HP's Z840 desktop workstation, Adobe Creative Cloud, and the Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM camera system won top honors in the fourth annual StudioDaily Prime Awards, announced during a special presentation on the show floor at NAB. Those three were named the most outstanding products, or "Best in Show," by a panel of judges convened by StudioDaily to evaluate the best of production and post-production technology introduced during 2014.

Best in Show
"If you work in digital media and need a high-performance workstation, the HP Z840 is the current top choice," said Prime Awards judge David English of the Z840, lauding its use of new Intel Xeon processors, the latest graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, and fast DDR4 RAM. "It's highly expandable, which could be a good plus if you work in areas where the formats are constantly shifting."

Prime Awards judge Nathan Adams called Adobe Creative Cloud "hands down the most powerful and most necessary creative toolset available to filmmakers and artists." He said Adobe has a proven ability to effectively connect the development of its business to the needs of artists. "As Adobe's suite of applications evolves, the feature set expands in a way that makes me realize that Adobe truly understands their customer." And judge Melodie Smith lauded Adobe's transition to cloud-based delivery and subscription licensing. "The cloud-based payment-and-license system is a huge innovation that allows companies to manage their software licenses and updates easily and intuitively," she said.

And judge Barry Braverman calls the Sony FS7 "a clear breakthrough product in every sense … rugged as hell, streamlined, and extremely well balanced," saying the "remarkable" 28–135mm F4.0 kit lens deserved special plaudits. Judge David Leitner agreed: "Finally, an under-$10,000 large-sensor camera with true handheld shoulder-mount ergonomics!" He said the FS7's design and features add up to "one of the most impressive camera debuts in years."

The Rest of the Winners
Other winning products this year include, in post-production hardware, the AJA Io 4K, the Avid Pro Tools | S6 console, the Dalet Brio broadcast video server, Macom's 12G-SDI chipset, the ProMAX Platform Portable workflow server, and Quantum's StorNext Pro solutions. Winners in post-production software were DaVinci Resolve 11, DFTi Critique cloud-based review and approval, Imagine Products PreRoll Post LTFS Archive System, Imagineer Systems Mocha Pro 4, and Red Giant Universe. 

Winners in the category of production tools were the ARRI Amira camera system, the ARRI SMB-1 studio matte box, the ARRI UWZ 9.1–18/T2.9 ultra-wide zoom lens, the Lowel Prime Location LED light, Tiffen's XLE filter series, and the VariCam 35 4K camera and recorder.

In addition, DI colorist Michal Herman of Poland's DI Factory received a Prime Award honoring his work in 2014, which included color-grading the monochrome film Ida, a Polish-language feature that earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The judging panel was drawn from the ranks of StudioDaily contributors as well as from the industry at large. This year's group included Nathan Adams of Cinematomic, cinematographer Barry Braverman, cinematographer Randall Dark, Studio contributor David English, cinematographer Marc Franklin, Chris Jacobson of SIM Digital, cinematographer David Leitner, and Melodie Smith of The M Factor. And, in a first, a previous recipient of a Studio Prime Award, cinematographer Andrew Shulkind, became a judge this year.

"The judging this time around was made more difficult by the uniformly high quality of the finalists under consideration," said StudioDaily Editorial Director and Associate Publisher Bryant Frazer. "I like to say the judges'  job isn't to sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly, but rather to select the best of the best. Congratulations are due to all of the finalists for pushing the technology envelope, expanding creative potential, and helping hard-working artists and technicians sleep a little better at night and spend a little more time with their families."

A full list of winners follows, with supporting quotes from Prime Awards judges, along with the original slate of finalists in each category.

Best in Show

Post-Production Hardware

HP Z840

Software and Services

Adobe Creative Cloud

Production Tools

Sony PXW-FS7

Post-Production Hardware — Prime Award Winners


AJA Io 4K capture and output hardware

"A tank …. In six months of operation, 24/7, we never had so much as a hiccup from any AJA component in the signal chain, and I can't say that for any other manufacturer."


Avid Pro Tools | S6

"Expectations were high … and Avid delivered with strong visual feedback, fast touchscreen controls, and a new modular layout …. It's powerful stuff."

dalet_brio (Custom)

Dalet Brio broadcast video server

"Excellent user interface …. Dalet really has a handle on the industry's needs and anticipates its growth with excellent adaptability and flexibility."


Macom 12G-SDI chipset

"An important, not to mention pioneering, engineering feat that advances development of high-resolution video workflow."

promax (Custom)

ProMAX Platform Portable workflow server

“Bring your own drives on location and plug in to create shared storage on demand, with light asset management, transcoding and networking capabilities. DIY types will love this.”

quantum (Custom)

Quantum's StorNext Pro solutions

"Quantum's StorNext Pro Foundation hits a price point that makes sense for more users than ever, and that makes StorNext an even better option than it was before."

Post-Production Software — Prime Award Winners

resolve (Custom)

DaVinci Resolve 11

"Resolve was already a powerful, functional, ubiquitous tool. By adding editing features, Blackmagic has created a must-have for any filmmaker or artist using video.​"

critique (Custom)

DFTi Critique cloud-based review and approval

“In a crowded product space, DFT has delivered an incredibly powerful, elegant and useful product. The price they’re quoting is straightforward — and lower than their competition. This product is a home run.”​

preroll-post (Custom)

Imagine Products PreRoll Post LTFS Archive System

"A simple, non-proprietary solution. The beauty of PreRoll Post is its ease of use. With virtually no learning curve, PreRoll Post eliminates the pain and hassle associated with the unglamorous but hugely necessary archiving process.​"

mocha (Custom)

Imagineer Systems Mocha Pro 4

“A real tour de force! Mocha 4 is the most elegant and simple-to-use software ever developed for wire and object removal, motion-tracking, stabilization, and automating roto masks.”​

red-giant-universe (Custom)

Red Giant Universe

“Red Giant is amazing, but Universe takes ‘amazing’ to a whole new level … a wonderful resource that connects a dynamic community for fantastic creative results.”​

People and Companies — Prime Award Winner

Ida - 1 (Custom)

Michał Herman, Senior Colorist, DI Factory

"Michał Herman was the DI colorist for Ida, which earned the unusual honor of being nominated for a Academy Award for Best Cinematography along with its Oscar win this year for Best Foreign Language Film. If you've seen the film, you know what a tremendous visual accomplishment it represents."

Production Tools — Prime Award Winners

amira (Custom)

ARRI AMIRA camera system

“The AMIRA is built solid like Alexa. It’s obvious AMIRA is the product of a company that knows a thing or two about motion picture camera design.”

smb-1 (Custom)

ARRI Studio Matte Box SMB-1

“ARRI’s new SMB-1 is clearly now the matte box by which others will be measured. Who says there’s nothing new under the sun?”

UWZ (Custom)

ARRI Ultra Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5–18/T2.9

“Another ARRI product in a class by itself …. Its field-of-view is so wide, it can almost see behind itself. Its performance has to be seen to be believed. With close focus under two feet, it opens new possibilities for filming in tight quarters.”  

lowel-prime-location (Custom)

Lowel Prime Location LED light

"Until now, LED arrays, even much pricier ones, had been constructed of cheap plastic or flimsy aluminum. That has changed now, with the introduction of the weighty and robust Lowel Prime Location bi-color LED."

tiffen (Custom)

Tiffen XLE Filter Series

"The LE in Tiffen's new XLE glass filter series stands for Long Exposure, and Tiffen has devised these three special-purpose, 10-stop Neutral Density filters to enable digital still cameras to capture long exposure times without color degradation due to infrared (IR) pollution. They demonstrate why Tiffen continues to define the cutting edge in glass filters.”


VariCam 35 4K camera/recorder

"Its images are stunning, especially when using Panasonic's V-Log. Despite a premium price tag, VariCam 35 is potentially disruptive. Panasonic is back, and they're not taking prisoners."


Post-Production Hardware

AJA Io 4K capture and output hardware 
Avid Pro Tools | S6          
Dalet Brio broadcast video server             
HP DreamColor Z27x Professional Display             
HP Z840 Desktop Workstation    
HP ZBook 17 G2 mobile workstation        
LaCie 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2 
MACOM 12G-SDI Chipset             
Motion FX Systems Thunderpack DIT workstation            
NetApp EF550 Flash Array enterprise-class storage          
ProMAX Platform Portable workflow server          
Quantum’s StorNext Pro solutions    
Sony PVM A series picture monitors       

Post-Production Software and Services

Adobe Creative Cloud   
Aframe platform    
Aspera Drive
Aspera FASPStream API                
Avid Media Composer | Software
Boris Continuum Complete 9
DaVinci Resolve 11 
DFTi Critique cloud-based review and approval    
Fusion 7 Studio            
Imagine Products PreRoll Post LTFS archive system           
Imagineer Systems Mocha Pro 4       
NewBlue Titler Pro 3 titling software  
NewBlue Titler Pro Live for Wirecast    
Red Giant PluralEyes 3.5               
Red Giant Universe
Tiffen Dfx 4 Digital Filter Suite            
Vicon Pegasus Powered by IKinema        


Flashpoint ZeroGrav Gyro Camera Stabilizer               
AJA CION camera system             
ARRI AMIRA camera system       
ARRI Studio Matte Box SMB-1    
ARRI Ultra Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5–18/T2.9               
Blackmagic URSA
DeSisti Lighting LED Fresnel and LED Softlight      
K-Tek ProShot Multifunctional Camera Rig           
Lowel Prime Location LED light   
Lowel PRO Power LED light          
Sony PXW-FS7 Super 35mm 4K Camcorder           
Tiffen XLE Filter Series   
VariCam 35 4K camera/recorder

People and Companies

For Excellence in Color Grading — Michal Herman, Senior Colorist, DI FACTORY, Poland   

For Advocacy and Outreach — Alpha Dogs Editors’ Lounge Channel: “Why Do We Need Color Correction?”