Computers are at heart of fireworks displays

by techtiptom

Originally posted on wibc.com on 07/05/2011

For most larger programs, any kind of show that is choreographed to go along with music, the show is designed in a studio to run by computer. Melrose Pyrotechnics is one company that designs and performs, with a location in Kingsbury, Indiana.

The first step is developing a soundtrack; either in house or the radio station mixes the music. Through a computer program, they listen to the music and mark on the music, and create event positions (when to fire a certain firework).

Most fireworks look like a flower, so they have flower names. There’s chrysanthemums, peonies. They even come up with names like grapes over the vineyard and bumper harvest. There are shells that break, they open up in the sky and all the little arms that come out of it, as they’re burning and opening up in the sky, they’ll separate and break into four pieces, and that’s known as a crossette. The kind that really hang a long time are called kamuros. A pattern shell, instead of looking like a color of a flower, it looks like a heart or a circle or a star, when the shell opens up, it looks like a shape. They’re many different variations on all these, too. There’s so many different types of fireworks. What makes a show is all the different things put together.

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