Storm Structure 101(video)

  • Thread starter Mike Hollingshead
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Mike Hollingshead

I had a lot of vid buyers mention that they wished I had explained more of what was going on during the video(all non-chasers). So I made a video intended to teach anyone supercell storm structure and some of what goes on to get a supercell storm going. I suppose it'd be a sort of advanced spotter training type video, with a bit of 'chasing extras'. It took awhile to make the thing. There are over 300 still frames with text during it.

There are six segments.

Understanding storm structure. 9 minutes of mostly still images with text.

Fronts, Shear, and Systems. 14 1/2 minutes of more still images with text just trying to explain a few things. I basically included it for any newer chaser that might get the video that wanted to just pick up a few meanings/things.

On the road. 7 minute overview of a quick chase including finding the boundary and quickly showing what it typically looks like to find it and how the towers and anvil forms and then onto a few later things when things begin to gust out. More tid bits are explained during this video from July 15, 2004 from Ord NE to Lexington NE.

O'Neill NE June 9, 2003 chase. 33 1/2 minutes. This has a lot of info for the chase day. There's 0z surface plots, 850mb, 500mb, and 300mb data. Also 0z MLCape and Effective Helicty. Following that are a series of satellite images giving the time and explanations of the evolution. Then the chase starts and has a ton of still frames with text as well as many radar grabs giving locations.

May 16, 2004 Chambers NE chase and tornadoes. Same set of data leading it off, but no satellite images. Then the chase follows but no radar on this one. 15 minutes

Finally Bartlett NE chase with sfc-300mb data as before but no satellite images. This chase that follows the data has a lot of radar grabs and explanations. 27 1/2 minute segment.

Video runs about 1hr and 50 minutes total. I wouldn't say the vid is for anyone that has chased much.
Awesome! I've been waiting for a video like this. Will definately remember it for when I have the cash.

I went ahead a purchased this DVD when I bought Mikes chase DVD, "The Dream". Both DVDs are excellent. While the first part of Structure 101 is a bit elementary, I found the chase cases to be highly entertaining as well as educational. Mike takes you on a journey of a few of the storms from "The Dream", providing you with the surface, upper level, and satellite data from each case. After showing you the synoptic setup for the day, you see the atmosphere in action as Mike explains various structures in and around the target storm while its happening, as well as positioning decisions during the chase. Its quite well done and well worth the price.

Great work Mike, keep em coming!
Bought the DVD!


I just completed a purchase of your Storm Structure 101 DVD. I have purchased other DVDs from you and the standard of quality is always raised by every DVD I bought from you.

I plan to take storm spotting classes next month and hope to participate in storm spotting this spring/summer. The classes plus the DVD will go a long way in helping me to understand the way the supercells work.

Thanks for a great product! 8)

I watched this video last night. Mike has done a wonderful job on it. I found myself pausing and rewinding a lot. It has something for everyone to learn.

There are lots of pictures with the storm structure described. The video is awesome too. Mike shows several storms and explains how the RFD and other features are affecting the storm. He also explains basic forecasting with several examples.

You can't go wrong with this. If you are a chaser, you will enjoy the chase segments with play by play analysis.

If you are new to chasing, or just an arm chair weather enthusiast, you will learn a ton from this video.
Brilliant. My copy arrived today,along with a tax form :?
Have to do the paperwork before I can sit down and watch the DVD
Got mine today too!

Im currently in the "Drive along" chapter 27minutes in.

If nothing else you get to hear Mike's voice. He says more than "Holy Crap" on this video ;)

Mike...did you talk while you were driving or did you talk over the video during post production? I still wonder how you get videos like you do. I'd need three hands and 4 eyeballs to not crash. At one point you had a shot over your right shoulder as you are driving what looks to be 60mph+ and you always seem to have the storm in view.
Just finished watching the video. I've definitively proved I dont know jack about storms :)

Now if Tim's book would arrive soon I could rewatch the video in a few weeks and hopefully understand half of it.

Thanks Mike!
I watched Mike's video, appropriately enough, during my plane ride to the National Storm Chaser Convention in Denver. Let me tell you, I had to do a lot of pausing and rewinding in this video to get all the information. Some of it comes awfully quickly. I think I will re-watch it soon. This is a very nice video with a lot of information in a relatively short time, but once you watch it your eyes will be able to identify features in any storm or storm photograph you encounter.

This is a great video with a lot of work clearly put into it. Thanks, Mike.
Mike...did you talk while you were driving or did you talk over the video during post production? I still wonder how you get videos like you do. I'd need three hands and 4 eyeballs to not crash. At one point you had a shot over your right shoulder as you are driving what looks to be 60mph+ and you always seem to have the storm in view.

Thanks for the kind words all. Tyler I talked during the video in those parts. For some reason I really don't like to do scripted voice-overs at all. Too shy for even that I suppose, lol. I think maybe the video over the shoulder stuff can be attributed to playing lots of video games through the years. It seems easy enough so long as the shot isn't UP at all. I NEVER seem to be panning up high enough when not looking on those(end of July 12, 2004 taping back and up.....also the anti-cyclonic rotation and funnels south of the rfd cut June 9, 2003....always under-guessing on those shots while driving). I think you can do that stuff safely enough, so long as you are not looking through the viewfinder! Pretty sure it is actually safer than talking on a cell phone, as your mind is at least in the same situation and not two of them...sort of.
I learned a quick trick on the May 16, 04 storm. When your hands are shaking push them up against something. I always laugh when I see that shot looking back because I know why it is all shaky at first for that brief part when I first record and zoom in. It is at the end of the segment, looking back down the road at the violently rotating wall cloud over the road. I got out and was actually shaking from being excited a bit and was like, crap, this won't work and quickly pushed my hands up against the side of the car. Quick thinking made that shot, as if I hadn't done that it would of been horribly shaky and that motion would of been lost. Just thought I'd share that for those that have the video of that part. You can CLEARLY see the difference, lol.
Yes great DVD Mike ~ and value added with all the talk overs and graphics.

Hopefully this will set some sort of a standard for others future productions.

Shipping to the UK was a tad slow with this DVD ~ normally it only takes 5 days but 3 weeks later ~ no show....

Mike very kindly shipped me another (free of charge) as we thought the first was lost in the post ~ only for it to arrive a day later :roll: The replacement arrived super quick, taking just 5 days. :D
I thought Mike did a wonderful job on this DVD, I ordered and watched "The Dream" first and had to get this one too! Mike you did a great job, I know how area knowledge really helps, I am really familiar with Northern Florida like that.

Thanks for a great video, hope to see more from this year maybe.
Received the dvd yesterday and just watched it today...AWESOME job, Mike.
One question I have about the Chambers, NE event...Was there 1 or 2 tornadoes? It showed and you stated that there was a brief touchdown after the tornado crossed the road, and I was wondering if it was the same tornado that started up again or a second tornado.

Again, I enjoyed it very much and after watching it a few more times, hope to learn more about reading the charts. Thanks for the 'lessons'.
Thanks guys. Counting individual tornadoes can be sort of tough in some cases. All the first touchdowns I would call one tornado. The one after it crossed the road I would say was a new tornado as the first one was already very 'occluded' and out there on its own and gets pulled into the new circulation and dies. So I would say that brief rope after that would be a new tornado.
I, too, enjoyed this video. I think that if one were a seasoned chaser, this DVD would be more valuable as a "post moretem" than an instructional video -- but if you're like me, and are still in the learning process, it's very educational. To be a bit of a nerd -- research shows that people tend to learn better through videos than just about any other medium.
I've ordered this video in addition to Stormwatcher so I have two DVD's to watch and learn from :).
To those who ordered and received the video(s), how long did it take you to get the video, from ordering to delivery? I'm asking mainly out of curiosity. I can't wait to get them!
I will report back here when I finish watching the vid.
I got the vid in the mail today. One question I would like to have answered is how do you swivel the camera around whilst driving?
The only gripe I have, and its a very small one, is the wind noise.
Aside from that minor quibble, its a great video :)
Chart reading is one area I need to study-up on.