Chase Jarvis RAW: Cameras at Risk

Even after years of doing this stuff, I still get excited watching $70k worth of camera hanging 30 feet in the air off a couple of measly bolts.

Last week I posted two 3 minute films that I’ve been commissioned by Russell Investments to create exploring the topic of ‘risk’. In these vids (please check them out here if you missed them), our crew hauled a RED One digital cinema camera and a handful of Nikon D3s HD dSLR cameras into a skateboarding park and glassblowing studio with the goal of making some pretty pictures. In the process, we put these cameras to work in some pretty fun ways and I thought it would be cool to share those with you.

Thus, here’s another Chase Jarvis RAW behind-the-scenes video where you’ll see the RED One being shot handheld, slung from a jib, on a dolly, and on an Easy Rig. You’ll also see the D3s handheld, in shotgun mode, on a steadicam, and remotely chasing a skateboarder on a fun new three-wheeled dolly. There will be no cameras on tripods anywhere in this video.

Hopefully this vid answers a lot of the questions that poured in last week in the comments section, via my @chasejarvis twitter handle (I’d love your follow), Facebook (fan me?), and via email. If I missed something, give a holler and I’ll do my best to respond in the comments below.

A dozen or more behind-the-scenes photos plus some links to worthwhile gear after the jump. Click the ‘continue reading’ link below …

My DP, Chris, with the RED on a small dolly…

Chris using the Zacuto Z-Finder.

The Easy-Rig in action. I’m looking on with a portable monitor to see what the camera is seeing.

A fleet of Nikon D3s‘ in action. Bounce card at camera right. I’m asking Jason questions.

Scott operating a Nikon D3s on a Merlin Steadicam

Scott and me running from the Humble Monkey camera truck.

Skater shredding from POV of the Nikon D3s on the Humble Monkey camera truck.

View thru the 17″ monitor of the view thru the RED on the jib.

The RED One on a 30′ jib arm. Jib operator Dave…I’m camera right looking at the monitor.

RED mounted to the jib with multi-directional electronic head.

If we missed anything, lemme know.

And once again, if you missed the two original videos showing the results of all this camera wrangling, please check it out here.

Happy shooting.

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Hey guys!

What type are stabilization unit are you using on the follow/hand-held cam? (DS3).



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Ray Tamarra says:

This is for Scott (D3s on Steadicam Merlin). What Merlin cookbook setting did you use to attach the doveplate to the D3s? How about the weight distribution? From 1:55 in the video, I see that you have a 3 mids/1 finish on top spur, and 3 mids/starting/finish on bottom spur. I’ve been trying that config and many others with absolutely no progress. Any insight into setting the merlin up with a D3s/28 2.8 would be VERY much appreciated!

Justin Trapp says:

that rolling dolly is ridiculously cool. gotta check that out

Sous says:

Used the jib in one of my recent jobs. An assembly haal full of kids who must have neck ache by the time from watching the camera swing in around their heads! Anyway love the use of the SLR and that Humble Monkey. Love it. Never seen one.

Thanks guys. Interesting stuff

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Ohhh so jealous. That project looked amazing! Loved the humble monkey scene at the end.

Allan says:

Hey Chase, Nice one… do you know the model of the shoulder support the D3s on?

Erik Hecht says:

I was the b-camera operator/camera assistant for this shoot and Chris (the DP) and I used 2 different shoulder support rigs that we both bought second-hand from used camera shops. I can’t speak for Chris’ rig, but the one I’m using is more or less identical to this:

It’s dirt cheap and it works great for DSLR video. Highly recommended. Zacuto makes some pretty slick shoulder rigs of their own if you’re looking for something a little more pro.

Lainer says:

Chase, I have to say that I really enjoyed this. What I liked best was when you shot in the full pipe with the D3s following. Great stuff. Thanks for posting this.

Zac Grimaldo says:

Hey Chase- I thought someone would’ve asked by now, but what is the shoulder rig that ya’ll are using with the Nikon D3s and the Z-Finder? It wasn’t mentioned in the references. Also, the Humble Monkey looks pretty awesome, I noticed the plex or whatever that ya’ll used as your “tracks”. It’s one of those things that seem so simple and you think, “I wish I would’ve thought of that!”

Also, I’m super stoked for the HDDSLR Cinema with Vincent Laforet at creativeLIVE this Friday! I went ahead and purchased the download, because it seems like a lot or material and it will also be good to use as reference material later. Can’t wait!

Thanks for sharing your visions, experiences and knowledge…

Erik Hecht says:

Check out my reply to Allan’s question a few comments down for info on the shoulder supports we used.

Macnimation says:

Hi Chase,

What do you think of the fact that the finale of House MD this season is being shot entirely with the Canon 5D using 24-70 and 70-200mm lenses only?

I hear Canon are developing lenses for the Canon 5D purely to improve Video recording.

Could the Nikon’s do the same?

I have 3 D300s and was thinking of doing something with the video, but ignored the video side completely

David says:

SIIIICK! I love the RAW posts :D

Mark says:

The glass blowing film is really beautiful. Nicely done.

@Colin C — The mics are the Rode Stereo VideoMic.

Some Steadicam actions are pretty nice… thank you, for this blog-post !

David says:

Great Video, what mic are you using on the D3 at 1:17?

I hate to wonder the cost of that final Ollie going wrong… :D

Awesome inspiration, as usual Chase.

Bluestill says:

I won't even ask about the 30 ft arm; instead I will just borrow yours hehehehehe.

one word…. AWESOME!!!!

Bluestill says:

Hey Chase elaborate a bit more on the skateboard dolly. All the dollies I have seen were manual and on a track type system. What is powering yours and how is it kept in a straigh line?

Duane says:

that is awesome!

Howard Haby says:

Freakin' awesome, Chase!! Wicked.

Chase Jarvis says:

@ kevin and barak: my role as the very very hands on director is to tie the whole piece together. the DP brings cameras and opinions on how to shoot a or b or c, but in the end i'm calling yes to this angle, no to that angle, yes to this technique or lighting and no to that. the DP's role is to facilitate/help bring out the directors vision…

Brian Davis says:

Excellent video Chase. I found it very fun and inspirational. I love the harsh black and white everything was shot in.

I have to say that the Cinderella story of that whole video was the camera dolly at the end. That little thing was awesome.

ivan says:

That's the skate park / rock wall out in Kent isn't it? Live a couple miles from that place

Chase –
Similar question to Barak – Where are you finding you would rather be as you get more into film, the side of the director or the DP? I'm especially interested in your feedback on a shoot like this (skateboarding), where the focus is on the athlete in action doing his "thing" where the roll of directing seems to be a bit limited. Great camera angles and work! Thanks for posting.

-Kevin Winzeler
Utah Professional Photographer

Anonymous says:

are you serious….you know nothing about video…stay with stills..

Barak says:


How is it different for you to not be behind the camera on a production like this? How do you choose your DP? How would the result have been different if you were your own DP?

Jase says:

Cameras at risk!? after seeing that I feel even more than ever that still photography is at risk!!

That was AWESOME footage and to think that you could homebrew some of that stuff and still get some awesome shots….

dwalkertx says:

two words: bad ass.

That camera dolly is F'in sweet!
Just needs a motor to be a remote control dolly.

Awesome! Stillmotion from Toronto does some amazing video work and also have some excellent resources on their site.

Wow, this provided a lot of insight. I learnt a lot just reading the entry. Thanks alot

Danny Santos says:

That's so cool… can I work with you guys? :D

josh says:

nice!!! but who pays for all the equipment. that has to be way over $30,000. can you show us something on our level.

What kind of mics are on top of the D3s?

Rick Lewis says:

Just sooo cool! Thanks Chase!!

Humble Monkey! Love it.

Matthias says:

Awesome, professional tools master the risk… But how about your adrenalin level? ;-)

Blue says:

i've got a 75 dollar 4-wheeled camera dolly–it's called a skateboard. lol

SO awesome :) Thanks so much for doing these videos Chase!! So inspiring, I'm hoping to do loads of similar things (with the skating) over the summer with a crappy compact camera… That boom arm is a monster, I've used one before @ the BBC when I was 'rewarded' a day in a studio with them, you find it hard to control at first?

Take it easy,


SirRodSpode says:

Very cool. I love the final shot where the skateboarder jumps straight towards and over the camera; I like a man with confidence in his skills!

Ryan says:

Love these videos Chase… they keep getting better & better.

I just wish you looked like you were having fun ;)

(Seriously though… this past year/18 months must have been a crazy trip… congrats on all of it)

Brian Crofts says:

the last shot at the end coming out of the full pipe is what did it for me … awesome stuff–keep inspiring.

Wayne Miller says:

Awesome! Watching you guys at work is very inspiring.

Chase Jarvis says:

@ nate: the nikon shoots at 24fps. We shot the shutter btwn 1/60 and 1/160 for this job i think…

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@ anon: those sunglasses are the smith optics "breakbeat".

Chase Jarvis says:

@ tim: we love the merlin steadicam. once you get it balanced (which is a task…) it's awesome.

Carolina says:

Pretty kickass.

charles says:

Nate said: … so since the Nikon is 24 fps, you should shoot at about 1/50 of a second.

Standard practice is to use a 180 degree shutter on a motion picture camera, which is 1/48 sec. For low light Panavision had a 200 degree shutter. Now with some digital cameras you can use a 360 degree shutter in low light, 1/30 on a DSLR.

Walt Pitt says:

Found it and ordered: // can't wait to get rollin'.

Kyle Tunney says:

Super Stuff, thanks for Sharing!

charles says:

The Humble Monkey is a low cost rip-off of the SKATER mini

BTW isn't that a real mini @ 0.28 of the video? Also shown in first pix "My DP, Chris, with the RED on a small dolly…"

Nate says:

Hi Chase! Awesome post. I have a quick question. I love that you shot with the D3s'. I recently was able to get one of these incredible cameras, and wanted to know what shutter speed you shoot your video on? I had heard that you should double your fps, so since the Nikon is 24 fps, you should shoot at about 1/50 of a second, but I just wanted to get your take on it. Sorry, this is probably pretty elementary, but it'd help me out a ton! Great post!

Scott Andrew says:

Epicness. The creativity in using the tools of photography/videography/cinema is mindblowing to say the very least. Well played.

Tim McGuire says:

Hi Chase. I'm getting into some video production. Would you recommend the Merlin Steadicam for use with dslrs? How did it work for you? Was it steady enough for the footage going to clients? Can you rent that Humble Monkey rig in Seattle? Looks like a fun shoot! Cheers.

Anonymous says:

what sun glasses is chase jarivs wearing in the behind the scenes video, cos i want to buy them there really cool. :)

Moshe says:

Thanks for sharing the BTS!

the glass blower was inspiring.

I agree … 3 wheel dolly is the best gadget … where can I find it?

DynamicImage says:

One word! FRESH! bravo

Ken says:

Cool stuff. Could you do a blog post on what gear you've found useful for video work so far? E.g., compare anything else to the Steadicam Merlin?

E.Corea says:

Every time I watched your videos post and every single little thing you upload. I feel soooo amazed and wonderfully glad for being a human a see those wonderful works. But beside that a little bit jealous hoping some day I will be able to create something better or creative than that. Not for wants to be better for sharing it with every body like you do. Thank you, Chase

scratchbs says:

Amazing work Chase! It's always a blast watching your work and seeing how you do things. you are a great teacher and definitely have a passion for what you do which is awesome!!

Francesco says:

Hey Chase, thanks for the great video! I'm a behind the scenes guy, absolutely love this!
One question: I didn't see a focus puller, did you have one?
Thanks, ciao


Dave says:

love the camera dolly. bloody awesome. cheers for sharing.

Anonymous says:

Oh my God .. how many times people did tell you how much you are cool ..

I never know that you need all that stuff to record such a video ….

Great job …

and thanks for sharing us your creative work

keep it up ….

The skate video was certainly my favorite. Love the interplay of light and shadow. The fun shots with the humble monkey camera truck were great. Keep it coming!

Daf says:

OUCH – not for $1000 I don't!

Daf says:

Areed with above – I want a truck/dolly gizmo!

Shame my d200 can't do video ;)

innie says:

i luv d D3 at d wheel..^_^ very nice. thanks for sharing this.

Hey Chase…that's not a job…you're livin' the dream man!! Sweet BTS footage, thanks.

Maskido says:

Ahhh! That 3-wheeled dolly is SIIIICK!

Wish you guys would've used that shot following the skater when he comes back & ollie's over the cam. My fav!!!

Mike Folden says:

My favorite RAW video yet. Found myself chuckling with joy when the little D3 was scooting through the pipe on that little dolly. Rad.

Eric Doggett says:

Great video! I like the idea of the 3 wheel dolly. The scarf – well – not so much. :) Great stuff.

Anonymous says:

Yo Chase,

What brand are those sunglasses?

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This is so cool !
I Love this kind of excitements.

Thank You. ^^/

Todd says:

When are you guys heading to Hollywood?! Thanks for the insight.

Wow! You guys really have fun!

That's amazing, Chase!
The videos were great and knowing a little bit of how they were done is cool!

.sTiNkYkIlLeR. says:

Such an Exciting experience !!

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Such an Exciting experience !!

Brian says:

so damn cool

that 3 wheel remote dolly is the wickedest camera gadget I've ever seen

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