Case study: Fluke thermal imager provides temperature data for Yellowstone TV event

Thermal imaging

One of the reasons Yellowstone National Park is an iconic summer vacation destination for families is that it boasts amazing wildlife and is among the most geologically active places on earth. The park includes 10,000 hydrothermal features--steam vents, hot springs, mud pots and of course the showcase geysers such as Old Faithful.

That makes Yellowstone an ideal place to deploy Fluke thermal imaging technology to help explain the phenomena. Fluke thermal imagers will be in use at one of the summer’s biggest live events, YELLOWSTONE LIVE, a production of National Geographic and Plimsoll Productions. The event will show the iconic park’s ecosystem in real-time over a four-night period.

Old Faithful temperature data

The production team from Plimsoll Productions recently turned to Fluke to help tell the story of the park in as much detail as possible. Fluke infrared cameras will provide temperature data to demonstrate the power and heat generated by thermal activities at the park — including a thermal aerial view of Old Faithful erupting.

“We have the Fluke cameras so that we can see that when these jets come up that they’re hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit hot,” Peter Fison, producer for Plimsoll. “When you look at them with your eyes you can see the steam and the water, but you never get an idea of how hot they are. By using the thermal camera we can reveal to people how powerful the [geyser] is.”

Yellowstone Live Interview Fluke Tix580 Thermal Imager
Yellowstone Live interviews a park ranger.

Ecosystem like never before

With 25 live cameras filming more than 22 million acres, across three states, two national parks, five national forests and the most remote wilderness in the lower 48 states, YELLOWSTONE LIVE will reveal this ecosystem as never seen before.

“On a normal shoot we can film these geysers and volcanic features and you can see it with your eyes, but it doesn’t tell the full story,” said Fison. “The full story is about volcanic heat and we can see that with thermal cameras. The camera can tell us the hottest part of the spout, and that it’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The Fluke camera gives us a way to see a bigger picture on these volcanic features. It has a real simple interface. You can point to where the hottest bit is and where the least hot bit is and I think that’s a simple concept for the audience to get. Even when we’re filming the mist and fog of morning when you can’t see anything, a thermal camera sees something new.”

Fluke TiX 580 features large touchscreen for more detail

Project geologists and crew will use the Fluke TiX580 Infrared Camera, part of the Expert Series of Fluke imagers, which can measure temperatures from -20 ˚C to +650 ˚C (-4 ˚F to 1202 ˚F) and features a large, rotating 5.7-inch touchscreen. All Fluke infrared cameras are built tough for use in any environment — even the largest concentration of thermal activity in the world.

YELLOWSTONE LIVE, hosted by TV journalist Josh Elliott, begins on Sunday, Aug. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. Pacific Time on National Geographic and will continue every night through Aug. 8.