QUOTE OF THE DAY: DOP Robert Richardson on Production Design

Cinematographer, Robert Richardson describes the role of the production designer in a succinct but distinctive manner.


“Good work that people think is the cinematographer’s is often that of the production designer. We light their work, and when their work is beautifully accomplished, by which I mean well matched to the story, the result is vastly superior.”

-Robert Richardson

As we know, the collaboration between the cinematographer and production designer is paramount towards effective storytelling. Do you have any tips or tricks for gaining a fruitful collaboration during production with your cinematographer? For those not working in production design- have you ever noticed a film that really exemplified a perfect marriage between cinematography, production design and story?  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental

You can find previous Quote of the Day posts here.
Source: American Cinematographer, November 1999

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. sucking up can work quite well but if that doesn’t work, I find danish pastries and a cappuccino usually do the trick.


  2. I took cinematography classes when I was in school to understand more about lighting and camera and how they would effect my job as a designer. When DPs find that out now, they are always impressed that I know and understand what they are doing, and I found that it usually makes them more helpful and nicer towards my team.


  3. One of Conrad Hall’s last films before his death: THE ROAD TO PERDITION. Dennis Gassner as the production designer. So lovely to look at. Just beautiful!


  4. There is no film without light. Always think about light, light sources. light fixtures, color temperatures of various lighting. Set or location.
    With locations, when scouting, make a note of what direction the windows face…when will the light be coming (or not coming) through the windows.
    If the Designer has a strong sense of the lighting, the Cinematographer with be grateful and the the collaboration great.


  5. A well-designed set looks good even in bad lighting, and good lighting can save a bad set… but with good lighting, a good set will look terrific. A good set makes those of us who work in set lighting want to do a great job, because the results can be spectacular — something to be proud of.

    And that doesn’t happen every day…


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