As an avid surfer, Chris Boyle, CEO and cofounder of SoloShot, always wanted someone filming him while he was out catching waves, but didn’t have a camera crew at his disposal. He scoured the market for a device that could stand on the beach, always keep a camera aimed at him, and distinguish him from other surfers, but nothing of the sort existed.
So, Boyle dreamt up his own "robot cameraman." He assembled a small team of wakeboarders, surfers, and other action sport aficionados to create the first version of SoloShot, a robot tripod you connect to your camera.
The bright orange box communicates with a waterproof tag you wear around your arm, allowing the tripod to track and follow you from a distance while you’re hanging ten in the water. "Technology is supposed to make life more enjoyable, and that’s what this does: it allows you to get out from behind the camera," says Boyle, who notes that it's just as useful for parents of Little Leaguers hoping to unglue themselves from their iPhone video screens as it is for extreme athletes.
With the boom of smaller consumer cameras came new perspectives that have defined the "selfie generation." With point-of-view cameras like GoPro, non-professional athletes can now capture epic angles that couldn’t be captured before. Boyle wanted to create something that provided a "director’s point of view," as he calls it, in order to give users the ability to see the whole picture and to capture their memories without fussing with a camera. While GoPro could be seen as a competitor, Boyle and his team predict that all of these selfie accessories will be key components in the future of action sports.
This week at CES, SoloShot will debut their second generation product, SoloShot 2, with the added functionality of up and down tilt, to control zoom and focus and the ability to connect directly into an array of cameras.
Scott Taylor, SoloShot president and cofounder, explained that they called the product SoloShot for two reasons. "One, you no longer need a shooter to come with you to capture your day; and two, often times you only get one shot to capture the perfect moment. It doesn’t happen again. You only get that solo shot."