There is a lot of truth in the title, because the ZACO is an agile, robust robotic vacuum cleaner. You could also say a “stylish speedster” that does some work for you. After all, spring cleaning is coming up soon. But one step after the other:  this time I became a product tester through detours and in a complete different meaning/ sense as usual.

It is 5:30 a.m. and I am already on my way to Cologne for an image film shooting  for Robovox. The 10-men film-crew of  ZOOM-Entertainment is ready acting when I arrive and has already completed  some corresponding extra sequences the day before.  Actually, the title should read “in kitchen possible”, because the location is a TV kitchen studio, where usually the various WDR cooking programs and supermarkt  commercials are produced. For me, it means to prepare a delicious dinner with my film partner and at the same time to take care of  other household duties.

First of all, of course, it is a matter of coordinating clothing (orange is the key colour) and hairstyle and getting a TV-suitable makeup. After a long journey, I always like to give myself in the hands of a make-up artist, because this allows time to come down and tune in on the upcoming tasks.

In the studio, meanwhile, the crew is already scurrying back and forth between rails, cameras, spotlights, shelves and props. But everything is well organized and on schedule; even a catering is already arranged in the next room. I have worked with ZOOM entertainment twice before and I really appreciate the constructive, motivating atmosphere. Regisseur Ivan S. knows exactly what he wants and had previously sent me the story board. Small deviations are of course possible, especially if creative moments arise from the acting situation.

“Attention rehearsal” …  the scene is being executed and checked on a monitor at the same time. Then the words “quiet please, shooting… camera on, camera is running… action… Longer and shorter scenes have to be completed, all in all twelve over eight hours. However, the clou is that I am not walking, but standing on a roller board which is pushed and pulled respectively rolled back and forth manually. This way ensures a maximum of dynamism in the movie and the advertising clip gets a very special touch. That also means: the young man who pushes the trolley back and forth over the 2-3 meter distance  must always crawl along the floor to make sure not to appear on the screen, etc.

The high-gloss work on the set is also remarkable. For each “take” e.g. the oil is wiped out of the pan again, the water in the pot is brought to boil again, the vegetable decoration is moved back precisely into the focus of the camera and even single basil leaves have to be cut with scissors. Despite extensive lighting, mini light sources still have to be positioned at some points in order to add some extra shine to the paprika or a knife.

So I dash from right to left and vice versa  at different speeds behind “my husband” several times, grabbing and handing him various vegetable/ cooking ingredients and at the same time doing some housekeeping. According to the script, the mode of cleaning the floor is only visible when the camera is directed down to the feet. Because in fact I am standing on a small turntable respectively my ZACO (diameter approx. 40 centimeters) and “my husband” only then becomes aware of the ingenious little helper at ny feet  with a smile. Yes, this is the way he knows “his wife”  and appreciates her ingenuity. It just takes a click to experience the live-atmosphere:

Also when the camera records along the floor, every lint is blown away, every stain is removed carefully and each of my shoes brushed several times.

Now, however, the key scene has to be mastered, which is equivalent to a small “balancing stunt” standing on the moving robotic vacuum cleaner. The apparatus can stand a lot, but to move on with about  60 kilograms requires some weight compensation. This is done by leaning my upper body on an iron bar that is held in front of me by two helpers. Poor guys! A little jerk and a push with my hip and the elegant device starts moving with me. The team was not sure at first whether this part would work or not and is now, of course, more than happy about the successful implementation. In other words: the tension is released and fun ranges to the foreground. Here is a short clip:

Laughter is expressly allowed on the set, and there are also some jokes and cool sayings. A good atmosphere is essential, because also the modification works between the scenes are exhausting for the particular crew members and require a lot of attention. They screw, twist, drag and sometimes improvise vigorously.

Sometime you hear the words: “Yes, that was already quite nice”. Accordig to my experience this is not too promising and means that there is still lot’s of room for improvement. How often a scene is repeated varies and depends on how quickly the desired ideal is achieved. Sometimes there are 10-12 repetitions, sometimes only 3-4. This is ultimately decided by the client, who also sits in front of a monitor (adviced by regisseur Ivan and cameraman Leif) and may immediately agree on the best recording sequence and marks it. The final cut and the perfect setting are of course only realized in the days/ weeks afterwards. I don’t want to know how much time has to be spent on this matter; certainly it requires a few days. I already need around 10-12 hours for each blog article – including photos and translation.

Headaches slowly spread, but the show must go on with a smile and staying focused. Finally at 5.45 p.m. the regisseur reports: “Thank you, the shooting is over; you all were great, till next time” and everyone (traditionally) clap the hands – a bit like on bord of a holiday plane after an extra-smooth landing.

From the next room it smells like fresh apple pie, which was quickly baked by assistant Romy. “You have to be an all-rounder,” she says with a smile.  None of  this can be taken for granted, because there are also people in this metier who do not keep agreements or communicate with decency.

Make-up artist Simone also quickly packed her utensils. Throughout the entire time, she was always present to powder the face again, put back strands of hair, replace sweat pads or sew up rolled-up shirt sleeves. Of course, we would also like to say „thank you „.

There is still a lot to be said and it’s actually time to have a closer look at the real star on a separate occasion. The ZACO is a real round “jack of all trades” which runs, wipes and sucks …




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