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  • Lighting Wrestling Ring

    Posted by Chris Shore on March 18, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Hi all. I’m about to setup a permanent studio space for professional wrestling and had a question about lighting.

    Our ring is 20×20 so we plan to build a 24×24 truss around it. Ceiling height is not an issue. I read on another post here about hanging nine lights on each side and dividing the ring into nine sections to light it. That all makes sense.

    What I don’t know his how much/what lights to use. Please note I am a total newb as it comes to lights but I’m a quick study. I really want to do this as right as I can for as cheap as I can. Any help is appreciated.

    Christian Simpson replied 4 years, 10 months ago 5 Members · 15 Replies
  • 15 Replies
  • Mark Suszko

    March 18, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    What’s the upper limit of your available lighting budget, before you go any further? This will inform the choices you make.

    Fast-Good-Inexpensive; pick any two, but ONLY two.

  • Chris Shore

    March 19, 2015 at 6:32 am

    Yeah I realized after I clicked post I had left a lot out. I was frustrated lol.

    One quick correction, it would be a 28×28 truss.

    I want to keep it under $5K. I don’t even know if that is possible. I have $5K allotted elsewhere but that is a killable project if I need to bring it over for lights. That’s about all the blood I can get out of that turnip.

    I very much want to be able to blackout these lights for ring entrances if possible. If I could also dim them for video projection that would be ideal.

    To be honest I was just going to order 36 of the “low profile” DJ led cans thinking that would give me colr options but I decided to seek input before I screwed everything up.

  • Mark Suszko

    March 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    One thing I had to be careful of regarding then LED PAR cans is that they have a visible flicker, which you can dial-out using the clear-scan feature on your camera. But I don’t know that an entire truss of them can be thus compensated at the same time.

    Are you opposed to buying used?

  • Chris Shore

    March 19, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Nope. In fact, I amy be able to get some used equipment locally through a friend who works with a touring company. He’s a sound guy so that’s why I don’t lean on him for this but he says they have equipment just sitting around the company might be willing to sell at a discount.

    Thanks for helping on this Mark. Really appreciate it!

  • Todd Terry

    March 19, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    A question or two, Chris…

    Are you attempting to light this ring for photographic purposes?… i.e., video or film production of the matches? Or are you just lighting it for a live audience? I was curious enough to look at your profile and website, and get the sense that your events are for spectators, not for a TV audience.

    If it is just for a live audience, then sync/flicker issues that Mark has experienced with LED fixtures is really a non-issue (unless they are so bad that the flicker is visible to the naked eye). If it is just for an audience, you can use the instruments that you have in mind).

    If, though, you are lighting from a production standpoint, then yes that is indeed something you’d need to worry about and LEDs (or at least those LEDs) might be problematic, unless you can shoot clearscan with all your cameras (in theory, as long as all the instruments were on the same house power source any flicker should be in sync… but again, I said in theory).

    If you want to do this on the cheap, frankly plain old-fashioned PAR cans (like you’d get from Amercian DJ or the scads of them on eBay) would very likely more than do the job, and be extremely inexpensive. You’d have some heat from the tungstens, but if you have a room big enough for a wrestling ring, even a whole boatload of PARs wouldn’t likely give you any appreciable heat issues. And there would be zero synch issues, obviously.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Chris Shore

    March 19, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Todd,

    It will be used for video distribution via the Internet once we get setup. The plan is to do episodic web TV shows followed by special events broadcast live via the Net. It is similar (though not a clone) to the WWE model if you are familiar.

    I have no problem using tungsten to get started. The room is air conditioned so heat shouldn’t be a problem regardless. The ability to have custom color lighting profiles out of the gate is certainly alluring, which the LEDs provide, but I am much more concerned with giving us the highest production value for the buck while the wrestlers are in the ring. Having the ability to make entrances look unique is a big deal, but not the biggest.

    I guess my question is how much control can I have over PARs as it relates to dimming. It seems that blows the budget up quickly but again, I probably have no idea what I am looking at lol.


  • Dennis Size

    March 23, 2015 at 4:14 am

    With a $5,000 budget you don’t even have the money for the truss, let alone the lights.

  • Mark Suszko

    March 23, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    6 grand means used gear to save money. Some creative improvisation for the truss might be needed. Old TV antenna towers for trusses, perhaps.

  • Todd Terry

    March 23, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    No disrespect to Dennis, who does work that most of us would only dream of doing… but he’s coming from a world where he gets to do the highest-of-the-highest-end work with all the toys and resources available to do that… and unfortunately in that world there’s a lot of “We don’t have the budget so that can’t be done” action going on. Most of the rest of us live in the “We don’t have the budget, so we have to find a different way to do it” mindset… which can mean a lot of improvising, DIY, and putting things together with spit and toothpicks. I’m sure the high-enders would laugh at the lighting grid over our own stage here, which is totally DIY just out of big electrical conduit. It’s much lighter weight than a real pipe grid, much cheaper, I was able to build it myself in a long weekend with nothing more than I could buy at the Home Depot one mile away, and it does everything I personally need it to do an more (and does it safely).

    Of course you can build a truss for less than $5000. You can probably build one for $500 if you know what you are doing, get creative, and don’t care that it doesn’t look exactly like something straight from WWE… and it would still be serviceable, do what you need it to do, and be perfectly safe. If you use something as lightweight as LED or tungsten PAR cans, remember that those don’t weigh much… a truss (or whatever rig you come up with) only has to hold those up safely… it doesn’t have to be built to suspend a dozen V8 engine blocks.

    So, can you call a theatrical, stage, or film lighting contractor and say “Hey, I need a full-blown truss system around a wrestling ring for $5k”? No, you can’t. Well, yeah you can call them and say that, but the answer will be “No, we can’t help you.” But with some ingenuity and a DIY attitude it certainly can be done. For a fraction of that.


    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

  • Mark Suszko

    March 23, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Like this?

    I’m sure asking around some HAM radio operators will locate similar stuff near you. There’s a cottage industry of guys taking these down from people’s homes after they’ve switched to cable TV. They take away the trusses for scrap.

    13' Aerial Towers / Galvanized Steel Truss Sections / Stage / Lighting Frame

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