Lit Truss

Elliot Matson from Cypress Bible Church in Cypress, Texas brings us this cool LED pixel tape on top of trusses.

From Elliot: This is my VBS stage design this year. Our theme was based off of the TV show “The Voice”, so naturally I had to go all out on lighting. It was mostly based off 8 truss towers we had in place from a previous set, 6 tall and 2 short. I topped each one with a moving wash fixture, and then made a grid of LED pars with an inverted V mixed in made out of six ADJ Inno Color Beams. The beam lights added some variety into the backdrop, while still allowing me to use it as a big 3 x 6 grid for FX. The bottom of each tower had an ETC Source 4 Par for use as a blinder, with an extra one in a truss cube in the middle to fill in the space under the screen. Each truss tower also had 2 vertical columns of my DIY Pixel bars which I will talk more about later. I put our 8 Blizzard GMAX 150’s on the ground in between the towers to give some cool arial FX. The screen was run from a Chamsys MagicHD media server, which allowed me do display graphics that matched what was happening onstage. I also used some digital LED strips in the drama props, such as the “I Want You” sign on the judges chairs.

A big part of the design was the 50 pixel bars that I made. I wanted an effect like the Chauvet Epix strip fixtures, but our budget wasn’t even close to the $10k plus required for those, so I built my own. While these admittedly aren’t as flexible in regards to mounting as the Epix strips, they only cost around $750 to build, including cables and drivers, so I think I got the better deal. To build these, I bought 50 meters of WS2812B strips, and put one meter segments in aluminum channel. I then soldered on a data connection on both ends and a power connection at one end. I decided not to allow for power daisy chaining, because at 5v, voltage drop over wires adds up very quickly. While I could just turn up the power supply voltage to 5.5v or so, I wanted this to be completely idiot-proof, so I just didn’t allow it. I then added the diffusion cover, and sealed it all up with hot glue. I hand made all of the power and data extension cables, and all power came from six 20A 5V power supplies. With all 1500 pixels at full white, that equates to a 90A load which means the power supplies will be running at 75% capacity, which gives me a nice comfortable margin of error. All the data went to two drivers that could handle 7 universes of pixels each, which were controlled directly form our Chamsys console and it’s pixel-mapping engine. Since everything was run directly from the console without any specialized pixel-mapping software in between, I could effectively use the whole stage as a low-res video screen, merging the pixel strips and lighting fixtures into a big media display, which allowed for some cool effects. More information is avaliable in the post on my website here:

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5 responses to Lit Truss

  1. The photos of your lit truss are truly impressive and really set the stage. I know a little bit about lighting set up and what not, but I have never attempted anything as big as your trusses. It’s hard to believe that you made a lot of them yourself. Thanks for sharing this inspiring set up.

  2. What type of LED driver did you use? Did you have to go with an Arduino based driver or something else? Thanks, I love the design!

  3. How did you build the trusses?

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