Every new year is brought in with an array of fireworks set off in cities around the world. As a kid, the experience is shockingly amazing with explosions of bright colours, and a sound that rattles your rib cage. Year after year we watch in person on TV the fireworks displays and hear the oohs and aahs as the controlled explosives do their magic.
After watching last night’s NYE fireworks, I couldn’t help but feel like I’ve seen it all before. If the fireworks industry was a technology product, it would have died decades ago through its extremely familiar recipe and inability to innovate.
Technology impacts almost every industry and its about time it reached the fireworks industry. The closest in spectacle is probably the lighting exhibition of a modern DJ performance and in that areana, innovation is rampant to make sure each paying customer is drawn in not only for the music, but for the experience.
Perhaps that’s the problem with fireworks, there’s no paying customers, people turn up automatically, simply because the calendar ticks over for another year.
A pyrotechnician is a person who is responsible for the safe storage, handling, and functioning of pyrotechnics and pyrotechnic devices. Nowhere in that job description does it list the need to progress, to move things forward and to create new fireworks that work in new and different ways to excite those who’ve been watching for 30+ years.
Last night’s Sydney’s fireworks featured an occasional laser (barely seen) and light array that ran the length of the Sydney Harbor Bridge but these were barely used for more than a generic light chase, similar to that on a $20 Christmas decoration.
Take a look at the following last few years of Sydney fireworks, you’ll start to understand the problem we have here. As the event happens once a year and memories are short, the fireworks display gets a massive pass, but I feel its time we demanded something new in 2017 and certainly in the leadup to 2020.
There’s a whole other world out there with digital projection technology. This takes 2D surfaces and turns them into surfaces that have 3D animations overlayed on them. These combined with lasers and fireworks along with the right music would really unleash a new level of innovation at New Years Eve (check out the 3:20 mark of the video below).
In 2016 drones exploded in popularity and functionality and while the Sydney fireworks are great from 5 or 6 set locations, how amazing would it be to see a pre-programmed, safe, array of drones that could launch fireworks over the harbor. That’s indeed a difficult challenge with flight times, weight and the force of an exploding firework, but with so many amazingly smart and talented Australians, I’m sure we could work it out.
The strange thing is Sydney is already familiar with this technology as its often seen during the annual Vivid light festival.