I'm a private weather industry business leader with 18 years of applied operations, sales and marketing experience. 

Convective Addiction's 2011 Chase Highlights

Convective Addiction is a collaborative effort among 7 northern storm chasers: Adam Lucio, Ryan Wichman, Danny Neal, Skip Talbot, Brad Goddard, Jesse Risley & Scott Weberpal. After seeing their prior offerings, I always look forward to watching their work due to the fact that with multiple contributors, the chase day story is told multiple ways. This is a unique approach to the chaser DVD.

I enjoy watching northern chases. CA is mostly based in the northern portion of Tornado Alley so a lot of video comes out of their camp that very few others have. Several of the events outlined below are new to me, video-wise. I’ve looked forward to seeing these so let’s get started.

  • February 1 Midwest Blizzard
    One of the bigger events the Midwest has on record and three completely different views of it are available in this short segment. Sure, people buy DVD’s looking for tornado footage but any extreme weather is fine with me. This huge winter storm was clearly “extreme” and I hope the video and narration is appreciated.

  • March 22 Creston, IA Tornado
    I like that each segment starts off with great still photos highlighting the day. It works like a preview within the production. Smart.
    It’s no secret I love to watch timelapse. This segment really didn’t do a lot for me in that respect though, likely because this early spring storm didn’t offer much in the structure department. Very nicely lit tornado at the end of the segment in real-time actually looked sped up due to its very fast motion and clear visibility.

  • April 3 East Iowa Supercells
    In 2011, Iowa made up for years and years of poor chase luck for many. Love the timelapse with lightning at the beginning. Always enjoy the chaser commentary as they try for better position. A good learning tool for the less experienced. While not “extreme”, the segment is still quite entertaining.

  • April 9 Mapleton, IA Tornadoes
    Great start to the segment as another educational opportunity appears in the form of a tricky grass fire-under-the-meso situation. This is followed by that craziest dust devil intercept I have ever seen! Kudos to the guys for playing in these large devils and getting some incredible video!
    The Mapleton tornado portion of this segment covers this beast from the moment it forms. I’d really like the initial shooter to invest in some nicer camera equipment or use manual controls as 40% of the video shot was not in focus. I realize it was a low-light situation but that’s what chasers deal with most of the time. The nighttime portion was hardly watchable. Nice editing though with the short video captures and then 2-sec. These are the perfect length; I wish others would take note.
    The second view of the same tornado is from a hilly dirt road and is absolutely beautiful considering they are after dark, moving shots. This camera too has some burnt pixels that might need to be looked into. Regardless, this is the meso that keeps on giving! Tornado after tornado, bang for the buck, the DVD delivers in the second half of this segment alone!

  • April 19 Girard, IL/Litchfield, IL Tornadoes
    Ahhh, there’s the timelapse look I’ve been waiting for! Having seen the pictures from this chase day, I was looking forward to watching the video.
    First up is the Girard tornado. I’d give anything to have a clear look at that tornado. That’s about all I have to say about Girard…
    The Litchfield portion of this segment offers some of the best looking video of the DVD thus far and, while not tripodded, is held steady enough. The contrasts are stunning! There’s just something about watching a tornado shovel dirt from freshly plowed fields.

  • April 22 St. Louis, MO Tornado
    This is wonderful video from start to finish as it delves into other aspects of chasing. You hear the chasers discuss the situation, you see them stop right where they should in a hair situation, and then you see the selfless act of trying to stop high-speed traffic on a major interstate as the tornado approaches and passes. I like to think this saved lives. It very likely did.
    In addition to the interaction with the public regarding the serious situation on the interstate, yet another role is of a chaser is displayed here: Newsgatherer. Jesse walks around in the damage area surrounding the St. Louis airport. Most people no doubt saw his video offering on their local news. You hear him making reports by phone as he records. While some chasers avoid damage areas like the plague, I commend anyone willing to get in the fray and help. The CA guys have always been solid in this area.

  • April 27 Southern States Super Outbreak
    An absolutely insane weather day documented here with excellent commentary. Here you can tell the guys are having a rough time with tornado identification due to terrain. This clearly shows how difficult chasing in the “jungle” can be. The video color quality is outstanding and riding along with this fairly untouched (by the editor) clip is the only mode by which I can imagine watching the segment. Kudos.
    This was a highly publicized, minimally documented day from the chaser point of view. I’m very surprised this video was not featured on a popular storm chasing drama on the Discovery Channel.

  • May 21 White Cloud, KS Tornado
    Another great timelapse offering here, this time with the wicked base activity the first timelapse on the DVD was missing. The creative video editing is followed by a quick multi-view of a tornado, reasonable size hail, and more timelapse. Nothing Earth-shattering here but still a worthwhile chapter.

  • May 22 Slater, MO Tornado
    Skip and Jennifer follow a supercell across west central Missouri as it puts down a trunk shaped tornado near the town of Slater.

  • May 24 Oklahoma Outbreak
    I always enjoy watching different angles on storms I chased personally. This is video I have not yet had the opportunity to view until now. Adam has likely the best angle on the Canton tornado’s early development that I have seen. Watch the vorticies spin around the contact point with the ground. Now notice your jaw has dropped to the floor!
    This becomes a wedge tornado in quick time and nearly halts just north of Canton; a very close call.
    Listen and watch as the guys drive through the damage path. This is the part of chasing nearly every chaser has to deal with but many are totally unprepared for. The sights, sounds and smells are unique to tornado damage and unless you have a sound mind and a willingness to help, it’s best to simply watch chaser DVD’s, not actually attempt chasing.

  • May 30 South Dakota Gustnadoes
    A DVD with this much to offer generally has a snoozer chapter. This was it.

  • June 14 New Boston, MO Tornado
    Another killer nighttime intercept of a very nice tornado. Again I will comment on the editing here and encourage other chasers to adopt this image capture and display technique. It’s perfect.

  • June 19 McCook, NE Tornadoes
    Tripoded timelapse video. NOW the DVD is complete! I just dig this stuff and viewers will too.
    This is a helluva nice segment for videography alone. Awesome contrast matched with minimal but meaningful commentary during the first tornado. This is yet another good educational portion for chasers and non-chasers alike.

  • June 20 Nebraska Tornadoes
    It only takes a few seconds for this segment to capture your attention and keep it. The guys start off with a nice cone and as they approach, the “nice cone” turns into a beautiful, seemingly front-lit, cone due to amazing contrast once again. The high-based churner disappears and a quick edit takes the viewer to another chaser with a different angle. I really like the collaborative effort here. It makes for a great viewing experience.

  • July 26 Hoven, SD Tornado
    I’m a fan of verbal chase day overviews and this is the only segment offering one which was refreshing.
    Mother Nature’s drama involved with the development of the funnels in the beginning of this segment is evident first with a corkscrew over town and again with the second funnel that developed. While the chapter didn’t offer much in the area of tornadoes, it was pleasing to the eye and again, the cloud motion was insane.

I mentioned “bang for the buck” early on in this review. In that instance I described it in reference to a tornado event. In summary, I will now use this same four words to describe the entire DVD!
Convective Addiction has put together two solid hours of chapter after chapter documentation of extreme weather suitable for the layperson and peer chaser. I enjoyed most every aspect of it although two of the chapters I thought ran a little long and I highly, highly suggest the purchase and use of a Filmtools window mount camera system for camera stability while driving. We all know tripodded video of extreme weather is coveted and there was not a lot of that here in this offering.

Convective Addiction’s 2011 Chase Highlights is a strong buy!

Please run, dont walk, out to CA’s Website and snag a copy for yourself or as a gift. Surly there is someone on your Christmas list for whom you have no idea what to get. The choice is obvious!

Sweeps Snow