Interview with Team Vaccalluzzo

I met with the Vaccalluzzo family of pyrotechnicians, representing Italy for the first time in Montreal with a much anticipated participation – this after much noticed display at the 9th International Symposium on Firworks, held in Berlin in 2006. Brothers Salvatore and  Marco worked on the design, with  the former being the chief designer and father, Antonio, is in charge of production as Vaccalluzzo are in their 4th generation as manufacturers of pyrotechnic products. The company also produces around 500 shows a year, from small community displays up to international competitions, where they have won first prize at events in Spain, France and Italy over the past few years.

Salvatore noted that the company’s production is environmentally friendly as they don’t use any plastic in any of their fireworks, but use traditional materials such as paper, card and cotton string. I asked what percentage of their products would be used in their show and was told, in no uncertain terms, that it would be 100%! Salvatore said he and his brother had been talking about how they would like to do a display around Khalil Gibran’s book, The Prophet when the invitation to compete in Montreal arrived. The conception of the display took about fifteen days with a further four months required to specially fabricate all the pyrotechnics required. Antonio noted that he had to test lots of formulae to get the effects the brothers wanted with just the right shades of colours. They also noted that there wouldn’t be any repetition of effects throughout the display. The ten segments of the display are designed to reflect the chapters of the book and its portrayal of different aspects of humanity.

Team Vaccalluzzo

Salvatore, Antonio and Marco Vaccalluzzo

Since the theme is tied to the book, they wanted something special for every segment and told me, when asked which part they were looking forward to seeing most, that they were anxious to see all of it! They had used ShowSim to help visualize the show as they designed it, but noted that they just found it faster to write the script in that software so they weren’t so focussed on the 3-D capabilities, though said it was very useful to check angles and sequences for comets etc.

On the technical side, they are using thirty two 100-cue Galaxis firing modules (assisted by Renzo Cargnelutti) with  around 3000 cues. There will be nautical effects and they will not be using the floating platforms that form ramp 5. I didn’t ask about the calibre of shells as it’s deceptive with traditional Italian cylinders – a 6″ shell may be four feet high and weigh two or three times as much as a 12″ spherical shell. Vacculluzzo are renowned for their products so I’m sure we will be in for a treat.

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