Chase Jarvis SHORTS: Ground Control

Creating a strong emotional connection with the viewer is without a doubt the most important criterion in a successful image. Nothing will ever supplant that. Beyond that, however, there’s a whole bunch of second tier, more “mechanical” techniques that we creatives can cook up to elevate our images and create visual interest.

One such technique is compositional in nature: creating cool angles and unique perspectives. It’s what makes P.O.V. shots cool, it’s the mojo in those classic 360 degree shots from The Matrix and the super-cool car commercials, and it’s what make those slick overhead shots on Monday Night Football all really sing.

In the 2:41 of this Chase Jarvis SHORTS video, I illustrate the what, where, how and why for a contraption that we built in-house that’s helped me make some of my most-asked-about…[click the 'continue reading' link below]

…(how’n the hell did you do that?) images from The Blakes music video, from Laura’s Story video, and from images created for Apple, Brooks running shoes, Hasselblad Masters and others. I’ve used all sorts of lighting AND Nikons, Hasselblads, RED motion cameras, even the Phantom HD motion camera in conjunction with this contraption.

A quick spin thru the portfolio section of my site will reveal that I’ve got a good bit of use from this sucker. We call it “Ground Control”. Watch the vid and you’ll know why.

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107 Responses to Chase Jarvis SHORTS: Ground Control

  1. Zak.Shelhamer November 18, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    always productive. nice one

  2. Karen Johnson November 18, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Awesome!

  3. Michael Hurcomb November 18, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Very nice! I can think of a ton of shots that would be possible with this. Off to Home Depot I guess.

  4. Warr3n November 18, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    this just opened another door inside my head.

  5. Robert November 18, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Chase how wide/long is that plex sheet? What would you change if you were going to build it again? Would you change any of the dimensions?

  6. Rob Chinn November 18, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    When I saw this in your music video BTS, I had hoped you'd give us more detail on it. So cool, and yet pretty simple. I did wonder about reflections though. Great Short! Thanks!

  7. Corey Grusden November 18, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Ha! That thing is awesome. The black foam core is awesome. Great thinking.

  8. mikefiorillo November 18, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    Excellent technique! Reminds me of the glass floor at CN Tower in toronto! The clip of someone walking above camera is kind of spooky!

  9. lumilon November 18, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Nice! Reminds me of Ranking shooting Thierry Henry

  10. Freelance fotograaf Jürgen Doom November 18, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    Fan.Tas.Tic! Just a bit too difficult for a lone freelancer to carry this one around, but nevertheless a great idea. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Entropy November 18, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Dibs on calling mine Major Tom when I do make one! :P

  12. Dan November 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    It seemed really obvious in previous, to think, yeah it's plexiglass, but now i can see that it goes far beyond that. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Chase Jarvis November 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    we built this close to 4 years ago and have used it a lot. it's 4' X 8' and is fully dismantleable – fits in the bed of a truck or a full size suv.

    if I could change anything, I'd make it out of carbon fiber so i could pick it up myself ;)

  14. Arena Creative November 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm #

    That's pretty innovative – nice work

  15. Shelby White November 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    I dig this contraption.

    Any plans to have a Seattle event soon and we could bring this little diddy out?

  16. Sarah November 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    that is awesome.

  17. Will November 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    So awesome! I loved your use of it in the Blakes video. Once again you've pushed to create a tool that as Warr3n said, opens many doors for creative production!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    -Will

    P.S. I had a really great time in Toronto and New York.

  18. Marc Pritchard November 18, 2009 at 1:55 pm #

    Shooting from below is something I've been dying to do recently so it's great to see the practical stuff you did to produce such clear photos.

    The black board is a great tip! Keep it up with the shorts!

  19. Peter Caty November 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    Dog walker spotted at 1:45 ha

  20. Alvin Nguyen November 18, 2009 at 3:08 pm #

    That's amazing Chase!

  21. Alexandra November 18, 2009 at 4:15 pm #

    Awesome! Love it.

  22. Patrick Briscoe November 18, 2009 at 4:37 pm #

    Such a simple concept with such great results. Thanks Chase, keep the awesome vids coming!

  23. Vincenzo Pistritto November 18, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    I want one! Put it in your carry on next time you come to toronto. It was great to see you by the way, everyone out here really appreciated it man!

  24. Phat Baby Photographer November 18, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    I love it.

  25. Anonymous November 18, 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    Sweet!

  26. Anonymous November 19, 2009 at 2:39 am #

    hahaha – 8 inch plexi on top hey? :p

    great vid, interesting way to get different shots :)

  27. jeremy November 19, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    Very Cool, thank you for this. Nikon needs to send you a check by the way, I bought a new d300s cause of you and the nikonfestival event…so you should get something, right? :-)

  28. GLENSCOLAN November 19, 2009 at 5:31 am #

    great, j'adore. je connaissais déjà le procéder.

  29. Adam November 19, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    Thanks! Want to make now.

  30. Louis Jiran November 19, 2009 at 7:04 am #

    Great idea Chase! Thanks for sharing! I have a part-time job in security with the US Post Office. Our guard shack is made out of the same material. (Bullet proof)

    Louis

  31. Cynthia Wood November 19, 2009 at 10:46 am #

    Very cool, Chase. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Jez November 19, 2009 at 1:53 pm #

    Chase, sorry to crash your blog, but can you make my british colleagues aware of the british Governments attempt to destroy a photographers copyright. My apologies

    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/copyrightreform/#skip_to_content

  33. Chase Jarvis November 19, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    @ anon 2:39. that's 1/8" plexi, as i said in the video, not 8" ;)

  34. danno November 19, 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    very cool.
    i've built something like this on a smaller scale, works out great.

    thanks for sharin the knowledge.

    rocksteady,
    danno~

  35. Merwen November 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    Hey Chase,
    Couple hundred of dollars for the big plexi surface ??

    I don't know in USA, but in France it's 1015€ /m2 (US$ 1 508) for a thickness of 50mm !!!

  36. John Slaughter November 21, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    Awesome, great little tid bits- even if I don't ever use this idea- it gets me motivated and thinking- thanks Chase and gang!

  37. Mike Yip November 22, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    Naissss… now I want to build one too….. :(

  38. Anonymous November 23, 2009 at 11:12 pm #

    Not sure if you have any uses for the "trashed" plexi, but you should consider donating it to a local architecture or art school – they use that stuff all the time and it stays clear of landfills …

  39. Pablo Azócar December 10, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Why the 1/8 inch plexi on top is not flat over the bottom one?

  40. Scott Rinckenberger December 11, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

    Pablo,

    When we're shooting with the Ground Control, the 1/8" piece is flat, installed in the same groove as the thick sheet of Plexi. On this video, we had already pulled it out so that we could show the two layers more clearly.

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    Chase do you think this would hold up to someone falling onto it. You said it would hold several people so I would think so. Just do not want to dive into something like this just for it to break when I drop someone on it.

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  2. lighting furniture - Page 2 - November 12, 2011

    [...] pointed me a Chase Jarvis video where he makes a floor that he can shoot through or light through. Chase Jarvis SHORTS: Ground Control | Chase Jarvis Blog __________________ Members don't see ads in threads. Register your free account today [...]

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