DP Stéphane Le Parc: A comedy veteran with ALEXA Mini LF

A stalwart of French comedy, director of photography Stéphane Le Parc has adopted the ALEXA Mini LF for all his recent projects.

Apr. 25, 2024

A cinematographer by trade, Stéphane Le Parc has an impressive track record in comedy projects. Equally at home in the English-style comedy of “Well Done!” or the more light-hearted “Les Blagues de Toto”, he brings all his know-how to directors. In this story, DP Le Parc talks about his personal approach to cinematography and the advantages of the ALEXA Mini LF, which he now uses on all his films.


Stéphane Le Parc and the ALEXA Mini LF on set of Gilles Legardinier’s “Well Done!”

“I started out as a photographer, but soon became a cinematographer without ever having been an assistant,” explains Stéphane Le Parc. In the beginning of his career, the DP mainly shot commercials. “That’s where I really got my bearings, where I learned rigor and a sense of tempo. I moved on to feature films later, but it was director James Huth who got me started in comedy with ‘Hellphone’ and ‘Lucky Luke’, which were a great success.”

“Since then, I’ve photographed all his films. I’m lucky enough to have worked on a lot of genre comedies, like ‘Lucky Luke’, which was inspired by Westerns. This allowed me to create a typical light, while remaining in the spirit of comedy. I’m also thinking of Eric Lavaine’s ‘Bienvenue à bord’, where our reference was American musicals. In Gilles Legardinier’s ‘Well Done!’, starring John Malkovich and Fanny Ardant, we drew our inspiration from English comedy. All the action took place in a magnificent château, where we worked on the lighting, mainly through the exteriors. For the faces, I tried to get golden skin tones. In the end, we created an image that’s a bit fairytale-like.”


Still from “Well Done!”: DP Le Parc sought to adopt an image reminiscent of fairy tales

Going into the digital era of film production, the cinematographer started to rely on ARRI technology for his work. “At first, I really missed 35 mm, but that’s no longer the case. We have fabulous tools at our disposal, like the ALEXA Mini LF, which I now use on all my projects. It’s an exceptional camera. It gives me such latitude in depth of field. Thanks to the large sensor, I can get the actors in the foreground and still have great depth behind them. It’s fascinating.”

I use the ALEXA Mini LF on all my projects. It’s an exceptional camera. It gives me such latitude in depth of field. (…) It’s fascinating.

Stéphane Le Parc


“The blurs are also wonderful, and there’s this natural softness to the skin, this velvety texture that I love. It’s an extraordinary tool, like a new palette offered to operators. It’s a precision tool that I really enjoy working with. In fact, all the directors I have worked with loved the ALEXA Mini LF. It gives us the depth that 35 mm film used to offer. Digital filmmaking also gave calibration an essential role. I'm lucky enough to work with colorist Julien Bodart, who supports me in achieving the image I’m looking for.”


On “Well Done!” Le Parc drew inspiration from the photographs of Willy Ronis and René Burri and the Danish painter Hammershøi.

Talking about his working style, the DP refers to his visual senses and the importance of a good collaboration with directors. “The most important tool for a director of photography are the eyes. You always have to be alert. On my films, I try to accompany the directors as much as possible in their projects, to listen to their desires and, above all, to what the film requires. Each time, I produce a rough cut based on the script. This gives me a basis for discussion with the directors and enables me to identify the direction in which the film is going. I always present them with a moodboard, based on photographs and paintings. For ‘Well Done!’, I brought in photos by Willy Ronis and René Burri for the lighting effects. For the château interiors, I relied on Hammershøi, a 19th-century Danish painter who used door openings to create frames within the frame.”


DP really likes the blurs, the natural softness to the skin and the velvety texture of the ALEXA Mini LF

For each comedy project, cinematographer Le Parc tries to find an imagery that serves the film’s purpose. “On ‘Les blagues de Toto 2 - Classe verte,’ with director Pascal Bourdiaux, we wanted the images to remind people of the sweetness of summer camps. My reference for this film was ‘Our Little Sister’ by Japanese director Kore-Eda Hirokazu. I tried to find the same simplicity in the image, which is magnificent but not noticeable.” 

“On ‘Divorce Club,’ with director Michaël Youn who’s very fond of American comedies, we agreed on a rather blinged-out image that suited the feel of the film. For ‘The New Toy’ with director James Huth, we opted for an aestheticized, icy image, a bit like an advert, which contrasted with the rougher part of the suburban housing estate, where I relied on directional lighting. James Huth is one of those directors who is very precise in the construction of frames and lighting, but he also gave me a lot of freedom during the shoot.” For DP Le Parc, every project offers new opportunities and experiences: “It’s great to work with all these directors who have different characters and desires, who trust me and let me take risks while having fun. Every time I tackle a film, I take it as a huge gift.”

Opening image: Guillaume Legardinier