Truss and How to Use It

By Chase Jewell

One of the major things in the mobile DJ community is how to use truss in my mobile gigs?  There are many different options and it is almost as infinite as the imagination how you can use truss for your setup.  In this article, I am going to explain what truss is when it comes to lighting and how you can use it in a few different ways.  Once you have an idea of how to use your truss and set it up properly you can build a significantly cleaner setup that has a very professional look.

What is Truss?

Truss in lighting and audio is a structure designed to hold heavy weight items relatively easily.  It usually consists of steel or aluminum tubing that has been welded together engineered for maximum load capacity.  It comes in many different lengths and different designs for different applications.  I like to think of it as an erector set for adults!  Whatever you can imagine you can design using truss to a certain extent.

What ways can I use truss in my mobile gigs?

In this part, I am going to break it down into different events and put the different applications for these events.

  • School Dances – This is a type of event that you can use A LOT of truss in it. Using floor standing truss to go over the dance floor or a goal post style overhead truss that is just over the stage to hold the lighting is a great option.  You can also use the truss as a frame for scrim projection screens or to hold TVs up with special mounting hardware.  You can even mount your speakers to them or fly them from them.
  • Weddings – In weddings usually the best look is the cleanest look most professional look. Using totems in a wedding is your best option.  These totems can hold the lights you need for the event as well as your speakers or TV Screens.

I think the best look for any truss is bare with a truss warming light with the event’s theme color in them.  But you do have other options.  You can choose to cover them with a truss scrim that is designed to cover your specific type of truss.

Safety considerations when using truss.

When using truss you should be aware of everything in the area around the truss.  Make sure if you are flying the truss that the rigging is done by a professional and is secured properly and adequately.  You should always have proper liability insurance when doing events like this.  Most basic DJ insurance does not cover anything that will go over a crowd of people and requires additional coverage.  Every item fastened to your truss should be secured to the clamp tightly as well as have a safety cable attached in case of clamp failure.  When using floor standing truss make sure your stands and base plates are in good operating condition as well as properly positions and extended.  Inspect ALL of your truss for any damage that may impact its structural stability.

Conclusion

As a mobile DJ, one of the best things you can do is invest in truss.  With truss you can expand on what you already have and it does not wear out.  The maintenance on it is minimal and usually only consists of polishing to keep it aesthetically pleasing.  I use truss in a variety of my gigs and always find new ways of using it.  As with any of my articles I encourage you to make up your own mind and try it for yourself.  Truss is a valuable investment that holds its value over time better than any of the other gear you may get.

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