U.S. News & World Report estimates that every year more than 100 million people attend professional firework displays in celebration of Independence Day. Zambelli Fireworks, one of the nation’s largest and most renowned firework display companies, has 37 shows planned in Minnesota and more than 500 shows nationally over this July 3 and 4.
Dean Kuhn, the Midwest regional project manager at Zambelli Fireworks, shared with us how technology helps his team create cutting-edge effects to captivate crowds, stay safe and communicate efficiently.
Preparing For Awe-Inspiring Shows
Every awe-inspiring firework display begins with the same element: the soundtrack.
“We used to just pick a popular song and hope we’d get lucky if a firework burst at that exact, inspiring moment,” Dean commented. “Now we orchestrate those moments.”
Once the song selection has been made, Dean and his team turn to computer simulation programs and sound mixers to sync the show’s biggest booms and dazzling moments with the crescendos in the music. The team knows the exact timing, height and reach of every burst thanks to their display planning programs and careful calculations. These programs also provide a safety precaution for the live event—allowing his team of technicians to launch the display from up to a half-mile away from the shells.
Staying Connected For the Grand Finale
The day of the show means a lot of site preparation to produce crowd “oohs” and “ahhs,” and the Zambelli Fireworks team has as many as 12 people coordinating different aspects.
“Using the Verizon 4G LTE network to seamlessly communicate on our mobile phones before and during the show is crucial,” Dean said. “The reality is that problems come up—we need to track weather patterns, communicate unanticipated delays and provide a flawless viewing experience for clients and patrons. We never have to worry about service when an issue arises; we know it is reliable and we can focus on solutions.”
The Future of Fireworks
Dean has experienced a significant change in the way firework displays are created and executed over the last 20 years with advancements in technology—and the next 20 years present endless opportunities.
“Mobile devices are the future of firework displays,” states Dean. “My team will be able to control full displays remotely and more efficiently. Audiences will have the ability to modify their viewing experience and engage in real time through apps. I believe technology and fireworks are similar—they both open our eyes wide and allow us to dream.”
On July 25, Dean and his team will launch their largest display of the year at the 75thMinneapolis Aquatennial civic celebration.
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