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 Montreal Fireworks Forum —› 2011 Display Reviews —› China - Panda Fireworks reviews
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Posted: Jun 25, 2011 19:47:32

Hi guys,

Please post your reviews of the Chinese display here.

I just cannot believe that another fireworks season has already arrived.

Enjoy the display tonight.


Posted: Jun 26, 2011 12:18:42

I have posted a video of Panda's show last night. Apologies for about 3 minutes missing in the middle. The camera stopped and I didn't notice. http://www.burchcom.com/2011/index.html

Posted: Jun 26, 2011 12:30:41   Edited by: STL

Hi M. Burch,

I filmed the whole display, so I'll put my video up so the others can see the missing 3 minutes.

Were you using a micro-4/3rds camera to film ? It certainly looked like that two seats left from you.

Review, pictures, video and post-display interview with Panda team to come later today.


Posted: Jun 26, 2011 16:20:49

Here are the two parts of the video :

First part
Second part

Enjoy !


Posted: Jun 26, 2011 20:10:25   Edited by: fredbastien

That was an excellent opening display from the Chinese entrant that I really enjoyed. The setup was impressive, especially on the third ramp which was close to its capacity with many low-level effects and various structures. Cables attached to the third and fourth ramps lit up at the beginning of the display, shaping a mountain (the Japanese Mount Fuji?) in the centre of the firing area. Later, rockets came down along other cables. Two of the three announced figures were there, but they did not produce the anticipated effects and movements. More stuff was located on the fifth ramp, with flame effects of various colours, and massive cakes of stars which created a strong feeling as they erupt due to their proximity with the audience.

The kung fu theme was clear with most of the soundtrack, as well as with some very fast and surprising sequences of low-level pyrotechnic devices, which were vibrant illustrations of kung fu movements. Panda Fireworks used a wide range of complex pyrotechnic products, with many colour-changing and multi-colour effects. Use of many cylindrical shells was obvious. The pace of the show was fast, with many intense segments. Synchronization was very good through the show, with many note-synchronized sequences.

The soundtrack was great for a pyromusical, with the finale on the music of "Ô Fortuna", not heard in the competition since the amazing, double-part finale of the Australian (Foti) display in 2006. However, I wonder what the link is between this piece and the Kung Fu theme... Also, it seems that most musical pieces were fully presented with a short interruption between each of them. It is likely that other teams will present more complex soundtracks, more focused and with a better mix which provide more fluidity through the show. That may be a small point to improve for a future participation.

It's obvious that the Chinese recruit suffered from heavy rain during the setup. At least a dozen of pyrotechnicians were still at work on ramps 2 and 3 as I rode the Giant Wheel around 7:30pm; the firing ramps are usually quiet at this time. I suspect this late work being the cause of technical problems (asymmetry, firing of some pieces at the wrong time, and short blackouts), and no appearance of the third figure. For sure, it was a challenge for the Chinese and La Ronde teams to have (almost) everything ready to begin at 10:00 prompt.

Just before, Michel Lacroix was back for the opening ceremony, when La Ronde new president successfully read a French-language speech (he is an English-speaker in position since a couple of weeks), followed by the director Martyne Gagnon who introduced the 2011 program. The only thing different from the usual scenario was the fact that the Giant Wheel lights went out well before the countdown.


Posted: Jun 26, 2011 21:13:05

Hi STL ... my videos are shot with a small Panasonic Lumex. Normally it would be 4:3 aspect but I forgot to reset it and shot it 16:9 and that is why I lost the middle. The HD setting shuts off after 14 minutes or so and has to be restarted.

I convert the videos to .flv to conserve space on my server.

Of course I am mainly there to shoot still photos so I can't really pay much attention to the video camera.

I noticed the problems with the low level ramps too Fred - it seemed that a lot of stuff on the right side did not fire and that destroyed some of the symmetry. But for photos, the great use of colour throughout was truly spectacular.

Posted: Jun 26, 2011 22:18:23   Edited by: STL

Unlike Fred, I found China's display to be pretty much average about everything except the very good use of color.

First of all, I may not be familiar enough with Kung-Fu to see the theme through the one-shot runs or the soundtrack, so I felt that exception made of some "Muay Thai !" shouting at some point and the fighter "sculptures", the theme felt pretty flat. Yet, I didn't feel the connection either with 2009 Argentina's tango-themed display, so I guess that some display companies lose me when they go too cultural (I *loved* Pyromagic's display about feng-shui, though, am I normal or what ?!)

Also, I felt that some specific products were overused at numerous points during the show, like crackling chrysanthemums, silver dahlias, crossettes and shells that end with a round burst of crackle (some lady at the Fire on Ice suggested the name "cauliflower" to describe them).

Also, like Fred, I felt the soundtrack editing was not up to par, as the songs were not shortened and put together back to back with a small moment of silence between them.

The technical problems also caused the show to diverge from its symmetrical pattern more than a few times, alongside the unexplained moments of black sky.

I also felt that the synchronization, while well done, was sometimes not appropriate and gave the display a kind of "mechanical" feeling. This criticism rose with the advent of precise firing systems, but Martin Hildeberg proved last year that you can have a precise firing while keeping the entertainment factor high.

I understand that the issues were weather-related, but unfortunately we can only judge what we see, and cannot read the designer's mind to know how exactly the show was supposed to look like...

You can read my French report on my website.

I also made a "post-mortem" interview with Panda team in the Salon des Artificiers a few minutes after the show. Due to the noisy environment, the audio is crappy, but I put up French subtitles with what I was able to understand :

Entrevue avec Panda Fireworks


Posted: Jun 27, 2011 19:21:35   Edited by: PyroDan

Hello fellow Pyromaniacs

I have to say that I pretty much agree with everything STL said. Theme not properly connected to music, synchro that was a bit lacking (not flat, just not very amusing lets say), a lot of repetition of material (although I loved the amazing amount of colors used on both on the water ramps), and a way too short finale. Actually, for a display that used 8000 pieces, it felt kind of small (I was on site at La Ronde). Overall, I give it a 7/10. Still a very enjoyable show


Posted: Jun 28, 2011 01:58:36   Edited by: Smoke

Humid, overcast, and somewhat cool conditions governed the atmosphere for the debutante Chinese team (and to start the 2011 competition), with a late evening temperature of 21 C and bands of light rain just North and southeast of Montreal at the time of presentation. Winds were generally light and, combined with the borderline moderate-high humidity, led to periods of smoke accumulation (more so for the first few minutes), particularly at low levels of the display when it became more active. Luckily, the winds did gradually pick up slightly, helping to clear the smoke a little quicker as time progressed.

China (Panda Fireworks) presented a fairly enjoyable display in its entirety. The team offered, at times, some interesting sequences along low level, and the diverse set of effects employed to represent each of the soundtrack was apparent. Overall, the performance took on a general/simplistic approach in accordance with the selected theme, and, if anything, the display had a very artistic and traditional feel to it (this was probably part of the intention to begin with). The artistry was demonstrated through the good quality of product used, and the colors and effects used for representation were generally appropriate - I particularly liked the rapid sequences of z-cakes, gerbs, candles and flares, which really made synchronization quite stunning at low level when they were seen. As such, creativity was most noticeable along low levels of this display. My personal segment of preference was “Taekwondo”, as I thought the sequences were the most entertaining, and the creativity seemed more distinctive. The balance between high and low level was also better demonstrated here than most other segments, and, of course, it offered the best mixture of effects.

I personally feel that the principal problem facing this display was the lack of consistency in pace from one segment to another. Consequently, I was frequently under the impression that the fireworks were not always doing justice to the selected tracks that were used - the fireworks, then, did not really seem to be appropriately keeping up with the key changes in rhythm heard through most of the soundtrack. There were periods where I thought the music-fireworks connection was particularly tight (notably, again, with those sequences at low level), but the tempo would just randomly be lost during the same segment, and that emotional feel would subsequently dwindle in the process. A couple of instances of this was during the “Kung Fu Fighting” segment, as well as for that of “Taekwondo”. Some of the previous comments have expressed possible weather-related technical problems for these incidences, so it may be that these could have been responsible for the aforementioned dilemmas, as they all appeared to be related - the most evident was when certain effects were being fired erroneously, when there were points of brief silence while music was still in progress, or, most noticeably, when periods of asymmetry occurred, particularly at low level with the fans of comets and other related effects. While the effects were diverse in this show, there was little interplay between them, and, before the display, I withheld the expectation that delicate mixtures would have been vividly illustrated, given the nature of the music that was utilized. As a result, this led to a tendency of being redundant with certain effects, especially with the kamuro shells. Lastly, the finale was disappointing in it being so short, and the crescendo was lacking through the duration of the soundtrack, “Oh Fortuna”, prior to the climactic part. I felt that this final segment could have been so much better reinforced.

As far as the selected soundtrack was concerned, I thought that the selection was enjoyable and was relevant to the involved theme. I also found that the arrangement of soundtrack allowed for some particularly good transitions for an emotional context. That said, the transitions were not as recognizable as I had previously envisioned, largely because they were not always seamless from one piece leading to another - in particular, the transition from “Kung Fu Fighting” to “Fuhen” seemed awkward. Inconsistency with rhythm and pace in the fireworks also periodically prevented detecting subtle changes in feel. As much as I enjoyed how the second soundtrack of “Hero” was generally choreographed, it gave me a sense of discontinuity with the flow of the display, as well as with respect to the thematic premise, likely because of the more traditional/cultural perspective that most of the other soundtrack commanded.

At the very end, again, this was a good effort from team China, and the show turned out to be quite entertaining, but it is a pity that the weather-related technical problems (if they were, in fact, weather-related) played such a large role in this display, altering what perhaps could have been a very compelling performance.


Posted: Jun 30, 2011 14:17:55   Edited by: dambrig

Merci STL pour ces vidéos. Je mets également sur le forum les liens vers ton site ainsi que vers celui-ci pour les commentaires des Français.

Posted: Jul 3, 2011 08:44:38


Je suis de retour cette année pour apprécier les performances des participants.
Je serai toujours bref . Je laisse à d'autres le soin des rapports détaillés.
J'ai adoré la prestation de la firme Panda.
Un spectacle vraiment IMPRESSIONNANT à tous les points de vue .
Une réalisation de haut calibre.
Panda pourrait se diriger vers les grands honneurs avec ce feu gagnant mais attendons de voir les autres.


Posted: Jul 3, 2011 19:53:28

Hello Pyromusical aficionados,

I'm glad to see new season of spectacles and I'm ready for a new competition.

Unfortunately, for this first show. My situation didn't allow me to have a place at La Ronde for a proper setting to watch the fireworks. Thus, my comments are only so much valid because of my poor listening conditions (under the Jacques-Cartier bridge and without a good sound system). Although, I'd like to share my views from that position:
I felt that the show was lacking an edge, I was not drawn by the show. I thought to myself that I've seen better shows. The music was a bit disappointing; the selection and the order seemed to me a bit awkward. My highlight was that I've seen an explosion with a perfect circle during the show. Sorry, I'm not usually a bad reviewer but I believe that my predispositions for that spectacle reflected my comments. Sans rancune.

See you guys next time,


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