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Photographer Mike Olbinski's Storm Footage Used in Thor 2: The Dark World

Photographer Mike Olbinski's Storm Footage Used in Thor 2: The Dark World
Marvel/Disney

Hey geeks, did you happen to catch Thor 2: The Dark World this past weekend? If not, you were one of the few who didn't, considering that Marvel's latest entry into its cinematic universe raked in an estimated $86 million during its debut weekend. But if you did, however, you would've seen a bit of footage that was created by a Valley resident.

See also: Thor Returns, Diminished

Mike Olbinski, a local wedding photographer and storm chaser, undoubtedly has earned some serious cred in the geek world after time-lapse video of a monster supercell thunderstorm he shot earlier this year was used to create a special effect in the comic book blockbuster.

Over the summer, the 38-year-old -- who has recorded video of one of the Valley's first haboobs, as well as storms around Arizona, New Mexico, and a few other states -- used his Canon 5D2 camera to nab breathtaking shots of the intense maelstrom near the small town of Booker, Texas. Once it got posted to Vimeo, the video earned kudos across the web and grabbed the attention of special effects gurus at Marvel Studios.

A supercell near Booker, Texas from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

Olbinski says he got an e-mail from the studio in late July regarding the possibility of using his supercell footage. And according to a blog he wrote about the experience late last week, Marvel was a bit cagey at first about how it would be used.

I had no idea at first what it might be for, but they wanted the "highest resolution possible." I immediately started thinking . . . holy crap, they want this for the big screen! No way! But it took a few emails to confirm that. And then the told me the name of the movie: Thor 2: The Dark World.

 

The scene from Thor 2 featuring Olbinski's storm footage.
The scene from Thor 2 featuring Olbinski's storm footage.
mikeolbinski.com

Naturally, this self-described fan of comic book movies was floored by the revelation.

I nearly fell over. I mean...from the first moment I got an email from someone at Marvel I was freaking out. But once they confirmed it was for a major motion picture and that it happened to be Thor 2...I was flabbergasted.

Comic book movies are up there with my favorite genre of films. Science fiction, fantasy...comic books. And to actually have someone want to use a timelapse I made as part of a comic book film...well, MIND BLOWN. And it kinda made sense too...I feel like that timelapse has gotten quite a few comments that said something like "Wow, it's like Thor should come out of that cloud."

Olbinski's video of the supercell, which appeared midway through the film, was gussied up with CGI effects. Though he admits he was a little worried that it would be cut from the final version of the film, it indeed survived. This past Thursday evening, he gathered with several friends (including his pal Andy Hoelan, who helped him shoot the storm) for a screening at Harkins Tempe Marketplace 16 to witness his big moment.

Mike Olbinski's name in the credits.
Mike Olbinski's name in the credits.
mikeolbinski.com

Olbinski told Jackalope Ranch that seeing his work up on the big screen was a thrilling experience, to say the least. (He also was paid $4,000 and got his name in the credits.)

"I'm not a 'geek,' but I love comic books and the Marvel movies. I didn't start reading them until later in life, so I missed out when I was a kid," he says. "Having storm footage in a comic book movie, especially Marvel, is amazing."

Needless to say, Olbinski plans on getting a copy of the film when it's released on home video.

"Probably one on BluRay with a digital copy, so I can have it on all my devices," he says.

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