Philippe Rousselot Poster


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Overview (1)

Date of Birth 4 September 1945Briey, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France

Mini Bio (1)

Philippe Rousselot was born on September 4, 1945 in Briey, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France. He is known for his work on Sherlock Holmes (2009), Big Fish (2003) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

Trivia (1)

Member of jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1995

Personal Quotes (3)

I saw a film by Éric Rohmer called The Collector (1967) and I thought the photography was absolutely brilliant. It was really one of the turning points in the history of cinematography. And I said, "I have to meet the DP." Somehow through friends I got Néstor Almendros's phone number and I met with him and he was very nice, but he didn't have any (work) to offer to me. Then through other people I had been working with I got a call for My Night at Maud's (1969) because they were in need of a clapper loader. It was a happy accident. (...) There actually was not much (loading) to do. Rohmer used so little film. I was loading 400 foot mags and maybe only three in a day. So I did spend a lot of time watching what was happening (on set). It was a very small crew and you could talk to everybody. It was wonderful. (...) Néstor was basically the first to start bouncing lights. There was a little bit of that with Raoul Coutard but apart from that Néstor really invented a way of lighting that everybody has used since. So not only was I influenced by Néstor, but everybody was. What I also learned from Néstor was an intellectual approach to lighting. Néstor did not learn lighting in school, so basically he used good sense and logic to invent this whole new way of lighting. The traditional way was you have a key light and then you have fill and then you have a backlight, and you do things by the numbers, basically. Néstor didn't know how to do all that. So he said, "Well, what is logical? If the light would come from the window then I should put something out the window. And if it's a soft light, then it has to come from a very large source so I'm going to bounce the light against sheets of paper." It was a completely different way of thinking, which I hope I still carry. [2016]
[on his love of lighting with China balls] I've been using China balls for 30 years. I've used a huge amount of them. That's the secret of the economic success of China is me buying China balls. (laughs) I used them before everybody else and it took about ten years (for other cinematographers to) understand that those things are very, very useful. [2016]
[on The Nice Guys (2016), his first feature shot digitally] I think it was just time to stop saying no, because you have to recognize that digital now is on par with film in terms of quality. I've resisted digital for a long time because I could see (the difference between a movie shot) digitally and I hated it. And then it was less and less until now I can't see it. The other thing was that we had a 50-day schedule and we had a lot of night shoots. If you work with a camera like the Arri Alexa, you can easily shoot at 1280 ASA and get away with it. It's a big difference from the 500 ASA you get from film, or 600 if you push it a bit. That means that you can shoot streets and action scenes outside at night in a much easier way. You know, it's funny, the more technical things become, the less interested I am in technical things. I'm far more interested in trying to collaborate on making a good film. You don't make a better film because you shoot with this or that. [2016]

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