Telemundo touts twister facts, safety in virtual explainer

Telemundo is offering up details about the science and safety of tornados in a virtual explainer segment.

The segment was created by the Telemundo real-time graphics team using Chyron Prime VSAR and Unreal Engine for rendering.

The segment begins with a shaky handheld-style shot showing the corner of a house’s front porch as a funnel cloud looms in the distance.

There are wider views of the surrounding landscape interspersed during the segment, with semi-transparent white and yellow graphics added, frequently appearing to be aligned with a focal point in the scene or over a key part of the concept being illustrated.

With rounded corners, microtext and rectangle accents, these graphics have a decidedly “high tech” look.

These become particularly important when the segment has to explain air currents and direction — a concept that is largely invisible. Like in many weather maps, a combination of lines, circles and arrows are used to illustrate the path of the wind, including how it begins to form the infamous funnel shape.


The segment then moves inside the virtual house, with a large appliance crashing through a wall as the importance of finding an inside room for safety is noted.

Near the end, the correspondent is shown climbing into a bathtub and placing a mattress on top of him — a common piece of tornado safety advice given for cases when there is no basement or one cannot be reached. 

The segment then illustrates an apparent direct hit of the twister on the house — with the view, in a rather cinematic style, switching to the talent’s point of view before crashing into darkness. This blackout is used as a transitional element to cut to a wide view of the talent emerging from the tub after the virtual storm has destroyed the structure. 

Telemundo’s team added some details to the segment that helped make it feel more realistic — including the wobbly nature of many shots, having the talent pass behind porch columns and then through the front door. 

There is also a well-timed reaction to the appliance breaking through the wall, though the on-screen response feels a bit staged.

Some final details that add a particularly nice touch include the tub wobbling slightly with a light thud sound effect as the correspondent steps out of it and a depiction of the many of the same items shown just inside the home just moments before now mostly destroyed or scattered in the background.