Since I can't edit my original post I'll add here that the heat wave distortion would just be on the lower part of the statue base, maybe where the base meets the lower third of the concrete freeway.
In Premiere, you could probably do something with Wave Warp. Put a copy of your clip above the original, apply Wave Warp to it and play with the settings, and then matte just the bottom. A quick'n'dirty way to do this would be to apply the Linear Wipe transition (it's actually in Video Effects > Transition) and adjust as needed.
Thanks, Joe. I have it bookmarked and am checking out some of the videos/tuts.
Thanks, Colin. That works. I was initially working with Wave Warp, then as I changed the settings it went from okay to horrible and even going back to the settings that looked okay it still looked bad. After you posted I gave it a second look. It was a matter of clearing the effect, re-applying it, and then re-tweaking.
I'll have 3 layers.
#1. The effect layer: with warp effect and alpha channel masked to specific heat wave area. This layer is also roughly 20% opaque.
#2. The whole statue layer: unaltered
#3. The video background.
I will experiment with the linear wipe wipe as well but this is looking pretty good. Thanks.
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That's great. The reason I suggest Wave Warp is that it self-animates. Honestly, if I were doing this, I'd probably use Turbulent Displace which is a little more organic-looking, but that requires animating it with something like the Evolution parameter. You might actually try combining that with Wave Warp...
As always, with Premiere, there's about 30 ways to do one thing
I gave the Turbulent Displace a cursory try a bit earlier. It shows promise but I'll have to read up on the controls for fine tuning. Thanks.