StormStock: Prairie Pictures marks 30 years of shooting extreme weather footage
July 5, 2024

StormStock: Prairie Pictures marks 30 years of shooting extreme weather footage

Way back in 1993, filmmaker Martin Lisius was wrapping up work on another of his documentaries about severe weather when he began receiving phone calls from TV producers needing extreme weather footage for their projects. Soon after, Lisius organized his content and gave it a name. He called it StormStock. 

“I had been shooting storm footage for several years, but I didn’t know that much about archiving content and licensing intellectual property,” Lisius recalls. “So, I contacted fellow producers for advice and did a lot of research, and quickly became a rights and clearances professional.”

StormStock was and still is a brand of Lisius’ production company, Texas-based Prairie Pictures. 

“Some people call StormStock a company, but it’s really just a collection owned and operated by Prairie,” Lisius explains. “We’ve kept it that way because we want to maintain it as an artisan brand. We produce our own content, then archive and license it to film and video professionals. It’s sort of like farm to table.”

One of the unique characteristics of the StormStock team is their commitment to the quality of their product. They have always shot footage on leading formats using innovative techniques. In 1998, Lisius began shooting weather and climate footage on Super 35mm motion picture film in preparation for HD video, which would not arrive as a standard format until about 2005. As soon as HD became the norm, the film footage was transferred to that format, allowing StormStock to have a seven-year head start in the weather and climate footage market. StormStock soon turned their attention to 4K and had another jump on that emerging format. Because Lisius can sometimes be impatient with the slow development of new technologies, he developed and built a 16K camera system in 2018, which he has used to capture content over the past several years. 

“It was so cutting-edge that we received phone calls from both Apple and Intel asking how we did it,” he notes.

StormStock’s goal has always been to produce and archive the greatest collection of weather and climate footage that exists. 

“To me, we must be the very best at what we do, simply because we can,” states the filmmaker. “Our team possess a rare combination of skills - weather and cinema. We have a thorough understanding and passion for both.”

But, what about the content itself? 

“We have two styles of weather and climate footage,” Lisius explains. “One is dramatic, the other is beautiful.” 

The StormStock team tracks and films hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning, flooding and blizzards. The imagery ranges from scary shots of tornadoes and hurricanes tearing things apart, to rock-steady cinematic footage of storm clouds and lightning captured on film, 4K, 8K and 16K video. The team spends long hours on the road to reach their subject, sometimes driving several days to intercept a storm, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. That effort paid off and StormStock now holds the most-sought after Katrina footage in the world. 

“We literally had to drive around refrigerators that were scattered on the highway to move to new shooting locations that day,” Lisius recalls.

 StormStock now offers the only 4K footage of Hurricane Katrina making landfall. The Katrina 35mm film footage was transferred to 4K video by Colorlab in Maryland, and colored by Lisius.

Clients worldwide have used content shot and licensed by StormStock, including the BBC, Nat Geo, Warner Bros., NBC Universal, Google, Verizon, Cisco Systems and others for documentaries, films and commercials. Recently, the legendary Irish rock band U2 came to StormStock to license footage for their highly-successful “U2:UV Achtung Baby” concert series at the Sphere in Las Vegas. To date, that event has grossed over $110 million in ticket sales. 

You can visit StormStock online ( or stay up to date on their work at