Entertainment truss has been an integral part of concert and theatrical stage design for many years. It has become an almost “expected” element in a concert setting and forms the backbone of many rock and roll stage designs. After seeing truss used in so many designs, the question is why is it still prominent in stage design even after many years of use?
What is “truss” in relation to entertainment? Entertainment truss is the laddered structural element primarily used to hang theatrical lighting and to support temporary roofing systems. You can see examples of self-supporting truss roofing systems used in festival concerts around the world. Truss is essentially the LEGO® building blocks of the entertainment world.
Types of Entertainment Truss
Truss is available in many different configurations depending on use and is categorized in several ways:
DIMENSION: 12 inch truss for example refers to 12 inch tall by 12 inch wide truss and is available in various standard lengths including 2.5-foot, 5-foot, 8-foot and 10-foot sections. There are also 12 inch x 16 inch, 20 inch x 20 inch, 30 inch x 30 inch and so on.
STRENGTH: Entertainment truss is available in different strengths, typically rated either, light, medium or heavy duty with manufacturer load ratings available to help you select the proper strength based on your application.
CONNECTION: Connection-type refers to how the truss is attached to each other when assembling longer pieces or complex shapes. Come of the connection types include flange, spigot or plate.
SPECIAL FEATURES: Option you will hear truss describe as having special features or designed for special uses. Some examples are “swing wing” truss or “tower” truss. “Swing Wing” truss is truss specifically designed to house lighting equipment inside for transport. The enables touring shows to simply roll the truss into the venue, “swing” the truss sides up, and them simply lift the truss and lighting into position. By eliminating separate lighting fixture case and cable cases, the truck pack is reduced as well as the time needed to load in and load out the show (no need to re-hang and re-cable the lighting for each stop on the tour). Another example, “tower” truss refers to the use of this style of truss and the supporting towers for the self-supporting entertainment roofing and staging systems. “Tower” truss is typically heavy duty and specially reinforced to handle the unusual loads a roofing system puts on the supporting truss.
Entertainment truss has become standardized across manufacturers and in most instances, connection points line up perfectly, even allowing for truss from different manufacturers to be bolted together (not recommended for engineered systems). We purchasing entertainment truss, it is critical to go with a quality truss manufacturer. Some of the larger and more establish quality entertainment truss manufacturers are Thomas and Tomcat. Professional entertainment truss manufacturers have complete rating, engineering and fabrication specifications available on the websites for download. These engineering specifications, detail load ratings on not just single pieces, but on assembled pieces, showing how strong they are as a system.
This level of engineering is the primary reason truss is used so frequently in stage and set design. The designer has the structural engineering already in place and does not have to “recreate the wheel” so to speak. Lights, video panels, scenic, LED walls, and custom fabricated elements and be attached and supported by the backbone that entertainment truss provides.
From a design standpoint, aluminum truss in its natural silver takes theatrical lighting very well, reflecting colors and patterns. Additionally, truss is an “expected” theatrical element from an audience member’s point of view and seamlessly integrated with their perception of what a stage should be.
All of these factors lead to probably the biggest reason truss is so frequently used in stage design for concerts and theatrical productions; lower cost. You have a pre-engineered, LEGO®-like element that is easy and inexpensive to source. Truss can be configured in an unlimited amount of ways using corner blocks, curved elements and specialty attachments such as grapples and swivel clamps. With its simple aluminum construction and easy availability, truss can dramatically reduce the cost of creating a set for productions. The cost can be further reduced through sourcing used truss, some samples like we have on Stage Dealer listed HERE for 25% to 35% off of new prices
At Stage Dealer it is our mission to help you reduce the cost of producing your next production through the sourcing of quality used theatrical equipment. Don’t see anything that fits your vision for your next show? Contact us and we would be happy to help you find an economical solution for your show.
Share this post
- Tags: stage design