Climate Change and digressions


Climbing high above a menacing mega-weather system, the VIP passengers aboard the Execu-jet attempt an escape to gentler climes, anticipating warm backrubs and frosty cocktails. Hubris! Even the mighty kerosene sucking turbo engines cannot forever loft such a heavy burden of sin! The weighty karma of their own greedy excess, their wanton spilling of carbon into the atmosphere and flippant sabotage of the global life support system drags them down. As if judged by the ancient gods, a bolt of rogue lightning strikes! Down, down into the swirling siphon perhaps to ditch in the flood waters or be smashed into jelly upon a mountain side. Fin.

Climate Change is a spin off of my Power Down PSA.

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When my pals James and Jamaica were invited to document a travel boondoggle disguised as right livelihood, I felt compelled to whip up an editorial video. This didn’t stop the travel or even jam the hype, but I’m glad I spoke up. I’ve since been contacted by others who were also annoyed by the project’s premise, so at least I’m not the lone curmudgeon.


Is it possible to carve out a profitable niche in “green” industries and services? Can we convert our environmental debts into the comfortable currency of convenience and excess? How can we repair the global life support system if we’re not ready to abandon some familiar habits? Clearly, what we’ve been conditioned to think of as good and proper just isn’t. Hamlet, you have drunk your death.

I hear coffee enemas are good for you, but sucking the stuff down daily ain’t, period. Shipping beans or any other commodity around the world certainly isn’t healthy for the planet – check this container ship presentation. Riding your bike to work every morning will never make up for your vacation jet flight. If you’re going to process organic food, pay local growers more than California growers. Be on guard against activist arrogance – we can’t trade our good works for privilege. Beware of environmental leaders with large families, they need to hustle to feed all those kids. We’ve got real work to do and willful ignorance isn’t helping. I’m willing to be somewhat diplomatic and gentle in explaining the situation, but to those who assert their personal agenda over global survival, watch out.


I shot the jet footage at Cherry Capital Airport and wanted to wipe out the plane’s registration numbers so I wouldn’t need a release. It was unlikely that the owners of the jet would gang up with the boondogglers and retaliate, but better safe than sorry. Another job for After Effects! I mucked my way through and the results were… good enough!

Unmarked plane, ready for a rendition run

When I was stabilizing the footage for the registration erasure, I wondered how the jet would look without it’s background. Weeks later, I was refreshing my roto chops with Pete O’Connell’s tutorials and needed some footage to practice with. The jet seemed ideal. After a rough roto extraction of the jet from the airport, I played with new backgrounds, including a trippy swirl that seemed to suck the stabilized jet in. That sketch became the basis for Climate Change.

Rough roto and the original vortex

The difference between a rough and a refined roto turned out to be about 3 days more work. The new roto tightened up the edges and wiped out the landing gear.

I also added a strobe flash, based on strobe from the original footage.

Lightning strikes are a bit of cliche, but so are apocalyptic images generally. Never mind that the plane is flying above the weather system, gimme some of that special Hollywood sauce! Extensive experimentation with various plugins eventually led to Sapphire’s S_ Zapto for the lightning and S_Glownoise for the dancing glow of rain on an electrically charged fuselage.

Jonathan and Patrick (experienced 3D modelers) both suggested that the plane’s movement was unrealistic, while James Weston (airplane pilot and flight instructor) was fine with the movement. Jeff wanted me to loose the rain streaks, he thought that broke the shot. The feedback was all over the place, so I decided to not make any changes. Maybe it is a little over the top. Jonathan thought the scene would work if it were pushed to be either totally over the top or totally realistic. I’ll ponder that when we plan the next release.


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