The ancient art of fireworks has had a high tech makeover, with those wanting to see their city skyline lit up able to do so with a new online display built by some of the world’s best pyrotechnicians.
The display available at www.australiaunlimited.com will allow people to visualise an Olympic Games firework finale against their home skyline. Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, Director of Displays, Andrew Howard said: “What we’ve put into this online display is the very latest and greatest ideas and effects and allows people a chance to imagine their city up in lights.”
Mr Howard and his brother Christian Howard together run Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics, one of Australia’s most successful pyrotechnics businesses. The company produces more than 600 firework displays every year and has provided the expertise responsible for lighting up world class events such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2003 and 2011 Rugby World Cups.
The brothers are fourth generation pyrotechnicians. “My great-grandfather was a pioneer in the Australian pyrotechnics industry and his first major event was to be involved in the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge back in 1932. Over four generations we’ve developed a few secret family formulas and today we’re using still some of those very, very old formulas but introducing a lot of new technology and looking at how new technology is applied to fireworks today,” he said.
Mr Howard said the online display was just the latest in a long line of technical advances that had moved from his father’s generation lighting each firework with a hand held flare to the computer controlled electronic ignition of today. “I think in the next generation they’re probably going to be remote, wirelessly connecting to all the fireworks ... there will be very bright intense colours, producing very little smoke emissions. I think there will be huge technical advancements into the future.”
For the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics created a display that fired from 188 positions. The show used 400 computer modules linked to 20 different computer firing systems to ignite around 15 tonnes of fireworks.
It was an amazing experience. Mr Howard recalled: “Deltra Goodrem was performing in the centre with 58 roller-bladers performing around her in a choreographed patterns and then they were illuminated with sparks of effects that we produced. It’s coming up with the creative edge of how you are going to apply your art to that particular space and thinking of different elements that people aren’t necessarily expecting to see.”
The online display is the perfect tool for organisers to begin visualising just what was possible for the culmination of major events in their own cities. This is a very exciting development and yet another showcase of innovative Australian technology. It is the natural first step for anyone considering a pyrotechnic display and a wonderful introduction to the skills available from Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics.
The expertise of Australian firms such as Howard & Sons will be showcased to global decision makers at a special event in London during the Games, during which a free app detailing the ‘who’s who’ of the Australian major sporting event industry, Track Record will be launched. The event will be held under the banner of Australia Unlimited, the nation brand which highlights Australia’s creativity, innovation and sophistication.
A special edition of the Australia Unlimited iPad magazine app celebrating Australian contribution to the London Olympics will be published on the day of the Opening Ceremony. It will feature stories of major Australian sporting event specialists such as Populous who have designed the London Olympic Stadium and Di Henry who is managing the London 2012 celebrations for the Greater London Authority among others.
The Australia Unlimited iPad app is a free monthly magazine available for download from the App store. It tells the story of contemporary Australia through the achievements of its people at home and abroad. For more information on Australian contribution to the London Olympics, download the app or visit www.australiaunlimited.com.
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