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This was our second year visiting the fireworks team providing the pyro entertainment at the Felixstowe Carnival. Previously, we were guests of Skyscenes Pyrotechnics, who had since been acquired by Fully Fused. So it was the same venue and same challenging brief (a long display on a modest budget) but a different team of firers.

The day didn't get off to a good start - I was flashed by a speed camera on the A14 which later produced three points on my virgin licence and a sixty quid fine. Then we found there was no parking on site and had a bit of a trek with our camera cases and tripods. But the good news was blazing sunshine, a beer tent, hot dogs and burgers, and a massive pile of fireworks to "inspect". This was going to be a good day after all.

The previous display was located some distance from the main Carnival field which had the stage and attractions. As a result it was not very visible particularly when you took into account the horrible mist that plagued us. The organisers took the criticisms on board and this year the site was far better. We were now adjacent to the main field with plenty of space and a good fall out area.

With the van on site and open it was time to get all the gear out and make a start. Or rather it was time to let the fireworks crew do this while we took pictures, we didn't want to break into a sweat and get too tired :)

- Click on any thumbnail to view a bigger picture -

1: Getting the shell racks ready 2: A selection of big bore cakes 3: Angled effects cake 4: More cakes 5: Cakes and candles
6: Golden Crossette box 7: Smaller shells being fused

As mentioned above the brief for today's display was a tricky one in that the client wanted a long show, but the budget was relatively small. It's quite common for professional fireworks display teams to be asked for a massively long display on a smaller budget, and most teams will suggest the client has a shorter display so that it has more of a "Wow!" factor. However there are times when a client does need something longer but simply cannot source extra budget for it. In cases like this it's important to pick the right pyro, so for longer durations on a budget the number of cakes and candles is normally increased.

1: Shell racks 2: Fusing 3: "Badness" tribute band 4: Look what we found in the van 5: Elite hammer team
6: Candle bundles 7: Candles

The larger number of candles and cakes meant more setting up time than normal, and it was early evening before it was all finished. Part of a nearby playground was used for some of the pyro to help spread it out. Cakes were waterproofed despite the excellent weather (you never know, it is Britain!) and staked while the candle bundles were racked up. This was going to be a hand fired show, with three crew members on the job armed with portfires. Show manager was Jim, his job was to look after his own line of fireworks and also prompt the other two firers when to light theirs.

1: Closer look at the top of a candle 2: More staking 3: Show manager Jim takes a breather 4: Assorted safety gear
5: UKFR Hedge Cam 6: Crowd enjoying great weather 7: PeteB on safari

With all the pyro done and still a few hours to wait, show manager Jim took a breather (pictured above). Fireworks cannot be left unattended, so crews do have to find something to keep themselves amused during the sometimes long wait between setting up and firing. Setting up has to be done while it's light remember!

As darkness fell myself and PeteB discussed how we would film and photograph this one. PeteB decided to continue his brilliant work focusing on close-up firing zone photos so he headed off up a nearby bank to get a good view point. Not too close to ensure he got everything in the shot, but close enough he needed to wear some PPE himself!

I had three camcorders and a digital stills camera to play with. In the end we went with one on Jim's helmet, this was an analogue mini CCTV powered by a 9V battery and broadcast back to a VCR running off an inverter in the van (low tech and crude, but it worked!!). That would record some footage from right up close. Further back in the hedge was positioned a Digital 8 camcorder while I wandered off back in the opposite direction behind the display a few hundred metres where the main camcorder and my own digital stills camera were stationed.

Let the show begin! Click on Page: 2 below! Or, return to the main site.

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