Star-Spangled kickoff to include 'pixelated' firework flag - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Sep. 11, 2014 1:12 pm

Star-Spangled kickoff to include ‘pixelated’ firework flag

The Saturday fireworks, featuring some pyrotechnic technology, will be aired live on PBS and streamed online.
Organizers will stream video from where Francis Scott Key saw the flag that inspired him to write what would become the national anthem.

Organizers will stream video from where Francis Scott Key saw the flag that inspired him to write what would become the national anthem.

("By Dawn's Early Light," by Edward Percy Moran (1912), via Wikimedia Commons)

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the date of the fireworks spectacular. It's Saturday, Sept. 13, not Friday, Sept. 12. (9/12/14, 7:47 p.m.)

The Star-Spangled Spectacular’s Saturday fireworks spectacular will include a high-tech centerpiece.

A flag like the one Francis Scott Key saw in the aftermath of the 1814 Battle of Baltimore will be recreated pixel by pixel in the sky above Fort McHenry, according to a release from New York-based Fireworks by Grucci.

“This performance is unlike any we’ve produced, both in terms of its emotional and patriotic resonance to its technological execution,” Grucci president and show designer Phil Grucci said in the release.

A rendering of one of the displays to be featured at the Star-Spangled Spectacular.

America. (Image courtesy of Fireworks by Grucci)

The show will use the company’s patented PixelBurst technology.

“A PixelBurst shell creates a single dot (pixel) in the sky,” Grucci wrote. “When you connect those dots and trigger them with a proprietary precision computer chip … you can sequence and display a pixelated image not unlike what you see on a computer screen. Except bigger. And louder.”

The fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and can be seen from all over the harbor area.

You’ll be able to catch the fireworks from home live on “Great Performances” on PBS (locally, Maryland Public Television) or streaming live on Star-Spangled 200’s “KeyCam,” positioned in the water where Key was when he saw “our flag was still there.”

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