Now You Know: SanDisk Extreme Pro

If you’ve been following along here during my play-by-play for the past 9 days, you already know…

Who I’ve been shooting for: SanDisk
Who I’ve been shooting pictures of: a few of the world’s best athletes
What I’ve been shooting: skiing and snowboarding
Where I’ve been shooting: Queenstown, New Zealand
When I’ve been shooting: dawn till dark
How I’ve been shooting: fast moving action, motor-driving, naturally lit and strobed

The only thing that’s been missing has been the why. Until now. SanDisk has just today announced their new line of of flash memory cards, the SanDisk Extreme Pro. That’s what these images have been about.

Atop this post is a super rough mockup of one of the campaign images I’ve been working on. Here, Colby James West does a Cork 900 Tailgrab. You can expect to see some more shots like this hit the media this autumn. I think the creative direction does a pretty clear job of illustrating the point, eh? Simple, clean, and an obvious story.

And I have to say, I’ve been working my butt off all week, but it’s been interesting because, unlike shooting most other jobs like automotive, energy drinks, or running shoe gigs, I actually get to use the product as a part of my craft. I don’t know much about speed tests and all that technical mumbo jumbo–that’s best suited for labs in Silicon Valley and press releases, but what I do know is that I never waited on these cards, and I shot 25-frame RAW file sequences all day without running out of storage. For this sort of high-volume, high-energy environment, those are game changers. And I was only shooting the 32’s…they’re shipping 64GB cards as well.

Watch the video after the jump below, and you’ll see how much fun it was working with these amazing athletes. You should also listen for my shutter, motor-driving, as it’ll clearly demonstrate that shooting with these cards was sort of like shooting a machine gun that never ran out of ammo. Enjoy the vid, but there’s still more to come. Lots of editing, more behind-the-scenes shots, outtakes, post production, and a few lingering videos from our work down under [click ‘continue reading’ below to see the video…]

Thanks Common Market for the music in the vid. Check them out here on iTunes.

Related posts:
[Behind The Curtain: Guts of a Commercial Shoot Video]
[Video Report From the Heliworks Barn]
[Video: Packing Quick ‘n’ Dirty]
[Chase Jarvis RAW: NZ Basecamp]
[UPDATED behind-the-scenes snapshot gallery]
[Update: a new TECH how-to video about strobed equences…Chase Jarvis TECH: Shooting Strobed Sequences]

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77 Responses to Now You Know: SanDisk Extreme Pro

  1. Thomas September 14, 2009 at 5:04 am #

    hm… I could swear I saw a stack of Extreme IV cards not the new Exreme Pro cards in one of the videos.

    Speaking of which… do you off load cards during the day or do wait till the end of the day?

  2. Luke Riggall September 14, 2009 at 5:11 am #

    They're some mean cards!

    Could you enlighten us as to your post-shoot workflow? Software etc… please
    Keep up the awesome work!

  3. Chase Jarvis September 14, 2009 at 5:14 am #

    @ thomas. when we're properly staffed up, we download regularly throughout the day if there's time/need. Focus check, composition check. Notes with the AD's CDs. In this case, Dartanyon had to stay back in Seattle, so we were a little under gunned and did less downloading…

  4. Chase Jarvis September 14, 2009 at 5:15 am #

    @ luke: workflow stuff coming more whne we get back to seattle. lots of work and craziness still left.

    but we'll get to it best we can. -cj

  5. Christian Brecheis Photography September 14, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    Hi Chase,
    that's the CF card I've been waiting for – or I get the buffer upgrade for the D3, but if the card can do the trick, why would I.

    So, it'd be great to hear your settings – 14bit, 12bit, fps, compression and what else settings takes time in your camera to work until it writes to the card and how many RAW files you could continues shoot until the camera started to shoot slower.

    I know, it's a very specific question, kinda weird to ask this stuff, but be great to hear back from you / Scott. Thanks guys

  6. Chase Jarvis September 14, 2009 at 5:33 am #

    @ christian: I'm rolling with both the upgrade and the card. 14 bit, 8fps, lossless compression. Getting about 40 frames RAW before into buffer. Card is faster than D3, so D3 is limiting re-agent in the equation ;) technology leapfrog.


  7. Richard Peters September 14, 2009 at 5:33 am #

    I've been holding off getting new cards for a while, looks like it was worth doing so! These new ones will come in handy for storage when shooting video too!

    Great post as usual :)

  8. Jase September 14, 2009 at 5:36 am #

    hey Chase, question here…

    At what point will the cards be able to keep up with the buffer? or rather at which point is any extra card speed irrelevant as the camera can't keep up anyway?

    have we reached this point yet with the überfast D3 and these new SanDisk cards?

    Thanks for an awesome behind the scenes view! :D

    Cheers, Jase

  9. Simon September 14, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    Sandisk Customer Service in Europe SUCKS! My friend will never buy another after they messed him around for weeks trying to get a replacement for a faulty card…it took many emails and ridiculous demands before they replaced it. Astonishing that they didn't just send a new one and keep him happy…they even demanded a photo of the faulty card FFS!

  10. Fabian September 14, 2009 at 5:39 am #

    Nice movies ;)
    But I just can't shake the feeling i've seen this one before;)

    As for the cards: can't wait to get one of those, though I'm not quite sure my aged 40d can handle the 64Gig..

  11. Christian Brecheis Photography September 14, 2009 at 5:42 am #

    Thanks for the quick answer.
    I didn't expect that the write speed limit of the D3 is reached so quickly.

    I guess if you want the confidence of a 36 frames film, you will have to pay for the buffer upgrade still.

  12. Keith September 14, 2009 at 5:47 am #

    LOL, who would've thought two years ago that all my 1gig cards would become more useful as shims for wobbly tables.

  13. Alexander Monhof September 14, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    hey…first: love your work and i would kill to be at your position right now.
    second, the question: What is the name of the big strobes you used in the vid. They are freakin' fast.


  14. Chase Jarvis September 14, 2009 at 6:04 am #

    @ alexander: those are two heads coming off the broncolor scoro a4s pack. wicked fast – love love love

  15. Luke Riggall September 14, 2009 at 6:07 am #

    Thanks for the very quick and promising reply!
    I look forward to the workflow update, enjoy your shoot!
    I won't be getting one of these cards for a while as they will make no difference on my Canon 400D :P
    (and the price!)

  16. Jacob Gibbins September 14, 2009 at 6:32 am #

    Loveing the blog and the insight into the workings of a pro shoot.

    Will we be seeing any polished vids in the next month shot on the d3000s ?

    and where will these shots be running ?

    Ta Jacob

  17. dwightgies September 14, 2009 at 6:52 am #

    Been following along. Good stuff. I have a question. Other than the very capable Dartanyon, how do you handle Digital Asset Management? That must be a complex task considering the speed of shooting as well as the quantity.

  18. Peter Bang September 14, 2009 at 7:32 am #

    love it Chase! you're awesome for sharing all the behind the scenes stuff. thanks!

  19. Alex DiFiori September 14, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    Man, CF cards have come so far.

    I remember using Microdrives.

  20. Skunkabilly September 14, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    Hi Chase,

    Loved the vid especially the strobes =)

    I know we're talking apples and very very small and slow apples here, but at what speed rate do you find the D90 no longer limited by memory speed? 133x? slower? I know my frame rate drops after about 4 or 5 frames, don't know if that's my memory, or the camera.


  21. frainphoto September 14, 2009 at 8:29 am #

    Great Vid Chase..

    Fantastic Insights as usual!

    Would be curious as to the number of man hours spent post-processing a shoot like this.. and your workflow processes.


  22. Seth September 14, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    How come no chic skiers?? None good enough to be on SanDisc?? That's a shame.

  23. Maik September 14, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Hey Chase,
    Thanks for taking the time to post all this BTS stuff. I know that you are more than buisy on such a shoot.

    Very interesting the new card! I really have problems with the card speed sometimes. But what I find even more amazing is the recycling time of your strobes in the videos. DAMN are they fast! I have seen similar speeds only with the newer profoto models…
    What strobes did you use (with which power source) and how low do you have to get the output to et them to fire as fast as your D3 is shooting?

  24. Max September 14, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    i love what ya do. i follow you since a year and i can't imagine how you manage the whole day of a chase jarvis. xD

    im ya fan men. and from switzerland:)

  25. chrisdaniels September 14, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    You hooked me on this blog series with the promise of "the deepest look into the black box of photography" but I've yet to see any real juicy information. Yes your accommodations are nice, yes your new Defender rocks, yes you are living the life of a rockstar photographer but where is the stuff WE really care about? Where are the creative meetings? Where is the strategic planning? What are the lighting setups? It's pretty obvious to me now Chase, that YOU are the new campaign. You are using your own social networking empire as a sales tool to bring 1000's of potential impressions to advertisers. Very clever ;-)

  26. Anonymous September 14, 2009 at 10:26 am #

    Why would a corporation allow you to publish images from an ad campaign raw like that, and before the actual campaign released? Why would you take the wind out of their sails before the real ad hit? Or is this just some kind of promotion for them and for you? Was this a real job; you actually got a Creative Fee, plus Usage?

  27. Dov September 14, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Wow cant wait to use the new cards! What an awesome way to already promote them via blogging/fb/twitter etc!! Goo Chase.
    You're my hero! :-))


  28. car blog September 14, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    It really looks damn cool, I want one.

  29. Richard September 14, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I linked to this on the Gizmodo story about these cards. Keep it comin' Chase!

  30. Alexander Monhof September 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Hey I have question, which is not about photographie:
    I am skiing for almost 10 Years now, but just one time per year.
    I think I am a good skieer (sure i wont have even a small, small chance against you and ypur guys)
    After seeing "claim" (best wishes to Simon Dumont ^^) and your clips I want to go Heli-Skiing. Do you think that i would kill myself?


  31. Scott Hargis September 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    Heh. The snipers always hide behind anonymity. If you don't like Chase's blog, write your own.

  32. Scott A September 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    Hey Chase,

    You must feel honored by the high praise and encouragement from the nonny mouse who said here that your blog here will incite people to "right a million comments." What awesome corrective and judicatory power! Presumably he means a million wrong comments. Maybe amongst your readers someone will find the ultimate way to redress the "You Lie!" outburst from Joe Wilson to Obama last week. That comment sure needs 'righting'.

    But then, heed the mouse's final cautionary (albeit at first glance seemingly digressive) word at the end : never forget "its not like your Oprah". She belongs to everyone, okay? I know you're thinking of enlisting her in this crusade to 'right' those wrong comments, but you must get in the queue.

    Hobart Scott

  33. Anonymous September 14, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    the lift chairs are stationary, and the skier is sequenced… I'm assuming this is all post shoot/Photoshop compositing? Excellent work as usual guys!

    Can't wait to see the trend in this style continue. Can't you buzz around the skier in a 360, while taking stills and then get a 3D sequence and composite, try that one from your heli!

  34. Chase Jarvis September 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm #

    thanks for the shoutouts and the feedback. we'll continue to post the unpolished stuff (since that's all we have time for) as best we can until we get back to the USA, when we'll hope to have a tighter wrap up.

    @ jase: the new cards already outpace the buffer…

    @chris daniels: the stuff "we" really care about? everything i've posted has been requested by if not one, then many people. keep in mind the what people wanna know about varies widely and I'm trying to address that variety. in response to YOUR particular requests, we've got some of that coming. vids are a generally a massive time and computer processing suck, so a two hour creative meeting isn't in the cards… keep in mind all this sharing comes mostly AFTER the normal 12-18 hour day for my client, not during it. so bear with me–i'm delivering what I can as fast as I can ;)

    @ anon: ahhh, der…yeah, real job man. creative fees, usage. long ass days, standard stuff. the bts is 100% my thing

    @ frainphoto: we're def aiming to have scotty deliver a breakdown of that since he's been the owner of all that..

    I'm off to get some lunch…feel free to keep da photography questions coming, and I'll get to what I can. werd up.

  35. seanbirdsell September 14, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    Perhaps more a producing question, but I'm curious…how do you clear talent so quickly? I mean, yeah, you've got the editor of a premiere mag with you, but when you "run into" a pro on the slopes, how do you get him in front of the camera so quickly? Negotiate fees? Etc. (no, I'm not asking how much they make. just doesn't seem like the type of thing that can be done on a handshake.)

  36. Chase Jarvis September 14, 2009 at 7:13 pm #

    @ seanbirdsell: great question. our producers worked with Chris at Freeskier and Snowboard to clear/arrange terms with most of the althetes before the trip. When we "ran into" some additional athletes, it was still a day or more in advance of actually shooting with them so the producers were able to dial in the business discussion before we went to work.

  37. sam September 14, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    two questions for you:
    if you get the chance, can you post lighting diagrams? it'd be neat to see how you light this stuff, especially, since you aren't a ski specific shooter.

    and what do you bring to sandisk's campaign that they couldn't have gotten from the photographers who work with these athletes on a daily basis? especially, in light of how much this shoot must cost. couldn't they have gotten similar results without having to fly a crew into queenstown? basically, how do you convince ADs and clients your the man for the job?

  38. TranceMist September 15, 2009 at 12:54 am #


    Thank you.

  39. Chase Jarvis September 15, 2009 at 2:14 am #

    1. yes. lighting diagrams forthcoming
    2. i actually was shooting ski and snowboard for all the hardcore brands and with the best riders and mags for years before branching out to more large scale commercial work. so this was right up my alley and a natural fit.

  40. Wink of an eye Digital September 15, 2009 at 3:59 am #

    Hey Chase question on the uzi effect! Were you taking the pictures in Av or complete auto? I would assume that you wanted the fast shutter speed to be happening.
    This CF card looks great for my 50D sports stuff (soon to be traded for the 7D)

  41. Skunkabilly September 15, 2009 at 6:57 am #

    Hi Chase,

    What speed rating is sufficient for the D90?

  42. Alex September 15, 2009 at 9:45 am #

    Thanks for interesting post. I'm adding this blog to reader.

  43. Chase Jarvis September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    @ everybody: lots and lots of the notes i'm getting via twitter etc asking about the strobes. they are the broncolor A4s pack with two broncolor heads. they freaking rock. and YES I'm motor driving the nikon D3 at 8fps and the broncolor packs are keeping up.

  44. Schorschi September 15, 2009 at 9:33 pm #

    Hm, do these cards come in CF only, or SD as well?

    I have a Casio EX-F1 that can do up to 60 fps into a 60-frame buffer. Takes about 25 seconds to write all images to card (Class 6) during which the camera cannot be used.

    I wonder if this new card would reduce that time.

  45. Matthew September 16, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    Chase, you know we love you but…. that white hat has to go. You look like a total snotter.

    Okay, enough of that.

    Quick tech question – in the part in the vid when you're shooting the dude in the halfpipe, why are you on a tripod? Seems like fast action like that would be much easier followed by handholding the camera, and your shutter is obviously fast enough to stop action and remove any shake component… just seemed that the tripod in that case would be limiting. Thanks dude.

  46. s.e. miller September 16, 2009 at 9:56 am #


    I have a question for you and it might be taken badly, but I'm not asking because I think there is something wrong instead it's pure curiosity.

    Do you think you received this SanDisk job because they knew of your extensive web presence (all photographic skills aside which are quite obviously proven) through your blog, facebook, twitter, etc and that the ad people at SanDisk saw your shooting this campaign as possibly additional advertising for their new product?

    Thanks for the blog, thanks for all the info you give, and thanks in advance if you have the time to consider and answer my question.


  47. Kreighbaum September 16, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    @chasejarvis in vid, you mention cutting teeth on ski/snow? Anywhere to see that earlier work? What publications? Thanks for the posts.

  48. Chase Jarvis September 16, 2009 at 9:16 pm #

    @kreibaum: all of the mags…freeskier, powder, skiing, ski, (freeze no longer a mag), and on and on… you name it.

    and ads for i think almost every brand. k2, rossi, salomon, smith, scott, atomic etc etc etc.

  49. Chase Jarvis September 16, 2009 at 9:20 pm #

    @se miller. I got the job because of photography. They knew about my sports background and I was shooting sequences waaay back when they were first getting morphed together in print. Getting to share behind the scenes was something I asked of them and they were cool enough to green light it. Cool how times are changing.

  50. Chase Jarvis September 16, 2009 at 9:24 pm #

    @ matthew – I quite like the white hat, and I dunno what a snotter is, so no dice there for you.

    But the camera is on a tripod to simplify post production in creating the sequences. If the camera stays still and only the rider moves, photoshop composites are about 100x easier. hope that helps, white hat and all ;)

  51. Ben September 17, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Chase, awesome series of posts! Thank you for sharing.

    What lighting gear are you using? And did you blow any power sources while firing off flashes every second (referring to 2:20 into your BTS video)?

  52. CM Justin September 18, 2009 at 8:34 am #

    Much appreciated for what you do for photography and people. Thanks for the blogs and videos,
    love the book

    Q- When you are back in your base camp after shooting all day ,do you use any monitor calibration or just the monitor's software

    Thanks so much
    CM Justin

  53. Peter September 18, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    Hi Chase, first all thanks again for all the great posts very interesting to see – makes me wish I was back home in NZ hitting the pipe at Cardrona.

    I would be really interested in how you setup / use autofocus on some of the sports shots. Especially when its a one time deal to get a shot (i.e. when you're hiking with no heli and the light is right) – and pre-focusing is hard due to the fact the rider will be in the air travelling at speed. Its one thing I have occasionally had trouble with and a pain when you've spent all day shovelling snow then miss the shot – although now I have a D700 with the same AF as the D3 hopefully this is a thing of the past.

    Would be interested to hear re if do you use just the 9/21/51-point on your D3/D3x with continuous tracking,or do you manual focus – I was reading the D3 tech guide which implys you should never use the 51 point 3D tracking etc. but would be interested to hear what you use in practice and whether its inline with what that doc recommends.

    thanks again


  54. Shamik September 18, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    Hey Chase…nice one.. was just wondering.. since you are using the big lights here… you are sync limited right? are you having any issues freezing the motion being limited by the sync speed?

  55. Jacob September 20, 2009 at 4:46 am #

    I know you say you weren't chosen to take these photos for your blog or anything, but you've certainly convinced me to buy the card!

    Great video! It's all very insightful stuff.

  56. dvd r September 24, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    The lightning speed of this flash card is 90 mb/second. This is atleast double from the scandisk predecessors and the storage capacity is higher than other flashcards so i am just looking forward to buy this flash card from Amazon.

  57. Jeff Patterson September 29, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    Chase, good to finally see what your crew was up to. Hope to see you around these parts this winter

  58. Joe L. October 26, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

    Chase, love following your posts. This one just came up while talking about your NZ shoot – can't find your photos and footage from the actual shoot on SanDisk's site. Maybe a little linky linky love? =]

    Thanks mate!

  59. Jon Tannen October 28, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    Chase/all: Note that the new 64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro cards currently do not work on the Nikon D3. I bought one a few days ago and found out the hard way.

  60. Anonymous February 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    for the effect on the photo at the top of the page , do you just use an big F number or is it done in photoshop ?

  61. Scott Rinckenberger February 23, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    Anon: The photo at the top of the page was created by setting up the camera on a tripod, and motor-driving through the entire trick. The images are then combined in Photoshop. Check out this post for the details:

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