Setting up any special event is a complicated dance of various elements that all need to come into play at exactly the right time, in exactly the right sequence. Depending on the size and scope of your event, this can be extremely challenging, and it’s often possible to underestimate the time, costs, and logistics needed to complete them.
One area that is often particularly challenging is pulling together all of the technical production elements of your event like sound, video, lighting and staging. This is where working with a full-service technical event production company can really help. Because they are full-service, they can assist you with all of the elements of your production. These include sound, lighting, technical staffing, staging along with the backbone of all of this, trussing and rigging.
What is truss and rigging?
Many events require the use of overhead rigging to satisfy the technical needs. The use of both truss and hoists is a very serious subject. Although conceptually it sounds easy, it is not something to be done by the unskilled or inexperienced. For these reasons, any overhead rigging should only be performed by a qualified technician backed by a reputable company.
When using electric or manual chain hoists, the key factor is the connection to an overhead beam, structure or rigging point. The hardware used should be suitably rated for this purpose and the technician should ensure that what the hardware attaches to or is wrapped around is of sufficient strength. If your needs are extensive, it might be worth having a licensed structural engineer review and get a stamp of approval.
Once you are past the installation of the chain hoists, the next step is the truss. The selection of truss to be used is important. Using the correct truss is like using any tool, you need the appropriate tool for the job. Once the truss is bolted or pinned together, it is then picked up in one of three ways: a poly/fiber core roundsling, also referred to as a “spanset”, a steel rope core roundsling (some refer to it as “GAC-Flex” or “SteelFlex”) or an aluminum “pick point” that installs under the truss and the truss sits inside two cradles. Regardless of which option is selected, a shackle is then used to connect the device to the hook of the hoist and the truss is ready to be lifted and the equipment installed.
Truss can also be placed vertically, attached to a base plate, to hold lighting, screens, speakers, etc. Truss used in this manner can often be more dangerous than hanging from the ceiling. If it is not secured properly with the weight evenly distributed, one bump and over it goes including anything on or attached to it.
The bottom line when it comes to truss, rigging and towers is common sense. If it doesn’t look safe, it probably isn’t. Questions? Ask us. We are qualified experts and have performed overhead rigging work over ten thousand times. We have the equipment and all the “know how” to ensure that there are no issues at your project or event.
What goes into a quote?
Your technical event production company will present you with a comprehensive quote for your truss rental and rigging. If they are providing you full-service, this will be included in your overall proposal. Hiring a technical event production company to handle your entire production needs may offer you cost savings, but more on that later.
There are several considerations your firm will take when preparing a truss rental quote. First, the details will vary depending on whether you’re setting up a full blown Broadway musical or using a circle stage with a dance floor and disco ball. Among the considerations, such as the size of your event, they will look at:
- Amount of Trussing Needed – The first step is a walkthrough of your venue. Your technical event production company will look at the existing conditions to determine what infrastructure and trussing is already in place. Chances are, if they’ve been in business long enough, they will already be familiar with the logistics of your venue. Working with your designer and your talent, they will determine exactly what is needed and procure the inventory.
- Permitting and Engineering (if required) – Depending on your event’s requirements you may need to get permits to be allowed to build. If your build is extensive, you may need or want an engineer to check your work and sign off on your design. Your technical event production company will have experience in these areas to handle all of the details.
- Size of Crew – No matter how small your event, you will need an experienced crew to load in and fly your trussing and rigging. Based on your needs, your production manager will determine the size of the crew you will need to safely fly in the trussing. Generally you are charged a per diem pay rate per person based on their rate, with the standard being a ten-hour day. If the build goes over, you will be responsible for overtime charges.
- Trucking, Load-In and Load – Out – Your trussing and rigging will need to be loaded at the warehouse and unloaded at your venue. This cost is often questioned, but you need to get the equipment to your venue somehow, and it costs money. The good news is that working with a professional technical event production company can save you money! They will load the truck appropriately to minimize unloading time at the venue. They can also combine trucking for multiple disciplines and may also pre-hang lighting fixtures in their warehouse, which saves time and money!
- Length of The Rental – Another factor they will consider is the amount of time the inventory will be unavailable. If you need the equipment for a longer period of time, the event production company can not use it for other clients and has to charge accordingly.
Rest assured that your technical event production company understands that planning any event takes time, patience and attention to detail. You will be presented with a comprehensive proposal that outlines in detail the costs for your truss and rigging rental. Because every event has its own unique personality, needs and challenges, each of these factors go into the preparation of your quote.
As an event producer, working with a qualified full-service technical event production company for your truss rental can help you create the perfect production and save you time and money in the process. Their knowledge, experience and expertise mean that you can feel confident in turning over your production. This will free your time to focus on the myriad of other details needed for a successful event. Plus, by combining shipping, integrating lighting, sound and video, you can lower your costs and make your budget stretch even further.