The skies turn a menacing, otherworldly shade of black as the swirling tip of a funnel cloud reaches down toward the earth. Millions watch at home as the twister touches down and begins to whirl its path of destruction through a small Midwestern town. As the debris flies and winds reach hurricane speeds, a dangerously exposed cameraman must make a split second decision between capturing invaluable footage and the value of his or her life.
As the runaway popularity of TV shows like "Storm Chasers" on the Discovery Channel have proven, the public can't get enough extreme "weather-tainment." But a show like "Storm Chasers," which chronicles the adventures of competing squads of tornado hunters, doesn't give enough credit to the production crew squeezed into the backseat or the cameraman strapped to the roof.
According to a behind-the-scenes blog post on Discovery.com, the production crew -- composed of veterans from other "extreme" shows -- often sacrifices its own safety to get the best shot, even if it means riding into the center of a tornado or standing out in punishing hail [source: Storm Chasers].
"It's almost like being in combat," says camera operator Robert Seaman. "You have to get your mind in this berserk, war-zone area and just let everything go to give yourself to the work" [source: Storm Chasers].
Yes, "the work." Or you can slightly lower your chance of on-the-job trauma and apply for that union gig at that morning talk show. Your choice.