Report by Pyro Pete: Our first summer assignment
of 2004 and a very special day for a number of reasons. After
meeting the Dynamic Fireworks crew for a feature on their shop
and a visit to their stores last year, this was our first look
at one of their professional displays. Plus, a new venue for us,
the beautiful Leez Priory in Essex. And last but not least, our
initial trials of a new way of filming fireworks - using a remote
wireless camera mounted on the firer's helmet - a true
firer cam. We hoped this would provide some unique and original
The picturesque Leez Priory.
We couldn't have asked for a better day either,
beautiful sunshine and as we arrived at the Priory we enjoyed
some stunning views of this wonderful location. A quick call to
the fireworks crew and they kindly met us in the car park, and
we then followed them down to the firing site. This was located
at the far end of the Priory between a courtyard where the wedding
guests would watch from, and some wooded areas behind. It was
a great site in fact, plenty of space and with nice views too.
Graham and Barrie ran through the intended display
for us. "It's a small wedding display" they explained.
"The emphasis is on pretty effects rather than noise, although
we have a number of nice shells and cakes in tonight to keep the
pace going. We also have some nice fountains, and a few heart
shells too as a nice touch for the bride and groom. The shells
go up to four inches which is more than enough for this type of
venue, and the finale should be spectacular with a bank of nine
shells and mines firing simultaneously to give effects at three
levels. It will be fired by hand and should last in the region
of five to six minutes".
Getting the many shells ready.
The pyro certainly looked impressive on the ground
for a small display although as we are beginning to learn, what
is "small" to Dynamic is actually "quite large"
to many other companies! Over now to our pictures as we get down
to work and have the customary nose around (you can click on any
image to enlarge it):
1: Hard at work getting
the show ready. 2: Securing the candle
fans. 3: A selection of pyro. 4:
No Wedding would be complete without a heart shell or two, here
a close-up of the label. 5: Picking
and sorting the shells so they're in the right order. 6:
The shells all sorted and ready for loading. 7:
Loading the first shell.
More shells get loaded. 9: All the
racks now complete, loaded, fused and ready to be moved to the
main firing area. 10: Getting a set-piece
(gerbs) in place; the courtyard and wedding guests are behind
in the distance. 11: A gold conic
fountain with part of the Priory as a backdrop. 12:
The sun sets on the Priory. 13: Shells
ready and waiting. 14: As night falls,
shell racks stand poised with wedding guests in the distance.
The sun has set and the guests enjoy the lovely surroundings
with the anticipation of a fireworks display to follow.
With everything now in place it was over to us
to complete the final setting up of our cameras. The new wireless
camera would be best placed on top of a firer's helmet, but we
anticipated some problems in doing this because we had not met
the firers before and we assumed that the suggestion of a radical
filming idea might need lots of explaining. Well not so with the
Dynamic crew, and we were pleasantly surprised when the conversation
went like this: "OK, would you mind having a camera strapped
to the top of your head?". "Not at all, sounds like
a good idea!". Sorted and job done, a few cable ties and
a bit of tape later and one of Dynamic's firers was loaded with
a live camera on top of his safety helmet!
This new camera was going to be the trial of a
new filming idea to capture a display from three angles. The helmet
cam was christened "Firer cam" as it was the closest
you can get and the most mobile, staying with the firer the whole
time. Our secondary camera was a normal mini-DV camcorder, set
up about five metres from the action to capture the ground zero
effects, we now call this one the "Blast Zone Cam".
We made final preparations and checked the two
cameras were running before retiring to the far side of the Priory
with the last camcorder - the "Display Cam" - which
would record the normal footage. We didn't have to wait long before
the show started...
35MM STILLS CAMERA (PETEB):
You can click on any thumbnail to view a larger
BLAST ZONE CAM:
Moving a little closer to the action now with
the Blast Zone Cam. This was situated a few metres away from the
main shell racks.
And now about as close as you can get - a miniature
camera on the firer's helmet. This is our first trial of the ultimate
Firer Cam, giving you an opportunity to experience the display
as if you were the firer himself (all that's missing is the smell
of sulphur!). These images and the video below are from an analogue
source, so the quality is lower than the digital camcorders but
the subject matter more than makes up for this - enjoy!
As the last shells finished the crowd cheered
- a brilliant wedding display featuring lots of very nice pyro
and a good balance between pretty effects and pace. Well done
to the Dynamic team for a good night's work.
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