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Author Topic: NYC NYE Audio Production  (Read 1481 times)

Jeff Lelko

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 11:12:25 am »

I shot fireworks for American and Zambelli for 17 years. I can say that even small shows are a brutal amount of work for a 20 minute show. It's well worth it though.

I actually prefer small, hand shot shows. I like to be in the racks with a flare.

Nice!  Hand-firing is a rush, no doubt, especially if you get to fire larger product.  I love the way my face would wrinkle when hand-firing 6" shells!  I know of a few crews that still do this, though it's getting more and more frowned upon, at least in my area.  Most of my small to medium displays I'll fire manually via analog system electric matches and my larger ones tend to be digital preprogrammed, especially when shooting from multiple locations with soundtrack.  While I love the fun and simplicity of just lighting fireworks, I much prefer the added control of firing electrically which makes for better pacing and presentation in my opinion.  It's more work though and subject to additional failure modes of course.  Fun stuff!
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Chris Hindle

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 12:14:21 pm »

Nice!  Hand-firing is a rush, no doubt, especially if you get to fire larger product.  I love the way my face would wrinkle when hand-firing 6" shells!  I know of a few crews that still do this, though it's getting more and more frowned upon, at least in my area.  Most of my small to medium displays I'll fire manually via analog system electric matches and my larger ones tend to be digital preprogrammed, especially when shooting from multiple locations with soundtrack.  While I love the fun and simplicity of just lighting fireworks, I much prefer the added control of firing electrically which makes for better pacing and presentation in my opinion.  It's more work though and subject to additional failure modes of course.  Fun stuff!
You and Dave stil have all you fingers and facial hair, right ?   ;D
Chris.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 05:25:26 pm »

You and Dave stil have all you fingers and facial hair, right ?   ;D

I can't speak for Dave, but I do!  The catch is though, when pro pyro goes wrong it goes very wrong, and it goes very wrong very fast.  Generally speaking, if a 6" or 8" shell decides to go off in your face a few missing fingers will be the least of your worries!  Even the little 3" measlers are still lethal if misfired, which is why I impress upon my crews that even though the stuff looks safe enough while loading, it's incomprehensible just how much firepower you're standing in the middle of.  I wish the general public would understand that too, and why we have barricades in place where we do.  I'd even settle for less aggressive driving by other motorists while trying to get the (loaded) truck through downtown Miami!  Those orange diamond placards actually mean something... 
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brian maddox

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 05:37:07 pm »

I can't speak for Dave, but I do!  The catch is though, when pro pyro goes wrong it goes very wrong, and it goes very wrong very fast.  Generally speaking, if a 6" or 8" shell decides to go off in your face a few missing fingers will be the least of your worries!  Even the little 3" measlers are still lethal if misfired, which is why I impress upon my crews that even though the stuff looks safe enough while loading, it's incomprehensible just how much firepower you're standing in the middle of.  I wish the general public would understand that too, and why we have barricades in place where we do.  I'd even settle for less aggressive driving by other motorists while trying to get the (loaded) truck through downtown Miami!  Those orange diamond placards actually mean something...

I have a running joke that most folks that have worked with me have heard.  "All the best Show Stories start with 'So there was Pyro...' and end with 'He lived, but....'". 

I seriously only feel comfortable around OLD Pyro Folks with ALL their digits still attached.  I did a festival a bunch of years ago at a stadium in DC that had a bunch of pyro for the finale.  I was patch monkey for the broadcast truck, but i flat out refused to be on that stage during the set because the pyro crew was FAR too young and, shall we say, less than professional in their approach.  If there's gonna be a pyro show, the only thing i want "Lit" is the Pyro, not the Crew...
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David Winners

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 07:45:59 pm »

Nice!  Hand-firing is a rush, no doubt, especially if you get to fire larger product.  I love the way my face would wrinkle when hand-firing 6" shells!  I know of a few crews that still do this, though it's getting more and more frowned upon, at least in my area.  Most of my small to medium displays I'll fire manually via analog system electric matches and my larger ones tend to be digital preprogrammed, especially when shooting from multiple locations with soundtrack.  While I love the fun and simplicity of just lighting fireworks, I much prefer the added control of firing electrically which makes for better pacing and presentation in my opinion.  It's more work though and subject to additional failure modes of course.  Fun stuff!

The biggest I've ever hand fired were 12" single break out of fiberglass mortars buried in sand.  It rained, literally all day until about 10 minutes prior to the start of the show. We had no time to squib and wire them.  I lit the match, dropped down and rolled up against the plywood box.

I got out of fireworks in 07 when I joined the Army, Field Artillery of course, so I'm sure common practices have changed.

Yes, I have all 10 fingers and toes.  The last shooter from American seriously injured by a firework was back in 1978.  I was actually a little kid at that show and saw it happen.  A 5" 5 break Grucci detonated in ground buried steel. It blew a piece of paper through his neck and mouth, removing a few teeth and half his tongue.

I have been blown flat to the ground by a bunch of 2-1/2" Ti salutes that broke about 6" (ok 10') above my head during a finale. I've had rounds from cakes (class C shit in a big box for ground effect) bounce off my head.  Had an old riveted rack blow apart when a 3" detonated, but we were safe and set up with the rivets out so no one was injured. Lots of close calls, but proper planning, setup, inspection and systems during the show go a long way to keep you safe.

Same for playing in the sandbox.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2019, 10:02:32 pm »

The biggest I've ever hand fired were 12" single break out of fiberglass mortars buried in sand.  It rained, literally all day until about 10 minutes prior to the start of the show. We had no time to squib and wire them.  I lit the match, dropped down and rolled up against the plywood box.

I got out of fireworks in 07 when I joined the Army, Field Artillery of course, so I'm sure common practices have changed.

Yes, I have all 10 fingers and toes.  The last shooter from American seriously injured by a firework was back in 1978.  I was actually a little kid at that show and saw it happen.  A 5" 5 break Grucci detonated in ground buried steel. It blew a piece of paper through his neck and mouth, removing a few teeth and half his tongue.

I have been blown flat to the ground by a bunch of 2-1/2" Ti salutes that broke about 6" (ok 10') above my head during a finale. I've had rounds from cakes (class C shit in a big box for ground effect) bounce off my head.  Had an old riveted rack blow apart when a 3" detonated, but we were safe and set up with the rivets out so no one was injured. Lots of close calls, but proper planning, setup, inspection and systems during the show go a long way to keep you safe.

Same for playing in the sandbox.

One of our gigs shot 16" shells a few years ago.  I could feel the lift charges detonate and I was 1300 feet away, separated by a major navigable waterway... They used 4 of them in the show, IIRC, and were chrysanthemums.  An impressive vision filler!

We send time code for Pyro Digital via dial up phone lines - the shoot location has a heavy mechanical shop with POTS, and some how a dial up phone line appears next to my audio control location.  Interfaced with Gentner MicroTel on each end.

Verifying the time code at the shoot location is about as close as I want to get to the mortars.  Congrats on maintaining your fingers and brain bucket.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2019, 01:14:21 am »

I seriously only feel comfortable around OLD Pyro Folks with ALL their digits still attached.  I did a festival a bunch of years ago at a stadium in DC that had a bunch of pyro for the finale.  I was patch monkey for the broadcast truck, but i flat out refused to be on that stage during the set because the pyro crew was FAR too young and, shall we say, less than professional in their approach.  If there's gonna be a pyro show, the only thing i want "Lit" is the Pyro, not the Crew...

You're not the first person I've heard say that.  I have to admit that I'm in the minority here regarding my age, in that the first digit is still a 2.  I definitely agree that decades of experience can't be substituted by any classroom instruction, though I can argue the opposite too - given that things have really changed over the past 15-20 years (so I'm told) regarding both what's no longer permissible as well as newly emerging firing equipment/techniques, the younger folks have the advantage of not needing to "unlearn" bad practice that was once allowable on a display site, though historical perspective is always a nice reference.  Touching on sound, you could make the same comparison to those that have never worked on an analog board since digital is so prevalent these days.  Thankfully mixing sound isn't usually quite as dangerous!  I think a lot of it comes down to the maturity and discipline of the crew lead - not only knowing his/her stuff but also knowing when to say "no" when everyone else is saying "go". 

The biggest I've ever hand fired were 12" single break out of fiberglass mortars buried in sand...I'm sure common practices have changed.

Yep, that's a definite no-go these days.  Per NFPA 1123 (8.2.9) anything over a 6" must be fired remotely.  There are some special exceptions for 7 and 8" shells, but without getting into code further that's pretty much the rule. 

I hate those rain shows...  Been there done that - squibbing in the dark right down to the wire while wearing a garbage bag to stay as dry as possible.  Unloading a rained-out show is the worst, but as mentioned above, as the lead technician it's my responsibility to be the adult in the room and say no-go if the weather isn't cooperating or the product isn't ready.  If it's not right I'm not shooting - period. 

Those are some good stories though!  Most of mine thankfully don't involve a product malfunction but are more the nature of the random stuff you encounter on the road or in the field yet could never make up...as is the world of live entertainment! 

One of our gigs shot 16" shells a few years ago.  I could feel the lift charges detonate and I was 1300 feet away, separated by a major navigable waterway... They used 4 of them in the show, IIRC, and were chrysanthemums.  An impressive vision filler!

Those are always fun.  One of my bucket list travel destinations is to Japan to see some of the massive shell competitions they put on.  Those beasts dwarf anything we're allowed to fire here in the states, even at the professional level.  NYE in London would be quite impressive as well.  Your mention of 16s brings back to mind the couple of videos showing a 16" shell in Author Illinois being a dud until it hit the ground again a few years ago...  Despite the rare occurrence of such things, the indoor close-prox pyro, high power ebay lasers, and CO2 jets scare me more than the big outdoor display fireworks, especially when in the hands of incompetent operators.
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2019, 04:00:59 pm »

I was in Spain many years ago at one of the saint day celebrations.  Best fireworks I've ever attended, but they were set off overhead, so the cinders rained on the crowd.  I cant imagine what sort of damage a late exploding dud would cause.
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2019, 12:47:11 pm »

I was in Spain many years ago at one of the saint day celebrations.  Best fireworks I've ever attended, but they were set off overhead, so the cinders rained on the crowd.  I cant imagine what sort of damage a late exploding dud would cause.

Spain is like that.  Ever have a desire to attempt to outrun a 1400 lbs bovine with big horns and a bad attitude?  Spaniards do it every year...
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"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."  - Kurt Vonnegut

Mac Kerr

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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2019, 01:07:10 pm »

I love the name drops since i know all those guys.  :) Ben Krum is actually on here [Hi Ben!].  I think Brian Bednar may lurk here at times as well.  The other B's [Billy and "Bob"] are also old DC guys that i've spent a good bit of 'quality time' with.

There was at least one moderator of these forums (not me) who was in Times Square for NYE, as well as several days in advance, running the comms system that would cue the ball drop.

Mac
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Re: NYC NYE Audio Production
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2019, 01:07:10 pm »


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