This year has been difficult on our industry, and as COVID continued to take jobs, we wanted to build something that created jobs for our friends and family — an innovative technology that would help life go on while staying safe. We wanted to create something that meant no one has to choose between their health or future. SOLO Cinebot may be a zero setup camera for the talent, but there is still an entire crew operating from the safety of their own workspace to make sure SOLO runs smoothly. We took a look behind the scenes with certified SOLO Technician David Solarzano.
"Before COVID I was a photographer, focusing on portraits and tour photography. Then, I had heard that some people I know were working on something for these crazy times [SOLO].
“I started just wanting to help; I’ve always been interested in tech and these guys were building something from the ground up, and I wanted to know what it was and to help out if I could.
“[SOLO] has helped me immensely. It has provided some structure and excitement to what is a very difficult time in most of our lives... COVID absolutely killed my career. My job involved shooting shows and traveling with musicians in cramped spaces, drinking from the same bottle, and standing next to fans screaming their love out loud for the art, then it all came screeching to a halt. I felt aimless and pointless. SOLO trained me and gave me work. From helping route a power supply to being the voice that greets our often A-list talent, I have a job and am useful in these useless times.
“We’ve become a team. We are all treading these new waters together so we watch out for each other. We want this to succeed, not only because it’s work for us but because we see the potential of SOLO to grow and employ many more people during and beyond these times.
“What we are doing is CRAZY COOL! We send a robot to someone's house and then we record professional quality video and audio through a robot that we control from wherever we are! That’s crazy! And it works!
“During the build of SOLO and prep days, I have had to go into Antagonist, but I’ve felt incredibly safe doing so. First of all, everyone is wearing a mask at all times, and they do temp checks to anyone entering. The space is big, so there is plenty of room to space out, and they limit the amount of people allowed in.
“It all starts with prep. As a SOLO tech, I go into Antagonist and make sure we have everything we need included in the unit, that everything is packed away, and I make sure the unit is cleaned and sterilized. Then the unit is taken to location. This is when the fun begins.
“Most units are run by a group of techs with specific jobs, but my job is to curate what our talent is seeing and experiencing through the unit. I am the spirit behind the SOLO. I talk through the SOLO and answer any questions about the unit, as well as facilitate access to our other techs in the background. This point is when we usually get all the oohs and aahs. Then I fade into the background, and let our shoot move forward, making sure all our system is working as it should. Once we are wrapped with shooting I come back in and help our talent or handler with the shutdown process so we can safely put the unit away so it can move. And that’s it! We’ve successfully created high quality creative content safely.
“One of the most memorable experiences was at the very beginning when I was helping Keith Jones [the Chief Technology Officer] build the units for the first SOLO job ever which happened to be a giant job with Warner Brothers! We were soldering, wiring, and bolting units up to the last second, then sent them across the world to shoot huge A-LIST TALENT. Keith and Robert did most of the work, but I was there too because I can remember righty tighty lefty loosy so up to elbows in units making sure they were ready to go. Needless to say we did it; we finished all of them and pulled off the craziest job ever thanks to Aaron and Keith because they were crazy enough to believe we could do this and lead us, a team of over 25 people, through this. It was the equivalent of strapping fireworks to your back and flying across the Atlantic and actually landing safely on the other side."
David Solorzano has been with SOLO since its beginning in March 2020, and we couldn't be more grateful for his ability to adapt during this pandemic. He not only helps build SOLO, he's helping the industry get back to work - one robot at a time. If you would like to become a certified SOLO technician please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.