Planning a fireworks display? If you’re relatively new to this exciting area, the sheer range of possibilities can be overwhelming. All those fireworks and associated effects have names. Getting familiar with some of these will help you better understand how to create an unforgettable fireworks display. Here we look at the most common firework effects.
Bees: As this name suggests, this effect represents a cluster or swarm of light points, which move through the air under their own power – before disappearing. Comparable to the ‘fish’ effect, but less intense.
Blinker (aka strobe): This effect is a cluster of stars that move out in a strobing or blinking effect. They hang in the air longer than most other fireworks.
Blossom: Reminiscent of a flower, this colourful effect sparks and expands outwards, much like a blooming flower.
Bombette: Fired by a lifting charge, this effect is produced from within a candle or cake.
Brocade: This effect looks like an expanding sphere of stars, similar to a Peony but more persistent. In relation to gold, it is comparable to palm, willow and kamuro effects.
Butterfly: This butterfly-like effect is created with two cones of effects which are fired in opposite directions in a symmetrical pattern.
Comet: This effect leaves a persistent, glittering trail, often in the form of a star.
Crackle: This is an audio effect featuring little snaps and bangs.
Crackling comet: A tail of crackling effects, as opposed to a silent glittery one.
Crossette: This is an effect which ‘spawns’ several other effects. E.g. an exploding coloured star which releases several other coloured stars.
Double break: This could be a rocket which burst twice with two separate effects or a shell/firework that releases two effects.
Dragon’s eggs: The exact description of this effect is open to debate, but it is generally regarded as a gold/silver burst that concludes in strobes or crackles.
Falling leaves: This effect gives the impression of falling leaves, drifting downwards in a calm, pleasing manner.
Fish: Named after its swimming, wriggling appearance, the fish is often coloured and is easy on the ears.
Heart: Bursts into a heart shape. Usually delivered by professional shells, but some general public fireworks can deliver is a similar effect.
Hummer: Perhaps unsurprisingly, this firework makes a humming sound, generated by the way it burns and its housing structure. Low pitched hummers sound like bees, while high pitched ones create a screeching sound.
Kamuro: This hanging effect looks quite like a willow, usually with a twinkling or strobing effect. Often used towards the end of a show.
Maroon: Extremely loud bang created by a maroon shell/rocket.
Palm tree effect: cascading effect reminiscent of a palm tree, usually gold and silver.
Parachute: A tricky effect created by professionals, aimed at staying in the air for longer – often for flare/hanging lantern effects.
Peony: An expanding sphere of stars.
Pistil: An effect containing a peony as a key component.
Rainbow: Displaying various colours or changing colour.
Report: what the professionals call a ‘bang’.
Ring effect: Expanding 2D ring/circle generated using numerous stars. Generally professional but some public-sale fireworks offer something similar.
Salute: A loud bang similar to a maroon.
Spinner: A rapidly-spinning aerial effect, usually silver. May emit noise and release stars.
Spiral: A spiral-shaped effect used by professionals.
Star: star or flaming ball, can be any colour. Low noise.
Tail: the fading stream of light behind the firework.
Titanium salute: Huge bang accompanied with a bright flash.
Turbillion: Usually a star with an erratic flight path. Gives off a pleasant spiralling, glitter effect.
Whistle: A whistling sound in a firework, made by the material being burned rather than the effect of flight.
Willow effect: Similar to a palm tree effect, but more like a willow tree’s weeping branches.