Do I need to get a permit for a Fireworks Display?
Yes, a permit is required for any firework display, large or small. Hollywood Pyrotechnics (HPI) has all the licenses, insurance and experience required to obtain permits for firework displays. We take care of this process for many of our customers.
How much does a Display Cost?
This depends on many factors. Most notably the size of the display in regard to shell sizes, shell counts, intensity and duration. Some small displays can cost as little as $2,000, and larger more complex ones can be $50,000 to $100,000 or more. We find many community festivals and 4th of July events ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. Some smaller festivals ranging from $5,000 to $15,000. Highly choreographed pyromusicals are generally $20,000 and up. Weddings and small private events can be as little as $2,000. Overall, it all depends on what you need, and what you desire. We can fit a display to your budget and needs that will be amazing!
What is required to shoot fireworks?
Some people like to do their own displays in their back yards or at the cabin. Be advised that in most cases this is now very Illegal unless you have a permit. To get a permit in many states you will need at least one million dollars in liability insurance that covers fireworks, as well as a State License for display operation. To get the fireworks legally, you will need an BATFE License for possesion. To hold them in your state (even large amounts of Class C) you may need a State License. In order to transport them you will need a US DOT Number, a HazMat Registration Number, and a complete DOT policy set. Oh yea, and Five Million in DOT Liability insurance for Interstate transport. You also must have equipment suitable for the safe discharge of fireworks, including mortars, firing equipment and safety equipment. And you must have proper training and experience. The quick answer is don't try it at home, leave it to the professionals. If you do want to shoot fireworks, try working for a professional company. They do it correctly, legally, and safely. Click here.
Why do some displays look so much alike?
The challenge with some fireworks displays is the lack of variety in the products. It is important to have many fireworks colors, effects,
styles, and presentations in a display. Repetition is a primary cause of a boring display. The second is lack of spectacular colors,
effects and styles. The key is to not focus on just shell count, but overall shell quality, as denoted by the numbers of various colors,
effects and awards from various competitions.
What is a Firework Shell?
Fireworks are made up of many types of
effects. The most common is the firework
shell. These are typically spherical or
cylindrical. The shell has a base that contains
its 'lift' powder to send it skyward. The 'fuse'
is the leader of the shell that leads to the 'time fuse'
and the 'lift'. The 'time fuse' is what causes the
shell to delay breaking until it reaches its desired
apogee in the sky. Inside the shell are 'stars'
which make the bright colors and effects, and what
causes them to fly outward is the inner 'burst
charge'. Overall the general construction of most
shells is very similar. Different 'stars' or
arrangement of the 'stars' in the shell make the
different effects. At no time should an untrained
person try to make a shell, fire, or disassemble a
shell. Please, leave it to the professionals.
What are the different Firework Effects?
Well this list is
always growing. Many firework developers come up
with new effects and colors each year. New
patterns as well, like the new Cube shell that displays
in the night sky as a 6 sided cube. Amazing to get
a square from a round shell... but we do.
Additionally, Hollywood Pyrotechnics adds several new
shells to the list of types each year as well.
This helps make our shows distinctive, and
innovative. Some of the long list of effects
include, Peony, Wave, Chrysthanimum, Dhalia, Kamuro,
Willow, Brocade Crown, Silver Crown, Diadem, Crossette,
GoGetter, Bee, Palm, Salute, Color Salute, Half and Half
Peony, Quadrant Peony, Ring, Atomic Ring, Bow Tie,
Heart, Cube, Star, Mosaic, Fuji, Tiger Tail, Crackle,
Tourbillion, Hummer, Failing Leaves, Strobe, Glitter,
Fire Fly, Dragon Egg, Color Change, WindBell,
Lightening, Comets, Mines, Double Layer Mines, and many
What is better about
Electronic firing is the use of
e-matches (or electric matches) that are wired into an
advanced electronic firing system, which may or may not
be controlled by a computer. When this type of
system is used the fireworks can be more tightly
choreographed, and can also be shot in sequences that
allow for multiple rising positions of effects at
precisely the same time. Hand firing of fireworks
does not allow for these levels of timing and multiple
position firing. Also with hand firing all the
crew are in the same area of firing for reloading,
monitoring, lighting and related tasks. In an
electronically fired display the crew are at safe
distances, and can spend their time spotting, which is
watching the display for anything out of the ordinary,
or for people entering the safety zone of the
display. These types of displays are much safer
for the crew as well as audience, when done with
state-of-the-art equipment and properly trained
What is a Fireworks Safety Zone?
A fireworks safety zone is the area around the fireworks discharge site that must remain clear of people, cars, inhabited buildings, open
roadways and other elements that may be harmed by falling ash or sparks. The distances for most display sites are dictated by the NFPA 1123
guidelines, requiring 70 feet of safety distance per inch diameter of shell, with a minimum of 210 feet. So a small display with 4" shells
would require at least 280 feet in all directions. A larger show with 8" display shells would require 560 feet in all directions. These
values are minimums, and when fronts of effects, or expected wind comes into play the distances should be larger. Hollywood Pyrotechnics will
work with you on determining the safety distances and the right sizes of firework products to use.
How can I shoot Fireworks?
Quick answer: joining a professional company as part-time crew or a local or regional Fireworks Club. See Jobs
for more Information about Hollywood Pyrotechnics crew availability, or see www.pgi.org
for information on the Pyrotechnics Guild International, a great organization for the advancement of fireworks of all forms. They have an
annual convention in August of each year that is excellent for pyro-enthusiasts new and old.