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Harold Ortiz Sandoval is a Colombian visual artist, director, and entrepreneur who creates his work in a variety of visual languages from painting to sculpture and installations, which allows for multiple reflections of reality through the relationships of unconventional materials and their own narratives. Included in his works are films and music videos. His music videos have reached more that 400 million views on YouTube. When he decided to create a video for "Besame” by Valentino featuring Manuel Turizo, he reached out to a DP he had worked with and whom had earned his artistic respect, Jose Andres Solorzano. Sandoval proclaims, “Andres’ vision and experience was fundamental to accomplishing my goal for this video. His contributions to the creative process & aesthetic proposal, together with his experience in cinematography and production, allowed for the creation of a music video that has amazed numerous countries across the world. To date this music video has more that 60 million views on YouTube and other digital platforms. Under the guidance of DP Jose Andres Solorzano, ‘Besame’ found a sophistication to the visual language and imagery that left behind the common place urban genre music videos. He found a new aesthetic proposal and visual narrative that allows the artist of this song to have an international conversation with an audiovisual language around the world.”

Solorzano understands that his director is a true artist, involved in a variety of visual mediums. The very fact of this encouraged him to be expressive and look for a unique approach to this music video. Most of Reggaeton music videos are shot with modern lenses with a very clean feeling. These are used to capture the music artists performing alongside very attractive dancing women. The decision was made between cinematographer and director to avoid both the content and look of the normal Reggaeton videos. Art installations and paintings were used to discuss emotional touch stones rather than the more common fare presented in this genre. The production design was key in presenting the performers visually. Manuel Turizo was presented with a green and yellow color pallet in the background and wardrobe, while a combination of natural daylight and HMIs created a lighted day scene. For Valentino, there were warm, wood and earth tones bathed in tungsten, candles, and Christmas lights. Jose wanted the lighting set ups to create a personality distinct to each artist as well as clearly define a line separating them in their own experiences. Light, color, and wardrobe were inseparable in the plan.

Location had more than a little to do with this music video and the look of it, in an unsuspecting way. When Harold contacted Jose to serve as DP on the video, it was already apparent that the song was going to be a huge hit. The two choices for shooting it were in LA or Medellin, and in the end the decisions was to shoot in Medellin, Colombia. Even so, the desire was to have “Besame” to look as if it was shot by a crew from LA with a big production budget. Sadly, technical resources in Medellin are very limited and expensive. It’s hard to get technical fabrics for example; things like an 8x8 half silent grid need to come from the capital city of Bogota. When these situations occur, one must adjusts. Solorzano’s original plan was to get a set of vintage lenses, but in Medellin the technical options are such that he was unable to acquire these. Instead, he got a set of Cooke S4i Minis and used double net on them to mimic the highlights bloom found in old optics. This also had the positive effect on making the lenses feel softer, like vintage glass. Jose also used a net behind the front and back element of each lens to build the look he envisioned (but making it difficult for his 1st AC to pull focus). The pace was quick and the work was arduous but the incredible response vetted the vision of its creators.

Besame has more than 63 million views in YouTube as of the current day. During the premier day of “Besame” it instantly achieved views numbering in the millions. Solorzano’s role on this massive hit opened the doors for him to work on countless music videos in Colombia and Miami and solidified his professional relationship with director Harold Ortiz. YouTube is a particularly useful measurement device to indicate the public’s reaction to an artist. The communication between fan and artist is immediate and (for the most part) unhindered. Perhaps most beneficial is the fact that YouTube also allows the artists to monetize their videos, giving them an extra source of income to continue developing their art. This also means that a very modern and beloved art form, the music video, has found a new and relevant home. This ensures that cinematographers like Jose will be able to create and evolve the art form because of the relationship which artists share with YouTube. Twenty years ago, TV channels where the ones profiting from the content created by music bands or artists. In that era, the video was simply a means of promotion…which thankfully manifested a new means of visual expression. YouTube allows the artist to promote their music and also to make a revenue from their content. As an artist himself, creating the visual representation of “Besame” that has benefited both the musicians who created it and the public who loves it, while at the same time creating the fertile ground for his own talents to be exhibited…Jose Andres Solorzano is looking forward to breaking more molds throughout his career.

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