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Posted: Jul 30, 2017 01:54:10

It is now already time for us to make our predictions for the Jupiter winners. Feel free to post here your predictions and/or personal choices of gold, silver and bronze Jupiters, as well as the soundtrack award! Some reasoning behind your choices would, of course, be interesting, but it is not necessary!

Trav.


Posted: Jul 30, 2017 05:26:03   Edited by: Admin

The 33rd edition of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition already comes to an end, with the closing show to be presented in a few days. I was blessed to enjoy, once again, pyromusical performances which rarely occur in other venues. With the exception of a minor delay for the opening show, all have begun at 10pm prompt, following a countdown now synchronized with the lighting systems of both the Ferris Wheel and the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The former has even been refurbished this year and it worked perfectly, so it didn’t suffer the comparison with the latter.

In a report about Ricardo Caballer’s outstanding performance in 2016 (available here), Paul Marriott provided some figures about the increasing number of cues programmed by fireworks designers and he wrote “there has been a move away from traditional multi-shot devices, such as Roman Candles, to the use of precise one-shots, supported by firing systems that have the capacity and speed to fire these in creative ways.” We have not seen extension of this trend in this year edition, my perception being that many performances were much more “traditional.” With the exception of some poles, no contestant has added any special structure on the ramps in order to create more complex firing patterns. Generally speaking, I would say this edition has been below the average inasmuch all shows had weaknesses on some criteria and innovative ideas were pretty rare.

Furthermore, I am afraid, that this edition will not have been a great success in term of attendance. Large sections of the grandstands have remained empty for most shows, even during the 2nd half of July. It is disappointing because the tourism industry is apparently in good shape with the value of the Canadian currency, as well as the buzz around the Canada 150th and Montreal 375th anniversaries. There are a couple of suspects to explain this situation. Firstly, while we were lucky enough to not experience any rain during the displays (I cross my fingers for the closing one), it is a rainy summer in Montreal and there were forecasts of precipitation (and actual showers) for most fireworks days. That being said, meteorologists had forecast a sunny day for July 29 and we didn’t see a capacity audience for the British show, to say the least.

Secondly, I feel that the persistent deficit of media coverage of this event continues. The organizers have taken new initiatives this year, with the hope to increase public attention, notably the votes for the selected countries and the songs of the opening show soundtrack dedicated to Montreal 375th anniversary, as well as the nomination of well-known diver Alexandre Despatie as a spokesman of the event. I don’t know to what extent Despatie talked about it during the morning show he hosts on CKOI radio station, but he has not posted a single tweet about the competition (he has more than 36,000 followers on Twitter). Furthermore, I heard his radio interview the night of the opening display and it was a kind of embarassment. He spontaneously said that it was his very first time attending a fireworks at La Ronde and he inaccurately claimed that people outside the park have no opportunity to hear the soundtrack. Ironically, he made that statement on the very same radio program which broadcast the soundtrack. To have a spokesperson might be a good idea, but the casting and/or terms of contract shall be adjusted.

Thirdly, there are so many events in the Montreal area in June and July that the market may be saturated. As I already wrote in another thread, here, I believe it should be considered to reschedule the event, beginning in late July up to late August, or to the Labor Day weekend. My rationale is that the “festival market” is less competitive in the second half of the summer, and early sunset would provide an opportunity to schedule the fireworks at 9:30pm (or even 9:00pm), which may please to a larger audience.

Another problem, which shall be easy to fix as long as Six Flags is capable of a minimum of flexibility, is to allow most customers to select their seats. Being a former member of the jury, I have the opportunity to buy a package which includes tickets for all shows and to ask for specific seats. However, other customers don’t have a such opportunity with Six Flags’ online platform and they can’t select their seats without contacting some specific people at La Ronde, which is not convenient. A such situation doesn’t meet the current standard in the industry, especially for customers who pay full price ($80/ticket in silver section) in advance. Moreover, the ticket price for season pass holders who desire to get a seat once they are inside the park has substantially increased one week ago.

I hope these attendance issues will not prevent the event to continue for years to come. According to the Quebec government Registry of lobbyists, the mandate of some Six Flags’ officials to negociate changes to the lease between the company and the City of Montreal regarding the sections on the rental and the International des Feux Loto-Québec has expired on July 10, 2017, and it has not been renewed so far. I have not heard any information about the output of this process. I also hope that we may soon return to a fuller schedule of 9 or 10 displays per year, but current attendance doesn’t help. At least, I would prefer to have one more contestant instead of an off-competition opening display, so it makes the event more competitive.

The Montreal International Fireworks Competition is one of the world longest-running fireworks competition (with Monaco and Cannes festivals which debuted in the 1960s). The 2017 competition is the 20th edition led by Martyne Gagnon and Paul Csukassy. I expect this achievement to be celebrated during this year closing ceremony. It is also the 10th jury supervised by current coordinators, Lynda Normand and Denis Lono. I tip my hat to all of them.

As media coverage of this event is almost nonexistent, Internet-based sources are critical to be informed about what is coming up and about the features of each display. I want to acknowledge the work done by Paul Marriott and Mylène Salvas who have voluntarily devoted time to collect and to deliver information for each display. I also have a special thought for photograph Robert Burch who passed away in January 2017. My seats are very close to the location where he used to stand and it was bizarre to not see him with his multiple tripods and cameras.

It is my opinion that Surex did the best extravaganza this year, by a thin margin. Their amazing soundtrack (a piece of art) led to a non-stop performance featuring a wide range of pyrotechnic products and firing patterns. With a smaller setup than other contestants, they achieved to make a lot with the firing area and they didn’t experience any significant technical problem which might disrupt their choreography. Their show was not perfect – some specific pieces had erratic behaviours, colours were not as bright as Vaccaluzzo or Jubilee, and they have not emphasized the depth of the firing area – but I believe it was the best this year. It would be even more praise-worthy whether we consider their “starting point” in 2010: their newest show was a significant progress by some standards.

Fred’s personal ranking:

1. Surex (Poland)
2. Jubilee Fireworks (England)
3. Féérie (France)
4. Macedo’s Pirotecnia (Portugal)
5. Vaccalluzzo (Italy)
6. Innovative Pyrotechnik (Germany)

My prediction of the jury choice is, for a second year in a row, an all-European podium! More seriously, a significant predictor of the official results is the position of each contestant in the competition schedule. Being among the last contestants is strongly correlated with a place on the podium.

Since 1992, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition relies on a popular jury and presents about the same number of contestants, that is, between 7 and 9 (only six since 2014). A different sort of jury existed from 1985 to 1991 and the line-up was shorter. There were Bronze, Silver and Gold Jupiter awards each year (except in 2004 with the Platinum Jupiter; nonetheless three finalists were announced). I don’t take into consideration special awards (soundtrack, environment, “public award,”, etc.). The following statistics are about the three annual winners (or finalists) from 1992 to 2016:

- 2 of 25 first in-competition displays (8.0%) won a Jupiter.
- 13 of 75 first three contestants (17.3%) won a Jupiter (never more than one within a single year).
- 45 of 75 last three contestants (60.0%) won a Jupiter (we have never seen a podium without any contestant from the ultimate trio).
- 18 of 25 last in-competition displays (72.0%) won a Jupiter.

This year, given my impression that gaps are very small between most contestants, I guess their position in the schedule is likely to have an impact and I am afraid that Surex might miss the podium. Also, while Jubilee Fireworks and Macedo’s Pirotecnia has experienced some firing problems, we should keep in mind that other entrants who had similar (and even more serious) issues have already been among the winners.

Fred’s jury prediction is:

1. Jubilee Fireworks (England)
2. Macedo’s Pirotecnia (Portugal)
3. Féérie (France)

There are also three separate awards. The Best Soundtrack Award and the Green Award are decided by the competition organizers. Regarding the former, I favour the soundtrack of Surex (Poland) and I predict that it is going to be the choice of the officials too. I don’t make any prediction for the Green Award as it seems to be based on unknown, insider information.

The “Public Choice Award” is a meaningless marketing initiative (it was even possible to vote for countries before their shows!), so I don’t make any prediction about it.

Fred


Posted: Jul 30, 2017 21:46:55

Below is my personal ranking of the 2017 edition. The last two countries are not included because I've been out of the country. Overall, I was not too impressed with the displays I saw this year...

1. Poland
2. Italy
3. France
4. Germany


Posted: Aug 1, 2017 22:20:10

Jubilee from England should win based on their colors, range of products, quality of products, effective synchronization, and vibrant candles and fans (even though the display had noticeable firing issues early on).

I live in the USA, so I unfortunately cannot attend these shows in person. These opinions are based solely on videos of the entire shows posted online, both from viewers in the stands with the soundtrack, and outside the stands--which gives different perspectives of the displays. Based on this--and contrary to popular opinion--I feel Germany did better in terms of scale and sky-filling shells than some others. But I also understand the smoke accumulation really barred that display from being in top contentions. But in all, I think this years competition was lacking in scope and innovation; especially compared to last years huge and memorable displays from Spain and Sweden.

I am one who loves big, surprise shells like multi-layered peonies and chrysanthemums, and with this I think Italy won--they would also win in term of pure craft of the shells themselves. However, their theme was lackluster and the overall design, basic.

Poland, whose a favorite here, did have the most complex soundtrack and consistently unique display.

Portugal, I think, was standard entertainment but also had the best finale in the competition this year; its finale barrage of white-out salutes exploding after the music ended was truly unexpected. But its nearly tied with Italy's thunderous and bombastic conclusion.

France's delivery this year was nicely executed, and probably one of the more pleasant offerings this year. The Evolution of Music was a solid theme, and it delivered, if it didn't quite go far enough to explore where music has come in contemporary terms. The display also lacked grandeur and the complexity of past years entrants. But it was consistent and enjoyable.

In the end, England feels well-rounded and a display that overcame its technical malfunctions. Poland could steal it all for the Jupiter, but it all feels up in the air as no single candidate overwhelmed or swept me away compared to what we're used to seeing at La Ronde. All the competitors feel even-keeled to me, no one in particular standing out, and no one country having that little-extra something. What's lacking is ambition here, and overall I feel each country played it fairly safe. There were some excellent moments and qualities in each show, but here's hoping next year delivers something unexpected and special.

1. England
2. Poland
3. Germany
4. Italy
5. France
6. Portugal


Posted: Aug 2, 2017 01:52:34

My rankings:
1. Italy
2. England
3. Germany

Jury predictions:
1. England
2. Portugal
3. Germany

Note that I missed the France show. My ranking is based on simply what I saw.


Posted: Aug 5, 2017 02:08:30   Edited by: Smoke

Yet another edition of the Montreal fireworks competition is coming to a close. I am also finding it very difficult to believe that I am finishing 28 years of attendance at this competition. Every year had a different story to tell, and this year was no exception.

To start, let me say that after experiencing the very significant traffic congestions of last year (2016), it has become increasingly difficult to journey to greater Montreal from the SW West Island. Due to amplified construction activities on the Turcot interchange, traffic has become severe around the city, especially merging in from Highway 40 into Decarie, and then more especially from Decarie to the 720 Eastbound. Fortunately, we faithfully used our alternate route from last year and managed to get to Notre-Dame Street over a range of 53 to 56 minutes. Pre-2016, the time to travel to the same destination was 31 to 33 minutes. However, as is always the challenge, the problem is not so much getting there, but rather getting out. Indeed, when we used to be able to access the Ville-Marie tunnel from Viger Street, the time to reach the SW West Island was 38-41 minutes (due to having to navigate through the very large crowds. Because Rene-Levesque and the tunnel are now no longer accessible reasonably quickly following the displays since the 2015 season, it takes almost exactly an hour extra to reach home. More recently, just when we thought that it couldn’t become any worse, we learned about the formula E racing event being established on Rene-Levesque at the end of this past July. What little options we previously had to get onto Rene-Levesque were no longer available. After the British display, we discovered just how painful it was to get out of there – to merely exit our parking slot, at 10:36 p.m., it took us 48 minutes just to turn left onto Notre-Dame Street (going North) due to it taking so long for officials to begin directing traffic.

Nevertheless, despite the traffic issues featured by both 2016 and this year, I have continued to enjoy the fireworks displays of the competition. I have always reminded myself how fortunate we are to still have this competition running, despite a third consecutive season of only eight displays. Thus, the Montreal fireworks competition still remains as an integral part of my Summer! I must concur, though, with previous comments that the 2017 edition of Montreal fireworks has been below average with respect to innovation. Indeed, all of the displays had a generic structure to them, and no special structures were used to emphasize sequences and to more elaborately highlight key elements that engendered the soundtracks used. The most intricate segment, for me, was the piano piece seen during the German display. Of course, exciting and very accomplished displays can be achieved without the use of structure! One aspect that I particularly noticed about this year, too, and was a little disappointed by, was the lack of strong thematic connections. Although some themes appeared quite interesting, I often had difficulty piecing together what was trying to be conveyed, even when narration was supplied. In some cases, the beginning of the display made sense with respect to the theme, but then most of the remainder of the displays would just seem to diverge from the objective somehow. I thought that the Portuguese theme was the most representative, organized and obvious. Poland’s theme was also well represented, but it was a very simple theme that left no real exploration of additional dimensions to enhance complexity. Germany’s seemed tenacious, but the connection was indirect. I was probably most disappointed by the French theme because I was hoping for an approach similar to Italy 2013. Combined with the lack of representation, the pyromusical design of the displays this year was nothing overly spectacular. The finales were okay, but I was expecting more from many of them – with the exception of Italy, all of the finales had a dependency on a narrow range of colors, which is ironic because we witnessed a large diversity of color this year among almost all displays, with the Portuguese having the smallest range. Nevertheless, I think that Portugal had the most intense and enduring finale, but Italy’s stood out as being more intense somehow, probably because of it had more color richness. Technical issues were not too pronounced this year, though there were some firing problems in both the Portuguese and British displays.

Just to speak a little about weather conditions featured by the Summer of 2017 since it has been a rather interesting one, to say the least. As of December 2016, precipitation has remarkably remained above to well above normal for much of Southern Ontario to Southern Quebec, and the May to July period had been incredibly wet. This has consistently translated into a wet fireworks season this year, even though no display was affected by rainfall “during” the 10:00-10:30 p.m. time frame. That said, six out of the eight fireworks days (since the closing should experience some rainfall) observed some quantity of rainfall, with only France and England remaining completely dry on their presentation days. A very heavy rainfall occurred just a few moments following the conclusion of the opening display, and powerful thunderstorms affected the early part of July 8th (Italy’s fireworks day). During the late-afternoon of Germany’s display day, very heavy rains affected much of the island of Montreal due to a weakening thunderstorm that originated just North of the West Island. This contributed to the highest humidity levels of all fireworks days this year. It didn’t end there, as light rain showers occurred during the early-morning of Poland’s display day, and brief light rain showers were present just a little prior to Portugal’s display. Although I am still uncertain as to whether lightning (distant and/or overhead) made an appearance for consecutive fireworks evenings in the history of the competition, it remarkably occurred this year. Indeed, for the opening show, as well as 34-41 minutes prior to Italy’s display, distant lightning was observed.

With the exception of France and England, all of the displays had high to very high humidity to accompany them, and Germany had the absolute highest humidity of all competitors. This often enhanced the likelihood for rapid smoke accumulations. Fortunately, wind speeds were usually strong enough to clear the smoke adequately, but wind direction was not so cooperative, especially during the first half of the competition (relative to the La Ronde audience). For example, although wind direction was suitable for much of the opening display, the winds suddenly turned towards the La Ronde audience during the dying minutes of the display due to a convective rainfall advancing towards the area. For Italy’s display, the smoke was blowing quickly towards the La Ronde audience, and during Poland’s performance, the smoke was pushing towards right-hand (partially central) sections. By Germany’s display, the smoke, again, was moving towards the audience (central and left-hand sections), and wind speeds were dangerously weak (second weakest this year), especially considering the very high humidity featured by July 19th. By the French display, the smoke was finally moving clear to the left of La Ronde viewers, though unfavorably towards viewers on adjacent sections of the bridge. Smoke accumulations, though, were moving towards more extreme right-hand sections of the La Ronde audience for the Portuguese display. Conversely, the wind speeds present for the British display were the weakest of all competitors, being very light to occasionally calm. However, the Easterly component in the wind fields favorably pushed the smoke directly away from the La Ronde audience but unfavorably towards Northern portions of Notre-Dame spectators. Finally, it appears the smoke could be moving towards right-hand (partially central) sections of the La Ronde audience for the closing show, but with fast wind speeds. Ultimately, smoke will likely move towards the La Ronde audience for six of the eight fireworks displays.

These observations so far this Summer are largely consistent with what had been specified in my Spring-Summer 2017 outlook presented above. We have continued to see above average precipitation for the Spring-Summer period so far. Thunderstorms have also played an important role in governing this above normal regime, as occurrences have been unusually numerous this year, though the number of “severe” thunderstorms has been fewer than some previous years. Furthermore, overall temperatures (all maximum and minimum temperatures averaged) have been about normal, but maximum temperatures/daytime highs have trended slightly below average over the May-July period, including fewer days reaching 30.0+ Celsius (C). It has, however, been more humid than normal up to this point, so it correspondingly “felt” much warmer than what the overall base temperature distributions have been since the beginning of May. Consequently, it was a more humid than hot Spring-Summer period so far this year.

I also wanted to thank Paul for continuing to keep this forum/website alive and active, and for taking the time to provide us with detailed inside information concerning each display through his interviews, and now for providing us with full-length videos of the displays! I similarly thank Mylene for all of her work in conducting interviews and bringing us additional information! I also took many moments this year to remember Bob Burch and recognize his outstanding work with his photography – his passion for this competition will forever live with us. I also wanted to acknowledge Bob’s supplying of full-length video footage for seven straight years (2010-2016) of the displays on-site for viewers who are unable to attend. Additionally, I would like to thank forum member, jbbank, for kindly sharing his full-length videos, either from Notre-Dame Street or La Ronde! Many thanks to our other photographers for continuously sharing their spectacular photos! Finally, I extend my thanks to all forum members for their continued participation on the forum and continuing to share all of their thoughts and insightful commentaries of each display (and in other discussions)!

Below are my summaries for 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 choices for the winners. Afterwards, 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 placed those participants best suited for each in accordance with my personal tastes.

Participating country: Italy
Company: Vaccalluzzo Events SRL
Date of presentation: July 8th, 2017

This was the first of two fireworks days that observed thunderstorms/heavy rainfall. Indeed, after powerful thunderstorms during the early-morning period, the air was quite humid for the remainder of the day. Occasional distant lightning was also briefly observed just prior to 9:30 p.m., to the SE. Evening temperatures were warm, at 21 C, but humidity was high. Wind direction also did not favor the La Ronde audience, as smoke was moving directly, but reasonably quickly, towards them.

A very enjoyable display by the return of Vaccalluzzo. After a very successful performance with their 2012 entry, this was one of the more highly anticipated shows this year. The 2017 display, entitled “Bellissima Sicilia” made for some enjoyable sequences and energetic pieces. Product quality was some of the best this year, as demonstrated by very rich and vibrant colors and symmetrical shells. The finale was also the second most extravagant of all shows this year, in my opinion. However, I was awaiting a more complex pyromusical design and tenacious thematic premise. Unfortunately, as exciting as this show was with its numerous shell of shells and multi-breaks, the firing scheme was quite simple and did not really adequately bring out the elements that engendered many of the songs utilized. Product diversification was also rather limited and further added to the overall simplistic design. The narration at the beginning of the display, too, was much too long for my taste and did not really convey the theme as well as I would have hoped. I suspect that the smoke may have played a role in the overall appearance of the show for those at La Ronde. Given these attributes, I do not think that the Italian team will be on the podium this year. Nevertheless, this was one of my favorite displays because of its color richness and high excitement level!

Quality of pyrotechnical pieces = 14/15
Pyromusical design = 24/30
Technical design = 25/30
Soundtrack = 12/15
Synchronization = 7.5/10

Total: 82.5/100

Participating country: Poland
Company: Surex
Date of presentation: July 15th, 2017

Early-day rain showers made an appearance on this fireworks day. The second highest humidity levels of all fireworks nights were also present for the Polish display, sustaining subsequently the warmest evening temperatures of this year’s competition (23-24 C). At the same time, smoke accumulations were rapidly occurring, and light WSW winds were pushing the smoke towards right-hand and partially central sections of the La Ronde audience.

This was a considerable improvement by Surex of Poland from the June 26th, 2010 display. The theme, “Just Fun”, was represented nicely through the numerous selected soundtrack used. Product quality was very good, though somewhat less than the Italian team’s, and there was a great diversity of effects and colors used – the colored eye with the comets being particularly memorable. Synchronization was also quite elaborate and was often executed in a creative manner (though there were moments when it was a little slack), and there had been many segments that were quite energetic, as would be expected with such a theme. The music was enjoyable, although there were several that I personally did not care for (such as “Sail”, which I also did not particularly enjoy during the 2012 Canadian display). However, while this display was faithfully tied to its theme, the thematic framework was overly simple to more effectively explore venues that could enhance creativity and emotional feel. This display also featured the most soundtracks of all competitors this year, so, at times, the fluidity of the display was not always present - this meant that some transitions between segments were not always clean. Some emotional transitions, nevertheless, were felt, and I was emotionally drawn to” Adiemus”. The finale had the correct intensity, but it was too broken up to create a really memorable conclusion. Very likely a contender for a Jupiter award this year (Gold, in my mind), and I suspect that, given the popularity of the music with the public, the team appears most favorable for the soundtrack award.

Quality of pyrotechnical pieces = 13/15
Pyromusical design = 27/30
Technical design = 26/30
Soundtrack = 13.5/15
Synchronization = 9/10

Total: 88.5/100

Participating country: Germany
Company: Innovative Pyrotechnik Gmbh
Date of presentation: July 19th, 2017

A late-afternoon weakening thunderstorm led to brief torrential rains. The rains played an important role in enhancing the already high humidity, creating the most humid evening of all fireworks nights this year. Temperatures of 24 C were also present, but it felt like 32 C with the very high humidity. Winds had also been light, and from the WNW, causing the smoke to move towards left-hand and central sections of the La Ronde audience and accumulating quickly. For these regions, this was the smokiest of all displays.

This was one of the most energetic shows of 2017, including featuring the most dramatic of openings. The display had a very operatic foundation and was used in attempt to represent the associated theme, ”Pyro Rhapsody”. We enjoyed some very good product quality, and a rich selection of colors. The piano segment was particularly memorable, as it was very elaborate with the one-shots, making for probably the most well-sequenced segment this year. However, the theme was poorly understood, and it was sometimes difficult to identify the connection to the music, some most of the soundtrack adhered to what the title meant. At the same time, the range of products used for representation was not particularly large, and firing patterns were often similar throughout the show. This limited the complexity of the design, unfortunately. The finale was powerful, but much too short-lived and monochrome. Given the limited concept and design of the display, the German team may miss the podium this year, though there is potential for the bronze.

Quality of pyrotechnical pieces = 14/15
Pyromusical design = 26/30
Technical design = 24/30
Soundtrack = 13/15
Synchronization = 8.5/10

Total: 85.5/100

Participating country: France
Company: féérie
Date of presentation: July 22nd, 2017

This was second of the two rain-free fireworks days observed this year, with much cooler and drier conditions present in time for the French display. Temperatures were still warm, at 21 C during display time, but with much smaller quantities of atmospheric moisture. Winds were also breezy, and from the North, so this was the first time for 2017 that the La Ronde audience was free of smoke!

The French display was well executed. We saw very good product quality and fantastic synchronization with very graceful and elegant low-level sequences. Color richness was also very good and often in a good mix. The show also featured many patterned shells that often captivated the audience. This was also one of the better shows to evoke more effective transitions in emotional feel. However, I found little to no thematic relevance in the display. The theme, “Evolution of Music”, offered potential to explore a musical journey through time’s river. Unfortunately, I did not really detect this, or anything resembling such an approach. Instead, the musical selection to represent the theme appeared more randomized, causing an elusive thematic premise. The representation of some songs was also limited, and, at times, there could have been more activity to illustrate the segments, notably towards their conclusions. Finally, this was the least energetic display this year, so it did lack the excitement factor featured by the other performances. The finale was also too short and consisted of only one color.

Overall, despite being conceptually weak, the display is possibly a contender for a Jupiter due to very well executed choreography and effective transitions in emotions. Product quality was also good, along with very interesting sequences and no real technical issues.

Quality of pyrotechnical pieces = 13/15
Pyromusical design = 25/30
Technical design = 26/30
Soundtrack = 12/15
Synchronization = 8.5/10

Total: 84.5/100

Participating country: Portugal
Company: Macedos Pirotecnia
Date of presentation: July 26th, 2017

Warm evening temperatures of 20-21 C made an appearance for this highly anticipated display. The combination of high humidity and somewhat light winds made for some periods of smoke accumulation, but smoke was blowing reasonably quickly towards extreme right-hand sections of the La Ronde audience. Some light rain showers also occurred during the mid-evening.

This was a well-structured display, which included the most tightly reinforced and meaningful thematic premise of all competitors this year. Product quality was excellent, and we saw a good range of effects used – the sequence of nautical shells was very good. Synchronization was often creatively demonstrated, although it would have been nice to see more representation of some of the soundtracks used. The music itself was relevant and enjoyable. It was unfortunate, however, that technical problems led to some firing positions not coming to life when they should have. This, consequently, led to several periods of asymmetry and made the display appear imbalanced. The finale was a bit too broken up and mostly one-colored, but I believe it was the best one this year.

Overall, despite some firing problems, this was a successful display, although this was a little less elaborate than their 2010 entry. Given these attributes, I suspect the Bronze Jupiter for the Portuguese team.

Quality of pyrotechnical pieces = 12.5/15
Pyromusical design = 27.5/30
Technical design = 25/30
Soundtrack = 13/15
Synchronization = 8.5/10

Total: 86.5/100

Participating country: England
Company: Jubilee Fireworks Ltd.
Date of presentation: July 29th, 2017

This was one of the only two fireworks days to be rain-free this year. A comfortable temperature of 21 C, accompanied by the lowest humidity levels of all competitors, made for fantastic conditions for this final in-competition display, which was probably the most anticipated display of the season. However, winds were very light to occasionally calm near the surface and had a ESE directional tendency (ENE above). This caused the smoke to move towards the Notre-Dame audience, mostly those sections going North. As a result, the display often had a hazy appearance for those viewing especially on Notre-Dame Street going North. Luckily, the humidity was low, so the smoke was not accumulating too rapidly.

As expected, this was a successful display that has a good chance of earning a Jupiter this year. Product quality was excellent, as we saw some very vibrant shells and color richness (despite the smoke build up, at times). There had also often been a good mixture of effects for representation of various soundtracks, and we observed very good transitional moments from one segment to another. Synchronization was very good and effective throughout the display. This display also featured the most dramatic opening of the season, with no hesitation after the countdown. That said, the thematic connection was not very clear, although the French version of “Gunpowder and Greasepaint” seemed to make more sense. Still, I felt that the relevance of the music with the theme became more divergent beyond the opening segment. Additional creativity would have also been welcomed to represent most of the songs. Also, some firing problems occurred at the right of the display, along low-levels to sometimes mid-altitude, giving a sense of imbalance. Fortunately, these moments were not too numerous.
Overall, a very good display, but I was hoping for a stronger thematic premise, which were largely my concerns with their 2015 debut display.

Quality of pyrotechnical pieces = 14/15
Pyromusical design = 26/30
Technical design = 27/30
Soundtrack = 12/15
Synchronization = 9/10

Total: 87/100

All of the displays were interesting and evidently had their strong and weak components. One aspect that was really missing this year, though, was strong musical representation, regardless if the thematic connection was obvious or not. Although I did not like all of the musical selections, I particularly enjoyed the Polish display’s rhythm and pace, and it was, indeed, quite a bit of fun, as suggested by the theme. There were no real technical issues with the display, and there was a better use of effects for representation compared to all displays, although transitions were not always clean. Although the theme was light, it was still connected to the display, and I was thoroughly entertained. Firing patterns were interesting, and the audience was engaged with the music often. I also loved the British display, but the theme was not as obvious, and there were firing problems unfolding enough to be noticeable. The display was strongly conveyed, however, and had a vibrant set of colors and very good product quality, along with interesting sequences along low-level. Portugal had a better reinforced theme but lacked the diversity featured by England, especially in terms of colors, and it also had noticeable firing problems. Germany was also very enjoyable and often exciting, but the range of effects was somewhat more reserved, and firing schemes were simplistic, overall. Therefore, my jury predications and personal choices for the winners look like this:

Trav’s jury prediction:

1st: Poland
2nd: England
3rd: Portugal

Trav’s personal choice:

1st: Poland
2nd: England
3rd: Germany

Green Achievement Award: ?

Best choice of music:

1. Poland
2. Portugal
3. Germany

Most intriguing effects:

1. Poland
2. England
3. France

Best quality products:

1. Italy
2. Germany
3. England

Highest color richness:

1. Italy
2. Germany
3. Poland

Best devised and represented theme:

1. Portugal
2. Poland
3. Germany

Best sequences:

1. Poland
2. England
3. Portugal
4. France

Most powerful/energetic displays:

1. Italy
2. Germany
3. Portugal

Best opening segment:

1. Portugal
2. Germany
3. Poland

Top conclusions:

1. Portugal
2. Italy
3. England

Trav.


Posted: Aug 5, 2017 10:32:58

Thanks for everyone's reviews!

My prediction for the Jury:

Gold: England
Silver: Portugal
Bronze: France

Soundtrack: France

My personal favourites:

1st: England (read what you will into this as I was on the crew)
2nd: Poland
3rd: Portugal
Soundtrack: Poland

Green Award: Maybe Italy as they are the only team with 100% paper products I think

One thing I did to review all the shows was watch the videos on about 3x normal speed. Doing this, you get to see the interplay (or not) of the different layers of the displays and their overall complexities and firing positions used. Based on this, I would say the England show was far and away the most complex - often with three of four layers of different effects and definitely more angles used than any other display. Overall this year, the level of complexity, by this measure, was lower than 2016 and so the displays felt more "traditional". I think there was something of a loss of creativity, though a few teams used the sky-writing-with-sequenced-comets technique we first saw a couple of years ago. We were unlucky with the weather this year, not with rain, but with wind direction. Several of the displays were spoiled, from a La Ronde audience perspective, by being hidden to a greater or lesser extent. This was particularly unfortunate for the German display.

All in all a good year but not the best ever, though as all the teams had competed before, this probably partly explains why all of them were in the very good to excellent range.

Paul.


Posted: Aug 5, 2017 12:46:23

Hey all,

Sorry for coming to the party so late this year. Busy at work, cruise planned at beginning of month, plus daily activities known as family life have kept me from fully writing comments. But that didn't stop me from seeing the shows and reading the comments of course lol.

My top picks:
1) England
2) France
3) Poland

Jury Prediction:
1) England
2) France
3) Portugal

Portugal: Song selection missing connection with audience, simple-ish design, GREAT finale
Germany: Good but not enough layered approach, GREAT sync
Italy: Repetitive, simple-ish design, good finale


Posted: Aug 5, 2017 13:26:10   Edited by: PyroDan

^^Been so long I logged in, didn't notice my laptop screwed up my account credentials. Much better now. That's why I couldn't see member vids! Tweaked my response, I'm allowed since it's now really me


Hey all,

Sorry for coming to the party so late this year. Busy at work, cruise planned at beginning of month, plus daily activities known as family life have kept me from fully writing comments. But that didn't stop me from seeing the shows and reading the comments of course lol.

My top picks:
1) England
2) Poland
3) France

Jury Prediction:
1) England
2) France
3) Portugal

England: Great layered approach but too bad for some problems, big fan of music, classic finale
France: Very clear theme with some nice effects, but not too complex design wise. Good music too!
Poland: Great song selection and nice effects chosen. Could be forgotten by jury though, would love it to see them in top 3!
Portugal: Song selection missing connection with audience, clear theme, simple-ish design, GREAT finale
Germany: Good but not enough layered approach, GREAT sync
Italy: Repetitive, simple-ish design, good finale


Posted: Aug 5, 2017 13:49:49

We were unlucky with the weather this year, not with rain, but with wind direction. Several of the displays were spoiled, from a La Ronde audience perspective, by being hidden to a greater or lesser extent. This was particularly unfortunate for the German display.

Yes, indeed. Given tendencies this evening, six of the eight displays this year will have featured smoke moving towards the audience of La Ronde (even if just partially during Portugal's display, and just for the dying minutes of the opening show). More remarkably, as far as rain is concerned, we similarly observed six out of now eight "fireworks days" where some form of rainfall occurred, even though no display actually had experienced rain during the 10:00-10:30 p.m. time frame up to this point - the opening show coming closest, as it just narrowly missed a heavy rainfall.

Also, it is quite interesting to see a nice mix in the choices for the winners this year!

Trav.


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