It’s a glamourous job, and someone has to do it.
Cole Walliser has been operating the GlamBOT, which takes slow motion videos of celebrities, at red carpet events — the Academy Awards, Grammys, Golden Globes, Emmys and People’s Choice Awards — for E! Entertainment since 2016.
Walliser, originally from Richmond, B.C., has also directed music videos for the likes of Katy Perry, P!nk and Joe Cocker.
He sat down for an interview with CBC’s Stephen Quinn to talk about the GlamBOT and his B.C. roots.
The Early Edition9:23We speak to the creator behind L.A.’s red carpet GlamBOT videos
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is GlamBOT?
It’s this camera that shoots 1,000 frames a second, so we’re able to really slow down time in a moment. But the tricky thing is the camera is on this robotic arm that moves really fast.
So you get this really surreal effect of drifting through time in super slow motion, and it gives you the most glamourous kind of shot that you can imagine on the red carpet.
What is it that’s so compelling about this?
I think the interesting thing about why it plays so well on social media is a really dramatic before-and-after. So you kind of have to watch the whole clip to see how it ends up. When we show the final product, it’s long drawn out, glamourous moments.
What got you started on this path?
What got a camera in my hand was skateboarding. I used to skateboard around Richmond and we’d always film each other. Even at school, lunch breaks, we would go skateboarding in the South Arm parking lot and film each other.
That was really where I started to learn how to shoot things and learn that I really enjoyed it.
Where did the GlamBOT come from then?
GlamBOT technology is used in what are called tabletop commercials. It’s used in a lot of food commercials, like when you see a taco break in half in slow motion.
There were some executives at E! that had this idea to shoot talent with it. They did a camera test and when they decided they wanted to try it, they needed a director to come and give talent direction that understood beauty movement, and that had worked with A-list talents.
I kind of hit all of those marks because I have a background in dance, I shot a bunch of beauty stuff for Covergirl and Revlon and Pantene and female pop stars.
You were in a dance group at UBC, is that right?
Yes. I taught dance at Dance Horizons, which is the dance school group at UBC. I also taught at Harbour Dance Centre downtown in Vancouver. I was very involved in dance community while I was there.
But you graduated with a degree in psychology?
This is correct.
Which is more useful in what you do now: the psychology degree or experience in dance?
I lean on both individually for different things. It really is like movement and I am doing subtle choreography with talent as far as the spin and the camera … all of those things very heavily lean on my background as a dancer and also my history shooting dance.
But psychology is all about how people understand and perceive things and that really extends into everything that I do as a director. I’m trying to have some kind of visceral effect in you watching my media.
They both have given me skills and insight into creating in a way that is unique to me, because not many people have this dance/psychology background. I think they’re both beneficial in their own ways.
Have you ever had a GlamBOT subject who didn’t get it or didn’t want to?
Nobody’s under any obligation to do a GlamBOT and if you have a sour attitude, you can just walk on by.
Sometimes people’s publicists are trying to promote a movie and say they should do it. Sometimes people are just not really engaging. People become really excited because it’s become this sort of iconic staple at the red carpet award shows. It’s flattering that people know it and want to do it.
Do you get back to Richmond very often?
All the time, actually. My family is there. My mom owns a clothing store right in Steveston. My sister lives there with her son, so I have a little nephew out there. I go up as often as I can, probably a couple times a year.