Stage Designs

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: http://elliot-matson.com/vbs-2016-and-pixel-bars/

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Turn Back Time Dropping Jars

5 responses to “Lit Truss”

  1. Bélise says:

    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. Nathan says:

    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. DeAndre says:

    How did you build the trusses?

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