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Author Topic: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands  (Read 673 times)

Chris Poynter

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Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« on: May 07, 2017, 05:38:06 pm »

Preamble: I know that there are people out there who do this. I also know there are probably people out there who think it's a bad idea. If you fall into the latter group, please hear me out because I think my idea will be safe, as I won't be using light-duty speaker stands.

I run a mobile DJ business, and my light system consists of two Chauvet Intimidator Spot 355z IRC moving heads, one ADJ Warlock, and four ADJ Dotz Pars, on a Duratruss DT-3900L T-bar stand. See attached photo.

My set-up is perfect for what I do, and I receive a lot of compliments on my light show; however, there is one thing I would like to do differently: Space my moving heads further apart!

One day perhaps I will get a couple of truss totems, but unfortunately my current vehicle is just too small.

I was thinking that I would get a second DT-3900L stand, and rather than putting a T-bar on each stand, I'd use a K&M 195/8 mounting adaptor with some kind of metal plate on top, to serve as a platform for each moving head. Obviously I would make sure I would attach everything in such a way that the system is safe and secure.

Has anyone here done something like this before, and if so, do you have any recommendations or things I should keep in mind? Also, what should I use for my metal plate?
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 05:59:18 pm »

Hi Chris,

Yes, you can absolutely do this.  As you already mentioned, common sense really plays a big role here.  When I do moving head totems and similar, I try to set things up so that there's no chance that anything can topple.  This usually includes physically bolting the moving head onto the top plate.  Whether or not you can pull that off in your case will depend on the specific movers and how they're configured for hanging, how they pack into road cases, and how quickly you want these to go up.  You also have to be okay drilling holes into your top plate, but since this would be a somewhat custom job I don't see why that'd be a problem.  As far as the plate goes, if you can find something suitable off the shelf that'd be the way I'd go...otherwise some mild fabrication will be necessary.  Not that I've done it, but with some strategic hole drilling you might be able to repurpose a stock Global Truss top plate to work.

Just to throw it out there too, have you seen the Global Truss Glow Totems?  I'm not sure what your specific size constraint is, but these break apart so that they're much easier to handle than stock 12" box truss.  Your rig looks nice and clean though, so thumbs up and good luck!
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Chris Poynter

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2017, 06:07:01 pm »

Hi Chris,

Yes, you can absolutely do this.  As you already mentioned, common sense really plays a big role here.  When I do moving head totems and similar, I try to set things up so that there's no chance that anything can topple.  This usually includes physically bolting the moving head onto the top plate.  Whether or not you can pull that off in your case will depend on the specific movers and how they're configured for hanging, how they pack into road cases, and how quickly you want these to go up.  You also have to be okay drilling holes into your top plate, but since this would be a somewhat custom job I don't see why that'd be a problem.  As far as the plate goes, if you can find something suitable off the shelf that'd be the way I'd go...otherwise some mild fabrication will be necessary.  Not that I've done it, but with some strategic hole drilling you might be able to repurpose a stock Global Truss top plate to work.

Just to throw it out there too, have you seen the Global Truss Glow Totems?  I'm not sure what your specific size constraint is, but these break apart so that they're much easier to handle than stock 12" box truss.  Your rig looks nice and clean though, so thumbs up and good luck!

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the reply! :)

If I go about it this way, I will definitely be bolting the moving heads to the plate, yes.

My size constraint is that I drive a Chevy Equinox and my gear fills it up... well... quite full, haha! I have room for another tripod stand, but I don't think I could fit any totems unfortunately.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2017, 06:16:56 pm »

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the reply! :)

If I go about it this way, I will definitely be bolting the moving heads to the plate, yes.

My size constraint is that I drive a Chevy Equinox and my gear fills it up... well... quite full, haha! I have room for another tripod stand, but I don't think I could fit any totems unfortunately.

No worries, and that all makes sense.  Just wanted to point out that there's more than one way to do a totem these days!  Do you normally travel with the movers in cases?  Either way, probably the best solution would be to set this up so that the plates and tripod adapters stay attached to the light fixtures.  That way it's a 30 second setup on your part and you're not fiddling with nuts and bolts and ratchets.  Again, whether you can do that depends on a number of factors, but all my moving lights travel in cases with rigging attached - usually in the orientation that I intent to utilize them.  That way it's just out and up!  Very quick and easy, and not trying to flip 50 or 80 pound lights around on the spot! 
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Chris Poynter

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2017, 11:25:21 pm »

No worries, and that all makes sense.  Just wanted to point out that there's more than one way to do a totem these days!  Do you normally travel with the movers in cases?  Either way, probably the best solution would be to set this up so that the plates and tripod adapters stay attached to the light fixtures.  That way it's a 30 second setup on your part and you're not fiddling with nuts and bolts and ratchets.  Again, whether you can do that depends on a number of factors, but all my moving lights travel in cases with rigging attached - usually in the orientation that I intent to utilize them.  That way it's just out and up!  Very quick and easy, and not trying to flip 50 or 80 pound lights around on the spot!

Okay I've actually checked out the glow totems now and I see that they disassemble, which I initially didn't realize... COOL!! That actually might work in my vehicle and would look a lot nicer than two tripod stands. If I got the 6.5 ft totems and my moving heads are 28 lbs, what size base plate would be safest?
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2017, 11:45:26 pm »

Yeah, they're really pretty slick.  If you buy the totem as the package the base plates are included, though you can always just piece these together with generic global truss product.  If you check out their website they list exactly what is included with each package.  It also pays to shop around.  The Chauvet Trusst line has an equivalent product, and some of these packages include useful things like carrying bags too.  As far as your actual question about base size, getting the ballast right is just as important.  I tend to be quite conservative with both but logistics also limit what can be practical.  So long as you're indoors I'd imagine the base plates included with the kits will be just fine - put some ballast on it and park it out of the way so that it's not a collision hazard.  The tricky situation I've always run into with totems is that short of screwing them into the floor someone can always push it over if they really wanted to.  The same can be said about your speaker stands.  As long as you choose a suitable location to set them up and toss a sandbag or two on the base you shouldn't have any issues.  Hope this helps!     
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Chris Poynter

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2017, 09:37:16 am »

Yeah, they're really pretty slick.  If you buy the totem as the package the base plates are included, though you can always just piece these together with generic global truss product.  If you check out their website they list exactly what is included with each package.  It also pays to shop around.  The Chauvet Trusst line has an equivalent product, and some of these packages include useful things like carrying bags too.  As far as your actual question about base size, getting the ballast right is just as important.  I tend to be quite conservative with both but logistics also limit what can be practical.  So long as you're indoors I'd imagine the base plates included with the kits will be just fine - put some ballast on it and park it out of the way so that it's not a collision hazard.  The tricky situation I've always run into with totems is that short of screwing them into the floor someone can always push it over if they really wanted to.  The same can be said about your speaker stands.  As long as you choose a suitable location to set them up and toss a sandbag or two on the base you shouldn't have any issues.  Hope this helps!   

Awesome - thanks! :)

Now here's my next question... I'll need to do something with my Warlock. I suppose I could have a T-bar behind my table still, but it would just be another thing to set up.

I was thinking about getting a second Warlock so I could attach one to the front of each totem (or so I can have one Warlock and one moving head on each tripod stand, if I go that route).

The guy in this video has some kind of crossbar attached for his Warlock fixtures: https://youtu.be/T0t3i9crflc?t=4m53s. I was thinking I could do something like that, but I'd want a shorter crossbar because I would only have one Warlock on each totem, centred directly below the moving head. And I guess I'd just find a way to make the truss sock work around it.

What should I be looking for, in terms of this bar?

Here's a screen grab of the video:

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Steve Garris

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2017, 01:56:50 pm »

Have you ever thought about mounting the movers on top of your speakers? Do they have fly-points?

You could fabricate a bolt-on base to support the mover, and if your speaker stands are solid that could possibly work.
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Jeff Lelko

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 07:29:36 pm »

I was thinking about getting a second Warlock so I could attach one to the front of each totem (or so I can have one Warlock and one moving head on each tripod stand, if I go that route).

The guy in this video has some kind of crossbar attached for his Warlock fixtures: https://youtu.be/T0t3i9crflc?t=4m53s. I was thinking I could do something like that, but I'd want a shorter crossbar because I would only have one Warlock on each totem, centred directly below the moving head. And I guess I'd just find a way to make the truss sock work around it.

What should I be looking for, in terms of this bar?

Why use a bar at all?  When I use my Martin Mania EFX600s (a similar incarnation of this effect) I just clamp them straight to the tripod mast or truss itself.  That way you minimize how much you're cantilevering the load and pulling the truss or tripod off balance.  You can also consider clocking your totems 45 degrees so that you have a nice central point to hang the fixture from - who says a totem always needs to be square to the audience? 

Whether you go for a clamp or a bar, have a look through The Light Source's Catalog.  You'll almost surly find what you need there!  Lots of options depending on what you choose to do.  I use a pair of the Slim Couplers when mounting an EFX600 to a vertical mast or truss and the Mega Gridlocks to build trees.  They're a little clunky to put together on the spot but very solid with no "wiggle" that you sometimes see with U-bolt rigging options.  Just make sure you size all your piping right!   
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Advice Needed: Moving Heads on Tripod Stands
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2017, 11:41:04 pm »

A note on pipe and tubing sizes:  Pipe is measured by its nominal inside diameter (I.D.); 1.5" steel pipe measures 1.9" O.D.  Tubing (as used in truss) is measured by its O.D.   2" is the usual measurement for USA built truss. Metric truss (Global, Cosmic, etc) is 50 mm O.D.  2" is 50.8 mm, and 1.9" is 48.3 mm.

Tripod stands are often nominally 1.5"/38 mm O.D. for the upright and crossbars. Speaker pole sockets are 35 mm.
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