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What's In A Finale?

Discussion in 'Let's Talk Fireworks!' started by Shadow, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Shadow

    Shadow Galactic Fireworks Forum Member

    I thought I'd post this and garner some opinions on a topic everyone has probably thought about at some point - finales.

    My apologies if it gets too rambly (and many questions)...

    This is in light of a change in what encompasses a finale, so what exactly is it to you? I've seen everything from sky puke to single effects in layers, and whatever else is in between. However more recently I've seen more and more salutes make their way into finales and sometimes even replacing the more traditional wall of willows/nishiki kamuros. Whilst I personally do think that the noise/bangs are a part of fireworks as a whole and have no issues with salutes in a show to add variety, they don't seem appropriate at the end unless you mix them in with something visually stunning.

    This brings up the question of what exactly is a finale? The last few seconds/minutes of your display (or any display) essentially, but everyone goes about this differently. How much of your budget do you assign? How many different layers or effects do you aim for? Do you ever try something new? A common budget seems to be about 20% of the overall purchase, give or take.

    I started wondering this after the Galactic competition last year showing off a 'pile' of lushes and it somehow working. The idea seems to generally be taking a larger shotcount rapid fire cake (such as the wonderful weapon G) and multiplying it, angling it and filling the sky - maybe accentuating it with mines/rockets at the end or adding in some sound based effects like whistles.

    That being said, how does everyone go about planning their finale? Do you stick with what worked previously and adjust it to your budget or sometimes try unusual things? Do you plan the finale first and go backwards, or pick something not already in the show after making it? I'm curious partially because I'm trying to plan my finale for this year but struggling with order and budget a little, so it may be singles in sequence (which becomes more difficult with only videos and bore size to go from), but anyways that's another topic entirely for closer to show time.

    And last but not least how do we feel about certain effects in finales, or is anything a go? I suppose the overall idea is to create a lasting image for the spectators and a climax to the show overall, without too much repetition.

    I think that's enough ramble to attempt to say what I mean?
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  2. Anthony

    Anthony Galactic Firework Addict

    Several good 1.3G rockets as a decent fanned cake is coming to an end is how I would do my finale, and it works! ;)
  3. Big K

    Big K Galactic Firework Enthusiast

    4 Weapon G plus 4 Thunderbolt & Lightning and 3 large rockets over the top at the end. Everyone loved it last year. Already thinking about what we can do to improve on it!
    Geoff Gostage likes this.
  4. Jinn Kyja

    Jinn Kyja Super Moderator Competition Meet 2018 Champion

    After a few years of tossing a coin between Strobe or Brocade finale and working around that (making the loser one of many false finales), last year I threw caution to the wind and decided to do an experiment involving daytime fireworks.
    The results of my studies show that you shouldn't do any messing about with your finale.
    Just pick a known effect and do it To TeH MAX.

    p.s. Weapon G's do in fact speed up for the 2nd/silver half, so firing them backwards to finish on gold Brocade didn't work either, but that was the least of my problems tbh.
    Shadow and Krony like this.
  5. BrocadeKnight

    BrocadeKnight Galactic Firework Addict

    As always it depends upon the budget and purpose, but here are my thoughts for my own.
    10min display max.
    30s finale.
    Biggest bursts.
    Most shots-per-second.
    Distinct effects (not sky puke).
    Similar material (for height layers maybe), if not all the same.
    Short duration cakes for tight timing.
    Thoughts about perspective if filming - rockets can look shite.

    It surely has to be the biggest bursts of all your stash, in multiples to make the highest shots-per-second. So good judgement of the material is needed if not yet seen in the flesh.
    I'm a stickler for displays built from single effect cakes, in themed sections of say 3 successive cues of similar colour/effect.
    My recent finales have included fanned layers of similar effects. E.g. 4x Galactic's Galactic Storm with 8x Sapphire Crowns above, all blue mines to brocade. My last one was 8 Jigsaw and 8 Cube cakes, all glitter/crowns/willows, where again I knew there would be height differences. The next one, if it ever happens, will be a longer building themed section of 4x Brazilliant candles (gold glitter wiggle to green 'spit') spaced in 2 Vs, then 3x Galactic's Reign of Fire (Gold brocades with blue, green, glitter, crackle), then 12 Jigsaw 19s brocades/blues/glitter. Then possibly 80 war hawks over the top (depending upon the venue). So, similar effects for about a minute, but increasing in size and shot count.
    I build my displays typically from 16/25s cakes in multiples, but I think there really is something to be said for using max calibre low-shot-count cakes for a finale... any timing discrepancies will be kept to a minimum. Even very high quality pyro with good fusing has more chance of running long or drifting out of sync (why I never use mixed effect cakes) the longer it's designed to fire in the first place. I've also contemplated half a dozen of Celtics 19s dump cakes to tidy up even after my 19s Jigsaws.
    I think perspective is an issue too, when using rockets and filming a display. Huge high rocket bursts can look puny, or can be impossible to catch within the same shot / on a static camera. I'm never using rockets again after this time, if i even bother now, too much faff. But I've found cakes at 50m, war hawks at 100m can fit within shot on my wide angle cameras without the rockets looking small, due to the hawk's big bursts at not a great height.
    Also on perspective - In my next display I have a few Jorge cakes and candles near the start which I expect will dwarf all other effects, having seen how high and huge bursting some of their material is. So they're purposefully not just before the Jigsaw finale, which will be huge bursts in its own right, but also low, so I wouldn't want the height difference to make the lower bursts look smaller from a perspective point of view.
    I might actually set the Jorge back on the site and the Jigsaw forward to compensate for that, for the naked eye live, but more so for the video.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  6. BrocadeKnight

    BrocadeKnight Galactic Firework Addict

    Well that went on a bit.
    Fleascool likes this.
  7. Big K

    Big K Galactic Firework Enthusiast

    A lot covered off, interesting read. Food for thought. Cheers
  8. Shadow

    Shadow Galactic Fireworks Forum Member

    Thanks for all the input, the more the merrier! I figure at this point I give my two cents/pence as well though I actually plan/fire very similar to BrocadeKnight. My only differences really are the length of display/finale time, but I think that's more down to personal preference. I must admit I have the added benefit on not having to worry about perspective for filming and tend to have a small audience (usually 3-6 people) so can tell them where to watch from. On the other handone of my audience members suffers from tinnitus and so doesn't deal very well with anything whistle, so I try to avoid those as much as possible (at least in the main show). This makes the finale a little tougher since a lot of shows I've seen add whistle for an extra layer at the end.

    I too try to layer/section my displays into categories (strobe section/brocade section/quiet section (xettes/fish/swirls) etc. though haven't really thought about doing it by colour which could also be interesting.

    On a different note, does anyone have advice on estimating burst sizes when you've never seen certain product in the flesh (outside of just bore size and watching many videos)?

    And are there any effects that are better or worse for finales? Willows and Brocades seem to be the effect of choice often times as it hangs and fills well, but has anyone tried something else with it working?
  9. BrocadeKnight

    BrocadeKnight Galactic Firework Addict

    I'm not too proud to say I've had my opinion recalibrated on several occasions due to seeing things in the flesh at Galactic's get-togethers and competitions. Many thanks to them for that opportunity! Not only for scale, but for quality and colour too. Which led me to using 12 small but huge Cube cakes for one finale, and likewise in Jigsaw for the forthcoming display. Both brands unfortunately now consigned to history. Not to be critical of videos, but sometimes things just don't come across. There was way more colour in the Jigsaw stuff to the naked eye.
    But, watching other enthusiasts displays in full is a good way of picking out the scale of material. Some of us list material meticulously in YouTube video info sections, so searches for certain fireworks might return full displays containing them.
    You could argue that the size of effects is probably consistent across similar sections of a brand's range. E.g. I assume Celtic's 36s range (of the same calibre) all burst about the same (unless obviously more delicate effects).
    And then it's just perfectly safe to assume the 30mm Celtic and Jorge stuff is just high&huge, as it's really pro stuff that fits within the cat3 limits. It really is better used and viewed from at least 50m.
    As for different finale effects, I was about to say I always tend towards brocade, but I've realised that's not actually true. I feel a Ten Years Of Finales video coming on.
    Here's the 12 Cube Red Line finale, which I felt was a departure for me. Inspired by seeing 4 in one team's entry at a Galctic Comp. Red, green and blue stars. But so much bigger and brighter than first assumed.
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