The Cinematography Podcast Episode 222: Todd A. Dos Reis

Cinematographer Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC went to USC Film School a few years ahead of The Blackening director Tim Story. There were so few Black filmmakers at school that they knew of each other. Once Todd graduated and was working professionally, he and Tim finally worked together on several different TV pilots.

Todd started out as a camera assistant for Russell Carpenter and worked on a few scary movies with him such as Critters 2: The Main Course and Pet Semetary Two. But Todd is not a big fan of horror movies. As a young kid growing up in the New Bedford, Massachusetts housing projects, Todd watched The Godfather, Blackspoitation movies and Bruce Lee martial arts movies. His grandparents bought him a camera and Todd learned photography in high school. Once he started at USC, he knew he wanted to become a cinematographer.

The Blackening is a horror/comedy film about a group of African-American friends who go away for the weekend to a cabin in the woods. The friends are forced to play a game as the killer stalks them. Director Tim Story is more a fan of the horror genre than Todd, and they used The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Don’t Breathe as references for the look. Todd kept the lighting very dark, focusing on lighting for drama rather than for comedy. The location only had track lighting, so Todd mainly used the practical lights in the house, keeping any additional lighting to a minimum. They shot on location at a house in Brentwood, Los Angeles, where it actually felt pretty remote. The crew tented the entire house to be able to shoot during the day, since Brentwood had a 12 AM curfew for film crews.

Filmed in just 20 days, both Todd and Tim’s experience of working in television enabled them to move quickly between setups on The Blackening. Once the master shot was established, Todd only had to adjust the small lights for tweaking shots. Todd’s advice for shooting on an accelerated schedule is to have lots of prep and preproduction planning time, and to have an experienced director who knows what they want.

The Blackening is in theaters and available on VOD platforms July 7.

Find Todd A. Dos Reis: Instagram: @todddosreis

Close Focus: Digital Artist Justin Brown got banned from Midjourney for making fake photos of politicians in compromising positions.

Ben’s short end: Twitter just limited the amount of tweets someone can read to 600, unless you subscribe to the blue checkmark. A competitor called Bluesky is currently in beta. Meta is also launching Threads on Instagram, a way to share texts and join public conversations.

Illya’s short end: Illya saw Spider-man: Across The Spider-verse again, this time in IMAX.

Listen to Ben’s new horror series Catchersavailable NOW only on Audible!

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras

Sponsored by ARRI: ARRI sponsored a film called Tiger Stripes, a Malaysian film that just won the grand prize at Cannes. Tiger Stripes shot on the ARRI Amira and used ARRI lights.

Sponsored by Greentree Creative: If you enjoy The Cinematography Podcast and you’re interested in growing or starting your own podcast, contact Alana Kode at Greentree Creative. Greentree Creative can help you with social media marketing, strategy and planning, podcast production, and digital content creation.

LIKE AND FOLLOW US, send fan mail or suggestions! Rate, review and subscribe on Apple Podcasts!



Instagram: @thecinepod

Twitter: @ShortEndz


Podcast Credits:

Producer: Alana Kode

All web and social media content written by Alana Kode

Host and editor in Chief:  Illya Friedman

Instagram: @illyafriedman @hotrodcameras

Host: Ben Rock

Twitter: @neptunesalad

Instagram: @bejamin_rock

Editor: Ben Katz

Composer: Kays Al-Atrakchi

Subscribe to the Podcast on Apple Podcasts or click on the link below to listen here

Subscribe to Podcast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}



Support the Show

Enjoy listening to our podcast? Consider making a purchase at Hot Rod Cameras!