Monday, October 21, 2013

DVD Review: Distance to Empty

Veteran storm chaser Shane Adams offers his latest DVD this year, titled "Distance to Empty." The official release date is Halloween, but as part of a trade for my latest DVD (when I am done with it) I was able to snag it early and get the jump on everyone else.

DVD info/purchase page:

Like with any Shane Adams DVD, it is purely raw chasing, something I love. The title is unique and has personal meaning, something I also love and much prefer over something cheesy like "tornado alley adventures 2013." No fancy covers or case here. I personally like having the black DVD cases because I like having something to stack into a shelf to look at and say "this is my awesome storm porn collection," but Im just weird like that and in the grand scheme of things it doesnt really matter so onto what matters most, the meat.

The DVD starts quickly with a short segment from 2011 documenting a rare February tornado in Oklahoma, a rather insignificant event tornado wise as the funnel didn't fully condense and was short lived but given the early time of the year for it to occur seeing any shot of it is a treat.

We move onto another event not many chasers covered, April 3rd 2012 which saw a local tornado outbreak near the Dallas/FT worth area. Mostly local chasers on this event, Shane gets a brief look at a tornado in its rope out stage as he tries to battle metro traffic. Coming from someone who lives in another large metro area (Chicago) I can emphasize the frustration. Earmuffs recommended for children. Still, this is a shot you won't see anywhere else.

The next chapter ramps up big time and accounts for more than half the tornadoes on the DVD. 2012 was a disgustingly painful year for many chasers, but it did offer one major event which many chasers scored on. April 14th. Shane did about as good as you can and nabbed 10 tornadoes of all shapes and sizes, during the day and night. One shot shows twin tornadoes on the ground. Great chapter, great chasing, great tornadoes. Many of the tornadoes in this chapter are not well known as most chasers were in Kansas, a great plus since many of the shots I saw were new to me. Awesome nightime footage of a tornado with quick transitions. A series of video stills set to music follows. Something that offers a nice change of pace on the DVD, but fits in well with the chapter. On a personal note, I failed this day big time so it was bittersweet for me to watch.

Jumping to 2013 we find ourselves on May 15th which was another "surprise" event in TX few people chased. Again, and this seems to be a recurring theme on this DVD, we are given tornado video you wont find anywhere else. In the modern chasing area it is hard to have a unique catch that 40 other chasers don't have, but this DVD is loaded with them and this chapter is no exception. When I first watched it I thought "May 15th, what the heck happened on May 15th?" Well done.

May 18th follows which brings an amazing, well documented long lived EF-4 tornado near Rozel Kansas. It doesn't get anymore classic than this. The entire tornado life cycle captured on tripod from a single spot.

A brief tornado on May 19th, which again is footage from an event I didn't even know happened closes the DVD and the credits role.

Final thoughts:

Definitely a buy or a trade. I am one who loves the raw style, classic chase footage DVD, even the parts that drag out a bit along with the pointless crotch shots from inside the car. As a storm chaser myself its great to see these as well as the same frustrations, and early on intense "CMON FULLY CONDENSE ALREADY!!" type moments that I experience while chasing. There is very little editing in the DVD. You get a chapter title and thats it, the tornadoes take over, and there are lots of them.

One thing you can always count on with a Shane Adams DVD is wall to wall tornadoes. Lots of language on the DVD, which I find hilarious, but is not exactly family friendly. No in car shots of the chasers screaming and yelling at each other (something growing in popularity these days that I personally can't stand.) Just weather, the way it should be.

Do buy if: You want tornadoes and only tornadoes. You enjoy the classic, raw, pure chasing style. Enjoy having a large collection. Want to see footage form lesser events you wont find anywhere else. Have been a life-long fan of Shane.

Do not buy if: You are offended by strong language. You are a fanboy and want to see in car shots of the chasers having emotional moments with each other. Only enjoy up close and near death experience video.