In April of 2013, Pyrotechnic Innovations entered into an agreement with Pyro Spectaculars to officially join forces. Pyro Innovations now exclusively provides all crew and training resources to Pyro Spectaculars. This is the culmination of many hours of work building and up keeping the Pyro Innovations website, and working with Pyro Spectaculars to tailor something that would be mutually beneficial. Pyro Innovations will begin expanding its online fireworks training section, in addition to working with Pyro Spectaculars to create a streamlined fireworks training program for crew and all prospective operators. This collaboration provides a means to take both companies to the next level through a more standardized training program and significantly increasing the number of licensed operators available to shoot displays for Pyro Spectaculars. This will be an exciting new chapter for Pyrotechnic Innovations!
The hundreds of hours that went into creating our new “Online Fireworks Training” pages was well worth it. It has had a tremendous impact on the amount of time needed teaching new people at shows. The 4th of July was a great example. This 4th of July was at a new show site for us this year, which means the operator (me) has many logistical matters to take care of, a new customer to build relations with, along with the added time and effort needed for the more advanced setup of set pieces and the “Niagra Falls” effect. This meant I couldn’t spend a great amount of time training new people. It so happened, that this year, our crew consisted of 75% “noobs”. After making it manditory for first timers to go through all of our fireworks training pages before coming out, it turned a full day of training and babysitting into just a few minutes of watching them demonstrate thier skills to myself or an experienced crew member as they went along from task to task. It was like they had already worked numerous shows. I plan to keep updating and expanding the training pages, hopefully to encompass a broader spectrum of fireworks display setup. I highly recommend other operators to direct thier new people here, it has been such a great help to me (even more than I predicted!).
Everyone, we have been working on some great new updates for the pyroinnovations.com website. The look of the website is being completely re-done, along with tons of new pages added. These new pages will contain lots of new information and of course more free videos. The new website will incorporate some unique information that is available no where else on the web. The new website will be released sometime late January. Make sure you check back to see if its been published!
You never can tell who is going to be able to remain calm during the “heat of battle”. Everytime I shoot a show where the show start time is determined by the customer, usually announced to myself over a radio, I always wonder how the customer will end up announcing it. I always give pretty clear instructions beforehand on how to cue us to fire so that there are no misunderstandings. The best way I have found is to say, “Pyro, Fire, Fire, Fire” over the radio in a very distinct, slowly spoken, clear voice. Usually at a show, the customer will be coordinating numerous activities and not just the fireworks cue. Because of this, he/she is usually overwhelmed with the coordination of all these activities and fails to announce clearly the pre-designated phrase. I have all to often heard the entire phrase blurred together in under a second. I have also heard, “GO, GO, GO!”, which has no words even resembling fire, pyro, or fireworks, which of course I’m suppossed to interpret as the fireworks? Sometimes for a homecoming show, the customer will just tell you, “when you hear the homecoming queen’s name announced, that’s when you fire.” In most cases, that’s not a problem, but I did have one instance where there was such an echo in the stadium that all we heard over the loudspeaker was, “gheiadn adiwgthe adiheahesf ahhwsfhfff fhedahsdfh…” We then heard, “wosefn wsefiondsf queen oiwsefohisd” and then alot of cheers, but it ended up being the announcement of last years queen. Lucky for us, my pyro instinct told me to wait. Why is all of this important? Well, since the fireworks are usually a fairly important part of the event, something which typically isn’t started, stopped, and started again, you want to make sure you start the show at the right moment. Of course if you fire on the wrong command (because nothing is being said slowly and clearly), it’s always your fault. Fortunately for my crew and I, we have nailed it right on the head each time (a couple of which were lucky guesses, like the homecoming example given above), and knock on wood will continue this tradition!
Tis that time of year. Football, fancy cars, kings and queens, and of course, the halftime fireworks display. Yep, you guessed it, high school and college homecoming football games. Some operators are not very fond of homecoming shows. They are small, you still have to drive significant distances, and your lucky if you make enough to cover gas in your vehicle. However, I enjoy homecoming shows for a few reasons. One, they are small. It’s a good break from the 26 hour bust your behind days setting up the big shows. Two, they are a good time to train new crew. The setups might take 30 minutes to at most 2 hours for your average homecoming show. This gives way to you being able to take your time during setup and answer all the questions the new people might have. These shows are not very labor intensive due to thier size. Although the shows are small, you usually get quite a few of them during the October/November season, and this still ads to your experience. No matter how big the show is, there is always something new to learn. So in the end, you still get your pyro fix without all the usual hard work that goes into the bigger shows.
First there were just fireworks cakes that shot strait up. Then there were ”W-shape” fireworks cakes which shot an entire angled row at once, filling up a wide area with each shot. Then there were “Z-shape” fireworks cakes which quickly gained in popularity due to the ”tracing” effect created by each of thier angled tubes firing rapidly one right after another. Now, the next generation of fireworks cakes, dubbed “X-shape”, has a similiar functionality to that of a Z cake, except it starts from two opposite ends, each end tracing back and forth, which gives a comet crossing effect. This also drastically speeds up the cake, making them very intense. The only drawback is that they don’t last to long…