HP Tech: Powering the Business of Sundance


HP Tech: Powering the Business of Sundance

There’s no doubt that technology has become a more critical component as the annual Sundance Film Festival has grown, especially over the last several years.


Consider that, in 2013, the festival attracted nearly 46,000 people and had a statewide economic impact of almost $70 million. The internationally recognized Sundance Institute has experienced similar growth.


It is not only known for the signature festival it hosts each year, but also for its wide range of year-round artistic development programs for screenwriters, producers, film composers and others that have resulted in such groundbreaking works as An Inconvenient Truth and Angels in America.



Using technology to tell better stories

Dave Ginsberg, CTO of the Sundance Institute, says that technology has been the key to not only power the Institute and its many artist program Labs, but to also give filmmakers the tools they need to tell better stories.


HP is proud to be a partner in Sundance’s long-term strategy – which includes using technology helping filmmakers work remotely, among other offerings.


“One area we have been exploring with HP is how we can set up more virtual post experiences for our Lab participants,” says Ginsberg. “How can we have less hardware located at the resort and use cloud-based technologies in our processes?”


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Other options that Sundance is exploring includes more cloud-based virtual production capabilities that will result in more streamlined, easier to manage technology – and fewer headaches.


“HP has some exciting solutions that include cloud managed options that will allow us to have our data backed up in one of their data centers and have our filmmakers working on smaller local systems,” explains Ginsberg. “We feel this will allow us to support the Labs better since there will be less of a need for on-site technicians to troubleshoot when there are issues.”


Serving the business of Sundance

Sundance is about storytelling, but it’s also a thriving business. Server and storage capabilities are not only a must for filmmakers who need to safely store huge amounts of raw footage for editing and post-production work, they’re also critical for business growth and continuity.


From the Festival to year-round data center needs, Ginsberg and team have discovered that the right infrastructure can save money, time and efficiencies. As a result, most of the primary infrastructure of the Sundance Institute relies on HP servers and switches to keep operations running smoothly.


“From the website to the data feeding our Festival Mobile App, we depend on HP systems to power critical aspects of Film Festival, as well as our year-round operation,” explains Ginsberg. “By leveraging the power of these servers, we have been able to reduce the size of our data center needs – from the amount of physical equipment to power requirements.  This saves us considerable costs on a year-round basis.”


From social data to valuable analytics

Social and mobile is another key component of the Festival, and HP technology is helping Sundance learn more here, too – and do more as a result – using the power of HP Autonomy. Imagine the millions of bits and bytes of unstructured data flowing through your business every day – comments on social media channels, photos, video, text, and more – then grouping it together and identifying trends in your business, or industry.


Organized the right way, it’s the kind of valuable information that could beget new products, new lines of business, and new ways of thinking. HP Autonomy processes all forms of digital information on a single platform into information that’s actually usable – and the possibilities are endless.



That’s what we’re doing for Sundance, providing analytics for their Live@Sundance broadcasts of each day’s festival highlights. Ginsberg has found that Autonomy can not only take hashtags, but also cast/crew names and keywords to return back such specific analytics as sentiment, location, trending, and more.


Information that goes beyond

Sundance also has the ability – through Autonomy – to even extrapolate new search terms and keywords based on social media posts – and that has been a boon for Ginsberg and team.


“The software has amazing intelligence that pulls together data on the Festival using Facebook, Twitter and other sources,” he says. “This is like us having a large in-house research department providing data on what is “hot” at the festival.  We feel this will allow our webcasts to have insights into what the audience is buzzing about as they see films at this year’s festival.”


Your Turn: What new tech are you using to power your business? What can’t you live without? What’s on your wish list for the future? Let us know!

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