Spring 2016

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44 CINEMONTAGE / Q2 2016 TECH TIPS by Joseph Herman I t seems that no matter how fast workstation computers get, there are always new developments on the horizon that push the limits of what machines can do. That's good, because it forces workstation manufacturers to continuously improve performance to keep up with the times. One new development gaining lots of attention these days is Virtual Reality (VR). While some people may have an idea of what virtual reality is, many of us have yet to realize its implications on the future of visual entertainment. We all know the concept: Put on a VR headset and suddenly you are immersed in a full, 360-degree, virtual world. However, as with any new technology, questions arise. What applications will benefit from VR? What impact will it have on motion pictures and television? What kind of computer hardware do I need for it? Of course, games will greatly benefit from VR, which allows you to fly through entire alien worlds as you chase down bad guys. Game developers and 3D animators, more than others, will need a powerful graphics card, preferably one from NVIDIA. But what effect will VR have on motion pictures? Well, one thing a VR movie can allow you to do is interactively look around the set and pay attention to whatever you want — making it a different experience every time you watch it. In fact, several VR movies have already done this. Of course, in a movie, shots are carefully selected and storyboarded by the director to tell the story. It's part of the craft of making motion pictures, and you can't brush that away. That's not to say that VR wouldn't work well in a nature documentary, however. With VR, you could be surrounded by stunning landscapes with the ability to freely look around, an experience comparable to actually being there. It will be interesting to witness the effect of VR on our industry. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure: VR workflows and editing VR footage will put serious demands on your workstation — whether you're re- creating 3D virtual worlds in real time or editing high- resolution footage shot by a VR camera. Powering the New Era of Storytelling HP Workstations Handle VR and More Select members of the HP Z family. Figure 1, left: The Z 840 is HP's top-of-the-line workstation that can meet the performance levels necessary for today's emerging trends, such as virtual reality and high-resolution editing workflows.

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