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Explosions in the sky: A behind the scenes look at firework displays
Bonfire night is just around the corner, and everyone loves going to a good fireworks display.
There is nothing better than being wrapped up warm against the cold with a bonfire sizzling in the distance, while watching a variety of vibrant colours, explode from rockets lit on the ground.
But have you ever given thought to exactly how these displays are put together? How do they time fireworks so the sky bursts into light perfectly timed with the chorus of well known song?
Well, there isn't a man running round with big match, dodging burning fuses as the colourful explosives hurtle to the sky. No, it is all done electronically now.
"It's all done digitally now, but it is quite an in depth process," says Chris Elcocks, managing director of Vulcan Fireworks UK.
"We have a designer or choreographer whose job it is to listen to the music and decide which fireworks are going where and when they will burst.
"He has to take into account how long each firework is going to last for whether its 2 seconds, 2.7 seconds, or 3.1 seconds before it bursts."
But with the fireworks for community displays costing about £12k to £13k, dress rehearsals are out of the question, so how do they know their timing is right?
"It takes years of experience and getting to know the different fireworks. For a 20 minute show the design process takes about a week, the timing, effect and colour it all has to be considered." says Elcocks.
Long gone are the days where fireworks displays were made up of the odd rocket and Catherine wheel, new fireworks are being designed all the time in China and Spain.
They are then imported to Britain where they are fused. So what's the ultimate firework out there?
"There isn't one," say Elcocks. "In terms of a favourite there are lots of different types, but I like the brocade effect, which is gold and glittery all the way to the floor and I like the pattern shells, where a shape like a star is built within the firework and created in the sky."
See our complete guide to fireworks displays across south London and north Surrey this weekend and next week.
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