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Thread: Truss vs. tripod

  1. #1
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    Default Truss vs. tripod

    I'm in the market for a system to mount a pair of 3W projectors and one or two fog/haze machines. I was hoping to go with a truss system for the stability and professional appearance but after seeing the prices of a system large enough to meet the height and width requirements I've been a little turned off. I'd be willing to shell out $1K for a 3m X 3m kit but that's only about half of what it would cost. On the other hand, I could pick up a pair of 3-4m tripod crank stands and an "I" beam for about $500. My only concern with this route (other than the slightly less professional appearance) is the stability of the tripods. Is the inherent risk of collapse any greater with this system as opposed to a goal post style truss or is it acceptable to use tripods? I remember seeing Karl (Laser Wizardry) do a show using a tripod but I vaguely recall him making a casual comment about what the inspector might say if they saw it. Are there regulations regarding how you mount a projector in the US and New York in particular? Any advice and/or opinions are much appreciated.

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    " 15 characters"
    Last edited by Laser Wizardry; 11-13-2015 at 13:00.

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    Pretty much spot on answer. I bit the bullet and bought truss but, I went with (Global) triangle truss and I use beefy crank stands to lift it. I pretty much only use mine in the same location though and don't have the varying types of setup's that Karl encounters. I think, for what it costs, that I'd go with his suggestion of renting when needed as well. I honestly (and sadly) haven't used mine enough to warrant the kind of money I put into it. I tend to use totems for the majority of weddings here rather than truss from an aesthetic standpoint and, I got the truss for things like proms. It's actually a bit of a pain to erect and find I stick with the totems for lasers and moving heads and cheaper T stands for the DJ type lights. Honestly the only time I've used it this year is for SELEM. It's funny.... I have maybe $5,000 tied up in stuff that I have found I only use to help put on SELEM.
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    Thanks for the replies. I figured that many times I would be able to use the trussing provided from the main lighting crew but I don't want to bet on that every time, considering they may not have room for 3 or 4 more devices. When you say "totem" are you referring to a single vertical truss with no cross member that you mount directly on top of? I've considered this as well but it would prevent mounting any fog machines. It may still be a practical first step anyway until I can afford another truss section for a cross member. I'll
    Continue to dig around. I still have about 5 months before my first business opportunity so maybe I can save up by then... Then again I still want to upgrade QS to Beyond, get an APC-40 and at least one good fogger... And all this is ignoring the two projectors I'm attempting to buy at the moment >.< of only money grew on trees :P

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    Actually there are two types of totems. One is simply a section of box truss with a large base plate and a top plate to put your fixtUre on. The other simply uses the four 2" in diameter tubes without the welded cross members. They are remarkably sturdy. You can really design your own by getting each piece separately or, you can buy them as a kit. Many people also get a white Lycra cover for them and put an LED uplight inside. For your particular purpose I would be inclined to suggest the box truss variety because they actually make shelf assemblies that can be attached at the top. The projector would sit on the top plate and the foggier can sit on the shelf. I'll see about adding a link to what I'm talking about below. Four of mine are made by Global Truss and one is made by Chauvet called the Truustt system.
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    Excellent advice and thanks for the links! That shelf will definitely solve my fogger issues... Although if the quote I just got from LightspaceUSA for FDA certified projectors is true as implied then I may need space for a third projector now... Oh boy. I might be getting in over my head lol. I think I've developed the Bradfo69 syndrome :P I guess it's go big or go home, though, right?

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    BTW, in my experience a good wind up tripod lift is significantly more stable than a truss upright on a big baseplate.
    Also think about how you will store and transport large baseplates that are either very heavy in their own right, or require stage weights/sand bags.
    Also, baseplates tend to get walked on, so if not totally flat to the stage, will cause the upright to rock. People don't tend to walk on tripods.

    If you are going to get a fixed truss goalpost, consider that you may well be stuck with a specific height, or only be able to go up/down in 0.5m increments. Also, you WILL need outriggers then, which will take up as much space as a decent tripod. Also, rigging is much harder on a fixed truss arch as you need climbing gear. Much easier to rig at eye level and crank up to appropriate height.

    P.S. I can't think of any time I've wanted to rig a fogger/hazer in the truss. Aside from it being an eye sore, it also has a greater chance of spewing hot fluid onto people or 'stuff'.

    I use the Global Truss F33 truss (and Prolyte equivalents) along with a number of ST132 lifts (85kg weight limit, 4m high) and a lot of different rigging adaptors. If I just want a projector up in the air I mount it directly on the top of the lift using an inverted yoke.

    Only for the bigger stages where we're doing the lighting rig too, do we put in fixed truss structures, and they are a pain to rig on, as you either need ladders or to rope stuff up, unless you can get a tele lift/tallescope in there (not on many of our jobs)
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    Damn right. "You can't take it with you" , Live hard, die young and leave a pretty corpse." are both phrases that come to mind.

    (And yes... you can knock over a totem easier than you can a tripod. The ST-132's really need a hard, hard jolt and ones with outriggers like Karl posted are rock solid. They weigh more than most people that might bump into them.)
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    Hmm, guess I still have some considering to do. Maybe I'll pick up a crank stand for starters and use/rent trusses as needed until I expand. If/when I experiment with totems I definitely plan on making my own baseplate. Yes they will be heavy but sturdy as a result. I also plan on using sand bags and making a custom two piece cover to hide the bags at the base.

    As for the fogger, I guess I've always preferred keeping it high so that the fog stays up and doesn't blast people in the face. I didn't really consider the hot fluid but I've never known it to be a big issue. I don't like choking on it when it gets blasted right in the front row though. Sure it could be kept below stage or at stage height and aimed up and I'm sure I will end up doing it a variety of ways. I just wanted to have the option of being able to hang it if I wanted or needed to.

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