6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

CNET News Video: Behind the scenes of a fireworks spectacular

About Video Transcript

CNET News Video: Behind the scenes of a fireworks spectacular

2:34 /

Fireworks shows are getting more elaborate, with carefully choreographed pyrotechnics and soundtracks. CNET's Kara Tsuboi shows us the old and new technology that goes into producing a huge fireworks show set to the music of Super Mario Bros.

[MUSIC] The pow and pop of a fireworks show relies on some technology that hasn't changed in centuries. This is the bottom of the shell, which has gunpowder in it, which is called the lift charge. When this ignites, it lights all the black powder, as ancient as can be. And creates gas, gas pressure which pushes the shell out of the mortar at about 400 feet per second. [NOISE]. To choreograph a big scale production like this one at the open coliseum with synchronized music, you need a burst of new tech to pull it off. The Technology Force Firing Systems has really improved over the years, allowing us to use computers with the show design, as well as the launching of the display shelf. Weeks before the big spectacular, producer Jeff Thomas assigned specific fireworks to each moment in the shows playlist. In this case, it's music from Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers. Slow, quiet segments. I'll put some slower, quieter effects in. Big robust pieces of music, put in the louder, more concussive devices. The fun song, put the happy faces in or maybe the heart, you know, the love song. Then it's up to the crew to lay out the shells in the correct order. This is the main body of the show, that's from the beginning until the finale, everything that get's fired, comes out of here. How many shells are there today would you say? Over 1,000. While the fireworks show itself may only last 15 minutes, it takes hours and hours for the pyrotechnic crew to fill all of these canisters. Each one is then connected to a firing module with specific addresses. I already have 4D set on this, these address buttons. And then, it would be zero throughout so it, the shell address could be 4-D-0. They're all synchronized with this time code they call it and, when the time goes receive we say okay go. We're in sync and we just fire the show. Three, two, one, fire set piece. The sky lights up over the Oakland Coliseum, everything firing as planned, as fans enjoy the summer tradition. We allow fans on the field, we take great pride in the quality of the fireworks, we put a lot of thought and effort into the themes. We want fans to walk away saying that was the best firework show they ever saw. Happy faces in the sky and in the stand. In Oakland, I'm Kara Tsuboi, CNet.com for CBS news. [NOISE]

New releases

Tech to make your Super Bowl-watching experience even better
1:03 28 January 2015
Super Bowl 49 pits the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots on February 1. Whether you're a die-hard football fan or just...
Play video
Mission Motorsport: Helping veterans through the medium of fast cars
8:12 28 January 2015
Wounded veterans can struggle after returning home, and to help with this Mission Motorsport offers former service men and women the...
Play video
Inside Scoop: Apple says Watch will ship in April, reports record iPhone sales
2:27 28 January 2015
Apple's bigger phones give the company its best sales quarter ever: 74.5 million iPhones sold. CEO Tim Cook also makes news with the...
Play video
The CraveCast learns what Mark Zuckerberg is really made of
44:45 28 January 2015
The Crave crew takes on the twisted side of the arts and sciences and science fiction, including Shakespeare, Star Wars, gravity failing...
Play video
Tomorrow Daily 119: Robot bats, real-life ad-blocking headset, a futuristic piano and more
24:47 28 January 2015
On today's show, we shudder at a robot bat that can easily switch between flying and moving on the ground, check out a headset that...
Play video
Google's looking to become its own wireless carrier
4:08 28 January 2015
Google plans to shake up the US wireless market, Project Ara could partner with Blocks modular smartwatch, and photos leak for the...
Play video
Black & Decker's stick vac can't rise above the pack
2:24 27 January 2015
It looks like an upright while maneuvering like a stick, but middling performance and tedious maintenance keep this vac grounded.
Play video
Turn Amazon Echo into a better music player
2:22 27 January 2015
If the Echo does one thing really well, it's play music. Find out how to do more than just play a single song.
Play video