Saturday, 21 May 2022

Quieter displays and more colourful

QUIET firework displays are becoming more popular due to their suitability for young children and vulnerable people.

Now offered by most suppliers, quiet displays do not use fireworks that produce loud explosions but rather tend to utilise low-noise ones.

These include the comet tail, which emits a trail of sparkles as it flies upwards before quietly fizzling out, and the flying fish, which explodes nearly silently and produces small embers which scatter across the sky.

They are sometimes described as silent fireworks but this is misleading as no firework is 100 per cent silent, with pyrotechnicians unable to engineer a firework with no sound. Instead, they tend to emit quieter pops and bangs.

However, quiet fireworks can be more colourful than the noiser types.

All fireworks contain chemical compounds which will light up in specific colours when heated, not necessarily requiring a big bang to ignite.

Quiet fireworks also have the advantage of not drowning out any accompanying music and many displays are now set to playlists or musical compositions.

They can also include sparklers, Roman candles and firework “fountains”, which differ from most fireworks in that they emit sparks from the ground or a fixed position rather than being shot into the air.

Sonning Fireworks regularly stages quiet displays.

Director Chris Clarke said: “Normally with a cake or shell you have a charge which blows it out of the tube and causes the bang.

“We use effects that have a small charge so they are gentler and quieter.

“We do some very quiet and gentle effects and maybe the finale will be loud but that’s just like a clap of thunder or a car backfiring.

“It’s about picking the right types of fireworks. There will still be a bit of noise as it goes out of the tube but that’s low level — the higher it is in the air the further the noise travels.”

Mr Clarke said quiet shows can be less of a spectacle and his company usually opts for a “50/50” split between loud and quiet fireworks.

He said: “The quieter shows tend to be less impressive than the non-quiet shows for the same budget. This is why we suggest pyromusical shows which add that extra dimension.

“A lot of shows is synchronised to music, the idea being it’s not about how many fireworks you set off but rather timing them to the music. We try to strike a 50/50 balance even if there are no restrictions at the venue because for a four-minute show it’s less offensive if there’s only two minutes of noise.”

Mr Clarke says although his company can tailor shows depending on the venue and customer, many of the problems with loud fireworks can come from private displays in private back gardens.

He said: “The public buying fireworks for their own shows obviously don’t have the care for the industry we have. Big public shows over November are well advertised but garden shows and weddings are less easy to predict.”

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