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The Technology Behind Fireworks Spectaculars

http://www.ozarksfirst.com/http://www.ozarksfirst.com/Orginal Article -- http://goo.gl/6iuzG

 No Fourth of July celebration is complete without a fireworks show. While the audience oohs and ahhs over the dazzle in the sky, they might not realize all the technology, old and new, that goes into producing such a spectacular.  Go behind the scenes at one of the biggest fireworks shows in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The pow and pop of a fireworks show relies on some technology that hasn't changed in centuries.

"When this ignites, it lights all the black powder -- as ancient as can be -- and creates gas pressure which pushes the shell out of the mortar at about 400 feet per second," explains Dan Ramsauer, operations manager for Pyro Spectaculars in San Francisco.

But to choreograph a big-scale production like this one at the Oakland Coliseum with synchronized music, you need a burst of new tech to pull it off.

Jeff Thomas is a show producer for Pyro Spectacular.  "The technology as far as firing systems has really improved over the years, allowing us to use computers to help us with the show design as well as the launching of the display shells."

Weeks before the big spectacular, Thomas assigns specific fireworks to each moment in the show's playlist. In this case, it's music from Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers.  "Fun songs, we'll put the happy faces in."

http://www.ozarksfirst.com/http://www.ozarksfirst.com/Then it's up to the crew to lay out the shells in the correct order.
"This is the main body of the show. That's from the beginning until the finale," Ramsauer explains.

While the fireworks show itself might only last 15 minutes, it takes hours and hours for the pyrotechnic crew to fill all of these canisters.

Each one is then connected to a firing module with specific addresses, Ramsauer says. "They are all synchronized with this time code. When the time codes received we say ok go we're in sync we just fire the show."

Happy faces in the sky...and in the stands.

(Kara Tsuboi, CNET.com for CBS News)

Fathers, Sons And The Family Business Of Fireworks

http://fatherly.com/http://fatherly.com/Orginal Article -- http://goo.gl/bvpA41

As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to indulge little boys in their proclivity for blowing stuff up. Even if you fondly recall sticking firecrackers in frogs as a kid, those memories aren’t as precious as your son’s fingers, which are at risk on the Fourth Of July according to this terrifying infographic of fireworks-related injuries. But back in the old timey days of the early 20th century no one paid attention to those things, and a few little boys turned that proclivity into huge businesses.

Today, most of the professional fireworks displays in the U.S. – from Independence Day celebrations to Super Bowls to presidential inaugurations – are handled by just four companies. Pyro Spectaculars By Souza, Constantino Vitale’s Pyrotecnico, Zambelli, and Fireworks By Grucci have more in common than sounding vaguely like stores at a Southern European outlet mall: They were all started by Italian or Portuguese immigrants, and they’re family businesses going back five generations.Jim Souza, 5th generation owner of his Pyro Spectaculars.Jim Souza, 5th generation owner of his Pyro Spectaculars.

When the sky explodes above Los Angeles, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Atlantic City, Boston, and New York City this Fourth Of July, Jim Souza or a member of his family will be at the helm. Pyro Spectaculars was founded in San Francisco over 100 years ago by his great grandfather, who was known in that city’s Portuguese community as “Papagayo” – The Parrot – for the fireworks displays he orchestrated to celebrate Saint’s Day. “Most of us are from families that came from Europe looking for a better life and the American Dream,” says Souza of his brothers in boom. “These countries have fireworks traditions that go along with their religious celebrations and feast days. That came with them to this country.”

Needless to say, this country took to the idea. Last year, companies like Souza’s lit off 17 million pounds of firework on the Fourth. Meanwhile, 10 times that amount go off in backyards and neighborhoods, which is where all those injuries happen – mostly to men between the ages of 25 and 44. Insert speculation on their relative levels of sobriety here.

If you plan on being the Papagayo of your neighborhood this Fourth, make sure your son learns the basics of fire safety while you’re at it: Wear protective goggles, keep a running hose or fire extinguisher handy, and keep everyone safely away from lit fuses. That way, he won’t grow up to be a drunken statistic, and maybe he’ll find his life’s calling. After all, the only thing more American than blowing things up is making a living doing what you love. Just ask the Souzas, Zambellis, Gruccis, and Vitales.

Thank you for a fantastic 2014 Pyro South Operator Seminar and Showcase

2014 Pyro South Operator Seminar2014 Pyro South Operator SeminarThank you to our wonderful operators, their crews, and our staff for making this year's Pyro South Operator Seminar the best ever! We look forward to seeing you at next year's seminar! Thanks!!

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Updated with additional new photos, please see below.

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