Bandit Lites recently provided lighting for WWE's Wrestlemania 23. A record-setting 80,103 people from 24 countries and 50 states packed into Ford Field for the April 1, 2007 event. Fans that were unable to attend watched the program via satellite as it was distributed to 110 countries worldwide.
Visual Designer, Jason Robinson, created the lighting, set design, stage design and arena dressing for this multi-event production (which included The Condemned Movie Premiere at the Fox Theater, on March 30, 2007, the WWE Hall of Fame show on March 31, 2007 and the Wrestlemania 23 event at Ford Field on April 1, 2007).
Robinson said that the challenge was to maintain logistically very different visual designs on consecutive nights. The design was substantially different from The Condemned Movie Premiere to WWE's Hall of Fame celebration- a black tie awards show in the beautiful Fox Theater in Detroit. The Wrestlemania 23 event at Ford Field was comparable in grandeur to a 3-hour Half Time Show for a major sporting event. There were different sets of lighting positions and programming, spot positions, camera work, media content and show direction, in separate locations on consecutive nights.
Nicole Nota, recently appointed as Jason Robinson's Production Coordinator, commented, "Jason did an awesome job on Wrestlemania 23. He is very detailed and specific as to what he expects."
Video content played a substantial role in this year's production. Seven Martin Maxedia Media Servers drove Pixeline 1044s and video content on all the screens in the entranceway. WWE Graphics Producer, Melissa Pennucci and Graphics Artist, Dan Cerasale developed the content and Curtis Cox and Trevor Ahlstrand directed, programmed and operated the Maxedia media servers.
Nearly every manufacturer provided equipment for this event. For lighting alone there were seventeen trucks loaded with items such as Martin MAC 250s, 300s, 600s, 2000 Washes and Profiles, HES Cyberlight Turbos, Coemar Halos, Vari*Lite 2500s, Martin Atomic Strobes, HES Studio Beam PCs, 5K and 7K Syncrolites in addition to all the trussing, conventional lighting and support equipment.
Robinson typically uses large truss structures to increase the scale of the show, and this was no exception. There were three separate elements to the overall design of the stadium show: the entranceway, the audience rig, the main stage.
As quoted by the New York Times, "the physical production puts even the biggest rock concerts to shame. A stage and proscenium the height of a small office tower loomed over the west end of the stadium, feeding a runway to the ring in the center of the floor."
Quick to compliment the crew in general, Bandit General Manager, Steve Powell attributed much of the show's success to Robinson. "Jason's ability to call out cues to six programmers and 10 Spotlights, motion control for LED screens and truss moves, set changes, and lighting position changes, simultaneously, is a feat, in and of itself, let alone for 3 hours."
Bandit provided 33 employees for the event including: Greg Shipley, Jeff Wilkin and Chris Nathan, all of whom operated the Compulite Vector Red with Red back up. Key staff also included Lighting Production Coordinator, Jason Shaw and Crew Chiefs, Chuck Hastings and Shawn Lear.
Other Bandits that played a substantial role in production included Michael Stehr, David Butzler, Ken Sorrell, Chas Albea, Andrew Heid, Paul Holst, Kyle Russelburg, David Albert, Robert Colvin, Gregory Griffith, James Greenwalt, Brett Waggoner, Jason Workman, William Willingham, Jim Schroeder, Allison Bubb, Mark Steinwachs, Michael Parker, and set carps Brannan Harner, Corey Hayford, and Jeremy Smith.
Charles "Eric" Braudaway, Mike Ansley and Jorge del Angel of Syncrolites, Steve Sprague and Jeff Haas of All Access, and Greg Pfrommer of Trilogy/Skytracker all contributed to the production as well. Felix Peralta used a Grand MA with Lite as back up to operate the Hall of Fame Show.
Robinson said the crew was a key factor to the event's success, "I can't thank the crew enough for all their hard work."
Bandit Vice President, Richard Willis added, "The event couldn't have been possible without the major support of WWE's Senior Director of Remote Operations, Leslie Duncan, Remote Operations Technician Managers, Marty Pingree and Sean Sellman and Live Production Manager Brian Petree."