The world is embracing fireworks at events, but not everyone’s on board…

Breaking tradition

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said that firecrackers during the Christmas and New Year celebrations are dangerous, causing injuries to its patrons, even strangers, and especially children.

He likes to observe the holidays with solemnity and without the noise from firecrackers. When he was still mayor of the southern city of Davao in 2002, the city council passed and enforced Ordinance No. 060-02, which prohibits the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of firecrackers or pyrotechnic devices in the city. Now that he is President, Duterte plans to take this initiative to the national level.

Myanmar mayhem

A hot air balloon packed with pyrotechnics exploded over a crowd during a popular festival in Myanmar, sending revellers running for cover.

The frightening scene unfolded on 14 November during the Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights, an annual celebration that marks the end of the wet season in Myanmar.

According to local media reports, festival organizers invite participants to launch unmanned balloons full of fireworks to usher in a new season.

One of those balloons burst into flames during Wednesday’s festival. Video shot by a spectator showed the balloon slowly ascending while fireworks shoot from its sides. In an instant, the balloon exploded, sending fireworks shooting toward the ground as the balloon came crashing down toward the crowd.

At least nine people were injured in the incident, festival organisers reported.

An interview with MTFX MD Mark Turner

What recent special effects-heavy events have you been involved in and what were the challenges?

In October of this year we were invited to the NIO Global 2019 Formula E unveiling in London. Our role was to mask the car in a glass box which would be entirely filled with smoke. By using a number of different smoke effects and machines, timing was our main challenge with this.

Once the car had been revealed, a prolonged low smoke effect, achieved by dry ice, was created to hover around the base of the car. We were to ensure this effect was consistent for the next 3 hours.

BBC’s Casualty saw us create our biggest explosion to date. Having only one shot at this monstrous explosion, we had to make sure our timing was perfect.  200 litres of fuel and several smaller explosive detonators were prepared with intervals set closely between each other, to create one giant explosion. It’s fair to say that Casualty’s first episode of their 33rdseries went off with a bang.

How are client needs for effects evolving?

The boundaries are constantly being pushed, and in turn client ideas and ingenuity are developing new effects. Clients are wanting to create the next big, exciting and unique event.

Achieving visually impacting displays and effects that stand out are on the top of everyone’s list. It’s been great for us to experiment with new things and continue to challenge ourselves.

With warmer summers and the need to stay cool, the popularity of our misting systems has become ever more apparent. The misting effect covers a broad audience within the outdoor event industry from festivals, various outdoor shows and creative bespoke events/projects

What times of year are most productive for you, and are new event markets requiring special effects popping up?

With our line of work becoming ever more prominent internationally we find ourselves busy all the way through the year. 2018 has seen us visiting not only events at home here in the UK but also overseas in Europe and Asia.