November 29, 2023

Loki season 2 cinematographer Isaac Bauman

For the second season of the Marvel series Loki, cinematographer Isaac Bauman decided to bring his own unique look to the show, especially when it came to the lighting design. Loki Season 1 DP Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC brought a lot of herself and her own unique look to the show. But Isaac feels that his approach to cinematography is very different from Autumn’s, and he wanted to creatively stick his neck out to define his own voice for season two. During his initial interview for Loki, Isaac presented a detailed vision to directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead of how he would have shot scenes differently for season one. Once he was hired for season two, Isaac created an extremely detailed bible for the lighting and look of Loki. Season 2 is a mix of 1970’s-inspired lighting and color palette, with warm browns, yellows and oranges within the TVA, shifting to cooler blues and greens with rainbow hues further down in the control room as the timelines begin to collapse.

Loki Season 2 utilizes wide angles, handheld camerawork and monochromatic colors. As with season one, the sets are often full 360-degree builds, so that every possible environment has four walls and a ceiling. The lighting was also achieved with all practicals on set, with a lighting rig built into the ceiling. Isaac had to learn to work with the scenes being lit from overhead, which is not a very flattering look for the actors. He introduced a lot of handheld camera movement into season two, which would have made it challenging to have lights on the set. Instead, for a little extra light on the actors’ faces, they often used a battery powered gem ball LED on the eyeline of the actors. The shoot for season two was more dynamic, as the actors were allowed to move more freely around the set, with the cameras just following and panning between the characters, using wide spherical lenses. Isaac loves shooting on a stage, because he loves being able to control all of the lighting.

Isaac went to USC Film School where he met his friend, director Lee Roy Kunz, who convinced him to drop out and shoot their first feature film, A Beer Tale. He then started shooting low budget rap videos, which led to bigger music videos, which led to commercials and feature films. Growing up, he made his own video projects at home using a camcorder, but it wasn’t until film school that Isaac realized that working with the camera, image and lighting was his true passion.

Find Issac Bauman: https://www.isaacbauman.com/
Instagram: @isaacbauman

Loki Season 2 is currently available on Disney+.

Hear our interview with Loki Season 1 cinematographer Autumn Durald Arkapaw, ASC. https://www.camnoir.com/ep193/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

July 6, 2023

The Blackening cinematographer Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC

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, 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: https://www.todddosreis.com/
Instagram: @todddosreis

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com
Sponsored by ARRI: https://www.arri.com/en

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheCinematographyPodcast
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz