|Montreal Fireworks Forum —› 2011 Display Reviews —› United States - Zambelli Fireworks reviews|
|Posted: Jul 20, 2011 18:35:34
Please post your reviews of the American display here.
As far as the weather is concerned, more specifically with respect to the wind speeds, overall speeds, as mentioned recently, should continue to diminish slightly to suitable standards over the next few hours (particularly past 9:00 p.m.) but will, on occasion, still be gusty (more details in the weather thread). The isolated thunderstorms (30% probability) that I introduced previously should stay well to our East for this evening and overnight, given the track of the cold front to our North over the last few hours.
I am very much looking forward to tonight's display, as it, based on the information presented in Paul's interview, certainly sounds interesting!
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 02:02:02 Edited by: Smoke
To be brief, this was an enjoyable, yet interesting display. The synchronization was apparent, and I found that the right sort of shells often appropriately appeared during signature components that defined each track (i.e. shells of hearts, gold patterned shells for "Yellow Brick Road", etc.). All of the music was clearly relevant for the theme and guided the audience well through each section of the show while highlighting important sections from the actual film.
Despite this, I found that the nature of this display was leaning more on the simplistic side. The thematic premise was good, but it felt very simple, particularly with respect to the representation itself from segment to segment, and the firing patterns, at times, became a little repetitive for my tastes. The music selections used, while appropriate, did not really draw me into this display as compared to, for example, Italy and Australia's. Because most of the show was based primarily on mid to upper level shells, the diversity of effects was somewhat limited, but I must say that those massive nautical shells were very impressive, as well as the variety of salutes used throughout. Those "ghost shells" had also been utilized very well. Colors were rich (namely those bright orange and green mines) and in a good mix, but some of those from the high level shells tended to fade a little quickly. Lastly, the finale had started off great, but it was way too short and lacked adequate crescendo. Still, though, it was enjoyable, especially in the way that all of those shells quickly fired towards the end before the final volleys of salutes.
As for the weather, sustained winds, as forecasted, did weaken slightly beyond the mid afternoon hours to the specified range - however, wind "gusts" were still occasionally blowing at speeds not far from the threshold value for safe firing, just before 10:00 p.m. That said, both the wind gusts and sustained wind speeds reported at the airport were actually measured below the 40 km/h value near 10:00 p.m, but the gusts were a little stronger at the firing site at the time. At the every end, I am delighted, though, that wind gusts were at suitable values a little past 10:00 p.m, prompting a roughly 5-6 minute delay, which was similar to Portugal 2010.
Again, prepare yourselves for a very hot and oppressively humid day today, with the risk of severe weather through the afternoon hours. With a fairly enjoyable performance, coupled with typical Summer weather, this is certainly fitting for a memorable birthday. Thank you, U.S.A, for this entertaining performance!
Edit: I'll have more to write later on, and I'll post my final video in the near future.
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 02:26:21 Edited by: fredbastien
I have to begin with a statement to say that I don't know The Wizard of Oz movie. Now, I know that the yellow road is important in the story, but I still wonder why it turned into a red road later... Whatever, I felt from talks with various people who know the movie that even them were not impressed with the American performance. It was a decent display, but I don't believe the whole concept of The Wizard of Oz was a good idea.
In opposition to some displays, we can't criticize for the lack of theme, it was obvious. I want to highlight the use of some rare effects, like the cubes (displayed a couple of times by Souza and Sunny), the ghost shells, and the nautical salutes. Some bicolour shells with bicolour pistils were also great. With all these large mortars on the third ramp, I had been afraid about the lack of low-level effects, but it was not a major problem. Other were much more important.
The Wizard of Oz theme was problematic, in my opinion, for many reasons. The soundtrack was made of many sound effects (suitable with movie picutres), but few movie musics (more appropriate for a pyromusical show). I wonder whether it was possible to select a French-language version of this, because it was not a bright choice to present a display with so many narratives, all in English, to an audience mainly made of French speakers. It is possible that various issues prevented the use of a French-language soundtrack, but such issues are reasons why the concept was a bad choice. And the finale... The ultimate song of the movie is not the best one for a fireworks finale. However, it would have been possible to deal with this issue with a different sort of finale, more dense and more serene, rather than the mix of various loud effects launched at the end.
The quality of pyrotechnic material was irregular. Some effects, like those aforementioned, were great, but other were poor. As some mid-size shells made too powerful detonations, I remembered that Zambelli supplied some products to Pyro 2000... The lack of quality was obvious with the double-ascension girondolas: their trajectory looked random, they were pale, and they extinguished too quickly to appreciate the second ascension. Overall, the range of material products was limited (too shell-oriented), thus giving a strong feeling of repetition early in the display. I started to look at my watch about 10 minutes after the beginning of the show, which is a unusual behaviour for me. There were many nautical effects, which is a good point (especially since some contestants didn't use the lake at all, early in the 2011 competition), but we can't say that the designers filled all available space due to the lack of low-level effects.
My criticism may be partly explained by a lack of knowledge about the movie, but I nonetheless believe there were more serious problems. The same show displayed in a different context might be a great performance. I regret to be so harsh, but given the level of the Montreal competition, I found the display annoying. I don't think it deserved more than the polite reaction given by the audience. Sorry for the American team.
My personal ranking so far:
4. Czech Republic
6. United States
The display began at 10:07. According to a statement made by Michel Lacroix at 10:00, winds speed required to extend the security perimeter in a given area.
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 04:34:39
That's another bad show this season. The mix of effects were badly controlled and therefore the good ones were most of the time covered by the bad quality shells. It is a challenge using shells from many manufacturers because not all will have the same color consistency and brightness and this show exhibits exactly how using many shells from different manufacturers could make a show look cheap. The only shells that i think are worth remembering are the half and half shells (santai?), the triple petal shells near the end, and the nautical salutes (zamorano caballer?) other than that, most of the shells they used were either badly mixed with other shells or just bad quality shells.
The synchronization ranges from synchronized to loosely synchronized, there wasn't really a segment which is memorable in the show. This show could have done well in weekly theme park shows but not in a competition. As fred have said, the music did not really help zambelli in achieving a very good pyromusical because they are just not made for that purpose. There were really no big beats that could be followed, it's really a lot like the songs used by disney in their weekly shows.
The finale was also too forced! the barrage of multicolored shells did not really fit the music or the whole show well. I was hoping that they would do something similar to what archangel have done in celebration of light since they had the exact same song and cut for their finale. Overall this was another bad show which in many ways similar to Pyro 2000's show.
Here's my grading for Zambelli:
Technical Design: 8/10
Pyrotechnical/pyromusical Design: 7/10
Overall: 38/50 (76%)
1. Australia - Howards and Sons
2. Italy - Pirotecnia Morsani
3. Czech Republic - Flash Barrandov
4. China - Panda Fireworks
5. England - Pyro 2000
6. U.S.A - Zambelli Fireworks
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 11:21:05
I am in agreement with most of what you had said in your report, especially with respect to the nature of the theme. As I had seen the Wizard of Oz several times in the past, I found that the theme decently outlined the key elements from the actual film, but the concept by itself just did not work well with a pyromusical, especially with the employed soundtrack. Synchronization was fairly good, as were the choice of effects for certain parts, but this is difficult to enjoy with the lack of an integral and compelling musical selection - this was the principal dilemma for myself.
I will have more later today or through tomorrow. However, I just wanted to know, but the reason behind the near 7 minute delay was because crews were in the process of extending the security perimeter in some area of the firing site due to the present wind speeds, or were they simply waiting for more ideal speeds? I observed that the wind gusts were just below the 40 km/h mark at 10:00 p.m (sustained speeds at roughly 26 km/h), but I am guessing that since they generally were not too far away this value, some precaution still needed to take place.
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 11:26:02
was because crews were in the process of extending the security perimeter in some area of the firing site due to the present wind speeds, or were they simply waiting for more ideal speeds?
They were waiting for more ideal wind speeds. Also, the nautical shells were on a special "disable" line so they could be killed if the first one had travelled too far. In the end, they were perfectly placed - even though some of them were launched from ramp 2. In the end the winds were such that there were very little debris in the main grandstands, but just a little bit more towards the Ferris Wheel side of the site (where some of the corporate seats are located).
When the countdown was halted, the timecode was already running so it was quite stressful for the team in the firing room. They are in constant contact with the doppler radar people at the airport so they had accurate information about how the winds would change and, in the end, everything was fine.
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 13:06:07 Edited by: fredbastien
.was because crews were in the process of extending the security perimeter in some area of the firing site due to the present wind speeds, or were they simply waiting for more ideal speeds?."
Trav, I think Paul is right. The extension of the security perimeter may be a wrong interpretation people I was sit with and me did. Here are the words from Michel Lacroix from my video file:
"Mesdames, Messieurs, en raison des fortes bourrasques de vents qui balaient actuellement cette portion de l'île de Montréal, nous avons stoppé le décompte et, pour le moment, nous attendons que le périmètre de sécurité soit à nouveau confirmé. Le tout devrait revenir à la normale au cours des prochaines minutes. Merci de votre patience."
|Posted: Jul 21, 2011 18:57:07
One of the reasons why I am posting this message here, is to wish Travis a Happy Birthday. You are a very important member of this forum, so I take this opportunity to thank you for your GREAT contribution!
En même temps, je voulais souligner qu'hier soir durant la prestation de la firme américaine, je me suis surpris à bailler à plusieurs reprises, dû au fait que le spectacle était répétitif et que la sélection ainsi que le jumelage des coquilles laissaient à désirer. Un spectacle qui m'a paru décousu. Pour ce qui est de la finale, j'ai eu l'impression d'un amas de coquilles lancées à la dernière seconde pour finir un spectacle ordinaire.
Voici en ordre, mes préférences à ce jour:
6. République Tchèque
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 01:01:04
As most of you know, I rarely weigh in with my opinions of the shows throughout the season, but I feel compelled to say a few words about the Zambelli show. For those of us who have grown up in the USA, "The Wizard of Oz" is a classic story, made all the more famous when it was made into one of the first colour full length feature films in 1939.
Since I know the story very well, I could easily see the perspective of Zambelli in attempting to tell the story with fireworks. If these competitions were taking place before a majority American audience, I suspect we would see an entirely different reaction than the criticisms being offered here.
When you are familiar with this story, it is obvious how much care and planning went into the choice of effects and the attempt to illustrate the various segments of the story. For this reason, I would like to add my voice in support of Zambelli's effort. I think their biggest mistake was perhaps to assume that the Montreal audience is also familiar with this classic tale.
However, as has been pointed out here, this is a predominantly French speaking audience, most of whom are probably not familiar with this fantasy masterpiece by author Frank L. Baum. So I fear the effort may have been wasted on an audience that might find the whole theme and execution somewhat confusing - especially since all the language elements were only in English. We are certainly aware that most of the judging panel are probably Fracophones.
Another factor that might contribute to rating the performance lower is the fact that these pieces of music were recorded badk in the 1930's when audio recording was done directly onto pressed wax cylinders, on spooled wire, or directly onto optical tracks. I used to work in a film laboratory so I am familiar with the process of optical recording. But any way you cut it, no amount of "re-mastering" is ever going to restore the full fidelity of these audio elements which were created so long ago. Thus I believe that the audio may be a key element that played a role in diminishing the impact of the show overall.
But with this being said, I do think Zambelli deserves a bit more praise and support than has been shown here. If you try to look at it objectively, there is much more than meets the eye. No pun intended. But of course, fireworks is also an extremely subjective experience - an emotional one that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with objectivity - so realistically we must recognize that it has more to do with what the judges and audiences "feel" about the whole performance.
So taking into account my views on this, I rate the competition so far as follows:
1 - Australia
2 - Italy
3 - Czech Republic
4 - USA
5 - China
6 - England
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 08:57:53
Salut tout le monde
Une première partie fort intéressante mais progressivement mis à part quelques beaux moments, de belles pièces dont certaines originales, le feu a perdu de son intérêt devenant pour employer l'expression de Fredéric tout a fait "inconsistant": choix musical discutable, recherche plus ou moins raté d'effets spéciaux et artistiques, transitions laborieuses, rythme déficient ,intensité dramatique mal réglée et un bouquet final pauvre comme si on avait hâte d'en finir.Ce spectacle n'a pas sur maintenir l'intérêt du spectateur
Un bel effort sans plus . A la prochaine USA
Maintenant place à Eros et psyché avec l'excellente firme du Québec BEM.
Avec un tel thème peut-être qu'il sera demandé aux spectateurs des estrades de se dévêtir ?? (lol)
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 11:42:27
I’ve been enrolled as a registered user on this website for several years, and attended at least 4 Montreal performances each year for the last 5 years (although it means a 300 km trip from Vermont), but this is the first time I’ve tried to actually venture an opinion, so I’m a new kid on the block.
However, I wanted to say something in support of the Zambelli display. When I knew I’d be attending I reviewed several excerpts and songs from the movie – there’s a lot of material available on U-tube. By modern standards the movie did seem a bit simplistic. Nevertheless, given that Zambelli wanted to stay with the original (movie) story and soundtrack, I thought they did an excellent job. From the start, the fireworks tried to echo the events of the story – e.g. the use of the blue candles near the opening to simulate the swirling a tornado, and the sudden wave of intense colors at the point where Dorothy discovers she’s in Oz and not “in Kansas anymore.” And some of the blue to pink shell sequences towards the middle struck me a strikingly beautiful. The show didn’t have the intensity of some Jupiter winning displays I’ve viewed, but this was a fireworks narrative rather than a symphony, and like the movie playful rather than grand. I admit I was a little disappointed by the finale - given Paul’s interview I’d expected it to be longer and more intense (I had hoped for something like arches of rainbow-simulating chrysanthemum shells). Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed the show. I think its weakness was less with the fireworks themselves than with the soundtrack – and that was something, as has been pointed out, that was constrained by the limitations (including, for some viewers, the fact that it was English) imposed by the original recordings.
Fred – The yellow brick road was the road to the wizard – it turned red after Dorothy and her team arrived, perhaps to suggest a red-carpet.
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 12:00:46
Comments from Bob B. and Bob F. are great input to this discussion. I think Bob B. is right: one part of the problem is likely related to the audience's characteristics. Pyromusical fireworks is an art and, like movies, musics, novels, songs, dance..., its reception is an experience influenced by the audience's background. In communication and cultural studies, there's a large literature on this (i.e.: the Elihu Katz's seminal study about the different perceptions of Dallas TV series in USA and Israel).
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 13:14:52
Well, I find that Fred and Travis' criticism is pretty close to mine. I'm not very familiar with the Wizard of Oz, so I was not able to fully appreciate the intricacies of the shell selection with regards to the story and the overall mood of the display.
Bob Burch's point about the soundtrack is valid, but one can wonder why Zambelli indeed chose this version of The Wizard of Oz to use for their soundtrack knowing the limitations of the sound recording. Between the noisy audio and the shells bursting sounds, I was wondering if perhaps the Cowardly Lion really wanted an heart and the Tin Man a brain. Not good...
The pyrotechnical design was also pretty average. I saw wider angles being used this year, so this display appeared slightly simplistic in comparison.
As for the product selection, Zambelli could bring both the best (the ghost shells and the two-colors two-pistils shells Fred mentioned) and the worst (the dim and erratic flying saucers and some shells as well).
You can read my French review on my website.
STL, satisfied to be back from Sherbrooke ! This one was a real marathon...
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 14:33:02 Edited by: fireworksforum
My review is here: http://montreal-fireworks.com/ReportBlog/?p=462 I also second the comments of Bob B and Bob F. Giving the difficulty of the soundtrack, I think Zambelli did a good job - but I also am very familiar with the film. Not a Gold Jupiter winner, but are in contention for the Bronze at this point in my opinion.
For those who haven't seen them before, here's a video of YungFeng "ghost shells" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRMJgxxnU9E
|Posted: Jul 22, 2011 22:33:58 Edited by: PyroDan
I must say that this display is somewhat of a major shift from the Italian and Australian displays. While I'm still having issues deciding which display to place in the first first (Italy's brilliant theme/music vs Australia's super synchronization and awesome live band), the USA's display leaves a major hole in my heart. I was going in expecting great things even though I never saw the Wizard of Oz. The inclusion of English only voices was a major problem. Why not just tell the story with music, leaving behind any need to translate text? Even if only the musical numbers were used instead, I cannot really say I'm a fan of the source. Sorry to say, but throughout the entire display, I was looking at my watch for the show to reach its finale. Even when the finale did hit I was left with a really bad taste in my mouth. Slow paced music mixed with a very slowly increasing crescendo does not make me want to stand up and keep on cheering.
Beside the music/theme, the material used was not very balanced out either. Although a large amount of large caliber shells were detonated, their lift charge sounds were more entertaining than the burst in the air. From a high number of material repetition to dim colors, the material was not really screaming "more, more!". In fact, even the yellow shells so key to the theme looked somewhat washed out. The ending rainbow also appear cheep ... but it could be they were aiming for a more pastel color pallet. The arrangement also was a bit uneven, too many high level shells were used instead of low level dispersion. This caused the display to appear a bit unsymmetrical, also due to the firing angles not being as wide as Italy/Australia.
All in all, an ok display but not a Jupiter winner for me. Sorry guys, better luck next time.
3- Czech Republic
|Posted: Jul 23, 2011 14:38:26
Weather became a factor for the start of this display, as occasional strong southwesterly gusts of wind near the 40 km/h mark were present across the central and eastern sections of the island, consequently resulting in a six to seven minute delay. Wind speeds, however, did decrease slightly from what they were during the mid-afternoon period and again over the course of the display and rapidly thereafter, as was forecasted. In spite of the winds, very warm and humid conditions were the backdrop for the American team, setting the stage for a dignified heat wave. With the atmospheric setup, late-evening temperatures fluctuated between 27-28 C in the metropolitan area but felt into the mid 30s C with the humidity. The winds, however, did provide some relief for those who are not able to tolerate the stagnant airmass (that will be the case for the Canadian display as well).
As my interpretations about this display are mixed, you will find that I am touching on the range of opinions expressed in this discussion. As I viewed each section of this display, I thought that the approach taken by team USA was original, with some interesting low to high level effects to represent various sections of the classic Wizard of Oz masterpiece. Being one who had seen the film several times through my childhood, I thought that the thematic premise was adequately reinforced, with careful selections of effects (such as the ghost shells, cube shells of yellow stars (although I did not know these were cubes at the time), shells of hearts, etc.) to represent the signature components of each track. The music selection was clearly tied to the theme and adhered closely to the important scenes from the film as the story unfolded. In particular, I liked the “Yellow Brick Road” segment because of the way those patterned shells portrayed the actual road, and then giving way to those shells of red stars afterward, illustrating the transition to red on this road.
In spite of the relatively good thematic premise, the conceptual design just did not work effectively, most notably because of the lack of a strong consistency with the music and the fireworks, and the music selections themselves, while appropriate, prevented successful transitional points - transitions, for myself, are a very integral component in a pyromusical, and it is unfortunate that each segment had very weak changes in rhythm and pace, a feeling which was perhaps amplified by the generally repetitive firing patterns of shells at mid to high levels. Synchronization was good at certain points, particularly with those one-shot candles and comets, and the brilliant mines of rich orange and green stars that occasionally made an appearance, but there were several moments where it was a little slack, perhaps, again, because of the general firing patterns employed. Synchronization, at times, was also leaning more on the simplistic side.
The quality of product, by comparison to Australia and Italy, was average, at best. A few of the colored stars, for instance, particularly at high level, tended to fade quickly upon the associated shells exploding. As Fred mentioned, the double-ascension girandolas also appeared somewhat dim. Some of the shells also were asymmetrical once they had exploded, and it was a little difficult to discern those aforementioned yellow cube shells, as their shape seemed distorted (funny enough, they first stood out to me as yellow tiles, so I thought that they were relevant, anyway!). The range of effects in this display was very limited, likely because much of it was based primarily on mid to high level shells - when discovering this after Paul’s interview with the team, I was under the suspicion that the diversity in effects would be low, as compared to what we had witnessed with a selected few of the previous displays this season, and it turns out that this was mostly the case for the American performance. Some of the low level effects, however, were stunning, most notably those large calibre nautical shells. Still, the low level effects were also limited, and because most of the focus of this display was at mid to high level, the display, as Dan outlined, often had a lack of balance from low to high level. Similarly, the width of the display was more constrained, as compared to that of both Italy or Australia, for example.
Overall, this was an entertaining performance, but the simplistic nature of the technical design of this display likely makes it difficult to really stand out in an emotionally compelling context. The weak finale did not provide assistance here either, potentially because, as some of the members have stated previously, it was a little forced relative to the nature of the music. I want to stress that the thematic framework was well thought out, but its concept was difficult to effectively execute in a Montreal pyromusical, at least in the approach that was taken to represent it. The principal problems were, I think, the musical arrangement, as well as the general delivery from one segment to the other. With repetitive firing patterns, a simple thematic representation through the fireworks, a lack of distinctive transitions, and a limited range of material, this made for a weak technical design. Even with the similarities of rhythm and feel that most soundtrack commanded, a more complex design would have been probably sufficient to compensate for this, meaning better symmetry, and a larger diversity of quality product for representation, as well as a more intricate attempt at synchronization and subsequent sequences. On a side note, it is also important for a display with multiple narratives to express them both in English and French - not to say that this was a problem for myself, but just that most of the audience is francophone, as Fred stated. Considering these criticisms, it is difficult to say how the judges felt about the display, as it is with a fair possibility that some of them are familiar (and emotionally bonded) with the film and its components, and so it may earn extra points under this respect.
And thank you very much, Pierre, for the kind birthday wishes! Even though the American display fell short of my expectations (particularly the finale), I am still fortunate to have seen an entertaining performance before my birthday!
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