Wrestling with Your Equipment By: Ryan Burger

January 25, 2012 by Dagan White

MOBILE BEAT’S IN-HOUSE PRODUCTION COMPANY TAKES ON THE WORLD OF PRO WRESTLING

A constant goal of BC Productions, Mobile Beat’s in-house DJ oriented production company, is finding non-traditional events
that take us out of the school dance/wedding business that fills most Saturdays and many Fridays.
Getting more use out of your gear and utilizing experience that you have in audio, lighting and video production can mean more money for your business. Some things that we’ve done include AV rentals, photo booths, game shows, DJ Trivia, bar karaoke and more, to fill up those empty weekday time slots.
Jake Feldman (Mobile Beat Production Manager) and I have been WWE fans for years and have been looking for an opportunity to combine our love for the entertainment that is professional wrestling (note that I didn’t call it a sport), with BC Productions.
To see what it was all about, several of us went to a regional 3XWrestling event (3xwrestling.com). What we found was that the show was fantastic, but the production of the event had room to grow. They were using a basic two-speaker, two-way sound system hooked to a Behringer mixer with iTunes and a wired microphone running to the announcing table. Lighting consisted of a strobe and a couple can lights at the entranceway.
As I did my research later on other independent wrestling groups across the country, I found out that 3XW was actually way ahead of the game. But I had visions of a smaller version of the television production level show of WWE Raw. We approached the group with a proposal to do full-level production until the end of the year and then we’d see what we all wanted to do.

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LEARNING THE ROPES
As one should always do when considering get involved with a major entertainment venture, I did quite a bit of background research to learn about what has taken the professional wrestling industry up and down, and about the personalities and the issues that are inherent in the industry. I was confident that we could work well with the 3XW group and raise the production values of their show, while also benefitting our business.
Jake started on the work of the lighting and sound, programming intros for lighting via American DJ MyDMX and getting the layout of the room worked up in 3D Vizualizer Mode. I started work on video intros to be shown when the wrestlers came in, with Mobile Beat staff graphic designer Mark Evans getting me most of the way, visually. With the help of wrestler and 3XW co-owner Mark “Mad Dog” McDowell, I added royalty-free tracks of music from an online service that fit with each wrestler’s on-stage personality. Ambient logo-based videos were also on the to-do list.
The key was being able to do this lean and mean and quickly, should things change in the plans for the evening. The quick touch of an iPad with video content worked very well, especially with a program called BuzzPlayer that allowed us to quickly load audio/video intros at the touch of a fingertip, similar to an audio 360 replay machine. While much of the action for the evening was planned, we needed to be ready at any
time for creative work by any of the wrestlers or other on-stage staff. The goal of the sound and lighting was to propel a full-on, rock concert-style
experience similar to what can be seen on TV: exciting introductions, wrestlers yelling on the mic about their rivalries, cool lighting bringing them into the ring and more. Jake accomplished this through the sound, lighting and video show he prepped and then produced. After the first show, we decided to do several things to upgrade the show and make everything easier, including investment in new LED lighting cans to brighten up the ring, mounting the lighting within a truss system to make setup and tearout easier and more. We also needed to cut down our set-up/
tear-out time. After two monthly shows, we finalized a regular contract with 3X Wrestling and expanded our relationship with them.

WINNING
This wrestling venture is all about what Rob Johnson talks about in his Midweek Money column, and Stu Chisholm in his column and book (The Complete DJ) about expanding what you do, to make a good living by going beyond being “just a DJ.” If you have any questions on all of this please feel free to contact me at rb@mobilebeat.
com or Jake Feldman at jfeldman@mobilebeat.com. MB

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Dagan White (27 Posts)


Filed Under: Issue #140