Designing a lighting pyromusical

Sapphire Pyrotechnics prides itself in being one of the only companies within the UK to incorporate Lighting effects and fireworks into one harmonious display.  This is done by using the state of the art lighting units produced by Martin, currently here at Sapphire pyrotechnics we are using the Martin Rush MH3’s which have a humongous #lamp details# lamp.  For you and me this means the light beam that is produced by the light saws into the sky creating a beautiful site. James our director understands all of the geeky details about the lights and fireworks as he has spent hours working with the effects in different applications across the UK.

Right from the start a client decides to pick a lighting pyromusical the team springs into action, once the location of the display has been chosen a full site survey is carried out by a member of the team. This site survey is referred to right through the design process to ensure that the show designed will be safe but spectacular at the same time.

TIME TO PICK THE MUSIC! The words that everyone in the office dreads, well not if the clients chose the music for us. Well we only get fed up of hearing James playing music loudly for days to find songs that would work best for the event. It can even mean listening to the same song multiple times back to back! It drives us all insane! If you are choosing music for a firework show please see our other blog titled “How to choose music for a firework show?”

Everyone’s favourite bit designing the fireworks and light show, it very much depends on the track on what order these things are done in. As our designer, says “some songs are more fireworks dominate and some are more lighting controlled” I know to me and you we can’t really tell the difference but apparently, there is a huge difference!

A show is designed in two separate bits of software, one for the fireworks and one for the lightings effects. Let’s start with the fireworks! The most important thing, once the track has been chosen James already has several ideas in his head of how to design a show to the track. It will consist of using single hitting effects such as comets and mines to get that pin point precision on a specific note. However, for parts of the track where its louder and faster multishot effects will be used in conjunction to larger fireworks known as shells.  Combine these and James’ eye for timing you get a beautifully synchronised firework display. Now for the lighting!

The complicated section, well for me! The lighting effects, are programmed by each motion. Wow that’s a lot of programming! For a song that is around 3 minutes there can be around 100 different cues per fixture. This is all done in a 3d software which allows us to visualise the lighting effects without having to set them up. Also allows us to check that the show will play out with the deliciously and timing that we desire to archive.  Typically, they are programmed in pairs to create symmetry within the sky however this is something that varies between designer and track.

Hurray! We have designed the show, well now it’s time to prepare the show! Once that it has been signed of as a complete show, the fireworks side is then passed to the fully trained BPA crew who pick the fireworks out of our stores and fuse them! Yep fuse them! Each firework has an electric ignitor inserted into them which is plugged into the firing system on site the day of the show. This electric match is what allows fireworks to be ignited with millisecond timing to a track.  Once the show has been picked and loaded its show time! Everyone’s favourite bit, where we actually get to let fireworks off! Please see next month’s blog about setting up a firework show.





Post Author: James

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