Midwest storm chasing with Jim Cantore

Summer is traditionally a quiet time for Forrester Media. With schools out and vacations underway, we take advantage of the down time and head off for a vacation as well.

But it's not all fun and games. We're still working and this summer I spent a few weeks in the Midwest - not on vacation but for coverage of the unfortunate severe weather that struck the Oklahoma City area. In years past, I was lucky that all my storm chasing adventures were in remote areas that affected only some fence lines and inconvenienced a cow or two.

Kansas tornado, Mike Forrester.
Filming in Kansas in 2005.

 This year, Moore, Oklahoma was hit by an EF-5 tornado, causing horrible devastation. In 1999, another tornado also hit Moore just a few miles away. After the Moore tornado this year, I was in Oklahoma chasing with Meteorologist Jim Cantore and a cameraman. This trip, instead of shooting, my role was field producer, coordinating with the news desk, arranging for live shots, taped segments and other needed elements for The Weather Channel.

NBC Live Shot
Live shot for NBC Nightly News with Meteorologist Jim Cantore

We chased for several days with Reed Timmer and his Dominator chase vehicles and while we found plenty of severe weather, tornadoes eluded us.

Supercell storm
A tornado-warned cell south of Norman, OK.


Hail the size of golf balls.


Dominator Cantore
Watching the sky with the Dominators.

Jim had schedule conflicts, so on Friday morning, May 31st, we had to fly to Atlanta. At the airport, we discussed ditching our flight back, but in the end, we all boarded and left OKC around Noon, just hours before friends and colleagues would be in harm's way.

Mammatus Clouds
Mammatus Clouds near El Reno, Oklahoma on May 29, 2013

Copyright Atlanta Video Production, Inc. d/b/a Forrester Media.




Athlete Bo Jackson helping Alabama tornado victims

We had the opportunity to work with football and baseball star Bo Jackson today on a shoot at The Weather Channel. Bo was promoting his upcoming 'Bo Bikes Bama' bicycle ride fundraiser on April 27th in Cordova, Alabama.

Forrester Media - Weather Channel - Bo Jackson
Bo Jackson with Meteorologist Paul Goodloe talking bikes.

The bike ride offers both a 20-mile and 60-mile route starting in Cordova and heading north before returning offering both amateur and professional cyclists the opportunity to help raise funds for the victims of the deadly April 27, 2011 tornadoes that struck multiple cities in Alabama.

Bo hopes to raise $1 million through donations and sponsorships. All contributions go to the Governor's Emergency Relief Fund, which was established after the devastating tornadoes.

To learn more about Bo Bikes Bama, visit

Remembering Hurricane Rita and a dog named Rita

It's been just over seven years since I was a cameraman covering the landfall of Hurricane Rita for The Weather Channel. I was working with On-Camera Meteorologist Jim Cantore and his producer, another cameraman and our satellite uplink truck operator. 

We ended up in downtown Houston for the landfall, but shortly after the winds subsided, we drove east to the little town of Orange, Texas. We quickly set up live shots right off Interstate 10 near a restaurant that had nearly been destroyed by the driving winds and heavy rain.

When we are out covering tropical systems, we carry plenty of bottled water and non-perishable food. I've learned that a hot meal is about non-existent after a hurricane blows through a community. There have been numerous times we've shared our supplies with locals who either ask, or look like they need some nourishment. This trip, however, our producer found a local who couldn't ask for herself. You see, she was a chocolate lab puppy.

Injured, hungry and probably scared, this puppy quickly made friends with the crew. Our satellite truck operator agreed to let her come inside so she could rest. After lapping up some water and munching on some human food, she quickly fell asleep. It was obvious she hadn't rested well lately.

When the time came for us to depart Orange, there wasn't a lot of discussion as to the fate of our new-found 'Rita' as we called her. John, the truck op, thought he could find a good home for Rita, As it ends up, she would become an excellent addition to his family. Once home, a veterinarian determined she had a broken hip, likely sustained during the hurricane. Surgery was performed to get Rita back to health.

Now seven years later, John updates me that 'Katie' as she is now known, is 'fat and happy' and still very much a part of his family.

Hurricane Rita - Orange, TX
The Hurricane Rita crew in Orange, TX with puppy Rita being held by our producer.

The Weather Channel posted a small article about Rita on their website shortly after our return. Here's a link:

I can't begin to count how many tropical systems I've covered over the last 13 years, but needless to say, it's in the dozens. I've seen many things I'd like to forget, but this was one occasion that I happily recall.

While your video project may not require us to work in severe weather, we're just as happy to have you as a client. Give us a call at 800-201-8102, or 770-226-9250. Visit our website at to learn more about our services.

Car Care, Coaches and a Hurricane named Isaac

August was a busy month. We completed several productions, produced a live webcast from Tulsa, Oklahoma for a nationwide audience and even worked with a Georgia football legend.

One of the projects we completed was for Lexol Leather Care. The video, which will be featured on both their website and YouTube Channel was shot in two locations; a working car-care center and a residence with the on-camera talent using a wireless ear prompter.

We also started production on a weekly web series for the SEC Digital Network, part of SEC Sports. This weekly show is hosted by former University of Georgia Football Coach Vince Dooley and features his commentary on weekly match-ups, results and even a bit of SEC history.

Coach Dooley on set
The show shoots in our studio each week and has three different set arrangements, the primary opening and closing segments shot on the set pictured above. You can watch the show at

We have a long history working with The Weather Channel. Since 1999, we've provided camera crews to cover hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, flooding and just about anything else related to the weather. Last week, we spent a good portion of the week not in Louisiana, but in their studio, which is located about a mile from our office.

During breaking weather events, they often have a live, handheld studio camera providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the newsroom which is usually bustling with meteorologists, producers, editors and related production personnel.


Working with The Weather Channel has been a pleasure all these years. Unlike many news organizations, when people see The Weather Channel crew, they actually come over and talk to us, interested in our work and even thanking the on-camera meteorologist for the work they do in trying to keep viewers prepared.

Here's a picture of Mike Forrester on his first hurricane assignment, before the wind and rain arrived:


The photo was taken in Wrightsville Beach, NC in August, 1999 when he was covering Hurricane Dennis with Meteorologist Jim Cantore (behind camera in green shirt). 

You just never know where you may find Forrester Media working, but where ever it is, you can count on experience, quality and service. 

'Tornado Alley' comes to you in IMAX theatres

I've always been fascinated with weather. Growing up in Florida introduced me to hurricanes and a lot of severe storms. In 1999, The Weather Channel became a client and allowed me the opportunity to start chasing storms and meet some fascinating people.

In 2001, I met Meteorologist Josh Wurman, best known for his Doppler On Wheels (DOW) trucks that ply the roads of tornado alley. I think it was in 2002 that I met IMAX filmmaker Sean Casey and his Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV). Over the years I chased, rode with and followed behind the teams during numerous storms. By 2006, they were becoming celebrities in their own right and in 2007, Discovery Channel premiered 'Storm Chasers.' The show documented Josh's attempts to collect needed data to better understand tornadoes and Sean's attempt to film enough IMAX footage of tornadoes for his company's next film 'Tornado Alley' which was a follow-up to their 2004 'Forces of Nature' IMAX film.

Fast forward to 2011 and 'Tornado Alley' is now showing in IMAX theatres around the country. In Atlanta, it opens today at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Sean and his TIV are scheduled to be at Fernbank on Sunday, April 3rd. One of the DOW trucks will be visiting Fernbank in the following week.

Back in 2004, I hopped in the TIV and shot some video of Sean at work. In the video below, Sean loads the 90-pound IMAX camera onto it's mount located in the turret of the TIV. By the way, one load of 70mm film lasts all of 3 minutes. Not exactly conducive to filming a long track tornado, but it makes you appreciate the work that goes into capturing such a powerful force of nature.


A few notes about the video and TIV. Before Sean had corporate sponsors, he decided to paint the name of his camo-clothing company, Bushrag, on the side of the TIV. Sean did most of the welding himself and built the steel shell on the frame of a Ford F-450. The turret was added to aid in getting better images of tornadoes. As originally built, the driver had to position the TIV at 90 degree angles to film out hatches located midway on both sides of the TIV. Sean deserves an award for persistence, perseverance and originality during his eight year quest to film 'Tornado Alley.' Now, it's off to see the movie!