how to use pyro

Chris Explains…

Pyrotechnics can make almost any event more exciting and relayyour message across more effectively, but you have to plan itcorrectly.

Picking the Right Cue

The biggest mistake that happens with disappointing pyroeffects is not having an effective cue. I have seen too manyshows where pyro or some other special effect was to be used as agrand finale to the end of the night. The idea is that the pyrois to be fired when the MC or guest speaker ends the evening witha certain phrase or action. As can sometimes happen, the guestspeaker is busy and can’t make the rehearsal, or can'tattend the entire rehearsal right to the end. I mean, he/she isa VIP, of course!

At show time, things progress as per normal, and we arewinding down the event for the night. People are anxious to leaveand they feel the end is near. Everyone on the production team isready for the "big cue" when the guest speakerannounces "Here are the winners for the 1996-1997 year"and the pyro is shot. This is going to look great, right?

What sometimes happens instead is the guest speaker flubs his/herlines and says something like “That was nice, thank you, andgood night”. What’s a pyro guy to do? If you don’tshoot the pyro, the client is disappointed because they never gotthe pyro effect, and if you do, all you’re doing is accenting someone saying “Good night!”

If the plan was adhered to, the pyro would have accented the announcement of the winners. The solution is to do your very best to get your VIP to rehearse the line for the pyro cue. This ensures you’ll get the most bang for your buck in adding that visual exclamation mark. The pyro has to match the cue line,and it’s important to get your talent to understand that.

Timing is Everything

Have you ever seen this? The room goes quiet, the lights dim and a spot appears on stage at the podium. The VIP steps up andstarts his speech. “And the winner for salesperson of theyear is John Smith”. The crowd applauds, and after the 15second “Ta-da!” accent music, the pyro is fired.

What went wrong? In a word: Timing. Here, the client understands the placement of the pyro as an accent to the bignews, but has mistimed the event by placing the music right afterthe announcement. This can sometimes happen when the clientbelieves that the pyro is loud and will over power the accentmusic. They’ll wait for the music to end before calling thepyro cue. If you cue them simultaneously, you’ll have avisual accent to match the sound: The music will be heard and thepyro seen.

Let Us Help

Often, clients know they want pyro for event, but they justdon’t know where it should be fired. Talk with your effectscompany and explain what you envision. Leave it to the pyro guysto suggest when and where an effect can be both safely andeffectively fired to make the best possible image for your event.


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