In the Spotlight with Canon – Featuring Jordan Dudek

In the Spotlight with Canon – Featuring Jordan Dudek

CineD is always searching for a way to connect creators and manufacturers – and, of course, to help filmmakers show their work. This is why we teamed up with Canon to show our film community work that has been done with Canon cameras. If you use a Canon camera and are interested in getting your work featured, click here to learn more. For our next “In the Spotlight” article, please meet freelance filmmaker, Jordan Dudek. “In the Spotlight” is proudly sponsored by Canon.

Jordan Dudek is a filmmaker hailing from the Mid-South region of the United States. Storytelling has always held a special place in his heart, as he is endlessly captivated by its ability to make a profound impact through the medium of film. Jorden never imagined himself on the path of filmmaking, but fate had its own plan, nudging him toward this incredible journey.

Working with the Canon C70
Working with the Canon EOS C70. Image credit: Jordan Dudek

Throughout his career, Jordan had the privilege of working on a wide array of film sets, ranging from episodic content and short films to documentaries, spec projects, and corporate productions. In each endeavor, he embraced diverse roles, including director, director of photography (DP), first assistant camera (1st AC), and more. Each role has given him valuable experience and deepened his love for the craft.

However, the source of Jordan’s greatest warmth and excitement lately lies in the enchanting world of YouTube. It’s the space where he discovered his deepest passion—a realm where he can share stories on a regular, weekly basis. This platform offers an extraordinary opportunity to connect with viewers on a more personal level and weaves tales that touch their hearts. It’s an avenue into which he can pour his creativity and spread the joy of storytelling to a broader audience.

Nike – Believe | Spec Ad | Canon EOS C70 Cinematic – Jordan Dudek

Name: Jordan Dudek

Currently based in: Memphis, TN

Language(s) spoken: English & Sarcasm

Occupation: Freelance Filmmaker

Content Genre: Corporate / Social Media Content

Gear: Canon EOS C70 / Vazen Anamorphic Lenses

Q: How did you get started in our industry? 

A: Growing up in the Bible Belt, like many other kids, my journey into filmmaking began with capturing videos for the local church. I had visions of creating content reminiscent of Sam Kolder. However, the realities of creative budgets and limitations quickly brought me back down to earth. Nevertheless, I continued creating short videos within the church community—pre-roll clips and event coverage videos.

Eventually, an opportunity arose for me to work full-time at a local marketing firm. This opened the door to the world of corporate work—a world that often lacked the excitement and creative freedom I wanted. Nonetheless, I remain grateful for the experience and the chance to refine my craft. Occasionally, certain clients allowed us to venture beyond the traditional and provide a touch of innovation to their content. It was during these moments that a newfound passion was sparked: Brand Films.

The notion that not all corporate work had to be mundane and conventional captivated me. While not every project could be groundbreaking or extraordinary, the ability to think outside the box and explore fresh approaches was exciting. This mindset ultimately led me to embark on the spec film project titled “Believe.” This production served as a visual representation of my vision for a captivating Brand Film, and I couldn’t be prouder of the outcome.

Q: What are some of the projects you are currently working on?

A: I will be working on a feature film this coming fall, as well as a pilot for an upcoming streaming series. As far as passion projects, I have two upcoming spec films. One is for a running brand and another for MMA fighting, and I’m in the editing process on a few documentaries as well.

Q: What types of productions do you mostly shoot? 

A: While I’m still with the corporate demands, my heart is drawn to storytelling with a purpose. Currently, I spend time creating diverse content for YouTube, aiming to pave a path for traditional storytelling in film and TV. My time is divided evenly between corporate work and heartfelt passion projects like YouTube, short films, and spec films. Each project holds a special place in my heart, allowing me to connect with audiences through the power of storytelling.

Q: What is your dream assignment/job in our industry and what are you passionate about?

A: My dream has always been to contribute to the creation of epic science fiction films like Blade Runner, Dune, and Star Wars. I hope to be part of building immersive worlds that evoke emotions beyond ourselves. I’ve explored various avenues to achieve this, considering roles as a writer, director, or cinematographer. However, my heart is set on directing, as I deeply desire to be a part of crafting stories that transcend individual experiences and resonate with audiences on a bigger scale. My journey is fueled by my passion for storytelling and the desire to be a part of something greater than myself.

Q: In regard to the work you’ve shared with us – looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? 

A: Truthfully, I hadn’t given much thought to this before. Often, it’s all about moving on to the next project with a fast-paced mindset. But lately, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the production process and it’s made me realize something important. I should have involved more people, not just for monetary support, but for their talent and skills. I used to try to handle everything on my own, perhaps driven by personal glory or pride. However, I’m evolving and learning the value of being part of a team. Having a group of talented individuals invested in this project would have undoubtedly made it even better. I’ve come to understand the strength in collaboration, and it’s a lesson I’ll carry forward with a heartfelt desire to nurture teamwork in future endeavors.

Jordan Dudek working with the Canon C70.
Working with the Canon EOS C70. Image credit: Jordan Dudek

Q: What current camera, lenses, and sound equipment do you use?

A: Currently, I use an array of equipment, all tailored for each production. For this film, we used the Canon EOS C70 with the Vazen 40mm and 28mm 1.8x anamorphic lens. For sound, we captured audio with a Sennheiser MKH 416 with the built-in mini-XLRs on the Canon EOS C70.  

Working with the Canon EOS C70:

What Canon has done with the C70 is nothing short of special. When I think of Canon as a brand, the first thing that comes to mind is reliability. You just know that their cameras are going to work the way they are advertised. And all of that is true with the EOS C70, which is why I purchased the camera in the first place. I needed a workhorse that was going to do what I needed day after day. Then Canon did something that no one thought they would do: give the EOS C70 internal 12-bit RAW. 

Suddenly, the EOS C70 became a camera that was suited for all sorts of content at a price point that is still unmatched in my opinion. Of course, you could have always used the internal 10-bit codecs to shoot commercials or narrative projects, but you now have the option to shoot 12-bit RAW internally on a DGO Dual-Gain Output) sensor. Once the firmware was released, the EOS C70 became the clear choice for this project.

On set, Canon’s reliability proved true again. There was not one issue we had with the camera, even in the summer heat. When we had to shoot night scenes with zero ability in artificial light, we were able to shoot in up to ISO 6400 without any post-production issues. When we had daytime scenes, the internal NDs allowed for easy control of exposure. Not to mention my favorite feature that most budget cinema cameras don’t have: internal false color. Combining this usability with a beautiful image of 4K 12-bit RAW from the DGO sensor and a decent rolling shutter, it was hard to imagine a camera that would’ve served us better, especially at our budget. 

Q: You chose to shoot your project with the Canon EOS C70 camera. Did you impose on yourself any limitations like not shooting with a tripod?  

A: Despite the challenges we faced with shooting on anamorphic lenses, we were determined to push ourselves for this project. The sheer weight of these lenses made gimbal work impossible on our budget. Additionally, achieving critical focus can be nearly impossible, especially with moving talent, as anamorphic lenses tend to be softer when wide open. Moreover, their limited minimum focus capabilities and the need for large diopters posed additional obstacles. 

However, despite these limitations, we fell head over heels for the look we got. To me, anamorphic lenses offer more than just the wide stretch, horizontal flares, and beautiful waterfall bokeh. There’s an intangible, unique quality to non-spherical lenses that brings a unique feeling to the images they capture. This was precisely what we aimed to achieve with our project—an ethereal feeling that transcends the ordinary and makes the visuals truly extraordinary.

Q: What’s your favorite lighting equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? 

A: Nanlite products have always served me right, so we decided to stick with them for this production. We used three Forza 500s and four 30c Pavotubes. I do like what other budget companies are doing, and I even own a few pieces of Aputure gear. But for me, Nanlite has been the ticket, and I just added a 720b to my kit. 

Jordan Dudek and his C70
Working with the Canon EOS C70. Image credit: Jordan Dudek

Q: Do you use drones/gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found to deploy them?  

A: For the most part, I’ve steered clear from drones and gimbals, although I do use them. The key for the productions I’m a part of is to use every piece of equipment when it’s called for. Often, the look I’m after is usually an organic and handheld look. There are times when I need a romantic or dreamy feeling, and that’s usually when I’ll deploy a gimbal. 

Q: What editing systems do you use and are you satisfied working with them? 

A: For my workflow, I moved over to Davinci full-time three years ago, and haven’t looked back since. There are times when I’ll need After Effects for a few niche shots, but I’m a full believer in what Blackmagic is doing with Davinci. When combined with Dehancer, it’s easily the quickest and most powerful workflow I’ve worked with. 

Q: How much of your work do you shoot in “flat picture profile”, and what is your preferred way of color correcting? 

A: I’m a big believer in shooting the best possible format you can, so in saying that, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t shoot in a log format. I’m usually given full control over the editing and coloring process, so color correcting and grading have started to become second nature. I’ve grown to be good friends with Joel Famularo, and he is the creator of Phantom Luts, which are the best in the game as far as I’m concerned. Since I’ve learned about his process and how passionate he is with color correcting and grading, I’ve trusted his log to rec709 LUTs for a few years now. When it comes to the actual grade, I’m using Dehancer to add film emulation, bloom, halation, and grain. I truly love the workflow presented by Dehancer. 

Q: How frequently do you travel and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear?

A: I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel a good bit for work, at least once a quarter or so. For me, I’ve had to grow to know what’s truly necessary for the shoot. Everything is a compromise if you can’t rent at the location you’re traveling to. Learn to embrace zoom lenses instead of primes. Rely on natural light as much as you can. Simplifying your gear will give you one less thing to think about, which gives me more opportunities to think about what really matters, the story of what I’m shooting.

Find out more about Jordan’s work by heading to his Instagram page.

Full disclosure: This “In The Spotlight” series of interviews is sponsored by Canon.

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