Cinegy at HPA Tech Retreat 2024 – Laura’s Blog

HPA 2024 – Laura Thommen in Rancho Mirage, CA

Laura Thommen, Cinegy M&E Advisor, recently (18-22 Feb 2024) attended the HPA Tech Retreat in Rancho Mirage, CA, and met with partners, customers and industry contacts. Here she shares a little about the event with us in her own words… 

Sunday Funday 

The HPA tried something different this time around, and it was very well received. They took over the entire hotel this year, and it was needed to accommodate the sold-out conference audience. Having the resort all to ourselves really did make it seem like our own private Technology Summer Camp for Grown-ups. (And yes, we did have some sunny summer weather in the desert, even though it was February!) Sunday was dedicated to golf, yoga, pickleball and welcome events, which I enjoyed with other early arrivers from Germany (Yamdu) and the UK (Foundry). I also snuck into the Innovation Zone to get a sneak peek during setup. 


HPA 2024 – Welcome!


Monday – TR-X: 

The TR-X theme this year was “Exploring Extreme Workflows,” and it was a great day of sessions. Speakers from IMAX, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount, and a host of other studios and interesting companies delivered a full day of fascinating panels. The energy of the Tech Retreat is great, and I needed it as my day started with early morning meetings! The event naturally cultivates interaction with so many people and companies. It’s amazing how many clients, colleagues and brand-new friends you can speak to in one day. And engaging with channel partners is always key, especially leading up to NAB, so the Tech Retreat is perfectly timed for key integration meetings. 


HPA 2024 – Networking and Food


Tuesday – Super Session: 

“Deconstructing The Creative Process of Filmmaking” was the topic for this year’s Super Session, and the panels were just as interesting as you’d expect. They looked at two different approaches, focusing on advanced filmmaking techniques for animation in the morning and AI for animation and filmmaking in the afternoon. The Breakfast Roundtables that kick off the start of every day in the desert are always a highlight. And on Tuesday I joined the Cooking Up Hybrid Workflows roundtable with the CTOs of Ross Video and Dell Technologies, as well as the President of SMPTE. We had many interesting conversations going on about the massive changes our industry is experiencing. This was followed by a fascinating conversation with RFX’s Ray Feeney. Wow! He’s a trailblazer in our industry, a six-time Academy Award winner/honoree, and a founding member of the Visual Effect Society (VES).  


HPA 2024 – Women in Post – Network Lunch


Wednesday – It’s All About AI: 

Wednesday morning’s sessions covered a variety of topics, but the afternoon was dedicated to all things AI. There was no denying that AI was the hot topic of the year, and sessions included AI for Media, AI and Content Creation, and How AI is Changing Creativity. AI was certainly the “it” word in the Innovation Zone as well. Over the course of the week, I got to spend time with AWS, Twelve Labs, Hammerspace, TrackIt, and Megapixel, which has a very exciting screen technology — build the screen you need, to the dimensions you need, by adding more squares! And along the way, I had the pleasure of catching up with colleagues from CineSys, PBS, Dell, Avid, Blackmagic, Adobe, Google and many others. It was a thrill to see the diversity of technologies the Innovation Zone had to offer, especially the AI advances — including grassroots solutions.  


HPA 2024 – Session “Unbreaking” An Industry

Thursday – Wrap-Up Day: 

The last day was filled with more thought-provoking content. Among other presentations, MovieLabs’ Mark Turner shared their 2030 Vision updates (including a robust showing of hands from those who have already adopted the principles), and Avid CEO Jeff Rosica looked at “Unbreaking” an Industry: Fixing an Industry-Wide Mess. Spoiler Alert: He thinks it is possible! 

The HPA Tech Retreat has really become a go-to event for creatives globally. It is such a great place to learn, to share, to explore up-and-coming technologies, and to also understand the partnerships with manufacturers and system integrators required to go to market in today’s industry. I’m already looking forward to what the 2025 HPA Tech Retreat will have to offer… 


HPA 2024 – At Night