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Posted: Jul 17, 2010 23:58:34   Edited by: Smoke

Post your reviews of the American display (and perhaps the severe thunderstorm's display) here.

How was the severe weather experience? I hope that everyone has stayed safe and taken the proper precautions. Heavy rains, frequent lightning, gusty winds and ferocious thunder were the situation. Rest assured, I acquired plenty of footage as I battled the rain, including there on De Lorimier.

I'm sure the big story tonight was the weather. It would seem that the conditions adhered closely to the forecast (although wind direction and speed were altered due to the thunderstorms) with severe thunderstorms lasting until the early evening hours and a lingering brief heavy isolated shower that had appeared just mid-way into the display (which is why I advised the umbrella) and not long after the conclusion - the whole situation being a little reminiscent of USA 2002, Canada 1995 and Italy 1994.

Aside from the topic hi-jack, though the display was enjoyable, I was sort of anticipating a more complex approach with the design. Although the low level effects were pretty neat (like the gliding fish), I felt that they weren't predominant enough, at times, to support the upper level activity, which provided a sense of imbalance at numerous points between high and low levels. Synchronization was good, but could have been tighter in some areas (the low level effects were the most distinctive with the fountains, gerbs and comets). The special effects from some of the shells were quite dazzling (as were the 12" shells), but I felt that many segments were simplistic in music connection. The last track, though, seemed appropriate for the weather.

In any case, a powerful display delivered, nevertheless, but again I guess I was expecting a little more. I'm sure some of you may disagree with me here, but that's the impression I got from the overall delivery - it's not to say that the display was not enjoyable because it mostly was!

I'll have more details in a bit. Apologies if my comments are a little rushed as I'm simultaneously uploading all my thunderstorm footage, as well as the fireworks finale.

Trav.


Posted: Jul 18, 2010 01:02:26   Edited by: annoyingkiid

Hey guys! I'm back! Yepp, annoyingkiid is back and I don't expect anybody to remember me , but it's just good to scream it out to you guys! Hehehe. Don't worry, I've read and followed all of your posts over the past few weeks and I've seen every display since the beginning of the competition!

*United States of America*

I was at La Ronde that night and it was a real shame that they didn't play the entire national anthem during the opening ceremony . They started it at "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air..." so the entire anthem was like a short 20 seconds instead of a good minute.

Now the music was really really really enjoyable and the transitions between each segments were really well done I think! Now I don't know if I liked the display or not. I really think that it could be more elaborate and that they could have played more with the lower effects. Like, A LOT MORE. Also, I don't think that they filled up the sky properly. It was so thin and light. However, the sync was really good! I didn't get emotional during the show =(, but I wish I did! Maybe because I'm cold heart person hihihi. NVM.

Overall, I'm a little disappointed this year. Maybe because it's THE, THE, THE, United States of America we're talking about and everything they do is all hyped up but I think that the others american firms have done a lot better than Western Enterprise did *Melrose P. <3*

Anyway. I'll give it a 7/10. I know my review is really poor and doesn't have a lot of content and that's because I'm a poor 16 years old guy that doesn't know a lot about the fireworks althought I've seen every single display since 2007 :P.

OHHHHH! And I forgot to mention that the finale was COMPLETELY OUT OF THIS WORLD. I LOVED IT. LOL. Typical american finale! :P 10/10.


Posted: Jul 18, 2010 10:24:43   Edited by: burchcom

I have uploaded the video for the United States show.
http://www.burchcom.com/2010/index.html

Sorry about the water droplets on the lens that start at 19 minutes.
We had a downpour in the middle of the show and I was unable to clean the lens until the finale.

If you want to download the video and save it, use this link.
http://www.burchcom.com/2010/usa.flv
Right click on the link and select "save target as"

Please note that I am uploading .flv files to conserve space.
If you download them, you will need a player to display them on your computer.

The Riva player is free at this site:
http://download.cnet.com/Riva-FLV-Player/3000-13632_4-10435953.html

Once you have the downloaded file, if you want to convert it to an .avi file, you can use this converter (also free download) http://www.any-video-converter.com/


Posted: Jul 18, 2010 14:45:21

Hey guys,

I really enjoyed this display more than most displays that we're presented to us before the tribute to Celine Dion. I agree with Paul on what he mentioned before, the real displays are after the Celine Dion Tribute display. What a display!

It began very quietly and went to a loud ending. Not the loudest finale I saw this year but still was quite loud. If you watch Bob's video, the finale looks like a nuclear bomb explosion as the shape of the smoke. It was really fantastic! Thumbs way up for Western Enterprises! Maybe the best display yet in my eyes. My finale video will be uploaded later on today so we can take a closer look of Ramp 1.

Pat


Posted: Jul 18, 2010 15:08:03

Good first performance for the American firm. The design of the display was a bit simplistic and somewhat repetitive. I can't say it was very creative and exciting. It seemed more like an ordinary fireworks display with a few good effects. I was expecting more from an American show. Synchronization was good, but the music wasn't really to my taste., so the soundtrack didn't help. The finale was really good. Overall, it was a good performance for a first timer.

My rankings so far:

1. Poland
2. Italy
3. Portugal
4. United States
5. Taiwan


Posted: Jul 18, 2010 17:37:28   Edited by: fredbastien

Western Enterprises' show was a good one and an interesting debut display in Montreal. I have not been allowed to take a look on the firing ramps from the Giant Wheel (closed due to a severe thunderstorm which was coming), so I really had no idea what to expect from this entrant. For sure, the sky becoming clearer before 10pm, I didn't expect the intense but short shower which began as Andrea Bocelli's song was accompanied by bright kamuros... and resumed a couple of minutes after the display!

We learnt from Paul's interview that Western Enterprises has manufactured most of the material used during the display. It was great, especially the bright and diverse colors of them. I counted as much as three changes of colours with some stars or meteor-headed comets. So many changes are not usual. The soundtrack design was great too. Synchronization was flawless through the show, the beat of the fireworks following the one of the music. I also appreciated some patterns, like the sequence of horizontally comets launched around the perimeter of the fourth ramp. This sequence was included among the "recap" at the very end of the finale, as a thick mushroom cloud appeared.

In anticipation of a second appearance of Western Enterprises in the Montreal International Fireworks Competition, I think that two interconnected components may be improved. First, the scope of pyrotechnic effects was a bit limited, with many comets and sky mines for instance. It is true that many other types of shells and devices were used, but these appeared very often. One way to widen the range of products is to present more low-level effects, leading me to my second criticism. I think that the weakest aspect of the show was the technical design. I felt that this show was a typical extravaganza designed for an audience dispatched across a large area (which does exist and must be entertained) rather than for an on-site audience (which does exist too in Montreal... and the jury is on-site!). This show was very high, with few low-level effects, no nautical products, and few lateral sequences. It is understandable from a contestant who has never attended a display in Montreal before. It confirms how relevant it is to keep mandatory this step in the selection process of recruits. Another small criticism is the anti-climactic start, with nothing in the sky at the end of the countdown (I thought there was a technical problem), a useless introduction narrative (it is not relevant to state the name of the contestant and the title of the show once the display is supposed to begin, that is done by the master of ceremony), with the result that the first pyrotechnic devices were lit up one minute after the countdown.

So, my ranking so far is similar to Enkil's one:

1. Poland
2. Italy
3. Portugal
4/5. Taïwan/United States.

The 2010 Official Ceremony Column:

Although Michel Lacroix was unfortunately absent for the third (and apparently the last) time this year, we enjoyed an improved official ceremony with the return of Vangelis' music during the introduction of the American crew.

Fred


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 01:12:43   Edited by: PyroDan

Hey All,

I must say that I really enjoyed watching this display. The material used was of excellent quality. The colors were unbelievable. At one point, there were effects which changed colors 5 times, and all 5 colors were crystal clear. Bravo on the chemicals used, top notch hehe. The music employed was also greatly enjoyed, keeping in touch with the theme. It's a shame that the synchronization wasn't a bit more complex, but overall it fit the display nicely.

After hearing the comments on Rythme FM 105.7 after the display, I must need to give my opinion on their comments. They said that this display was nothing special considering they've seen better ones in the past years. However, based on this year's shows, it deserved a much better sign of appreciation. From bright and clear colors, good music, to a spectacular finale, this show had a bit for all to enjoy (besides the rain, I forgot my umbrella lol). As Paul mentioned in another thread, the budget cut can clearly be seen this year, making us be a bit more harsh on the displays then usual

Overall, a from me.

My rankings:

1) Italy
2) USA
3) Poland
4) Portugal
5) Taiwan

Dan


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 02:18:50   Edited by: Smoke

Weather once again became a dominant factor as a passing cold front set off a defined severe thunderstorm that influenced much of the island of Montreal during the early evening hours (along with strong storms during the afternoon) running principally from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Accompanying the severe thunderstorm was a deluge of lashing rainfall, relatively frequent intense lightning (many of which were CGs - cloud to ground discharges), gusty downdrafts and locally marble-sized hail. The cumulonimbus was also thick enough that the place suddenly felt like night when it was overhead, especially when we had departed from the West Island (I'll share some photos and video in the weather thread in a bit). Then, when the storm(s) had moved off around 9:00 p.m., a large congestus cloud approached the area, bringing a heavy four and a half-minute shower (as Fred pointed out) just around mid-way into the display. Though the conditions followed closely to what had been predicted, notice that the overall wind flow was distorted in both direction and speed during the evening hours, where light (11 km/h) Southerlies to South-Southeasterlies were dominant as opposed to the West-Southwesterlies, which is fortunate as smoke, in this case, had blown primarily to the right of the audience instead of towards them - we, ironically, owe that to the previous thunderstorms, as they commonly disrupt the main wind flow patterns at a local scale. Thunderstorms similarly caused the ambient temperatures to be a little cooler - 22 C as opposed to 24-25 C. Gusts, however, were on target in the afternoon and peaked at 58 km/h around 5:30-6:00 p.m and were from the SW, as expected. I am very sorry to hear the news (as Enkil posted) regarding that couple that had been struck by lightning while awaiting the fireworks under a tree - I can only pray for their safety and that they will have a quick recovery.
---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------
The American debutant company had an intriguing display. There was a fair spectrum of special effects that frequently dazzled the audience with the mid-upper level shells, while synchronization at times was particularly enjoyable, notably towards low level. Those segments that possessed a good sense of balance between low and high portions of sky were often those that were thoroughly enjoyed as the fireworks commonly defined the subtle changes in the soundtrack during those particular points. As such, I was most appreciative of the way a number of sequences had been concocted - one memorable instance being where those "gliding fish" (or "horizontal comets", as Fred describes them) were typically present. Despite most of the display having a central focus towards higher levels, I found the pyrotechnics predominantly distinctive and recognizable at lower level simply because of how the comets, mines and gerbs, for example, were tightly synchronized with the tracks in which they were incorporated, and the manner by which they occasionally gave way for the rapid transitioning towards higher level was particularly stunning.

The display itself had some nice effects, as mentioned previously, including those tail ring-like shells near the beginning of the performance, the brilliant red and green double-ring shells, the rapid go-getters, the elegant farfalles, and the mult-transitioned colored stars from some of those shells (my personal favorite effect). The colors generally were bright (the greens and reds, in particular) and in a reasonable diversity. Overall, good product quality present.

As I had stated in my (fast) preliminary comments, this was an enjoyable display in its entirety, particularly when put in the context of power (which the US is famed for) and at times in the choreography component. There were, however, some identifiable challenges faced. The thematic premise and its relevance to the display was understood for the most part and brought with it some appropriate color mixes and effects (such as the heart shells, kamuros or farfalles) to reinforce some of its critical attributes. That being said, I was not feeling the emotions that were attempting to be emphasized through the fireworks themsleves and, as such, not always latching onto that important tight thematic connection - this is mainly because I sometimes got the impression that not enough activity was being expelled to enforce some of the soundtrack used throughout the display, and therefore that parts of the display were missing the complexity aspect. Color richness and diversity were good, but I noticed some colors tended to fade or drown away rather quickly (namely the blue stars/scintillating stars emanating from the shells towards the start). Transitions between segments were also nice, but some pieces were perhaps maintaining the same pace a little too long in duration for my tastes - for instance, the serene parts. Music choices were similarly good and in an appropriate arrangement, but some, as Enkil stated, were not as captivating (even though they were relevant) to the overall feel of the display (namely that track heard roughly just before mid-way). The finale wasn't bad, but just needed more buildup and color to go along with the massive amount of salutes being fired.

I personally believe the principal weakness in the display was the lack of balance (which relates to the general design) seen at numerous points between high and low level as there tended to me more attention aimed at high altitudes. Narration lasted much too long following the countdown and, as always, invites the feeling of an anti-climax.

All in all, despite the negative attributes presented above, this was not by any means a bad debut display by Western Enterprises in the Montreal fireworks competition as there were, most assuredly, great and enticing sequences, spectacular effects and colors along with good attempts at choreography to correspond with the developed theme. I sincerely hope to see this team's participation in future editions of the Montreal fireworks competition in representing the USA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------
Hi Fred,

For sure, the sky becoming clearer before 10pm, I didn't expect the intense but short shower

Skies can often be deceiving, especially in an unstable atmosphere! That was one of the many lingering isolated heavy showers that had developed behind the cold front. As the front was exhibiting signs of slowing down, this is why I had called for the continued chance for lingering showers earlier in the day to persist for the evening's duration, and therefore advising to keep an umbrella handy. Luckily, these showers are commonly brief!

Trav.


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 09:39:19   Edited by: STL

Sorry for the late reply, I had almost no time yesterday. Though, my RSS feed subscribers may have noticed that my evaluation was indeed posted at 8AM.

I side with Fred that it was quite clear that Western team should have seen at least one display (and a 2009 display it would have been, raising the bar somewhat).

I was left with a "commercial display" feeling at numerous times. The show was for the most part enjoyable, but I felt that Gary Caimano used a conventional approach more often than trying to raise the bar with each tableau, as it's usually the case at l'International.

I felt that, for a first presence on La Ronde's firing ramps, Surex did a better job than Western, but it's all a matter of personal taste. Again, this might be explained by the fact that Surex did come to Montreal at least once before shooting their display, while Western did not have this chance.

As Fred outlined, this clearly shows how important this preliminary step is.

I also felt that there was a repetition when it came to color-changing shells, with the green-to-red pieces being used over and over again.

Yet, the 3-4 colors comets were quite good, along with the horizontal mines/comets (it looked more like a mine to me, but I don't have Fred's experience) sequences on ramp #4.

The chases between ramps #5 and #3 was also quite a success, but I remember that Hong-Kong 2009 pushed the concept further. Yet, the asian team had 42 pontoons, while Western only had 5 ! Note that 5 is way better than 0, which is what the preceding four contestants treated us with.

The angles were also quite creative, which is quite good for a first presence.

The finale was very powerful, which is great, but I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to use the sheer quantity of shells launched during the last minute elsewhere in the display, because I felt that the pace and the vertical space use may have been improved at times.

It's a no-brainer that with sufficient training on La Ronde's site (which is already under way), this company should be able to get a Jupiter some day. They still have work to do, though, but that was a very promising first entry.

Now, about the official criteria:

Pièces pyrotechniques 6 / 10
While the effects were good, the aforementioned perceived repetition did not fare so well with me...

Synchronisation 7 / 10
Relatively synchronized, but could have been improved slightly

Bande sonore 8 / 10
Good transitions (I have no complaints for once), but I dislike when a soundtrack is composed almost exclusively of pop songs

Conception technique 6 / 10
I felt that the vertical space may have been used better

Conception pyromusicale 6 / 10
The theme seemed weak to me, in regards to the link between the effects and the music; I think that the love theme could have been treated better


Total : 66%


I hope that no one is offended this time...


You may read my complete evaluation with the set-up and display pictures on my website.

STL


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 13:13:38

Yet, the 3-4 colors comets were quite good, along with the horizontal mines/comets (it looked more like a mine to me, but I don't have Fred's experience) sequences on ramp #4.

I think you are right about mines.

The chases between ramps #5 and #3 was also quite a success, but I remember that Hong-Kong 2009 pushed the concept further. Yet, the asian team had 42 pontoons, while Western only had 5 ! Note that 5 is way better than 0, which is what the preceding four contestants treated us with.

Yes, but the Pyromagic design was very unusual. An Australian team (Howard & Sons) already used about 30 pontoons, but the fifth ramp, when it is used, is made of approximately 5 to 10 pontoons.

Fred


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 21:52:14

Just a small precision, Pyromagic had 49 pontoons in a 7 x 7 grid.

I find that ramp 5 is usually superfluous to a display as it is very hard to visually distinguish the smaller calibre effects on ramp 5 compared to the large gauge used on ramp 3 unless some very clever design is done. Also, ramp 5 often precludes the use of large nautical shells, which, I for one, adore.

Paul.


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 21:53:48

My report on the Western Enterprises display is here.

I think it's still too early to call out the three Jupiter winners as we have competitors left to perform who are definitely capable of producing a winning display.

The next three weeks are certainly going to be interesting.

Paul


Posted: Jul 19, 2010 23:48:11

Here is my video of the last few minutes of the display:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shFHShjEtMM

Paul,

Thank you for your report. I'm just curious, but did some of the low level effects fail to go off? The question arose because the display appeared somewhat disproportional due to the (often) lack of low-level effects.

Your description of the storms' influence on the firing site is reminiscent of Italy 1994, where fireworks had been prematurely set off.

Trav.


Posted: Jul 20, 2010 09:01:38

Just a small precision, Pyromagic had 49 pontoons in a 7 x 7 grid.

Just one more precision: the Pyromagic 7x7 grid was made of 49 firing positions, 42 on pontoons and 7 on the third ramp.

I don't currently have the picture of this with me, but I am pretty sure.

Fred


Posted: Jul 20, 2010 09:08:58

I'm just curious, but did some of the low level effects fail to go off?

Yes they did - as to how many failed, I'm not sure.


Just one more precision: the Pyromagic 7x7 grid was made of 49 firing positions, 42 on pontoons and 7 on the third ramp.


Fred, I looked at my photos, you are correct

Paul.


Posted: Jul 20, 2010 22:51:48   Edited by: reflections_of_earth

This was quite an unusual show. This must be the season for good products since Western like most of the competitors this year also used some really good effects and products.

The theme was mainly portrayed through the songs they used. They could have elaborated the theme much more such as how they divided their celebration of lights show into 3 different parts. Due to them avoiding the use of roman candles, i think that they had a hard time having support in the ground level.

The many color changing shells they used were really nice and i was really expecting them to use those. I also liked their dahlias which had some of the longest hanging times i have seen. At the same time the colors were very clear and crisp even though the shells changed in colors, the colors always had the same brightness. I dont think they used far falles. Their strobes were also very nice specially the green and red ones. The breaks of their shells are as close to perfect as it can get... they must have put a lot of effort in constructing their shells to get this kind of timing. I love the really tall mines that they used. I thought that their play with the firing ramps were well done they could have used it more through out the display. It was very nice how different sizes of comets and mines were used at the same time and they were able to show the depth of the firing area well.

The synchronization was pretty well done although at time it wasn't very clear, most of the time the effects reflected the music very well. I think that this is where the avoiding to use roman candles paid off because the ground level synchronization was really great but as i have said they weren't able to put enough support in the ground level.

Their finale was pretty good. Overall the show's average, i think that many people are just not used to the different approach that Western used. From a technical point of view or should i say pyro's point of view, this show would get really high marks due to their intricate color changing shells, precision of their shells' timing (could be seen in the finale how the shells cleanly changed in colors), and for the hanging time of the stars. For regular people, this show would rank very low because of the way the show was designed. I think that one of the weak points of the show is that the songs western chose did not really allow them to have good choreography. The only songs that they used that could have had great choreography is all you need is love and the elo song.

Here's my grading for Western:
Effects: 9.5/10
Synchronization: 7.5/10
Music: 6.5/10
Technical Design: 6/10
Pyrotechnical Design: 8.5/10
overall: 38/50 (76%)

From all the comments that i have seen i really wonder what a "montreal fireworks display" is really like. This is because if a "montreal fireworks display" is just all big shells, big finales, action packed segments, and average synchronization then i'm afraid this will give a new meaning to the montreal fireworks competition. I think that what western showed us was a very good attempt to change the meaning of a "montreal fireworks display". This is because from my point of view, it was quite a unique show because of all the firing patterns they used and because of the subtle synchronization. I think that if they have watched a couple of shows from the competition then their design could have been more generic because in their minds the shows they have watched is the standards that they should follow then this won't allow them to do something different. They would just show something similar to the past displays. I really wish that more new companies would be invited in the competition, regardless of whether they have won many awards or not.

My rankings so far:
1. Italy - Pirotecnia Soldi (86%)
2. Poland - Surex (85%)
3. Potugal - Macedos Pirotecnia (79%)
4. U.S.A - Western Enterprises (76%)
5. Taiwan - Santai Fireworks (72%)

Looking forward to the next 3 participants! specially GFF

Vander


Posted: Jul 23, 2010 19:40:35

I liked very well the USA display, I see the show from Jacques-Cartier bridge!

I still forget almost the entire show in my brain but I dont forget the massive finale and the salute at the end.

I give 7.5/10

Jerome
 

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