Venezuelan cinematographer, Reinaldo Ortiz, has longtime developed shining picturesque moments of A-list Latinx musicians. From Daddy Yankee, Cardi B, Maluma, to Ozuna — his direction on photography is curated to each chart-toppers’ vision and distributed globally for fans to enjoy.
“I am now expanding across mediums. My favorite place to be is on a film set. It is where my heart feels fullest,” Ortiz explained. Recently hitting his 100th music video mark, the storyteller credits visionaries such as Eif Rivera, Fernando Lugo, Joaquin Cambre, JP Valencia, and Juan Chappa for inspiration. These well-established directors, like himself, marry their affinity to their heritage with impactful visuals. Additionally, they are some of the behind-the-scenes figures with whom Ortiz began his career with and still collaborates with for artists, to include: Sebastian Yatra, Chino & Nacho, Romeo Santos, and Reik.
“There is so much to look forward to. Every job is unique! All of them allowed me to grow, not only as director of photography but as a human being,” he affirmed. The Knockturnal caught up with Reinaldo Ortiz after his time on the “You Stay” audiovisual with DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, J Balvin, Lil Baby, and Jeremih, to discuss what fuels his passion projects. Get to know the gentleman, scholar, and cinematographer to boot in his words below.
The Knockturnal: You have frequently been referred to as the “main reference of Latin music videos.” Can you elaborate on how this came to be for the new viewers becoming familiar with your art?
Reinaldo Ortiz: I work with the top players in the Latinx video industry. This reference comes from the last six years of my work. More specifically, I have built a durable reel by shooting alongside the leading video directors in the music industry. I am capable of creating compelling images and memorable videos. On any individual project, there is an upward of millions in viewership. So, people enjoy my work across the globe!
The Knockturnal: What did you do to celebrate reaching your 100th music video project?
Reinaldo Ortiz: It is amusing because I didn’t realize that! [Laughs] I recently arrived at that mark. Still, it dawned on me unexpectedly. One day that I was doing the math and remembering all my projects. So, I guess I missed it. The speed of the work didn’t leave time for any celebration. Hopefully, the 200th project will be a big moment for me.
The Knockturnal: Describe your time onset as the cinematographer of Bad Bunny’s, “Si Estuvièsemos Juntos?”
Reinaldo Ortiz: Overall, it was a very original and chill set. Fernando Lugo is a cool guy and Benito [Bad Bunny], who co-directed the video, is also very creative and immersed himself in the whole process. Bad Bunny does so much more than just record in the studio. So, I appreciated the environment. The work was organic. That entire day consisted of dialogue, more ideas, and brainstorming.
The Knockturnal: How does your identity influence your recent documentary?
Reinaldo Ortiz: Documentary filmmaking is another world I am involved in. So, coming from the music video world, it was a smooth transition. I already do that on a daily basis. For me, it is a fantastic experience to be able to work in those kinds of projects — the kinds that reveal the truth.
Documentaries take me back to reality, to the core and the values that I care for. Mainly, I would love to incorporate more of documentary look and feel in my music videos. It will take a bit more legwork to create that chance.
The Knockturnal: What made your time working on Becky G & Paulo Londra’s, “Te Besé” special?
Reinaldo Ortiz: First of all, the director, Paloma Valencia, is very talented, and a lovely person. She is truly a gem. The whole team was led in a very inspiring way. Also, the artists were very collaborative and easy going towards everyone involved. This music video was my first time working with #36Grados, and the company has this all for the team vibe. It was never about who gets credit. That mantra makes the workflow effortless.
The Knockturnal: Your commercial work is expansive. With consideration of your projects with Adidas’ “#TheReturn,” Walmart’s “Back To School,” and WWF’s “Your Garbage Lives More Than You” campaigns, can you identify a grander message they have cohesively encompassed?
Reinaldo Ortiz: Those projects have a powerful human and sensitive approach. They each connected to people’s ambitions. I am proud of extending those narratives. That concept is something that I love to be part of and as a director. I like to be involved in projects that deliver a positive message and reinforce the core of humanity.
The Knockturnal: What is your hope for the future of Venezuelan visual artist?
Reinaldo Ortiz: Well, my hope for the future of Venezuelan visual artist is the same I have for the whole country, to become a great reference in the region. We are making progress. Make no mistake — there are so many talented Venezuelan artists that have plenty of vibrant cultural art to share. The world is evolving. I do not doubt that this moment will become a reality very soon.
Reinaldo Ortiz: Every job is unique! All of them allowed me to grow, not only as director of photography but as a human being. I would say working with Ozuna has been particularly transformative. Every opportunity to create with him is a great experience. Also, he is the artist that I have made the most videos with throughout my career. Maluma on a personal level is inspiring. I am thankful. It has been great because he is a down-to-Earth artist that gives off a lively spirit on each of his music sets.
The Knockturnal: Apart from working with legends, you help develop on-the-rise talent, too. How was your time with Paloma Mami on the set of her “No te Enamores” music video?
Reinaldo Ortiz: It was amazing! She is a sweetheart and very creative. I have high hopes for her because it was so much fun to work with her. “No te Enamores” was a process of discovering that unique visual language that we were aiming for. I believe we succeeded. So, I hope to have the chance to work with her again very soon!
The Knockturnal: What is en route?
Reinaldo Ortiz: There are so many projects on the way! I’m finishing a project with music video director Fernando Lugo. Not to mention, I am shooting nine music videos for Romeo Santos new album! It has been hectic. Just last week, we shot an audiovisual for his single “Delincuente.”
Additionally, there is a new remix en route by Farruko and Anuel AA. I cannot give all the details from Puerto Rico just yet. Still, there is no doubt in my mind that the video will get a lot of new traffic. Yes, I am positive that the industry will receive it well. I intend to switch gears soon, too. I’m writing a short film that I want to direct and produce by the end of the year. There is so much to look forward to.