and for quotes and turn-around of equipment, they’ve been lightning fast. We get daily updates for orders and we know when everything is coming. Their advice is invaluable. Some of the solutions they come up with, we wouldn’t have come up with on our own. They’ve really helped drive the direction of our business, particularly during this remote time and they’re already looking at the next steps for our Flame suites “

 

Find out more about the products Jack talked about

HP ZBook Studio G7

HP Remote Boost 

Dreamcolor Z27x

 

About Roundtable Post

Roundtable Post Production offers a full suite of services, both on premises and remotely, including colour grading with Baselight and Nucoda, sound mixing including Atmos, voice-over, offline editing, online with Flame, archive restoration,