*Stretch Goal #1: $11,000 -- Titan U for Kids. 30 minutes of additional content geared specifically for children to learn about the weather and how to be safe. Read More at the bottom of the page!!
What Is Titan U?
Titan U is a collection of free resources from TornadoTitans.com, started in late 2011, which are meant to enhance public awareness of severe weather and also help train storm spotters on how to better identify storm features, which helps improve reporting accuracy to meteorologists at the National Weather Service who issue severe storm and tornado warnings. Our material has already been used by the National Weather Service in training sessions, TV Broadcasts, by Storm Spotter Groups and Storm Chasers, as well as tens of thousands of members of the general public.
Our goal with Titan U is to create a more prepared public and a more highly trained storm spotter which creates a 1-2 punch to hopefully limit the loss of life from storms during the incredibly active Spring and Summer months.
We have produced several smaller Titan U videos in the past, but what we want to do with this project is take Titan U to the next level and create nearly two hours of new and free resources wrapped in an interactive web experience which will help both the general public become more aware of Severe Weather threats and how to be better prepared for them, as well as providing storm spotters with advanced and comprehensive severe storm structure training and resources.
This is all coming from the creators of the highly acclaimed Tornado Titans Web Series and The Bear's Cage documentary film. Additionally, the Titan U material has already been used in NWS Spotter Training Curriculum, on broadcast TV, and it's been watched by thousands on the web!
The team putting this together includes a degreed meteorologist, a filmmaker, and some of the best severe weather photographers and videographers in the world. Additionally, we will be working with some of the top experts in Severe Weather Safety and preparedness to ensure this content is at the forefront of current thinking. This material is going to be produced at a very high, cinematic quality unlike any before it.
We believe this is the absolute best way to improve preparedness and ultimately save lives of people who will be ready for anything Mother Nature can throw their way during storm season.
What will the new format be?
The new and improved editions of Titan U will consist of two over-arcing parts which will be roughly 60 minutes apiece. Like the current videos, each part will be split up into smaller, more consumable web-based video segments (but unlike the current videos the new ones can be combined to be shown seamlessly together) and both parts will be part of an interactive web experience which will completely enhance the learning experience with quizzes, and a full suite of curriculum surrounding the videos.
The first part will be meant for the General Public, and it will help improve knowledge and preparedness for severe weather. To do this, we will spend roughly an hour educating people on how severe weather develops, how to stay informed throughout the day when severe weather is threatening, how to look up critical weather information, and how to properly shelter from severe weather threats, amongst other potential subjects. We want this section to create an educated public on the threats of severe weather, how to stay informed, and ultimately how to properly shelter so they don't become storm victims themselves.
The second part will be meant for storm spotters and storm chasers. We will create training resources with real world situations and video to help spotters better identify cloud features and to better anticipate storm behavior so they can relay more accurate reports. We will also deal with severe storm forecasting so emergency managers and storm spotters/chasers can better anticipate days where operations will be more needed than others. The ultimate goal of this part is to raise reporting accuracy so spotters and the National Weather Service can better work in tandem for greater warning accuracy.
All of this will be wrapped into an interactive web experience full of elements such as quizzes and informational pages which will enhance the learning experience and allow users who learn in different ways to really excel with this content and curriculum.
How Will Titan U Be Distributed? When? What is the Cost?
With your help, Titan U will be available on our website for free starting next Winter.
Yes you read that right. We want Titan U to be a free resource for anyone to view privately, show in public non-commercial settings, or to view with your family and friends.
We want Titan U to be able to be viewed by as many people as possible, and thus it will be available for free on our website in a completely interactive experience. It will also be released in total video form on Vimeo, on YouTube and just about any other video platform we can get it onto if we can get the funds to fund development and production.
In addition to distributing the material on our website, we plan to make it avaialble to any non-commercial usage imaginable in video format. That includes making this material avaialble to the NWS or local spotter networks for spotter training, or to towns to do interactive storm readiness seminars. The sky is literally the limit on what we can do with this material upon completion and our hope is to give it away in all kinds of creative manners!
Some Prototype Visuals of the Web Experience
We Need Your Help!
With our goal of delivering Titan U as a free resource, that means we need funding to help create this production. Without your help, we will certainly have to go an alternative route with this material -- but we don't want that! We want to give this material away for free so it can have the maximum impact it possibly can!
There will be a lot of painstaking hours at the editing console as well as on the road capturing material for this production, much less developing the web experience! As much as we'd love to do all of this for completely free and end up in massive debt...that's probably not smart for any of us. Creating high quality video material is neither easy nor cheap, and we need your help to make this production a reality. We are crazy enough to believe that this material is important enough to give away for free (you can't put a price on safety!), but we also have real and tangible needs to make this production as good as it could possibly be! Here is what we need your help with:
- New Production Cameras, microphones, and lenses to shoot this material in 4K so we can ensure Titan U can be viewed at its highest quality for years to come. Our goal is to shoot and deliver material that has a shelf life of at least 5-7 years and to do that, we are equipping two production vehicles with the best combination of quality and price when it comes to cameras we can find. Currently we need one more 4K camera to make this goal complete. ($2500)
- Funds to develop the interactive Titan U website experience. Everything from graphic design to licensing of scripts and programs to make the Titan U online experience shine. We want to deliver an interactive way to watch the videos complete with quizzes and informational packs that'll supplement the teaching in the videos. This money will be used for graphical design from someone way better than us at it, and buying/developing apps that'll make the experience complete. We have a lot of expertise at this in-house, but there will be some assets we need to add which simply cost money. ($1300)
- Other production equipment, both for the shooting aspect of production and for post production. This is a purposefully vague section to let you know that there are going to be costs we aren't fully able to anticipate. Big productions always come with a 'if it could go wrong, it may just' tendency, so as a small grassroots organization we want to help us create some margin as well as purchasing big needs to support the operation. This includes big things like hard drives (we need around 10TB of total space), cinematic equipment like a new dolly system, lighting for interviews, some graphical design elements, and licensing high quality royalty-free music which we'd like to include in the production. In addition, we have other shooting needs like filters, better camera mounting solutions, and power solutions we are wanting to buy to make the shooting experience as seamless as possible so the quality just jumps off of the screen. ($1650)
- Funds to help us travel to interview experts to include in the series. We are planning on traveling to meet with additional experts in weather, safety, and engineering who will contribute their expertise and knowledge with this project both on and off camera. ($1000)
- Pledge Fulfillment and Campaign Expenses. They say you have to spend money to make money right? Well that's what we're doing with this campaign and the perks. ($300)
- Kickstarter's approximate 10% cut. ($750)
- Help with getting the word out about our production and (eventually) showing the resources to your friends and families.
The simple fact is, producing both an interactive web experience as well as a roughly 120 minute video production is not easy, cheap, and definitely not free. We want to produce material that will be seen by the most people possible at the lowest cost possible of free. This means that we need your help, this is an all hands on deck approach with a communal effort to lead the way to improve education and preparedness on severe storm safety. If we can't raise the funds necessary, there is no way we can afford to take the extra time and travel those extra miles this project is going to require and still give it away for free. Simply put: without your help, there is simply no way we can make this production happen how we want it to happen!
Our end goal on this project is to simply provide a free resource people can learn from and be more prepared for severe weather. We have real storm documentation experts (over 50 years of combined storm chasing experience) as well as a degreed meteorologist and we're planning on collaborating to bring you the most high quality, educational experience on storm safety and prepardness possible. Our Titan U material was some of the first online video teaching material on storms and safety and it continues to be amongst the most watched. We have witnessed hundreds of tornadoes and storms, have the technical knowledge to deliver this project from start to finish, and we are already good at this stuff!
It's time to take Titan U and make it even better and make it relevant to more than just storm chasers!
Who Are We?
The Tornado Titans are a collection of filmmakers, photographers, meteorologists, and overall weather enthusiasts with over 60 years of combined storm chasing and spotting experience.
Chris Sanner - Filmmaker, Director
Chris has directed and produced all of the TornadoTitans.com video material, including the Tornado Titans web series and the highly acclaimed documentary film 'The Bear's Cage'. Chris will be spearheading this production from start to finish.
Brandon Sullivan - Videographer, Meteorologist
Brandon is one of the most sought after storm chasers for his amazing video he captures of tornadoes and severe weather. Brandon has a degree in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and currently runs a weather modeling business. Brandon will be providing expertise on meteorology to make sure our facts are correct as well as jaw-dropping footage.
Brett Wright - Photographer, Videographer
Brett is one of the top storm photographers on the planet, with his images being featured across multiple media outlets. Brett will be contributing both footage and photography to this series.
Brandon Goforth- Photographer
Brandon is one of the most renowned nature photographers on the planet, boasting an incredibly impressive portfolio of storm photos (and videos). Brandon's work has been featured in publications on every continent (except Antarctica) and he is also one of the only people to ever receive a 100.0 on 500px, a photography website with thousands of the world's best photographers on it.
Eugene Thieszen - Photographer, Videographer
Eugene is a veteran storm chaser by night and a pastor by day. Eugene began chasing in 1998 and has witnessed many tornadoes and significant weather events over his career. Eugene will be providing that veteran touch as well as amazing video and photo content for Titan U.
Josh Ward - Photographer, Videographer
Josh is a veteran storm chaser with almost a decade of chase experience under his belt along with dozens of tornado intercepts. Josh is a master with the video camera and is also a rising star in photography. He'll be contributing both mediums of visual content to the Titan U series of videos and in the online web experience!
When we set out to do this Kickstarter, we didn't want to be like so many others where you donate $50 just to get a T-Shirt and a thank you. Seriously, that sucks and we want to offer you real value from our huge library of productions as a HUGE thank you for helping us.
We happen to have a lot of cool things planned to give back to you, not the least of which are three of our highest quality productions on storm chasing and severe weather -- plus all pledgers get exclusive early access to the new Titan U material with the chance to offer feedback so we can make it the absolute best it can be.
You get to help make this happen!
Here is what we are offering to backers:
- Tornado Titans 2015
We are assuming you are donating to this project because weather in some ways fascinates you! With this reward we want to help your inner-weather geek sqeal with delight. In addition to shooting material for Titan U, we are also proud to announce that we will be filming the fourth season of our highly acclaimed web series this Spring at the same time we film material for Titan U, with this year's season entitled Tornado Titans 2015.
Tornado Titans 2015 will be a TV Quality, high-end web-based production showing off our 2015 chase season and it will center on the making of Titan U, with deep case studies on severe weather setups as well as entertaining character studies throughout the entire 2015 chase season.
When you pledge $20 or more, you will get a coupon code when Tornado Titans 2015: Limited Edition is released which will include our full 12 episode season, plus raw video and other special features from this year's chasing season as part of the limited edition release. We anticipate the Limited Edition of Tornado Titans 2015 will be a project with easily over three or four hours worth of video content to consume. Donating $40 or more gets you the Blu-Ray (and Digital) Limited Edition, which will likely come on multiple disks.
This will be our best narrative production ever, which means it is going to be incredible!
- "The Bear's Cage" Storm Chasing Documentary OR Tornado Titans Season 3
All pledgers of $10 or more will get access to the digital edition of our first ever full-length documentary, "The Bear's Cage." This film was shot during the earth-shattering 2013 tornado season in Oklahoma and details what it's like to chase the most violent weather on earth from the perspective of storm chasers. Runtime is 50 minutes and features interviews, amazing footage, and a harrowing tale of a season we'll never forget.
Also, if you are one of the super cool people who have already bought 'The Bear's Cage', please note that in your pledge and we will get you Tornado Titans Season Three from the 2012 Storm Season instead! Tornado Titans Season 3 has footage from multiple chase days and was highly regarded when we initially released it in 2012 and into 2013.
And if you've bought both, note that and we will seriously figure something out that's cool to give you that's worth the $10 pledge you give!
- Early/Preview Access to New Titan U Material and Exclusive Updates From the Field
All pledgers will also get early preview access to Titan U and your feedback will help shape the project as we go along. We are serious about this project being of the upmost help, and we want to make sure everything is clear, practical and easy to understand.
We will also be providing you exclusive updates from the field this Spring (we plan to shoot from March to August). We want this material to have the maximum impact and we plan to ask you for your help both financially (by making a pledge here) and with your feedback after the Kickstarter concludes by watching the videos and letting us know what makes sense and what doesn't to you -- we want this to be a communal effort in every way!
- A Thank You Credit on the Titan U Website and in the Videos
After we successfully fund Titan U (fingers crossed) we will have a contributors page with your name on it as a contributor to the project if you so desire. We may even establish cool levels based upon how much you gave to make you look even more legit. You can always choose to have your donation remain anonymous as well.
- Amazing Severe Weather Photo Prints
Depending on how much you pledge, you can get either an 8x10 image or a 12x18 image of your choice from any image on this page or on this linked gallery. Simply send us a URL of the image you want, and we'll package it and deliver it to you!
- The chance to learn from us!
We have three ways you can learn how to shoot better photos and videos with your cameras! We're offering photography workshops of varying types and lengths which you can check out in the perks section. Donate, $500, $1400, or more and we are going to make sure you do amazing things with your camera. Please note that the $500 and $1400 pledges do require you to be able to travel to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, so make note of that when pledging. We would definitely love it if you joined us!
STRETCH GOAL #1: TITAN U FOR KIDS
Check out more information on this incredible feature of Titan U here.
Titan U for kids is an interactive and fun learning environment for kids to learn about the weather and how they can be safe. They'll probably pick up enough to start teaching you, their parents, a thing or two!
Risks and challenges
Obviously, there's the simple fact that to capture the footage we want to capture this year -- we are going to have to pursue violent storms so there are a number of variables which could work against us. We could not see anything because we forget how to storm chase (possible given Brandon Sullivan's current performance metrics), we could see something too well and end up with another Hay Bale encounter (Brett promises to go more than 40 next time), or we could do what we normally do and capture beautiful footage of the world's most powerful storms. Also, other potential delays in setting up interviews and more could be encountered with some of the curriculum. Other pitfalls include production computers spontaneously combusting (which would be quite bad), or hard drives deciding they hate working correctly. You know, the general technical stuff which could always go wrong with developing an interactive website. Our plan is to release this material bit by bit starting next Fall, while we expect to meet every deadline, there is always the chance of a small delay or two!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)