Sunday TV: Going Live from Yellowstone

YellowstoneLiveWhat’s going on in Yellowstone tonight? Thirty-five cameras will be aimed from 25 locations at the landscape, natural events like Old Faithful or any of the 400 animal species in the first of a four night event called “Yellowstone Live” (National Geographic, 8 p.m.) hosted by Josh Elliott and Chris Packham.

“Wildlife television is usually known for its perfect images, shot over months or years, wonderfully edited and scored,” executive producer Al Berman said from the Lamar Valley. ”This show is just the opposite. It’s not sculpted by man, it’s sculpted by nature. It’s real. It’s as real as it can get. We have unpredictable subjects, we have unstable ground. And unlike most live shows — you know, where you can cue the rock star or cue the presenter — you can’t cue a grizzly.”

So, as in “Live PD,” there may be a lot of activity, or none.

Berman told critics at the TV Critics Association summer press tour July 25 that a plane flying overhead all four nights will pick up signals from satellite vans and a hovering helicopter.

In the chopper, Berman says, “We have a Magmacam, a thermal imaging camera.”

It will be focused on park hot spots, especially Old Faithful.

In addition, he says, “we have infrared cameras in the beaver lodge. we have a fiber optic camera snaked down a squirrel burrow and motion-triggered cameras to find cougars.”

Home base for the four day production will be a 100-year-old barn converted to a high-tech studio.

And there will be seismograph readings. “There were 23 earthquakes in the past seven days — two today,” Berman said, noting that “640,000 years ago was the last big eruption here.”

So could this turn into “Earthquake Live”?

“Hey,” he said, “you never know.”


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