|Montreal Fireworks Forum —› 2011 Display Reviews —› 2011 Jupiter predictions|
|Posted: Jul 27, 2011 01:51:34
As the 2011 edition of the Montreal fireworks competition is soon coming to a close, it is almost the time for us to make our predictions as to which three of the entrants will make it on the podium this year. As such, following the presentation by France, please use this thread to specify your jury predictions, as well as your personal choices for the winners. As always, some justification would be interesting to go along with your choices, but, of course, it's not necessary.
|Posted: Jul 28, 2011 00:01:48
Voici les participants qui, selon moi, méritent un Jupiter, basé seulement sur mes préférences. Ceci n'est pas une prédiction. Je décerne donc le.....
1. Jupiter d'Or à l'Italie (activité intense et fluidité, finale enlevante)
2. Jupiter d'Argent à l'Australie (grande originalité et synchronisme parfait)
3. Jupiter de Bronze à la France (thème bien représenté et absence de tableaux répétitifs)
Bonne deuxième moitié d'été à tous.
|Posted: Jul 28, 2011 00:04:31
Je reviens à la maison encore sous le charme l'excellent spectacle de la firme francaise.
De l'art pyrotechnique avec un grand A.
Toutefois pour être bien certain d'éviter l'effet du dernier feu je vais me laisser penser jusqu'à demain avant d'écrire mes prédictions pour les Jupiters 2011.
Bonne nuit ...
|Posted: Jul 28, 2011 12:01:14 Edited by: fireworksforum
My personal choice:
Gold Jupiter: Morsani
Silver Jupiter: Howard and Sons
Bronze Jupiter: Lacroix-Ruggieri
Morsani's show was the only one where I was stamping my feet and shouting with excitement. The others may have been more creative or artistic, but Morsani evoked more passion than the other two combined.
As for the Jury, hard to say but I would think that they have the same three as me but in a different order, probably with Lacroix in the #1 or #2 spot.
|Posted: Jul 28, 2011 12:18:34 Edited by: reflections_of_earth
I found this year's competition to be quite a weak season. There's really just 3 standouts out of the 8 entrants that everyone seem to agree on and that's australia, france, and italy. But the performances of these three would also have done well in a stronger season It's a shame that China's show was pretty much controlled by the bad weather as it looked like it could have a been a really great show if it was done perfectly. Personally, I found flash-barrandov's show as one of the best because it had really high quality materials and the synchronization was perfect but the design seems to be a hit or miss style.
Gold Jupiter: Howards and Sons
Silver Jupiter: Lacroix-Ruggieri
Bronze Jupiter: Flash Barrandov
Gold Jupiter: Howards and Sons
Silver Jupiter: Lacroix-Ruggieri
Bronze Jupiter: Morsani
|Posted: Jul 29, 2011 20:52:02
Hello my fellow pyros,
Well what do you know, another year has already flew by. I would go more in debt with my analysis but I'm short on time this year. My choices are the same as Paul's and Pierre's
--> Awesome theme and music, great synchronization, beautiful use of all levels and lake, and a finale to die for which almost lasted 12 minutes lol
--> Awesome synchronization, great music with live band, extremely good use of material, with an equally impressive finale
--> Very interesting theme, nice synchronization, but display was not as big when compared to Italy and Australia. Music was not as enjoyable as well.
1- Australia (Due to live band while keeping awesome synchro)
2- Italy (due to great theme and awesome quality in roman candles. synchro not as precise as Australia's)
3- France (Good theme but quality of material employed not as effective as the first two)
|Posted: Jul 29, 2011 22:23:04 Edited by: fredbastien
Sadly, it is already the end of another edition of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition. Thanks to the amazing work done by La Ronde’s pyrotechnic crew (directed by the ever enthusiastic Martyne Gagnon and Paul Csukassy) and contestants from 8 countries, we have enjoyed great displays. I applause La Ronde decision to bring back the regular schedule, that is, one or two shows per week and the award ceremony just before the traditional closing show. Calendars from the past two years were too extended and to organize the award ceremony one week after the last 30-minute pyromusical show was really anti-climactic. In a strike departure with the last edition, we also enjoyed the presence of Michel Lacroix for all displays. Mother Nature was cooperative for all fireworks nights, though the Chinese recruit suffered of heavy rain the eve of its show.
In contrast with the pre-Internet era, when spectators could only chat about the shows with members of the audience around them and were left with more or less fuzzy souvenirs, we now have opportunities to discuss with other pyro fans and to watch again (and scrutinize!) all displays. I am sure there’s a MA (or even a PhD) thesis in communication to do regarding the impact of Internet on the experience of viewing fireworks! Since 2003, Paul Marriott keeps this forum alive. I want to thank him, as well as all those who post reviews and comments on the displays. For me, this website is also a gateway from the virtual to the real world as many of us gather at La Ronde, once a year for some people, every fireworks nights for others. I especially enjoy nightly discussions with Paul, Mylène, Simon and Bob. Special thanks to the «in-house» meteorologist, Travis, whose pre-show forecasts are useful and highly accurate, thus making his contribution to the forum inestimable. I hope that his experience at La Ronde last Wednesday will encourage him to come back and to join us next year!
We can’t say that the 2011 edition of the Montreal competition has been an outstanding vintage. I sometimes state that we need some regular vintages to have outstanding ones. In my opinion and according to the views of many people I have discussed with, there are only three entrants which are contenders for a Jupiter prize. It was the same story in 2010, as the «ultimate trio» of the line-up was also the teams on the podium. I hope to have more contenders for a Jupiter prize next year. I wonder whether the renowned «level» of the Montreal competition is declining since a couple of years… With the apparition of many other fireworks festivals around the world, notably in Asia and some Middle East countries, I hypothesize that the «market» of the fireworks international competitions becomes more and more competitive, so it is difficult to attract the greatest pyrotechnicians.
It would be very surprising to not see (and difficult to explain) the Italian, Australian and French teams on the podium. Pirotecnia Morsani, Howard & Sons and Lacroix-Ruggieri, I believe, achieved excellent performances and deserve to be on the podium. All people interested by pyromusical art should watch online their performances, which are great achievements. Furthermore, I suspect a very close race between all them. I debated a long time with myself to rank these teams, re-reading my own reviews and watching again all these shows. Luckily for the supervisors of the jury, I am not a judge : they would have waited until the sunrise, Thursday morning, to have my final marks! Whatever the final results, I will be very happy as long as these three contestants are rewarded with a Jupiter. The top 3 of my final ranking is thus interchangeable.
During the 2011 competition, I didn’t assess each display with specific marks. I only did a rough ranking of them. However, given the closeness of the race, I decided after the French show to watch again these three displays and to grad them more carefully. As a result, I had to deal with this painful job rather than enjoying the last days of vacation. Life is not easy! Here are my final thoughts. I would reward the French entrant, Lacroix-Ruggieri, with the Bronze Jupiter. I praised this show in my review. Its format was original, the theme was clear and enjoyable, the mix of the soundtrack was great, the presence of a firing position 50 meters above the ground was a first this year, and the whole performance was excellent. However, I consider that synchronization and technical design could have been improved for some segments, and the show suffered of some asymmetries. These were very minor problems, but they justify my decision. Moreover, while I found very interesting the appearance of a performer and how he engaged the audience at the end of the show, it is not clear how we can reward Lacroix-Ruggieri for this non-pyromusical component. I suppose that the spirit of the competition should bring us to assess the pyromusical performance only…
As I wrote above and had stated in the final paragraph of my review about the Australian display, the personal ranking I did over the competition (with Australia first and Italy second) was a rough one. Following a careful assessment of both performances, my final marks are almost equal. I can watch the videos again and again, and try to find a rationale to explain why one contestant is ahead and the other is behind, but this is an artistic competition, not a trial, there’s no jurisprudence from the Supreme Court about the way to deal with a such situation! Both displays had only minor weaknesses. The rythym of the Italian show was a bit slow for the first half, thus increasing in a big way during the second half (that is a lack of constancy, but the increase of the rythym was so spectacular and effective). It featured the most conventional soundtrack : while it was highly entertaining (it included many of my favorites), the first half was made of entire pieces and it was sometimes difficult to understand the narrative due to the strong accent of the speaker and the sound of the fireworks. Nonetheless, it was different to hear « O Fortuna » just past the mid-point of the display instead of the finale segment. Howard & Sons experienced problems with the ignition of some products, thus causing a short blackout. Some sounds played with the didgeridoo were a bit repetitive. But these minor criticisms should not detract from the qualities of these performances. The Italian show, for sure, featured very high quality products. Morsani brought the widest range of nautical effects (it did the most extensive use of the lake, even during the finale) and countless cylindrical and multi-break shells which produced many effects. The innovative live performance with the didgeridoo and the production of various effects from vertical firing positions were great characteristics of the Howard & Sons’ extravaganza. Synchronization was perfect in both shows, though it was a shame that two fan cakes continued to shot multicolour stars after the soundtrack at the end of the Australian show. As I just wrote, my final marks for Pirotecnia Morsani and Howard & Sons are almost equal. How to make a decision? One thing is clear: the Italian performance is the one which caused the greatest excitement for me, likely because the effective soundtrack and the increasing rythym of the show. I felt in a very different mood for the hours following the show. In contrast with the judges whose marks can not be modified during the competition, I can change mines…
My personal ranking :
Gold Jupiter – Pirotecnia Morsani (Italy)
Silver Jupiter – Howard & Sons (Australia)
Bronze Jupiter – Lacroix-Ruggieri (France)
I guess the rythym of the Italian show, as well as the extensive use of the lake, had a great impact on the jury. I assume that most of them don’t watch the videos, so I hypothesize that some «weaknesses» during the first half of this show have been unnoticed. I also believe that the Australian performance, while excellent, may have been assessed in various ways depending on the appreciation of the didgeridoo. In contrast, I am sure the Lacroix-Ruggieri’s show has connected with genuine cultural characteristics of the francophone audience and judges. So :
My prediction :
Gold Jupiter – Pirotecnia Morsani (Italy)
Silver Jupiter – Lacroix-Ruggieri (France)
Bronze Jupiter – Howard & Sons (Australia)
Whether these teams are on the podium, I would say that the winners of the Silver and Bronze Jupiter should not be disappointed, and the winner of the Gold Jupiter should be modest in the victory. It’s a close race!
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 01:22:37
It is hard to make a decision because there were some great performances but not one that seemed to me an obvious first position. Although, this where the fun for us (Pyromusical lovers) begins; by comparing and trying to persuade others (aficionados) with our personal best choices and ranking.
So, here is mine:
1-Gold Jupiter – Pirotecnica Morsani (Italy)
2-Silver Jupiter – Howard & Sons (Australia)
3-Bronze Jupiter – Lacroix-Ruggieri (France)
All members of this podium have shown amazing qualities that define them as ranked amongst the best in the world.
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 02:20:27 Edited by: Smoke
Once again, I find myself rapidly stating that we have reached the climax of another addition of the Montreal fireworks competition (a little quicker this year due to the return of two displays per week), and it is now the time for us to share our predictions and personal choices as to which three entrants will make it on the podium for 2011. In spite of the relatively high level of quality seen for about half of the displays this year, I personally found that the degree of creativity for 2011 was below average, which was similarly the case for last year (2010), with roughly three displays that really stood out. Even with the highly successful performances of 2011, although very captivating, they still somehow did not attain the same level of entertainment as, say, Sweden and Canada 2010, or even Portugal 2008. Like last year, there was a dividing line in this year’s competition, where half of the displays were more simplistic in their overall presentation, while the remaining shows demonstrated distinguishable performances, filled with vigor, emotion, innovation and creativity. Interestingly, we had a slight increase in strong finales this year, with half of the shows having powerful concluding segments.
Nevertheless, I am deeply grateful to all of the entrants for participating in this year’s competition, and for sharing the splendors of their displays and all that they had to offer. Despite our criticisms, it is always important to remember how lucky we are, here in Montreal, to have the exciting opportunity to indulge in so many fascinating 30-minute fireworks displays on a weekly/bi-weekly basis - it is truly an absolute privilege. As such, I would like to express my endless thanks to all of the crews at La Ronde and competing teams, as none of these displays would have been possible without your tireless, diligent hard work from behind the scenes - it always amazes me as to how much work and preparation goes into these performances. I understand that the weather sometimes did present some challenges, but I am immensely thankful that, with your dedication, these displays came to fruition. I would also like to thank our photographers, Robert Burch and Rachel Bilodeau for, once again, sharing their gorgeous fireworks photos of the displays, and I thank Robert Burch for kindly uploading his full-length videos for a second year! Finally, I thank Paul for, again, taking the time in meeting with the designers of each display and gathering and sharing interesting inside information with all of us! I do, most of all, thank Paul also for his work in continuously maintaining this forum with every year that flies by - this forum, as Fred clearly expressed, really is a great opportunity to have the chance to participate in various discussions, not just during the competition but throughout the year as well. Finally, thank you to everyone here who has participated in each of the discussions that took place before and after each show - I had a great time reading through everyone’s interesting commentaries!
I would like to share a few words about the weather this year. It turns out that the overall weather patterns this past Spring and Summer had adhered to my Spring-Summer 2011 outlook, as we had, most assuredly, seen an above normal precipitation regime running from April to June, with average to slightly below average temperatures with respect to monthly daytime highs. Summer similarly followed closely to this outlook, especially with respect to the number of severe weather incidences. For the month of July, we had seen above normal thunderstorm activity across many areas of Ontario and Quebec, and though it is true that precipitation for the month has struggled to meet mean monthly rainfall in Montreal, areas around the city had seen well above average values, simply because of the stochastic nature of thunderstorms. At least two tornadoes have been confirmed by Environment Canada in the povince of Quebec, the most recent touchdown between Saguenay and Quebec City on July 20th (it was measured at F1 strength on the Fujita scale). One important attribute, however, that deviated from the outlook and followed more closely to Environment Canada’s sizzling Summer forecast, was the overall temperature trend for July - that is to say that it has been well above the average in terms of daytime highs, with 11 days, so far, reaching or surpassing the 30 C mark. I understand that Quebec’s standard in defining a heat wave is a little less demanding than that of the rest of the country - Quebec requires at least three consecutive days of 30 C or more to be considered a formal heat wave (regardless of humidity), whereas the rest of Canada specifies 32 C or more for the same number of consecutive days (regardless of humidity). Under these criteria, many parts of southern Quebec, then, have seen two heat waves so far this year, with a recent high-magnitude heat wave that stretched from July 20th to July 23rd. Even more impressive is that our maximum temperature of 35.6 C on July 21st, 2011 ties for the highest temperature ever set in recorded history for the month in Montreal - this record was on July 17th, 1953, whose observed maximum value was at exactly 35.6 C. July 22nd, 1955 also tied at 35.6 C (July 1955 was our warmest Summer on record). Needless to say, but July 2011 was incredibly warm, enough to earn it a title in the top three warmest Julys (for monthly daytime highs) since record-keeping began, perhaps even fighting for a spot for the second warmest July. It is also quite astonishing that two back-to-back Julys (2010 and 2011) had been so warm, especially this current one, given the previous borderline moderate-strong La Nina. Let’s wait and see what August brings us - I sincerely hope that my prediction in it following a nearly similar track to July (in terms of the average monthly daytime high, but a little cooler, and a continued slightly above average severe thunderstorm pattern) turns out to be correct!
As far as weather was concerned for the fireworks displays of 2011, the majority of the shows have gotten away with ideal conditions at the time of presentation. Wind, however, showed its extremes this year, where for one night (England), the smoke had been mostly blowing towards the left end of the audience at La Ronde, while the North American displays both experienced gusty conditions, leading to approximately a seven-minute delay for the American team. Two displays, Italy and France, endured the threat of severe weather, where France encountered heavy rains from thunderstorms the day before their presentation, and Italy saw strong thunderstorms present the afternoon before the show. China also experienced heavy rain during their setup period, while Canada faced a very small chance (but a chance, nonetheless) of precipitation during the late-afternoon period before their display that evening. All in all, a "near-perfect" weather pattern for the 2011 competition!
Below are my summaries of each display, highlighting what I assessed as strong and weak aspects of the shows. Following this, you will find my personal predictions for the jury's decision, as well as my personal choice. Aferwards, for the fun of it, I have added subsequent sections for various criteria (such as best choice of music, best finales, best sequencing, etc.) and place those participants best suited for each, in accordance with my personal tastes.
Country participant: China
Company: Panda Fireworks
Date of presentation: June 25th, 2011
Cool but humid weather conditions were present for the debutante Chinese team, Panda Fireworks, and to adequately commence the 27th edition of the Montreal fireworks competition. Isolated bands of precipitation were near the island of Montreal to the North and South at the time of presentation, but these gradually moved off and fizzled to the East, leaving the island of Montreal dry. However, this team was influenced by heaving rains during the setup period.
A good attempt from team China, especially taking into account the heavy rains that had impacted the setup process. This display was enjoyable, with good quality product, mostly enjoyable music, and a diverse set of of effects. Its theme, “Kung Fu”, offered fantastic sequences along low level (one of the better displays for sequencing along low level this year), including the z-cakes, flares and comets. A careful selection of effects were additionally used to represent most of the soundtrack employed, making for a decent conceptual design. The show was also dignified for its artistic appearance and subtle variations in pace. Nevertheless, the pyromusical design was simple, and what was particularly troublesome in this display was its inability to maintain adequate pace and representation (in terms of activity) from one segment to another, resulting in the show to be less complex than it probably could have been, merely because the fireworks were not often doing justice to the majority of the selected soundtrack - in particular, I was expecting more from the “Kung Fu Fighting” segment. The transitions between segments were also sometimes a little awkward. Additionally, the show was expected to rank amongst one of the largest ever fired in Montreal, but it instead felt comparatively small. Likely weather-related, the technical problems, unfortunately, showed in this display, especially with the moments of silence, effects being fired erroneously, and the asymmetrical nature of some of the low level effects. Music selections were relevant, but a couple of them deviated from the fluidity of the rest of the display. The finale was surprisingly short and lacked adequate crescendo, so it was a little disappointing in this respect.
Pyrotechnical pieces: 8.5/10
Pyromusical design: 7.5/10
Technical design: 7/10
Country participant: Czech Republic
Company: Flash Barrandov SFX
Date of presentation: July 2nd, 2011
After a very wet and near-average temperature regime for the month of June, July started off appropriately with Summer-like weather, making an ideal setting for the returning Czech Republican team, including warm evening temperatures, and the most cooperative wind tendencies of the season (light SSW winds).
This was an improvement for the Czech Republic from their debut display in 2005. The display had some enjoyable choreography with generally high-quality product, and there were some interesting sequences. The theme, as complex as it was, was mostly apparent in the display, particularly with the relevant selection of soundtrack used. However, this display, in particular, was heavily redundant in many cases, perhaps being the most repetitious amongst the competitors this year. The firing patterns and structure throughout many segments often exhibited similarities, and there was little interplay between effects. Furthermore, the colors were very limited in this display, possessing the most conservative range this season, and so the nature of the display often appeared monochromatic. On a similar note, I felt that many sections of the show were comparatively simple in representing the complex theme, “The Flower Duet”, and there were times where the theme was not always understood, much as was the case with China. While synchronization was good, it seemed a little general because of the slow, repetitive firing patterns and excessive use of certain effects. The transitions between segments were good but a little too abrupt at certain points. Product diversity was similarly below average, particularly because there was a lack of low level effects and nautical devices, creating disproportion with high to low levels of sky. Similarly to China, the display often did not adequately produce much representation for certain soundtrack - most notably, the finale was weak relative to the enticing feel of the “Ode to Joy” segment, which was a little disappointing after remembering the good intensity of the team’s finale in 2005, as well as the finale done by Panzera in 2003 (the same soundtrack was used).
Pyrotechnical pieces: 7/10
Pyromusical design: 7.5/10
Technical design: 7.5/10
Country participant: England
Company: Pyro 2000 Ltd.
Date of presentation: July 9th, 2011
Pleasant weather conditions prevailed for the English team making their debut in Montreal. Temperatures were warm into the low 20s, accompanied by borderline low-moderate humidity. However, the winds were blowing towards the audience at La Ronde, particularly the left sections.
This was an interesting display by the English debutante team, which delivered some very active segments. Product quality was decent, and a fair diversity of color and effects similarly allowed for some enjoyable sequences along low to mid levels of sky. This was also one of the few displays this year to actually express some semblance of emotional transitions. All that being said, like both China and the Czech Republic, the creativity and, therefore, complexity components were largely absent in this display, typically because there was repetition in firing patterns (namely with the shells at high level) throughout several segments, and representation was mostly restrained. Synchronization was not bad, for the most part, but there were points where it was a little out of phase in accordance with some of the music. Most notably, the display fell flat because the thematic premise was virtually non-existent - it was very difficult to establish at least some relationship, even through the selected soundtrack. Consequently, I was unable, as hard as I tried, to detect the purpose in this display, and it quickly felt like more of a simple fireworks-music demonstration. Some of the musical selections themselves were enjoyable but had no significance to the theme, “Stars of The World”. The finale, however, was excellent and ranks fourth for me this year. With their experience in Montreal, I am sure, however, that Pyro 2000 Ltd. will return to Montreal in the future with a much more formidable display!
Pyrotechnical pieces: 8/10
Pyromusical design: 6.5/10------------------>Poor thematic connection.
Technical design: 7.5/10
Soundtrack: 6.5/10---------------------------->Some enjoyable tracks, but there was no relevance.
Country participant: Italy
Company: Pirotecnia Morsani SRL
Date of presentation: July 13th, 2011
The first Wednesday display since 2008, and the only one that experienced the threat of severe weather. An upper level disturbance was setting off strong isolated thunderstorms (some with rotation) and ubiquitous convective rains throughout much of central and southern Quebec. However, as expected, the skies gradually settled by late-afternoon, and the storms had moved farther southeast. Winds also shifted in time to the NNW, and while this was favorable for most spectators, those on the bridge adjacent to the firing site were largely influenced, whereas the smoke may have, at times, hindered viewing for those at the Old Port.
Given the simplistic nature of the first few displays of the 2011 competition, a show of this quality appeared as if from nowhere. Italy’s spectacular performance surely merits an award this year. The dichotomous theme (Angels and Demons) employed was, as I had previously envisioned, a true success which delivered the most emotionally-tied display of the season. The transitions were simply magnificent throughout the show, and with a careful arrangement of relevant soundtrack, the performance was vividly brought to life with a large diversity of effects, high product quality and fabulous low-level sequencing that comprised the pyrotechnics. For a display that utilized a two-sided theme, I was very impressed in how well enforced the effects had intertwined in such various complex assortments to bring out the intricacies in tempo while, of course, adhering closely to the theme’s rapidly shifting tendencies. The musical selection itself was totally relevant, and while some may argue that a few choices were cliched, they effectively provided the necessary distinct transitions that are suitable for a display that took on such an approach - much of the music, especially in the first section of the display, commanded justice, thrill, respect and peace - feelings that provided meaning and purpose to a good portion of this transitioning theme. The theme itself was well coordinated and, for me, was the most successfully bonded to its respective display this season, much in the same manner in which England demonstrated their "Day & Night" thematic premise in 2007, earning them the gold Jupiter that year. Indeed, the way the theme had been originally articulated was almost exactly the way it became a reality with the fireworks. The finale was, as expected, a typical Italian conclusion, and I currently have it as my third best finale. My only real criticisms for this display are that there could have been a little more effort for note-tight synchronization at certain points, and as most have expressed previously, the first half of the display could have demonstrated a little more complexity through the use of additional effects in its first section, although this may have been deliberate in representing the subtleties of “Angels”. That said, the Italian display has screamed out to me enough to place it high on the podium.
Pyrotechnical pieces: 9/10
Pyromusical design: 9.5/10
Technical design: 9/10
Soundtrack: 10/10-------------->Beautiful and passionate soundtrack selection.
Country participant: Australia
Company: Howard and Sons
Date of presentation: July 16th, 2011
Beautiful weather conditions prevailed for the highly anticipated Australian team, with very warm late-evening temperatures coupled with high humidity. Winds were also cooperative, with interchanging light SSW to SW tendencies.
Australia delivered one of the most memorable displays that I can remember, with a high level of complexity, magnificent product and a distinctive spectrum of effects (including the variety of those “tail-ring” shells), appropriately coupled with rich and delicate color mixtures to define their theme of “Colors of Kakadu”. Adding another dimension to the complexity and high level of originality of the display, a live performance (used in between pre-recorded tracks) had been involved, which makes this the second attempt in the history of this competition where an entrant employed this sort of approach. It was absolutely astonishing to behold how synchronization was so elaborate and defined with the use of a live performance, enough to lead the display to the title of the most sophisticated choreography this season! The interplay between effects also eliminated repetition and permitted for some particularly effective color contrasts at all levels of sky. The theme worked relatively well with the display, augmented by the glamorous colors that were used, the choice of effects that represented each soundtrack, and tight synchronization that was particularly recognized during the didgeridoo sections (ramp 5 was used very well for many of these sections) - the low-level sequencing of comets, gerbs, candles and nautical effects, was phenomenal (at times, like Sweden 2010!). The overall selection of music was also an important and distinctive component to the Australian display that separates it from other shows we’ve witnessed both this season and in the past - really, the atmosphere was different, and the soundtrack provided a very traditional and, at times, artistic feel. The finale was a lot of fun and places first for me this year. My only negative point with this display was that the didgeridoo segments became a little monotonous, but, luckily, they had been reasonably distributed. I also realize that the brief periods of random silence were intentional, although I did not understand their significance. Also, the brief moments of silence, as well as the continuation of the comets after the finale may merit some points to be reduced, but certainly not to the point where they overlook the very high quality of the show. All in all, certainly another display that is battling it out for the gold and must stand a good chance for being on the podium altogether.
Pyrotechnical pieces: 9.5/10
Pyromusical design: 9/10
Technical design: 9.5/10
Synchronization: 10/10----------------->Stunning choreography!
Country participant: United States
Company: Zambelli Fireworks
Date of presentation: July 20th, 2011
In spite of the very warm and humid conditions, locally strong SW winds led to the only delay this season, prompting a near-seven minute wait for the American team. Strong winds were the result of a tight pressure gradient building between two weather systems - one to the East, and the other to the West. The very warm to hot conditions eventually made way for what appeared to be an upcoming high-magnitude heat wave.
This was a unique display put on by the American team (who have not participated since 1985 - the very first year of the competition), with the foundation of the show based on the classic 1939 “Wizard of Oz” film and its associated soundtrack. While the idea behind the display was well established, I personally found that the approach taken to represent it did not work well in a pyromusical, especially with the level of the competition that Montreal entails. For example, the soundtrack used, although relevant, provided ineffective transitions in rhythm and pace, as was evident as each piece segued from one to the other. However, I believe that the main problem was not so much the representation in each segment, but the limited range of effects used to visualize them - the display was largely oriented around mid to high level shells, and this greatly limited complexity, and the overall size of the show. Consequently, there were void spaces along low-level that frequently led to a sense of imbalance, and the firing patterns subsequently became repetitive - the display had also been a little more constrained from the left to right, as compared to other displays we’ve seen this year. That said, to be fair, there were some very intriguing effects that represented key components of each soundtrack, such as the gold cube shells, the double-colored shells, shells of hearts, or the introduced ghost shells. The finale started off reasonably good but eventually lacked proper intensity and crescendo, and it, moreover, felt a little rushed in relation to the music. The lack of complexity in this display likely means that it will not be on the podium this year.
Pyrotechnical pieces: 7/10
Pyromusical design: 6.5/10
Technical design: 7/10
Country participant: Canada
Company: BEM Feux D’artifice
Date of presentation: July 23rd, 2011
Strong winds threatened for a second time in a row (quite a rare occurrence), but, as forecasted, they diminished through the evening hours and changed to a more suitable direction (NW-NNW). A weak cold front was also passing through from the NW during the late-afternoon hours, but the accompanied bands of precipitation quickly weakened before and beyond 8:00 p.m., leaving a few clusters of cumulus clouds and continued breezy conditions for the Canadian team.
This display featured a myriad of effects that often led to good symmetry and balance at all levels of sky. Some of the effects were quite stunning, and the presence of shell of shells was unexpected. The effects themselves were coordinated with the fireworks and had been carefully selected to represent each soundtrack. Synchronization was not always so tight, but there were some great points that really emphasized the music in an intricate manner. The designated theme was a complex one, and while it was generally well illustrated, I thought that there could have been more activity to represent multiple soundtrack (especially along low level - there was a lack of nautical devices), as is the case with multiple shows this year. The narration was likely necessary to keep the audience on track with such a theme, but I found that the narratives were much too enduring when present, which did take a little of the entertainment factor away from the show. Transitions were emphasized in this display, but I was expecting them to be more surrounded by an emotional feel. It was disclosed that large nautical shells would be a part of this display, but they had never appeared - their appearance would have certainly added much more creativity to this overall good performance. I must say that the final segment was a little surprising, but it had a good amount of steam leading up to the climax, although ending the show near 10:34, making it the second longest show this year (exactly one minute shorter than France). However, it is a pity that the finale had not been as vehement towards the very end, given the nature of the activity before hand, but this final piece was still certainly enjoyable, nonetheless!
Pyrotechnical pieces: 8.5/10
Pyromusical design: 8.5/10
Technical design: 8/10
Country participant: France
Company: Lacroix- Ruggieri
Date of presentation: July 27th, 2011
Beautiful weather conditions were present for the French team, with mostly clear skies, warm late-evening temperatures and borderline moderate-high humidity. Light SSW to even SSE winds were also mostly cooperative, pushing the smoke clear to the right of the audience at La Ronde, although very slowly (this sometimes drowned some of the lighter colors in this show).
A finely crafted performance by the French team, which was the first show that I had spectated from La Ronde in 17 years. The show offered some distinctive choreography, an original and reinforced thematic framework, and a fair arsenal of quality product, as indicated by the diverse set of effects (although there could have been a little more diversity during a few segments) and vivid colors. The design of the display had also been well structured, and good synchronization made way for some spectacular sequencing attempts, especially along low-level, with the variety of mines, candles, comets and gerbs - the comet and mine chases being particularly memorable. This was the only display to have a structure incorporated (a 40 or 50 meter tower with a ring attached atop), and I thought that it worked effectively when in use, further exemplifying the fantastic sequencing. Excellent balance and symmetry additionally enhanced the overall pyromusical design of the show, and the transitions in both rhythm and pace were apparent, sometimes giving off an emotional feel. My only criticisms are that some of the music selections (even though I did not care for many of the songs), to me, did not relate well to the theme, and perhaps there could have been a richer diversity in effects during the quieter sections for representation - this did lead to some periods of redundancy. I was also hoping that the ring would be re-used later on, at least for one more segment (maybe the finale?). Ignoring the delay with the American show, this display was the longest, officially finishing at virtually 10:35 p.m, so I am not sure if this could be a setback. The finale was breathtaking due to its endurance, color, as well as build up. The French finale is my second-favorite this season and makes my list of all-time memorable finales! France is very likely to secure a spot on the podium this year, especially in it having the benefit of being the last competitor and delivering a good performance!
Pyrotechnical pieces: 9/10
Pyromusical design: 9/10
Technical design: 9.5/10
Italy, Australia and France devised worthy displays that are surely high enough in standard to earn them the gold Jupiter. As such, no matter what the arrangement of the winners, I would be content with the final results, just so long that all three of these teams are on the podium altogether! In terms of my jury predictions, I suspect that the gold Jupiter will be awarded to Australia. Although the theme was not as prevalent as, say, Italy and France, the level of choreography was stunning, and the most intricate and tight amongst the competitors this year. Supporting this was the live performance that had been integrated, which flowed extremely well with the display and its corresponding synchronization. While France had some excellent synchronization, I found Australia’s to be tighter at many points, especially during the didgeridoo pieces. The quality of product in Australia’s show was also high, as the colors were vivid, and the effects were diversified while in good mixtures at all levels of sky, making for a complex design and appearance. Even though France and Italy had a more defined theme, Australia’s was still understood in most cases, and I feel that there will be more weight allocated to the choreography and associated live performance in Australia’s display, as well as its high level of originality. Given this, my prediction for the silver Jupiter is Italy. Italy easily had the best selected soundtrack that very well represented the dichotomous nature of their theme, and the theme itself was effectively delivered (I think the best illustrated this year), and, to me, was superior to those of the other displays. The music evoked the greatest emotions of any show this season, and the effects, like both Australia and France, were of high quality, were very diverse and filled with beautiful color and creating elegant sequences. However, had the display demonstrated a little more complexity during its first half for representation, I think it would have stood a better chance for the gold Jupiter in my mind. Finally, my bronze Jupiter prediction goes to France. The French display, like Australia, was very unique, coupled with a mostly clear thematic premise (although it commanded a somewhat strange tone and felt a little a too hyper at some points), and I believe that the ring structure added more depth to the performance. Sequences, particularly the mine and comet chases, were fabulous, but the synchronization, like Italy, could have been a little tighter at certain points, and perhaps some soundtrack a little more connected to the theme. Some additional representation would have also been appreciated though other effects during those quieter segments - this would likely have reduced some of the repetition (such as the falling leaves during quieter segments). The general size of the display was also smaller than that of Italy and Australia.
At the very end, it’s difficult to assess the general mindset of the jury, given how close these three displays are in their own right, but if it does come down to the choice of music, then Italy would, in my mind, have the upper hand - this also applies to how appreciative the judges were of Australia’s didgeridoo segments, as Fred previously stated. It should be noted that my scores for these three shows are very, very close, especially for both Italy and Australia.
For my personal preference, I have Australia as my first choice, simply because of the enjoyable sequences, excellent choreography (especially with the success of the live performance), and the lack of repetition due to the tremendous diversity of effects and colors, and the high product quality. While the didgeridoo segments became a little repetitive, it provided a very orignal feel to the display, and the transitions in rhythm and pace were noticeable (including some emotional points). The theme was also understood, and the display often excited me greatly. My second preference is Italy. In this display, the sequencing was very enjoyable because of the effective musical choices and recognizeable emotional transitions, as well as the fabulous representation of the theme. The effects were also diverse, and the choreography, at times, competes with that seen in both Australia and France. My preference for the bronze is France, as the theme was unique and well represented, there were good sequences, and the diversity of effects and product quality were high. However, again, there was a little bit of redundancy, and more representation could have been given at certain points. Some enjoyable soundtrack, but not nearly as enticing as the selection from Australia, and especially Italy. As such, my personal choices are the same as my jury predictions this year:
Trav’s jury predictions:
Trav’s personal choice:
Best choice of music:
Most intriguing effects:
4. United States
Best quality products:
5. Czech Republic
Highest color richness:
Best devised and represented theme:
5. Czech Republic
Most powerful/energetic displays:
Best opening segment:
3. United States
Sounds like a battle between Italy and Australia for the gold, but it is important to remember that there is always that possibility for the unexpected in the final results - we’ve come to know this following 2005 and, more recently, in 2008, for example, so I suppose that we will just have to wait and see what happens this evening. I am hoping for fair results for the 2011 edition of the Montreal fireworks competition!
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 09:37:32
My season review is here: http://montreal-fireworks.com/ReportBlog/?p=516
Final personal preferences for me:
Gold: Pirotecnia Morsani SRL
Silver: Howard and Sons
After a lot of thought, my predictions for the official results:
Gold: Howard and Sons
Bronze: Pirotecnia Morsani SRL
Lacroix-Ruggieri may very well win the Gold, though, having had the advantage of being the final entrant in the competition.
We will know in about 12 hours after the posting of this post!
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 13:12:36
Just a small correction to your review, but the delay, due to strong winds, occurred with the American display and not that of the Australian.
It was absolutely no problem to provide the weather forecasts - it was my pleasure. I am just pleased to know that they were useful. And yes, my experience in viewing a display from La Ronde was a great one, which will certainly encourage me to return!
Many thanks to everyone who has shared their reviews and rankings thus far! Seems like there is a general agreement amongst the choices for the winners this year.
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 14:20:50
Salut tout le monde
Aléa jacta est......Le sort en est jeté pour moi. Voici mon classement final de cette très belle compétition 2011.
8- République Tchèque.
Bien hâte de savoir le choix du jury. Les idées vont se promener dans leur tête. Cà me rappelle les beaux souvenirs de 1999 et 2003 alors que j'étais sur le jury de ces deux compétitions.
Place maintenant à la grande finale. Ne pas oublier votre radio .
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 16:04:54
My picks are for Gold to Australia, based on excellent variety and quality of shells, coupled with an invigorating and unique live performance of the didgeridoo and drum set.
Silver to Italy for an outstanding interpretation of a classical theme, coupled with beautiful effects and a resounding finale.
Bronze to France with their excellent integration of effects and music with a tight narrative - expressing both humour and the passion of the French. And kudos to the master of ceremonies in his electric blue suit.
Like many others here, I believe there can be no doubt that these are the three entrants we will see on the podium, but it is vexingly difficult to really say just what the actual order of winners will be - since that decision ultimately lies with the jury.
Best of luck to all ... and a big thank you to all the weather gods for smiling on us this year!
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 17:23:46
Just a small correction to your review, but the delay, due to strong winds, occurred with the American display and not that of the Australian
Thanks Trav! Everything is blurring together right now. My report is fixed!
Only 4 hours until the results now!
|Posted: Jul 30, 2011 17:28:53
I just watched the 3 displays I missed (Canada, Italy and Australia). I didn't write my reviews yet (end of session FTW !), but here's my personal rankings :
1 - Australia (Video)
2 - Italy (Video)
3 - France
4 - Canada (Video)
5 - Czech Republic
6 - China
7 - United States
8 - England
Check my website during this week or the next one, as I'll update it with the missing reviews, tonight article and my complete rankings (with grades).
Good night everyone !
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