Total Pyro has changed significantly over the past 5 years. Prior to this, 95% of the displays fired were, to put it simply, ‘wham bam’ firework displays – lots of fireworks, lots of noise and colour but very little subtly or creativity. Now in many people’s eyes this is exactly what firework displays are all about, and this format of display still make up around 50% of what we do. But that 95% figure has fallen steadily since the whole company strategy changed one night in Marlow back in July 2013. I was out firing a wedding display with a new trainee firer. It all went very well but on the way home I was being asked questions by an enthusiastic, inquisitive, and soon to be qualified, pyro-technician, that made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. They had nothing to do with safety, good practice, procedure, qualifications…. areas that we excelled at. No, these were addressing the display format, style and our ability to create an ‘event’ rather than just an intense barrage of noise and colour. I waffled around the edges of this discussion, trying to give a variety of reasons for why our shows were as they were, but it was true to say the a chord had most definitely been struck. And that evening I sat in my van, on our storage site and surfed the internet to find a new more powerful electronic firing system. One that would allow us to create more elaborate displays, set over huge areas, with creative flexibility in automation and all choreographed to music with split second timing. Within 2 weeks we were testing the system and in a month it was being used to fire displays. After 12 weeks we had mastered most of the important elements and soon after that we fired our very first all computer scripted pyro-musical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=1ndxREXtNvo
It was a ‘low noise’ event and yes by today’s standards, a little rough around the edges, but from the reaction of the audience; including a ‘hug’ from the grooms father afterwards… it seemed obvious to me that we were now on a new track. The right track. The ‘seed that had been planted’ 3 months earlier has changed the face of the Total Pyro for the preceding 60 months… and counting! And it wasn’t just musical displays that benefited from the system, the ability to manipulate firing mid display, create innovative display plans over wide areas that took advantage of natural landscaping and developing complex computing ‘scripts’ to automate separate elements, all meant that every display was taken to a new stratosphere… ‘WOW’ just didn’t do the displays justice anymore. Yes, the cost to purchase the system and time spend learning how to use it correctly were ‘painful’ but it lifted Total Pyro to a whole new level, it was a new chapter. And never again have I had to answer the humbling series of questions I did that night in Marlow.
You can see many more of our firework displays, including pyro-musicals, at out Video Gallery: