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DP Vincent Richard calls on ARRI cameras for comedy projects

The toolkit of French cinematographer Vincent Richard, also known as “Marquis,” for his work with comedic films includes ALEXA Mini LF and ALEXA 35.

May 2, 2024

Long-time assistant to Thierry Arbogast AFC, DP Vincent Richard “Marquis” AFC has worked on numerous feature films with Luc Besson, including “Lucy” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” This big-production experience enabled him to make a transition to director of photography in 2018 when he shot “Taxi 5,” the final installment in the franchise produced by Luc Besson. Since then, he has been working on a string of successful films with directorial duo Philippe Lacheau and Tarek Boudali, who have breathed new life into French comedy.


DP Vincent Richard “Marquis” and the ALEXA Mini LF on set of “Only 3 Days Left”

“For ‘City Hunter,’ Philippe Lacheau wanted to make an action comedy with car stunts and special effects,” explains cinematographer Richard. He continues, going into more detail about his relationship with director Lacheau: “He was looking for a cinematographer with sufficient experience in this field. My work on ‘Taxi 5’ and on Luc Besson’s films reassured him that I was up for the task. Indeed, we got on very well. We’re part of the same generation and there was a real camaraderie between us. I went on to work with him on ‘Superwho?,’ and, with his partner Tarek Boudali, on ‘30 days left’ and, more recently, on the sequel ‘Only 3 Days Left,’ both successful action comedies. I’m lucky enough to have worked on all these films with a strong American blockbuster feel. This allowed me to offer a rendering with contrast, color, and effects. I was able to push the envelope even further.”


Vincent Richard incorporated cinematic references such as “Mission: Impossible” into “Only 3 Days Left”

For the sequel “Only 3 Days Left,” the cinematographer chose to work with ALEXA LF and Mini LF. The full-format sensor allowed him to capture larger than life shots and much more. He elaborates: “Camera-wise, I’ve adopted the large format of the ALEXA LF, which makes it possible to achieve even more defined, even more beautiful wide shots. This was particularly important on ‘Only 3 Days Left,’ where we shot sequences in Abu Dhabi and Mexico that made direct references to ‘Mission: Impossible’ and ‘Indiana Jones.’ These references had to be immediately identifiable by the viewer. ALEXA LF brought that grand spectacle feel to the shoot. It gave the actors an impressive presence in the set.”

I choose ARRI cameras for their reliability. (…) It’s important for me to set off on a shoot with equipment in which I have complete confidence.

Vincent Richard


Not only was the ALEXA LF a good choice for large vistas, but it also worked well with more intimate shots. Richard continues: “The ALEXA LF was also perfect for close-ups, where it allowed the faces to be very present in the foreground, without distortion, and to isolate the actors from the set with a beautiful blur. This is very interesting for comedy scenes. I also really like the colorimetric accuracy of its sensor. The nature and texture of skins were particularly well respected. And there was a very seductive, velvety quality to the image.”

The DP also relied on the ALEXA Mini LF for “Only 3 Days Left." He elaborates on the camera’s benefits: “On my shoots, to be able to go faster in action scenes, I often combine an ALEXA LF with an ALEXA Mini LF for its compactness, which means I can hang it anywhere. I choose ARRI cameras for their reliability, which I was first able to experience when I was an assistant. It’s important for me to set off on a shoot with equipment in which I have complete confidence.”


The large format of ALEXA LF was ideal for close-ups, as it isolated actors from the set in a beautiful blur

Putting the specific projects aside, the DP also goes into detail about his role on set. He often finds action comedies “heavier and more complicated” than some of the other genera with which he works. Regarding his collaboration with directors in general, he mentions: “In the films I work on, I often also play the role of technical advisor. This allows me to get in on the ground floor well in advance, and work with the director on the precise cut. I also draw up a look proposal for each major set. This provides a basis for discussion for each film based on visuals, and enables me to understand what directors want, but also what they don’t want. I really appreciate this phase of accompanying the director. The more precise I am in the preparationin terms of editing and photography—the easier it will be during the shoot. There are enough unforeseen events on set without adding more of them.”


Vincent Richard on set of “Gérald le Conquérant,” shot on ALEXA 35

Most recently, the cinematographer used ALEXA 35 for his work on Fabrice Eboué’s new comedy “Gérald le Conquérant.” The film is scheduled to release later this year in French cinemas. DP Richard shares a bit of background information about the feeling and shooting style of the piece. “I recently finished shooting ‘Gérald le Conquérant’, Fabrice Eboué’s new comedy. It was a totally different project from anything I had done before, and that was precisely what interested me. ‘Gérald’ is a low-budget film that shot in four weeks with a skeleton crew. But the subject lent itself perfectly to the setup. With Fabrice Eboué, we tried to give the film the look of a documentary, even though it’s pure fiction where everything is planned. We chose to shoot as many long takes as possible, giving the actors a lot of freedom, as if they were improvising.” 

When operating, the DP had to find the right rhythm between the camera and the actors, constantly playing with panning, zooming in, and zooming out. He also goes into detail about his choice of equipment. “I worked with the new ALEXA 35, which I used for the first time,” the DP mentions. “I wanted a Super 35 sensor, so as to keep in line with documentary photography and have access to a wide range of wide-angle zooms.” He was happy to have chosen the ALEXA 35 especially in terms of its ability to capture details in both the highlights and lowlights despite the reduced, natural lighting used for the film. 

In the end, the ALEXA 35 sensor really blew me away. (…) I’m thinking in particular of an undergrowth scene with a breakthrough in the light, in which I found detail in both the highlights and the darkest parts. It’s a really impressive camera.

Vincent Richard


“In the end, the ALEXA 35 sensor really blew me away. As for the lighting, I hid the sources and lit everything from the outside. Since I was shooting a lot in natural light, the ALEXA 35s wide latitude was invaluable. I’m thinking in particular of an undergrowth scene with a breakthrough in the light, in which I found detail in both the highlights and the darkest parts. It’s a really impressive camera. We had several sequences in the countryside, in twilight outdoor conditions, where the sensor sees more detail than our eye, especially in ‘Enhanced Sensitivity’ mode. The ALEXA 35 was the perfect choice for this film.”