The FireOne™ system is the most versatile system on the market. Whether firing a small, backyard display, or attempting to set a world record, FireOne has proven itself to be the system of choice!
Case Study 1: Multi-Site “4th of July” Fireworks Display Command and Control
For 2020 many traditional Independence Day fireworks celebrations in the United States were cancelled due to the world-wide Coronavirus. In general, the logic behind the cancellation of numerous public events was to minimize the transmission of the Coronavirus from person to person. Thus the byword for 2020 became “social distancing”. . . . maintaining a reasonable distance between persons.
In one Pennsylvania community the local fireworks committee suggested a plan to rescue the Independence Day fireworks display. The question was advanced: “Is it possible to produce widely separated fireworks displays that are identically choreographed and synchronized to a sound track.” This would allow the general population to view the fireworks from their homes and neighborhoods.
The staff at FireOne indicated that this was possible and easily realized with existing FireOne hardware and software. This is the overview of how FireOne provided the technology to accomplish the goal of social distancing on a large scale.
Figure 1, above indicates the locations that were selected as launch sites for the “distributed display.” Initially, six or seven launch sites were considered optimal to reach the majority of the population. Numerous sites were considered and investigated. Many of the sites were found to be inadequate due to geographical or safety considerations or non-permission of landowners. After an exhaustive search, coupled with a review of budgetary constraints, the sites were whittled down to four locations. Significant consideration was given to locations that provided a compelling height above average terrain.
In addition to providing multiple launching sites, selected to facilitate maximum viewability, multiple broadcast radio stations were encouraged to “air” the sound track for the displays. This would afford viewers, even in remote locations, the ability to receive and appreciate the relationship between the pyrotechnic effects and the associated soundtrack. Four radio stations, with broadcast facilities located throughout the region, were recruited. The radio stations were provided with a FireOne TimeMachine to provide a synchronized time source between the stations and the pyrotechnics launch sites. Correspondingly, each launch site was equipped with either a FireOne TimeMachine or a FireOne XL4+ Control panel. (The XL4+ has GPS synchronizing capability as a native feature.)
The implementation became a straight forward, two-part, procedure.
At the radio stations:
- Download the musical sound track into the TimeMachine located at the radio stations.
- Attach the GPS antenna(s) to the TimeMachine and set the start time to 21:30.00 (9:30 PM).
- Connect the TimeMachine’s high quality balanced audio outputs to the radio station audio board.
At the pyrotechnics launch sites:
- Download the choreographed firing file into the XL4+ or XLII+ Control Panel.
- Attach the GPS antenna to the XL4+ GPS input or the TimeMachine, depending on which configuration was utilized.
- Set the start time on the TimeMachine or the XL4+ to 21:30.00 (9:30 PM).
In the event that an XLII+ was substituted for the XL4+ Control Panel; connect the TimeMachine’s time code output to the XLII+ control panel.
At precisely 21:30.00 (9:30 PM) the radio stations output the pyrotechnic soundtrack; on all four radio stations. Also, precisely at 21:30.00 (9:30 PM) the four launch sites begin processing and firing the pyrotechnic display in perfect synchronization to the radio station soundtrack.
An overview of the technical setup of the launch sites is shown in Option #1 and Option #2. The optional configurations are shown to emphasize the versatility of FireOne hardware. For the production of these four displays, the configurations utilized included a FireOne TimeMachine at all locations. Obviously, the TimeMachine was designed for maximum flexibility and can be utilized for many applications and systems.
Firing Site Setup Option #1:
The radio station sites are equipped with a FireOne TimeMachine that receives GPS satellite signals and converts the data into usable time code. The time code will synchronize the music score to the pyrotechnic effects. One of the most reliable methods to synchronize firing at multiple sites is to utilize GPS derived time. The global positioning system is comprised of a nominal constellation of GPS satellites orbiting above the earth at 12,000 nautical miles.
At each of the four pyrotechnic launch sites, a FireOne XL4+ Control Panel directly receives GPS time. Within the same time zone, the GPS time received by the radio stations will be identical and precise as that received by the XL4+, even if they are miles away!
Firing Site Setup Option #2:
In the absence of a FireOne XL4+ control panel, an XLII+ Control Panel connects to a TimeMachine. In this setup, the Time Machine receives GPS data and converts it to a format selected by the user to produce either an FSK or a SMPTE time code. The time code is sent to the XLII+ via a balanced XLR connector.
Within the same time zone, the GPS time received by the Time Machines at all locations will be identical, even if they are separated by many miles!