The director behind the GlamBOT at the Oscar shares insights into the technical workflow and process.
Yes, there were plenty of highlights at the 2019 Oscars. Alfonso Cuarón received a TELEVISED best cinematography academy award, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper did their thing and Spike Lee finally got to give his comeuppance.
But for anyone who tuned in early enough to watch the red carpet saga unfurl, the real star of the evening was the highly technical (and very impressive) GlamBOT which shot some incredible high-speed camera move slow-motion footage that made some of the biggest stars in Hollywood look like, you know, movie stars.
While the GlamBOT has been making the rounds on award shows for a few seasons now, the behind-the-scenes technical director Cole Walliser has opened up on a Reddit post about the team’s surprisingly interecate and organized workflow to get the stunning footage shot, edited, processed and transferred to air live minutes after captured.
“We shoot using a motion control camera arm called the BOLT that comes from a company called Camera Control based out of Santa Monica. We attach a Phantom 4K Flex camera along with Leica Summilux lenses, and we shoot at 1000fps (938 to be technical.)
I usually have about 1-2 minutes with each talent that walks up, and typically they have NO IDEA what it is, or what is about to happen so it's my job to communicate what they need to do to look good, and how to do it safely. The pressure is on because you only ever have ONE take, and this is a dangerous rig that can knock you out. I get good at explaining things, but sometimes the environment is so frenetic you can't really hear me or focus.
Footage goes through fiber to a truck where our phantom tech sits and records, he offloads it to an ingester, who uploads it to a server, that goes to the editor in the truck who edits it, pushes it out to social for E! to put online and as well delivers a 16x9 version to producers of the E! Red Carpet show, who then radio into Ryan Seacrest or whoever is hosting live that they have a good GlamBOT and Ryan will mention it and the producers for the live show will air it.”
In subsequent follow-ups, Walliser dove further into details about just how difficult it can be to hit the marks and get quality footage. As well as the incredible amount of light needed to get the amount of information needed for a quality render.
“A gangload of light! We shoot pretty open, usually 2.8. Focus controlled by the robot with keyframes, and literally just blast the heck outta talent with light.”
You can check out more behind-the-scenes with Walliser from the 2018 Grammy’s in this cool BTS video below as well.