Some of the most dramatic changes in life can be unplanned and such is the case with the origin of Solana Productions. Kurt Snider, formerly an award-winning photographer and editor, was Executive Producer of a town hall meeting program for NBC in San Diego when he received an unexpected call. On the line was a videographer in Washington State who needed someone for a San Diego video production. This “little project” that Snider completed turned out to be documenting the nine-month conversion of a large ferry into a cruise ship.
After this corporate video production wrapped, Snider decided that getting back in the field shooting under his own banner was the path forward. He had already won 14 EMMYs for producing, writing, shooting and editing stories for TV shows. It seemed natural to apply those skills to providing video production services to clients across the spectrum.
Solana Productions began by offering video production services to a few businesses and shows, such as “Entertainment Tonight,” which has been a client for more than 25 years. They’ve called on Solana Productions to provide camera crews for the Oscars, EMMYs, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Kids Choice Awards and Palm Springs International Film Festival Gala numerous times.
One of our most memorable “ET” shoots was following Oscars chef Wolfgang Puck go about his duties on the day of the awards show. We shot him prepping food at his exclusive restaurant, helicoptering to the Academy Awards to cater the Governors Ball and then flying back to his restaurant.
Our tradition of providing top-quality camera crews to TV shows continued with work for “60 Minutes,” CBS and ABC News, “Dr. Phil,” “Rachael Ray,” “The Chew” and numerous others.
At the same time our business video production was exploding with major projects for HP, Coke, American Express and Ford Motors. HP’s San Diego video production included webcasting and segments featuring various employees. This expanded to producing a talk show complete with sets, intricate lighting, jibs and SteadiCams.
One of our most interesting corporate video production clients is the San Diego Zoo. In an effort to save Asian rhinos from extinction, zoo officials decided to rescue one rhino from its dwindling habitat in Sumatra, and asked Solana Productions to videotape the entire process. This involved 30 hours of flying and trucking through jungles to the interior of Sumatra. Our cameras captured every moment as the rhino was then driven in a convoy of keepers and veterinarians down the mountainous spine of the island, where a ferry took us to Jakarta. From there it was another 30 hours of flying, this time back to California. This round-the-world business video production involved 27,000 miles of travel and tons of beef jerky and Power Bars for the crew!
Currently, our best-known San Diego video production involves the annual pop culture extravaganza known as Comic-Con. We’ve been covering the event since its humble beginnings as a showcase for comic book artists and have kept pace as Comic-Con has exploded into an international phenomenon. Over the years, we’ve provided a vast and ever-increasing list of high-profile clients, such as Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox and Sony Pictures, with camera crews and video production services tailored to their specific needs. In 2016, this involved using wireless cameras and video towers inside the Exhibit Hall for Warner Bros., and completely outfitting a private shooting room overlooking Comic-Con for “Entertainment Tonight.”
With a tradition of award-winning quality and talented, hard-working crews, Solana Productions continues to build on its proven success with client-oriented service and dependability. Contact us to discuss your project and some famous Solana swag will be headed your way!
Rory Bennett is principal video producer / director for Solana Productions, Inc., handling story production, field shoots, writing and editing supervision.
A six-time Emmy award nominee, Rory is an accomplished TV storyteller with extensive experience covering national and entertainment news. For more than 15 years, she’s been associated with “Entertainment Tonight” and other CBS Television Distribution shows as a segment director, associate director and field producer. Earlier in her career, Rory was a correspondent for Twentieth TV’s “Personalities,” a reporter for TV stations in San Diego and San Jose; and, a newspaper editor and reporter in San Diego. She is Solana Productions most experienced video producer.
She is a magna cum laude graduate of USC with a B.A. in broadcast journalism.
Kurt Snider is principal DP/Camera Operator for Solana Productions, Inc.
A 14-time Emmy-award winner, Kurt has extensive experience in television production and news. Before establishing Solana Productions, he was Supervising Producer of NBC’s “Prime Suspect,” Executive Producer of “Third Thursday” at KNSD-TV in San Diego; and, a Segment Producer/Photographer/Editor for PM Magazine.
Earlier in his career, Kurt was a TV news photographer in San Francisco, Boise and Wichita, where he graduated with a BA in Journalism from Wichita State University.
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