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'Walking With Dinosaurs' Viewed as a High-Tech Puppet Show

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Creators of the "Walking With Dinosaurs" live arena show say it's a puppet show that's supported by lots of technology. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.

It might not look quite like a quaint little marionette performance or "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood," but creators of the giant "Walking With Dinosaurs" live arena show say it is still very much a puppet show.

Though, based on what we recently saw at the Barclays Center on a behind-the-scenes tour, it's safe to categorize it as an extremely cutting-edge, 21st century puppet show.

"It's exactly what it is, yeah," says Sonny Tilders of "Walking With Dinosaurs." "I call them puppets. People wonder what I call them. I call them puppets because we use the art of puppetry, this very traditional art form of puppetry, to create these creatures. But of course, they're supported by an enormous amount of technology."

There are actually two types of puppets here. First, the little ones. They are more traditional. There's actually a person inside. Then, there's the giant ones, which actually take three people to operate.

"They have a driver on board. They have two other operators that operate the voodoo rigs, and these voodoo rigs are, I guess, a lovely, intuitive way to connect the puppeteer to the dinosaur," Tilders says. "And if you like, they're like a little schematical simplified anatomical version of the dinosaur. And you essentially grab the neck and the body, and you're manipulating this little rig that has little sensors on it that goes to a little black box of magic, I call it, a little computer system, and that fires out radio signals out to the floor that's interpreted by another little black box of magic, and it's sent out to the various parts of the dinosaur. And so whatever I do with this voodoo rig, the dinosaurs sort of act in a commensurate sort of way. And the other guy does the sounds."

Developers say "Walking With Dinosaurs," which is in its second run in the U.S. right now, is even more high-tech than the original, and they insist that they're working on technologies to make future versions somehow even more realistic.

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