Canon C100 Was The Perfect Camera For A Debut Feature (And To Capture Clowns) by Evan Kidd


What’s up guys my name is Evan Kidd.  I’m a filmmaker from North Carolina and I actually recently just created my debut feature film Son Of Clowns.  It is a ninety-five minute feature we shot completely independently and it was filmed with the Canon C100.

You know with filmmaking as a whole I think a lot of times we get roped into what camera is the best or you know what specs can work best for this film.  Every year there’s a brand new camera and I think for me I really break a camera down or a choice of camera for any film I make based on what’s going to really push us to the furthest capabilities what we can do to get me the most time with my actors.

You know I’m a director first and foremost but I also do DP work as well for other people’s films so it kind of puts me in an interesting position to where I do a lot of corporate DP work, I do narrative DP work, I just shot a short New Orleans this past week.  It was really interesting because I actually used the 6D for that but for what we were trying to go for the director told me we need to move fast.  We have to make our days, it’s imperative the location we were in we gotta be in and out.  So for me it was interesting because I needed the camera that would really make me as nimble and quick as possible while also minimizing the setups we needed to do.  Something that could be handheld if it needed to be.

So I think a lot of those decisions are very vital and key.  Coming back to my own film Son Of Clowns my director of photography Ned Phillips actually owned the Canon C100 and I really do think the Canon C100 is probably one of the best filmmaking tools in terms of camera that you can get today as an independent filmmaker.

We thought about renting, we thought about using my own personal 5D but kinda came back to what’s gonna give us the highest quality image because it was a feature we wanted to really push it a little past the territory of a DSLR if we could.  By no means are we against it but you know at the same time we thought about the C100 and C300 line and it made the most sense because Ned, our DP, owned that C100 and he also owned an Atomos Ninja Recorder.  And it’s great because it’s actually a monitor that you put on top of your C100 rig and what that allows you to do is not only view your image obviously bigger as opposed to looking on the viewfinder or the LCD screen built into the camera but really it also lets you record flat.  A very flat image which is almost RAW. It doesn’t record true RAW.  It does record Apple ProRes but for our intents and purposes that was perfect because I’m one of those who really like to get in there.  And the editor when it comes down to it really grade every fine detail.  I love color correction.  I love getting in there and really for us it made the most sense because on a budget the camera that allowed us to move the quickest and to do the least number of setups and to be on the go was the C100.

And to me that was just an added treat you know we originally were not expecting to have that ninja so it really allowed us to push the image further.  What you’re seeing right now on the screen is a flat image directly from the ninja camera on Son Of Clowns.  Again this is RAW image and now you’re seen the color graded image and you can see the intricacies and kinda how far you can really push it.

To me honestly the flat image looks pretty great on it’s own.  A lot better than the digital version which we also would record as a backup so basically the way we had our rig was Ned would record directly into the ninja but we’d have a backup of everything we did on the SD card from the C100.  That was not a bad look at all.  But we really enjoyed having that flat image at our disposal later down the road in the edit.

I’m really inspired by resource-based filmmaking.  Absolutely consider myself an independent filmmaker really on every level and so for me when we came to looking for a camera it was all about accessibility and portability.  I love the handheld look so the C100 is great because you know it’s not huge but it’s also big enough to where if you were to hand hold it, if you have an awesome DP like I did you can basically have a very good hand-held image that’s also pretty stable you know you really have some good weight on that C100  between everything on it especially if you’re throwing that Ninja Adapter on it after like we had.

So it’s a great camera for handheld.  You don’t really have to build a whole bunch of shoulder rigs and steady cams and mounts because in my opinion if your DP is skilled enough you will be ok and you’ll get that hand-held image that’s not like super crazy shaky or anything like that because again looking at the images that we captured we were on the move so much and you know for us it was really a matter of you know 14+ hour days I think our longest day was close to 20 hours it was just absolutely nuts.

We shot Son Of Clowns on a production schedule of 10 shooting days so the camera had to adapt.  The camera had to be just as game as all of our crew members.  Our crew members were basically doing the indie film thing where they were sleeping on air mattresses, really accessible locations, trying to cram a lot of pages into a day while still you taking the time we needed.

For me my number one priority is really how can I get as much time devoted to my actors as possible and so I knew in the C100 that it would be a great versatile camera cause we wouldn’t have that many tech issues.  We wouldn’t have much freezing or anything like you might get in a RED or something more “fancy.”  You do want something that won’t give you a lot of crap along the way.

Filmmaking as they say is hard enough as it is so why complicate yourself or complicate matters as a filmmaker.  For me again that C100 really truly resonated well and again it gelled with the type of flow we were going for as a film and I think that flow is great because if you have a camera that’s fighting the flow of your film.  If you’re somehow getting your hands on a really fancy camera that takes a lot of time, a lot of set up, you can’t just run and gun with it.  Then you are going to have to build your days as a film and has a production to accommodate that.  Because again I don’t want to get bogged down if my production schedule is only 10 days and we can’t go over.  So it was imperative we made our days and it was also imperative that our camera match that mentality.

So just a note for people out there if you are looking for a 4K camera that is a drawback, the  C100 does not have that.  I truly at this point don’t really care too much for 4K.  I think down the road I will but you know again as a resource-based independent filmmaker I know my means and I know my level.  So for me 4K wasn’t really on the table so you know if you’re looking for that you might want to look elsewhere.

But for me to 1080p we did we did manage to capture from the image on the C100 with the Ninja.  Apple ProRes again very close to RAW so seeing that ProRes resolution at 422 was just comparatively great in my opinion.  It gave me what I wanted for an independent feature and really push the boundaries to what we thought that C100 could even do in the first place.

Our big boy lens which we actually shot probably 90% of the film on was the Canon 24-105 L Series lens.  In my opinion a great piece of glass, all around very versatile.  I know if I had my choice I’d love to have fixed prime lenses for every single shot but I knew that the way we were going to shoot would not dictate that.  We needed to be able to zoom.  I needed Ned to have the range he needed quickly and for him not to be bogged down by switching lenses with me every 10 seconds if I wanted a  different angle.  You know one set-up, one-shot later so that 24 -105 with it’s zoom really gave us a crisp and clear image while being a high enough piece of glass to differentiate it from other zoom lenses while still giving us the range and the flexibility to move fast and keep that production schedule on point.

Budget was tight, production days were slim so we really had to make do with what we had and I think the fact that we had such a great cast and crew that really gelled and really accommodated one another you know from our camera department down to our actors to everyone else on Son of Clowns.

Really when it came down to it we would pool our resources together and really make the best film that we could make and I think community and resource-based filmmaking like that where you know maybe you don’t have enough money to get a RED but you know you have the lens and your buddy who shoots stuff has the body of the camera you come together you make a nice little camera package and that’s basically what we did and I think if you find dedicated hardworking passionate individuals who are willing to do that with your film, with your camera, what have you.  You really can create the best film you can and create a great image.




Canon EOS C100:

Atomos Ninja Assassin 4K HDMI Monitor/Recorder:


Canon EOS 6D:

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4:

Rode VideoMic Pro Compact VMP Shotgun Microphone:

Adobe Premiere CS6:








From the creator of I’m Not Matt Damon….