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Legacy, Elation and Obsidian team up for “Nature Illuminated” at Minnesota Zoo

Photos © Minnesota Zoo
Photos © Minnesota Zoo

This past holiday season, Legacy Production Group of Minneapolis worked with Street Factory Media to present “Nature Illuminated” at the Minnesota Zoo. Legacy used a lighting package of Elation IP‐rated luminaires to compose picturesque environments and controlled the lighting scenes using a large Obsidian lighting control network. The oversized animals – more than 30 specially crafted works of art illuminated from the inside with LED lights – were presented across five different zones on a nearly mile long loop, each zone with its own theme. Legacy’s Tom Gorman, lighting designer and production manager on the project, explains the role of the Elation lighting system.

Gorman and his team gave life to each scene by throwing color onto trees using Paladin™ hybrid effect lights and then accenting with slow gobo rotation or slow color chases from Proteus Maximus™ LED moving heads. For areas that didn’t require color change, they placed gels in front of DTW Blinder 700 IP™ lights to wash groups of trees. They even lit the snow in blue to create a more realistic scene for animals that live in the water. Some 16 Proteus Maximus, 44 Paladins and 16 DTW Blinder 700 IPs were used on the experience – all IP65 rated. IP‐rated Par lights were also used for color accents.

A large area with roads to traverse coupled with wintry weather made creation of a lighting control network a demanding but not necessarily complicated, task. “From a power, networking and data standpoint it was pretty remarkable,” Gorman said. “We used 9 Netron EN4™ nodes working with 20 switches and Ubiquiti wireless access points to create the network. All control was from an M6 console that had been upgraded to the latest Obsidian Onyx software.”

Programming took place using Obsidian’s compact NX2™ console, which the Legacy team put in a car and drove to each area. “We’d drive to an area, take out a Cat 5 cable, find one of our 20 switches and access the network and program right there,” Gorman relates. Gorman sends kudos to Lighting Director Julio Roque, who did the bulk of the programming and maintained the network on a daily and nightly basis.


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