Types of Firework Displays

For generations, the images of bright red flares glowing in the hands of men and women lighting fireworks in the middle of controlled chaos has been the industry standard. Today, this is what most people still picture when thinking about shooting a firework display; Seemingly random fireworks, lighting up the sky. While this method is quite prevalent all around the world, electronic firing systems, better quality controls during manufacturing, and new products hitting the market every year are radically changing the landscape of a “typical fireworks display”. These new methods allow companies and show designers to customize each performance in ways they couldn’t before. They can now tailor each show to the individual customer’s needs and challenges.  But is all this necessary? Let’s look at the different types of outdoor firework displays and see what each one of them has to offer.

Traditional Shows: Just fireworks booming in the sky

Traditional, Hand Fired Displays

The show described above is known as a “Traditional, Hand Fired” display. These firework shows tend to feel very random; sometimes having awkward pauses, multiple shells breaking in the sky on top of each other. A well coordinated crew is able to minimize these variations, but inevitably there will be a few. They require a much smaller budget due to less labor to setting them up and minimal planning ahead of time. In return for the cost savings though, multiple technicians are within the display area while the show is firing. This opens them up to the possibility of injury during the display. We are seeing a shift away from this type of display for that reason; by both display companies and sponsors alike.

Traditional, Electronically Fired Displays

For those who are still budget conscious but prefer a more organized feel, a “Traditional, E-Fired” show may be the route to go. This allows operators and technicians to prepare each firework device with its own electronic match and be able to control it with split second timing. These types of shows are slightly more labor intensive on the preparation side of things, but it removes personnel from the display site while the show is firing. It also allows the operator to have much better control over what is happening both in the sky and on the ground. The show designer can create sequences, paint scenes using certain effects and colors, plus control pacing and show length with greater ease. Each year more and more companies, as well as clients, are choosing this option; primarily due to the many benefits it provides at a minimal cost increase.

Pyromusicals: Create an experience, not just a firework display

Soundtracked Displays

While there is no true definition of a pyromusical, there are 2 main schools of thought with them. The first is what we like to refer to as a “Soundtracked” show. This display will be fired in conjunction with a soundtrack; either pre-recorded or with a live band. It will be electronically fired using E-Matches, and the pacing of the fireworks will generally lend itself to the pacing of the music. This multi-dimensional approach to the firework display offers many benefits. Primarily, it allows the sponsor and show designer to work together on creating a theme for the show. This also helps set the display apart, and make sure it’s not “just another fireworks show”. 

These shows tend to use other pyrotechnic devices such as strobes, flame pots, comets, and mines (among others devices) to compliment the aerial shells and cakes. There is more work on the design end of the production, as well as extra labor in the field; so a price increase above a traditional show should be expected. It may not be as much as you would think though.

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