VIDEO: Bird Watching With Jeremy Railton At Crane Dance


Crowds flock to Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore to watch Crane Dance, a 10-minute “ballet mecanique” between two mechanical cranes weighing 80 tons each and designed by Jeremy Railton. “I saw building cranes on the Singapore harbor, and they looked birdlike,” says Railton, the Emmy Award-winning designer who is also an amateur ornithologist. “I thought it would be cool to make them move.” Railton’s long-necked drafting-table lamp inspired the cranes’ movements. “I did a home puppet show with the lamp,” he says, noting that the crane is an Asian symbol of good luck and also an endangered species. “I wanted to draw people’s attention to their plight.”

Capturing the articulation of the lamp on paper, Railton sent his drawings to McLaren Engineering to create the cranes, which were built in Singapore by LYS, using parts from all over the world including biodegradable diesel fuel for the huge engines that power the birds, whose eyes alone are 5' in diameter. Six axes of movement allow the cranes to stand up, swivel, and face right, left, and front, while their knees and ankles articulate, their heads turn, and eyes blink, using a Birket Engineering show control system.

In addition to their 10-story Eiffel Tower-like structures, the cranes sport 30'x40' waterproof (and saltwaterproof) Barco LED screens, fed by a coolux Pandoras Box with Medialon playback. Content is by Railton, along with George Johnsen of Mammoth Sound & Video. Patrick Woodroffe’s lighting shines from towers to the left and right of the cranes on their nesting island, as well as shoots up from the water, with a rig based around Philips Color Kinetics C-Splash LEDs, automated fixtures by Philips Vari-Lite and Clay Paky, plus control via an MA Lighting grandMA console.

“The story is of two inanimate objects that fall in love and transform into real birds that fly away on the screen,” says Railton. This mating dance takes place in a blaze of lights, video, fountains, and cutting-edge digital technology that frames a romantic courtship between the world’s largest animatronic figures.

Crane Dance
Credits And Gear List

Entertainment Design Corporation
Jeremy Railton, EDC President/Lead Show Designer
Edward S. Marks, Producer & Project Director
John Rust, Show Director
Chris Homsley, Senior Project Manager
Bob Chambers, Senior Technical Director
Doriana Sanchez, Crane Choreography
Paul Mirkovich, Composer
Adela Kuehn, Technical Director
Chris Gile, Technical Director
Rob Palmer, Technical Director
Andrew Rubio, Project Coordinator

Mammoth Sound & Video: Media Production
George Johnsen, Animation Producer

Patrick Woodroffe Lighting Design: Project Lighting Designer
Patrick Woodroffe, Principal Lighting Designer
Adam Bassett, Lighting Designer

Lightswitch Los Angeles: Site Lighting Designer
Mike Lagrotteria, Lighting Designer
Bryan Barancik, Lighting Designer
Tim Routledge, Programmer
Demfis Fyssicopulos, Programmer

LYS: Crane Steel Contractor
Patrick Lai
Ahamad Mohideen, Project Manager
Phil Maddox, Technical Director

McLaren Engineering: Concept Engineer
Mal McLaren

Other Suppliers
ATECH: Lighting Integrator & Scenic Supplier
Barco: LED Screens Supplier
Birkett Engineering: Crane Show Control System
EAS: Audio & Video Control Integrator
Glorious: Pyro Supplier
McConnell Dowell: Barge Structure and Submarine Cables Manufacturer
OASE: Water Wing Systems
PH: Crane Hydraulics Systems

Equipment List:

PYRO Finale Enhancement:

35 Pieces of Product-205X Individual Shots

1 V3.00 PyroDigital Firing Controller

9 FM-4 PyroDigital Firing Modules

6 50mm Silver Glitter Tail Comet Mortars firing to 70M Height

6 50mm Gold Glitter Tail Comet Mortars firing to 70M Height

6 100mm Gold Mine Mortars firing to 75M Height

4 30mm 11 Shot Silver Comet "Z" Cakes firing to 60M Height

4 30mm 11 Shot Gold Comet "Z" Cakes firing to 60M Height

2 30mm 11 Shot Silver Comet "Fan" Cakes firing to 60M Height

2 30mm 11 Shot Gold Comet "Fan" Cakes firing to 60M Height

5 30mm 11 Shot Brocade Crown Waterfall "Fan" Cakes firing to 60M Height

Video Screens and Video Eyes:

2 Screens Dimensions: 8 meters High, 8 meters Wide

One Screen and Two Eyes per Crane x2

13252 FLX-24 Barco LED Pixels

1024 FLX-24 LED Barco Custom Panels

130 FLX Barco Power/Data Distribution Panels

68 Custom Marine Graded Mechanical Sub Panels

5 Barco FLX-Controller and Power Supplies

33 Barco FLX-Power Rectifiers

1 DX-700 Video Processor

1 NNI Transmitter Receiver


16 Clay Paky Beam 1500

14 Clay Paky Wash 1200

24 Tempest tornado 2300

144 Philips Color Kinetics C-Splash

1 MA Lighting grandMA 2 Light

2 Martin Optosplitter

2 Martin Exterior 600



16 Rienkus Hienz full range and 4x18" sub arrays

8 2x18" Rienkus Hienz sub front fill

8 Rienkus Hienz full range front fill

18 Gruppen LAB 088 Amplifiers

Pandora LT video playback

3 Dell PC's

Medialon SCMPRO

Please or Register to post comments.

Resource Center

Connect With Us
The Briefing Room