With its extensive experience, great infrastructure and presence in several countries, and thanks to its work in research, development and manufacturing, Cienfuegos has become the leader in pyrotechnics for different kinds of shows.
The results of their shows can be seen in important productions such as those for Kiss, Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams, Roger Waters, among many others.
In this interview, Daniel Landeira, Vice President of the company, tells us about its origins, current status and details regarding shows that use pyrotechnics.
ZioGiorgio.es: How did Cienfuegos start up?
Cienfuegos began almost four decades ago, thanks to the passion of its founder, Luis Borca, for fireworks.
It started with marketing. Then it grew incorporating the making of its own fireworks at its own factory, becoming, to date, a leading company in its field in Latin America.
ZioGiorgio.es: What kinds of service does Cienfuegos offer?
Cienfuegos offers the following services:
– Commercialization of pyrotechnics and fireworks.
– Commercialization of chemicals and machinery for the production of pyrotechnics.
– Import, logistics and distribution of fireworks, cotillion products and machines.
– Manufacture of electronic trigger systems and distance trigger systems for fireworks.
– Manufacture and sale of equipment for assembling firework shows.
– Manufacture of pyrotechnics and fireworks at its industrial plants located in Argentina and Brazil.
– Organization, design and assembly of musical fireworks and only fireworks shows.
– Advice and sale of fireworks through our own network of branch offices, open all year and located in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, and Guatemala.
– Service and sales of stage effect machines.
– Service and commercialization of lasers.
– Training school for design and assembly of firework shows.
Cienfuegos also has a special factory of cold or indoor pyrotechnics in which we develop and produce effects and products for indoor applications.
ZioGiorgio.es: How did you get to working on big productions?
The road was very long. We had to test with every job we did. Every good result we had opened the doors to larger productions.
We started with religious holidays and birthdays to reach large international productions.
ZioGiorgio.es: Could you mention the biggest shows in which you worked?
We have worked on major productions such as the concerts of The Rolling Stones, Robbie Williams, Roger Waters, High School Musical, Wisin y Yandel, Daddy Yankee, Ricardo Montaner, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, Guns n ‘Roses, Kiss, Metallica and AC / DC.
We also participated in the International Festivals of Fireworks in Quebec, Montreal (Canada) Blanes (Spain), Cannes (France), Salvador de Bahia (Brazil), Colonia (Uruguay) and Miaoli (Taiwan), among others. We were also present at events such as the inauguration of the new beaches of Mar del Plata, Harvest Festival in Mendoza, Argentina; Paraguay Bicentennial Festival, etc.
ZioGiorgio.es: How do you keep updated to meet international customer orders, for example, the Kiss show in 2012?
We keep ourselves updated thanks to our teams located throughout the world, mostly in China. So, we are at the forefront in the development of new technologies and products. We also have our own department for the development of new products, which develops new technologies and products for indoor applications. All accompanied with the implementation of new software and digital consoles.
Last but not least, we have a training school for the assembly of fireworks where our technicians continually update their knowledge.
ZioGiorgio.es: Could you explain how explosions are synchronized at concerts or other shows?
There are two options: one is using a software with which we pre-programme so called CUE (when triggering) to synchronize the effects to the beat of the music.
The other option is manually or electrically. In this way the operator is operating the shots previously agreed, at the right time during the show.
ZioGiorgio.es: How much time is required to mount the effects for a great show?
It all depends on the complexity and number of effects, but it usually takes a whole day of work in the field of fire, but in major productions, 3-4 days may be needed for field shooting.
Keep in mind that the work begins with the pre-show design, the choice of soundtrack and preassembly of the effects and products to use, which takes place in the factory facilities. All these issues can triple the aforementioned time. Major international productions can take two or three months of work.
ZioGiorgio.es: What are the safety aspects to be taken into account to put on a show with fireworks?
Our activity in Argentina is regulated by RENAR, which indicates the safety distances for firing products. In our country, these are:
– 30 meters for ground products
– 50mts for cakes and batteries
– 70mts bomb 3 “and 4”
– 100mts bomb 5 “and 6”
– 150mts bomb 7 “and 8″
– 200mts bomb 10 ”
– 300mts bomb 12 “and 16”
We must also take into account the location of the public, electrical cables, speed and wind direction at the time of shooting, weather conditions at the time of assembly (forbidden in the case of thunderstorms).
For indoor events, you should take into account the location of the products with respect to the public and with respect to the artist.
Moreover, they should respect the security measures regarding combustible elements.
It is essential that the Chief of shot has a wide view, and if the type of performance requires, the fire department, fire equipment and security personnel must be present.
ZioGiorgio.es: Does Cienfuegos have international certifications that guarantee its work?
Cienfuegos is the only company in Latin America with ISO 9001:2008 quality certification, which certifies the quality of our work.
ZioGiorgio.es: When designing a show with fireworks, is it possible to know precisely how they will behave in the air or is there a level of random (other than normal issues related to the wind)?
This depends on the quality of the product, which is a priority for us. Quality gives us greater precision in performance and path. Similarly, for any unforeseen event or damage that may occur occasionally, we always take appropriate safety measures.
ZioGiorgio.es: Is it usual to receive orders of effects that cannot be achieved at least in a safe manner? In such cases, what is the alternative that you offer customers?
It is common to receive orders from productions that ask for different effects. If we do not have that effect, we make it especially, always giving priority to security.
We always find a solution for customer requirements both with indoor/outdoor products, fireworks for daytime and nighttime or effects machines, if the event requires.
ZioGiorgio.es: Have you ever received requests that forced you to develop new products to meet customers’ demands?
Yes, many a year. Customers such as Parque de la Costa (Tigre, Buenos Aires), film and television productions and music shows have asked us for special effects that have, in turn, helped us create new products allowing us to always be in the forefront.
ZioGiorgio.es: How have pyrotechnics for shows evolved over the years?
Fireworks have accompanied the celebrations of mankind for over 2000 years, developing technologies that have enriched that first mixture of sulfur, saltpeter and charcoal.
China is undoubtedly the birthplace of gunpowder and consequently of pyrotechnics. Even today it retains its leadership role in this story, especially in terms of manufacturing: its thousands of factories account for 90% of the world’s production of pyrotechnics.
In Europe, gunpowder appeared in the thirteenth century, and with it, fireworks began simultaneously finding their way into colour, with new shapes and effects. These shows have since multiplied and pyrotechnics have undergone incredible growth. Historical events such as royal weddings and peace treaties have always been commemorated with fireworks, bringing people and royalty together in a single event.
Throughout these years, fireworks displays have become unmissable for thousands and thousands of people, a real tradition around the world. “Cultural expression particularly associated with celebrations, fireworks also come from a long technological tradition. Since the conquest of fire, half a million years ago, to modern energy concepts. Two notions that meet in pyrotechnics: the science of harnessing energy, and the art of releasing it to produce lighting effects, sound and generate smoke.”
ZioGiorgio.es: Are you currently working in a safer way?
It is common to have problems at some shows such as unforeseen issues on site or weather conditions.
We also try to be prepared with contingency plans. For example, if a product is not working, we have auxiliary products to supplant it at that time. If we suffer a power failure, we have generators as backup, and as a second backup, we have a battery system we can use to operate all equipment.
Moreover, to minimize inconvenience, we also perform a previous review on site, which analyzes all aspects of security, looking where to place products and what kinds of supports are needed for them.
Whenever a problem arises, we can solve it at the time, so it does not affect the quality of the show, and the final product presented.
ZioGiorgio.es: After many years of work, are you still surprised when you see a show of Cienfuegos?
Whenever a problem arose, we could solve it at the time, so it did not affect the quality of the show, and the final product presented.
ZioGiorgio.es: After many years of work, you still surprised when you see a show of Cienfuegos?
Yes of course. The passion for this work is in my blood. There is a saying, “When a person touches the powder with their hands, it never goes away.”
Each job, as mentioned above, requires maximum effort from our entire team. Each event held is unique and different from any other; it gives us great pride to see the good results we get.
We notice the same kind of results on the faces of each of the spectators who attend our shows and which, in some cases, are thrilled to tears.
ZioGiorgio.es: What progress or improvements do you foresee with regards to pyrotechnics for the coming years?
I imagine – and work for – the development of new colours and new effects. Furthermore, continuous technological advancements contributes to further optimize the timing of the products used at the shows.
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