Truss and Ballast for Outdoor Events – A New Product Showcase

Image of Truss and Ballast

The staff at In Depth Events like to flatter ourselves that we engineer products that improve the production industry as a whole.  Occasionally, we’re right!  Some of our innovations really have been influential to the industry.  The best example is our LED Dance Floors – which was one of the first available in the rental market when we began designing them seven years ago.  It’s in this spirit that we are beginning a New Product showcase series.  Sign Up Here to receive information on our New Products as we discover them!

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

The Development of the Rental Truss and Ballast

About three years ago, a tour with a 5K run required a more immersive experience for their attendees.  This client asked us to design a series of outfield towers that could be placed up to 200 feet from the stage.  Each tower would be required to hold a significant amount of lighting as well as holding signage.  It would also require certified engineer documentation.

Engineer Drawing of Truss and Ballast Design

A side view from one of the engineered drawings used in the initial product design.

Our engineers got to work.  Using trussing from our rooftop department, we began with 20 foot vertical truss towers.  This pin-together truss (sometimes called fork truss) is 30 inches x 24 inches and is part of the perimeter truss of our monster 70’x50′ rooftop.  Now, we have the vertical space and strength.  But how do we anchor it to the ground to keep it from falling over?

Using the concept of a typical truss and base (which uses 70 pound steel plates as ballast) we set to design the mother of all truss and base.  Using 3/8″ steel plate, our welders built a box 4 feet x 4feet x 36 inches tall with fork lift receivers.  Then, using rebar and a piece of the perimeter truss, we set a die for the fork ends.  Finally, our stagehands mixed 3200 pounds of concrete, and poured it into each box.

The end result is a surprisingly good looking product with more than it’s fair share of weight.  The steel base is painted black and looks great on site, but it can’t disguise the 3600 pound nature of it’s being.  Our final engineering review allows the towers to be used in almost any weather environment with virtually no danger of them falling over.  Of course, the trussing looks great – it’s a vertical tower of aluminum that holds several hundred pounds of lighting in the air as well as flat vinyl banners with three times the signage space as mini-beam towers.

The multiple uses of Truss and Ballast in outdoor events

Image of Ballast and base supporting lighting and signage

Ballast and base supporting lighting and signage during a spring 2016 tour stop not too far from the Vegas strip.

When we unveiled the new Truss and Ballast, the client was thrilled.  Our engineers had created a product that allowed for the immersive experience their attendees demanded (later, we carried that design to over 150 cities in the United States – but that’s another story).  However, as we started using them on other shows, other advantages of our 3600 pound Truss and Ballast started to present themselves.  Take a look at the list below:

Image for lighting placementLighting Placement:

This should be obvious, since it was one of the main initial specifications.  However, the sheer ability of our design to accommodate lighting fixtures became an asset.  Rather than just holding a few fixtures, these towers can hold hundreds of pounds of weight – meaning more lighting.  Our Truss and Ballast towers have been used with moving lights, conventional 6 bars, lekos and FX lighting – many times all at once.  They are a vast upgrade compared to the traditional usage of scaffolding or truss and base for outdoor lighting!

 

Banner Placement using truss and ballastBanner placement:

The banner sizing is where this product really shines.  Before, spot signage at festivals had to be either scaffolding towers or towers using 12 inch mini-beam.  With our Truss and Ballast, signage is 30 inches wide x 20 feet tall!  This allows for readable signage for logo placement or directional signs.  Since our bases are stand-alone units, you can erect a square signage tower literally in the center of your main thoroughfare, and it provides a easy to read signpost that has very little effect on traffic patterns or slowdown.

 

Commercial Bulb StringersSupport for Commercial Bulb Placement:

Commercial bulb stringers are a mainstay for weddings, receptions and corporate outdoor events.  However, commercial bulb stringers can be difficult to have in open areas.  Our Truss and Ballast make commercial bulb stringers a dream to setup and install.  Our towers can support multiple strings – or use as a corner piece without worrying about wire tension.

 

 

Inverted U gatewayGateways and Gantries:

In January of 2017, a good friend and client asked us about building a gateway entry.  These are usually built with mini-beam, but in this instance the gateway footprint had to be minimized.  We designed two corners and a spanning truss to go with our Truss and Ballast, and in doing so, created a new use for our towers.  These new gateway structures boast a limited footprint, while providing exceptionally wind tolerant signage.  Multiple sections can also be used to create ticket gantries.

 

Using experts to help with your next event

Do you have a idea that you don’t know how to make work safely?   Contact our experts and let us turn your idea into a reality! Look no further!  At In Depth Events, our staff and technicians can help provide staging, audio and lighting, and electrical distribution for your next event.  Ask Us a Question to get started on your next event!

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