It’s Chemistry, Baby!

Have you ever been at a concert with pyrotechnics or a fireworks show and wondered how so many impressive colors, shapes and sizes are produced? Most everyone is in awe of the brilliant explosions created in these thrilling displays. Behind the beauty and excitement of a good fireworks show are centuries of scientific development and art! Up until the 1830’s the only colors produced were the orange flash from black gun powder and white sparks from metal powders. It was in southern Italy where they first began to began to play with some of the scientific advancements in chemistry and create different colors.
 

pyrotechnics photo

Nowadays, there is just about any color combination imaginable. Differences in color come from varying temperatures of hot, glowing metals and the light emitted by burning chemical compounds. Chemical reactions are what burst them in to different sizes and shapes. The combination of colors, shapes, sizes and all the right timing makes firework displays a true art and a science all it’s own!

Performers Set the Stage on Fire!

It takes a skilled and dedicated team to pull off a concert tour. The artists schedule can include several locations within just a few weeks and there’s not much time for rest! At each venue the entire stage and all of the equipment for sound, lighting and special effects needs to be put together and then torn down… within hours. And there’s no room for error! The job needs to be done quickly, safely and precisely so that the performance goes off without a hitch leaving fans wanting more.

Pyrotechnics on stage

Concert fireworks and pyrotechnics are a part of almost every big star’s performance. These effects make the show more exciting and dynamic, and should compliment all of the other components of the show from the main performer, to dancers, lights and sound.

Usher concert photo

Whether it’s Usher, Madonna or Eminem (all clients we have worked with!) they are out to impress and need a custom show that reflects them as a performer and achieves what they want to provide for their fans.
 

Lights, Camera, Special Effects! 5 Films That Wowed Audiences with their Awesome Special Effects

What is a movie without special effects? Some of the best shots resulted from very talented special and visual effects artists. Below are five movie scenes that would not be as famous as they are today without the capabilities of special effects.

 

1. Jurassic Park

photo credit: Scott Kinmartin via photo pin cc

The classic movie that brings dinosaurs back to life. In the film, Dr. Alan Grant and a young girl are cornered by a T-Rex. "Don't move," he tells her. "If we don't move he won't see us." Who can forget the scene in which the infamous T-Rex stops the jeep dead in its tracks in order to investigate the headlights? With the films ability to pull off some amazing special effects, the dinosaur was so convincing that even the audience was taking Dr. Grants advice.

 

2. Gladiator

photo credit: J.Salmoral via photo pin cc

For those of you that have yet to experience the Rome Colloseum in person, experiencing it on the big screen can be just as captivating. Although the lower portions of the massive arena were built for the scene, the rest of the Colosseum was created with a green screen and 3D architecture.

 

3. King Kong

photo credit: satanslaundromat via photo pin cc

The famous gorilla steals attention with his size, but the movie steals the attention of viewers with its special effects. The destructive character's best scene is the one in which he wrecks the subway's tracks and then proceeds to wreck a passing train. Every part of this shot is alive, from the people, to their screams, to the subways, thanks to elaborate animation skills.

 

4. Star Wars

photo credit: Pedro Vezini via photo pin cc

Arguably one of the most famous films ever produced, it's no shock that it would contain a famous shot due to special effects. The scene in which the audience takes on the point of view as a rebel fighter diving into the Death Star's trench takes on a three-element shot with the help of a Dykstraflex motion control system.

 

 

5. Forrest Gump

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get". This motto for living can very easily be applied to the special effects industry as well. Luckily for Forrest Gump producers, presenting Gary Sinise as an amputee was a feat they were successfully able to accomplish using CGI model material. The technique was simple. All of the scenes that called for a wheelchair-bound Gary Sinise were shot using a specialty-made bed that hid the actor's legs from view. In scenes requiring Gary Sinise to be carried, the special effect's team used CGI to erase his legs from the thigh down; giving audiences the impression that Mr. Sinise's character had suffered a double amputation. 

 

 

 

Know of any CGI-heavy films that didn't make our list? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

Special Effects 101: Breakable Glass

Welcome to our mini series on movie and special events and how they're done. Every week, we'll go behind the scenes and attempt to answer the question: How do they DO that? 

First up this week? Breakable glass!

Breakable glass, also known as sugar glass, is a popular prop used in stunt sequences.  Sugar glass breaks easier than real glass and is less harmful.

Check out this guy smashing through breakable glass.

In addition to providing events with breakable glass, Pyritz Pyrotechnics Group, LLC. specializes in a wide-range of special effects, including fog, explosives and wedding fireworks.