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Cole Walliser Reveals How To Recreate the Celebrity GlamBOTS Effect at Home

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For fashion and beauty lovers, red carpets can bring some of the most exciting looks of the year—and while paparazzi pictures have long been king when it comes to capturing them, there’s a new type of content taking over the carpets: the GlamBOT.

Even if you don’t know what a GlamBOT is, you may recognize its director, Cole Walliser, who has been working with E! Entertainment on it since the 2016 Emmys. It involves a high-speed camera on a robotic arm capturing dynamic, slow-motion video content of celebrities.

“I started doing the GlamBOTs in 2016, and the world has changed significantly from a media standpoint,” Walliser told Newsweek.

Cole Walliser directs E! Entertainment's GlamBOT
Director Cole Walliser has worked with E! Entertainment on the GlamBOT since 2016 on events including the Emmys (pictured left), Oscars, Grammy’s and more.

Cole Walliser

“We’ve seen these over-the-shoulder red carpet photos for years, and now we’re so focused on video. It’s a video but gives an essence of a moving picture—the cultural timing (of the content people want to consume) and the technical aspects (of the GlamBOT) all just lined up in this perfect synergistic way.

“It’s changed the way we consume red-carpet media, and I think that’s a part of the reason why people are so into it.”

Over the past eight years, Walliser has become a red-carpet staple, shooting Oscars, Emmys, SAG Awards, and more.

Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t invent the GlamBOT—the camera system has been used for slow-motion shots for years, but has been repurposed for the red carpet. “E!, who I direct the GlamBOTs for, did a camera test with this slow-motion system, that’s typically used in food commercials, and thought it was really cool,” Walliser said.

“To bring it to the red carpet, they needed a director that knows how to shoot beauty, knows movements, and had worked with A-listers before. I checked all the boxes.”

Walliser’s resumé made him the obvious choice for E!, having worked on music videos with the likes of Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, and Pink, and also understanding the fashion and beauty world thanks to his work on campaigns with brands like Covergirl, Garnier and Pantene.

The GlamBOT has now cemented itself as many celebs’ favorite stop on the media trail at red-carpet events, with some even pre-planning their movements ahead of their short time with Walliser and his 12-strong team.

“Because people have seen it (the GlamBOT content) for so long, and are more familiar with the content and me, I’ve become a lot more friendly with all the talent I’ve worked with for a couple of years. That, for me, is a different experience. I feel like I know the people that are shooting a lot better, which is cool.”

What Makes a Good GlamBOT?

Within the huge internet fan base Walliser has grown, viewers have taken it upon themselves to rate GlamBOTs in comments sections.

There are a lot of theories about what makes a good GlamBOT, but, for Walliser, there’s no recipe for a perfect shot.

“Even when I see it in real time, I can’t tell if it’s going to be a good shot. If someone does a big movement, their dress in flowing and their face looks good, I know it will be a good shot, but the harder ones are if someone does a subtle movement.

“In real time, it doesn’t look that impressive, but sometimes those movements look amazing when they’re slowed down. The example is Billie Eilish from the Oscars. In person I thought, ‘Oh, she didn’t move,’ but in slow motion it was the coolest shot because she just gave (the camera) the right look.”

Billie Eilish’s subtle movement at the 2020 Oscars made for one of Cole Walliser’s favorite GlamBOTs ever. Credit: TikTok/@enews

Viewers are also quick to judge the interactions Walliser has on the carpet, shown in the behind-the-scenes portion of his videos.

Whilst many are quick to jump to his defense if they feel talent is being rude or dismissive, and even quicker to call out lackluster videos, Walliser reminds us that the GlamBOT is only a single stop amongst many press opportunities at these events and, ultimately, the talent is there to work.

“Viewers on social media don’t quite have a grasp for how intense and crazier red carpet is—talent is going from interview to interview to interview, changing subjects, changing people, changing topics, and they spend between a minute and 90 seconds with me.

“When talent is not super-connected, because they’re literally just bouncing around (from interview to interview), I think people take that as them being rude. I’ll say I’ve never had someone at a GlamBOT that I felt were rude—I’ve had people that I feel like aren’t giving me their full attention, but I don’t take that as rude because I saw them do five interviews before walking over to me.”

Cole Walliser’s Favorite GlamBOTs

When asked for his top GlamBOTs from over the years, Walliser immediately brought up Ariana Grande’s iconic moment at the 2020 Oscars, proving the impact a good dress can have on getting the right shot.

Ariana Grande’s GlamBot from the 2020 Oscars is Cole Walliser’s favorite. Credit: TikTok/@enews

“The shot was a combination of the right camera move, the right movement from her. I think that was probably one of the all-time best GlamBOTs.”

Other standouts from over the years include Lady Gaga, who Walliser has shot multiple times, and Madison Beer’s first attempt at the slow-motion video. “I haven’t shot her in a while, but Lady Gaga is perfect every time … Madison Beer, hers was incredible,” he said.

How to DIY a GlamBOT at Home

If you’ve been inspired by Walliser’s work and want to give the GlamBOT a go for yourself, you can get a similar effect with your phone camera.

“Use the slow-mo setting built into your phone camera, and do your best to keep the camera straight and level. You don’t have to move a long distance to get the effect, so focus on it being smooth,” he recommends.

When it comes to which pose to hit, Walliser encourages not overthinking it, as over-rehearsed movements can sometime feel stiff, explaining that, “If you feel good doing your GlamBOT move, you’ll probably look good, so have fun.”