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Old February 6th, 2011, 15:14   #1
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: MB
Professional pyrotechnic special effects for major events

Greetings all. Some of you may already know me and what I do. For those who don't allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Andrew. I am a licensed pyrotechnician with Archangel Fireworks, Inc. in Winnipeg, MB and have been working with explosives professionally for 15 years. Some of the clients I have worked for include Disney On Ice, KISS, and the CFL, as well as hundreds of local, munipical, and First Nations events, from $1,000 wedding shows to $100,000 international competitions. I hold current licenses for pyrotechnic special effects, display fireworks, and commercial high explosives, and I maintain a valid Surete du Quebec explosives permit.

Last year Counterfeit Combat commissioned us to provide special effects at their annual outdoor event, Operation: Mason Relic in Claybank, SK. Since that event I have received several requests for similar effects at various events. As we do not currently advertise this service I would like to take this opportunity to explain briefly what is involved in hiring us to provide these effects, and to offer our services to the community.

If you are considering adding special effects to your event it is important to understand what is involved. The battlefield special effects of the kind seen at Claybank are highly specialized. To place these effects in such close proximity to players requires trained, experienced, and insured operators using tested and approved articles. The IED effects for Claybank were custom designed and built after days of research and testing. Since demand for these effects is small we do not stock certain articles and need to special order them from our suppliers.

When we produce a display for a client, we bring the following:
  • Fully licensed, trained, and experienced technicians
  • $5 million worth of liability insurance with a zero claims history
  • Legal product tested and approved by the Explosives Regulatory Division
  • Full care and control of all pyrotechnics including setup, firing, and cleanup
Unfortunately for small-scale events it is often not economically viable to add special effects. Product may only account for half to a third of your costs; technician fees, insurance documentation, travel, and accommodations are all factored in when we produce a quote. I cannot discuss past arrangements with other clients, but you may reasonably expect to spend low to mid-four figures and up depending on the effects you desire. We will work with you to develop a display based around the budget you have.

We can tailor effects depending on your requirements. We will test and customize an effect before deploying it at your event to ensure it meets your satisfaction. Of course if it's not safe, we will not do it. Some of the effects we can produce include:
  • IEDs or roadside bombs and mines
  • Hand grenade bursts
  • Antiaircraft fire, surface-to-air missile fire
  • Small arms fire sound effects
  • Simulated bullet strikes on structures, vehicles, and actors
  • Fireball explosions
  • Simulated demolition of small structures
  • Rocket propelled grenade or anti-tank missile
  • Simulated cannon or artillery fire
  • Incoming mortar or artillery barrages
Note that we are able to fire effects both outdoors AND indoors, though obviously some effects are not applicable indoors. Furthermore we have access to most simulated explosives, munitions, and weaponry offered by Inert Products, LLC through special order, although due to their nature we are required to retain them after the event (Inert Products does not sell to the public). Imagine tasking your players with setting what appears to be a REAL IED followed by a massive simulated blast! We are licensed Canada-wide and will travel to wherever your event is.

If you choose to add special effects to your event we will work closely with you to develop a proper show. Generally we will require the following:
  • Your expected budget
  • The effects desired, quantity, and scale
  • An accurate, scaled map of the venue (Google Maps is usually sufficient)
  • Signed letter of permission from the land owner authorizing the use of pyrotechnics on the property
  • Contact information for local Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), generally the area fire chief
  • Access to game plans and contact with organizers to properly arrange a firing order
It is important to note that preparations for special effects must begin many months before the event. Unlike a fireworks display we cannot generally do last-minute on this kind of stuff.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, feel free to PM me to get the ball rolling and we can work from there. We will be returning to Claybank again this year to produce effects for Operation: Mason Relic III so you have an opportunity to witness some of the effects live.

In closing I would like to leave you with an example of our work from Mason Relic last year (thanks to Viggo for the photography):

Last edited by Gryphon; February 23rd, 2011 at 00:30..
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