Animatronic pre-historic monsters are among the fascinating exhibits at The Age of the Dinosaur, a special exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London, from April to September 2011. Sutton Vane Associates has lit the whole of the exhibition, helping to present scientifically accurate recreations of the sights, sounds and smells of the Mesozoic era in three ‘immersive’ areas.  

The exhibition includes specimens, models, full-scale animatronics and video. LED spotlights and fibreoptics under DMX control create atmospheric and dynamic lighting of life-size, moving dinosaur models.  

LEDs illuminate the Mesozoic era
Visitors’ experiences include an underwater area depicting ocean life; a protoceratops and a velociraptor clashing at a desert watering hole in the Cretacious period, and a discovery centre. 

In the Jurassic zone, the orange and yellow dappled lighting help recreate the atmosphere of an early morning in the jungle. Blues and purples convey evening at the water hole using Light Projects spotlights mounted on a truss structure and LED spotlights hidden in the sets. 

DMX controls on a six to eight minute loop complements the animatronics action and the atmosphere, with lighting synchronised to audio/visual, misters and even the reverberating floor. A lighting desk provides manual lighting control. Fibre optics, spots and colour gels light displays of artefacts.