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Topic: In Depth Discussion: Copperfield Portal
Message: Posted by: TheMagicalMan (Aug 20, 2013 08:23PM)
Hi all, I would like to have an in depth discussion, regarding Copperfield's portal illusion from his last TV special. Portal for me is THE GREATEST ILLUSION OF ALL TIMES and it reallyy gets me thinking....Is Copperfield using illusions and tricks ? But it cant be...(thats just what goes on in my mind from how perfective this illusion is). I find this much more astonishing than the statue of liberty vanish. The disppearence is just mind blowing.....just beyond words......just....you can't explain it. I'm a spectator when it comes to this illusion.

I would like to hear out your thoughts on this illusion. I would also like to discuss the history of this illusion, Who created this illusion for Copperfield ? John Gaugen ? And where did the idea develop/come from if any of you have worked with DC on this and have any clues. The disappearence....the video....the evidence....the reappearence......

A part of me really wishes I know how the illusion works lol.... of course its out of curiousity and amazement that I'm saying this jokingly.
I don't think any illusion can come within a galaxy's distance in comparison to with Copperfield's portal. It makes me pretty sad that I'll never get to watch it again.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Aug 20, 2013 09:04PM)
I know I'll be in the decided minority here, but when I saw it on TV, it left me cold. When I saw it live it left me colder. The whole reunion story seemed so heavy-handed, and then the illusory elements of it were kind of calling attention to themselves that for me were distracting.

I know there's a lot of people who really enjoy it, and that's great. Speaking strictly for myself, it was really meh. The layman friend that I brought to the show with me was so lost in trying to figure out what she was supposed to be seeing, and it left her cold too. In fact, it seemed that most people sitting more than 12 rows back were less-than impressed.

This, of course, serves to illustrate that there is not "greatest illusion in the world" because it's simply too subjective.

P.S. Just FYI, the correct spelling of his name is John Gaughan.
Message: Posted by: Chad Sanborn (Aug 20, 2013 10:09PM)
I think this is a great illusion as well!
And knowing how it works kinda makes me appreciate it more. I can't believe they pull it off show after show. There are lots of little things that can go wrong and every show they meld together beautifully. Its amazing really.

I think that the Statue is still his best work. The story of freedom and what it means is priceless. And he says it best. Its beyond the power of any magician.

Frank, what left you cold? What didn't you understand? I always thought it was easy to follow.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Aug 20, 2013 10:43PM)
Not at all that I didn't understand anything or didn't follow anything. I just found the entire storyline to be rather cloying and so contrived that I could not invest emotionally.

Technologically it [i]is[/i] incredible, and you are right that there are a million things that can go wrong, and I imagine on occasion something does, but the crackerjack crew makes sure everything keeps right on sailing.

I do agree that the Statue is a far superior piece, and the storyline there has a much more universal resonance. For me, personally, I like Flying the best of all his work.
Message: Posted by: chrisontour (Aug 21, 2013 03:06AM)
I'd have to agree, although I personally LOVE Portal... if you asked a random lay person their favorite David Copperfield illusion, my guess is 9 times out of 10, Flying or Statue of Liberty will prove to be much more memorable... even though they took place decades earlier.
Message: Posted by: dahih beik (Aug 21, 2013 05:04AM)
I don't think that you can compare an illusion that can be done live on stage to such an illusion like the state of liberty .
Message: Posted by: Misophoniac (Aug 21, 2013 05:22AM)
Have you ever seen the slapdash explanation by the so-called Trickbusters? I'm guessing they have at least half of it wrong, but it is fun to watch them try. I won't link to it directly for obvious reasons. Just search youtube for "David Copperfield Portal Trickbusters"

The Copperfield effect that blows me away is "One." I've watched it dozens of times and I just can't get my head around it. The conditions seem so impossible.

[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZZ4Oh-xgCs[/url]
Message: Posted by: w_s_anderson (Aug 21, 2013 07:15AM)
They are ;). And I will leave it at that
Message: Posted by: krille (Aug 21, 2013 07:58AM)
Misophoniac:Trickbusters got it ALL wrong this time, kind of funny I think. It means that the methods are not that easy to figure out (they have been kind of right for some other illusions).

The Portal illusion is one of top 5 list.

The methods are not really new but uniquely put togeather into a great illusion.

It is slighty modified for television as is common nowdays but very little and it does not matter in my oppinion. They could have shown it as the live version. DC is picky about details :)

As stated above, soo many things can go wrong as timing is crucial.

A big hat off to Mr Mendoza who build the plattform. That is a miracle build in it self.

Paul Daniels once said that he would never do that illusion (or the statue of liberty vanish). If it is too impossible for the public it will end up as a technical or mechanical puzzle for them.
Message: Posted by: krille (Aug 21, 2013 08:09AM)
TheMagicalMan:

I totally understand the fustration and wish to know the secret of some illusions. But this is what makes magic fun.

Mr Steinmeyer one said, "start with the plot and then try different methods to find the best methods for the plot".
Message: Posted by: john wills (Aug 21, 2013 08:16AM)
Misophoniac,
You have to see "One" live, as many other illusions, to guess how it's done. Live it's slightly different from the tv-special. It's also very important to STUDY the books on the history of magic illusions.
Message: Posted by: krille (Aug 21, 2013 08:19AM)
As w_s_anderson says, lets leave it at that.
Message: Posted by: TheMagicalMan (Aug 21, 2013 11:45AM)
So David Mendoza built the platform for Copperfield huh ? Anybody knows who created 'the illusion itself or idea/method for Copperfield' ?

Second of all you can't "CORRECT MY OPINION AND SAY NO IT WASNT THE GREATEST ILLUSION FROM MY POINT OF VIEW"...I believe it was the greatest the illusion ever and I find it more appealing than the statue of liberty and the flying illusion.

Regarding trickbusters, I was going to bring that up. I remember watching their 'revealation' of the illusion, it wasn't clear to understand and some things they were very wrong about, like Copperfield using stooges to write initials om his arm or the photo etc.. But however trick usters are correct in 90% of the illusions they revealed sadly. So yeah Portal they didn't reveal it all correctly (I don't know how it works but some stuff they said just aren't trye about the execution). The part that they said shich might have been true I suppose is the disappearence. But I have NOT THE SLIGHTEST CLUE on how in the world does DC get from the platform to appear in the middle of the audeince in the back......I may understand the disappearence.....or the whole beach with evidence thing. And Krille it really is VERY frustrating sometimes I wish I knew how it worked lol :) .

About Copperfield's old entrance "ONE" again not the slightest clue....but its nowhere near as puzzling as Portal. From discussion boards about One, the summary of the posts was it was found in old magic books about certain aspects of the execution of this illusion which the method for it is old...Hmmm...I wonder how does One or Portal vary from the TV specials ?
Message: Posted by: chrisontour (Aug 21, 2013 12:06PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-21 06:04, dahih beik wrote:
I don't think that you can compare an illusion that can be done live on stage to such an illusion like the state of liberty .
[/quote]

True, but both of these illusions have been performed with methods made for TV as well as methods made for a live audience.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Aug 21, 2013 01:45PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-21 12:45, TheMagicalMan wrote:
…Second of all you can't "CORRECT MY OPINION AND SAY NO IT WASNT THE GREATEST ILLUSION FROM MY POINT OF VIEW"...I believe it was the greatest the illusion ever and I find it more appealing than the statue of liberty and the flying illusion. …

[/quote]
I don't find anyone saying that in your opinion it can't be the "greatest illusion". What I meant in my post is that no one can make a definitive "greatest illusion" statement because it is an issue of opinion, not of fact. In my opinion the greatest illusion was Doug Henning's presentation of the Fountain Levitation. But I cannot state that as anything other than an opinion. "Favorite" is a much better term to use than "greatest".
Message: Posted by: Oliver Ross (Aug 21, 2013 02:40PM)
[/quote]
I don't find anyone saying that in your opinion it can't be the "greatest illusion". What I meant in my post is that no one can make a definitive "greatest illusion" statement because it is an issue of opinion, not of fact... I cannot state that as anything other than an opinion. "Favorite" is a much better term to use than "greatest".
[/quote]

That's well explained Frank and I have to agree with you.

Concerning the OP, "Portal" isn't my favorite David Copperfield illusion, nor my favorite illusions of everything I've seen so far around the world. Flying was so impressive on TV and live that it'll stay my favorite David Copperfield illusion until now. The other illusions that are in my top five are "After Hours", "Test Conditions", "The Fan" and "Cocoon".


Oliver.
Message: Posted by: john wills (Aug 21, 2013 03:19PM)
I agree with Oliver and Frank.
The greatest illusion is always a matter of taste. You like something or you don't like it, or perhaps a little bit.
In another thread people are talking in the same way: what amount PERHAPS this or that illusion has cost, not knowing anything about it. It's pure guessing.
If they had done some research, they could have found an interview with D.C. (in Magic Magazine) where he talks about the figure he paid for the equipment of Flying to John Gaughan.
The same story goes in that thread about the Blackstone Floating Lightbulb. The figure given there is pure speculation/myth.

Talking about Flying. This illusion is an example of the difference between tv and theater. On the screen the "picture" is almost 3D, in theatre the "picture" is flat.
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Aug 21, 2013 03:27PM)
"On the screen the "picture" is almost 3D, in theatre the "picture" is flat."

Huh? Not sure what kind of t.v. set you have, but when I saw flying in a theatre, I could see above, below, BEHIND, and front. I'm not sure how a live performance could be anything but 3D, unless you are sitting VERY far away.

Blair
"ShaZzam!"
Message: Posted by: TheMagicalMan (Aug 21, 2013 03:28PM)
I wasn't directing my post to you particularly Frank.

Test conditions is an untalked about mind boggling illusion that needs a thread on its own lol After watching the whole TV special I can tell that illusions like Voyeur, Test Conditions, Thirteen, Portal, etc.. need a apecial stage I guess. I don't wanna give any more guesses but I just can't help but ask...ldid DC 'carry' this stage or platform with him around the world ? I wish I can clarify but I do not want to reveal anything accidentlly.

John Wills I have read numerous DC interviews about his work with illusion designers/builders/planners and must say WOW ! I didn't think dc would say that publicly. If you can link me to the interview please do. I wonder how much did DC pay for it ?

I wish I can trace the illusion planer for the portal illusion. It's out of deep interest in the illusion that's all or who where the illusion planners that worked with the DC team on the portal illusion.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Aug 21, 2013 03:40PM)
No worries, just making another point for the discussion!

When DC did Portal here, it was in an arena. I did not work that particular show, but I have worked crew on many, many others on that exact same stage. There is nothing "special" about it in any way.... except perhaps that it is dang heavy! (Or maybe it just seems that way since we're tearing it down after loading our 3-7 semi trucks worth of gear! ;) )
Message: Posted by: krille (Aug 21, 2013 05:52PM)
TheMagicalMan

All the illusions you mentioned differs from the TV version.
From a layman's perspective it probably does not.

And yes, David Mendoza is resposible for the plattfrom for the portal.
I don't know the creative team behind the complete illusion.
Message: Posted by: krille (Aug 21, 2013 05:58PM)
Trickbusters did not get the dissaperance right.

At least not in the clip that I watched.
Message: Posted by: Chad Sanborn (Aug 21, 2013 08:10PM)
I wish David and Co. would do a lecture on creativity and ideas. Take one illusion, like Portal, and break it down into its various parts. Talk about who developed what. Where did the idea first germinate. Who built it. Who choreographed it. Wrote the dialogue, etc.
It would be an awesome history and I bet people would be shocked by how much actually goes into what you see on stage.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Aug 21, 2013 08:50PM)
One thing is for certain; no single aspect is overlooked in the creation of one of his pieces. The music research alone must take tons and tons of time and research. Scenic design, lighting design, costuming are all done by top professionals in the industry.

I'm not always a fan of his results, but I so appreciate that level of commitment. Everything, by which I mean everything, is examined to the nth degree.
Message: Posted by: TheMagicalMan (Aug 21, 2013 09:08PM)
Aha thanks Krille for answering me regarding this point. But as for the diappearence regarding trickbusters, they only had one video revealing the portal illusion. They claimed that DC and the audience member vanished in the p....(dont wanna give any guesses of anyone here in case they are right) you can inbox me if you wanna talk about it, but I do believe that they got the vanish part correctly, and who knows maybe the beach part as well?..

@ Chad lol you basiclly want DC to reveal and teach one of his greatest illusions in details to everyone huh ?

@ Frank I didn't think these factors would take tons of time and research, I mean for DC's team I thought they would just put a coupla people to work on something.....but I kinda overlooked it. And were you a stage hand in that arena ? Ok I might need to rephrase what I said, the magic od DC's last special's illusions like 13, Portal, Voyeur, Test Conditions, I'm guessing used a special stage or so. It might seem insane but I don't want to say more details on a public forum.
Message: Posted by: TheMagicalMan (Aug 21, 2013 10:01PM)
Aha thanks Krille for answering me regarding this point. But as for the diappearence regarding trickbusters, they only had one video revealing the portal illusion. They claimed that DC and the audience member vanished in the p....(dont wanna give any guesses of anyone here in case they are right) you can inbox me if you wanna talk about it, but I do believe that they got the vanish part correctly, and who knows maybe the beach part as well?..

@ Chad lol you basiclly want DC to reveal and teach one of his greatest illusions in details to everyone huh ?

@ Frank I didn't think these factors would take tons of time and research, I mean for DC's team I thought they would just put a coupla people to work on something.....but I kinda overlooked it. And were you a stage hand in that arena ? Ok I might need to rephrase what I said, the magic od DC's last special's illusions like 13, Portal, Voyeur, Test Conditions, I'm guessing used a special stage or so. It might seem insane but I don't want to say more details on a public forum.
Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Aug 21, 2013 10:02PM)
Well, if he plans to tour an illusion it doesn't make a lot of sense to come up with effects that require venues with customized set ups. The show needs to get in, do the performance (in DC's case it's often two shows!), and get out. Usually all in about a 15 hour span. Now, that being said, they may indeed use special stages for taping certain things, but I do know that many of his specials were taped in unmodified theatres.

As to researching music, yes, they may put a couple of people on the task, but remember there are many considerations; tempo of course, duration, etc. But remember that it also needs to have the right "feel", it needs to be phrased in the same way the routine will be phrased, and so on. There is an awful lot of prerecorded music to comb through; popular, classical, film scores. Then once music has been selected it usually requires editing. And then there are the licensing arrangements which are separate for live performance and for synchronization (film use). In fact, if you look at DC's [i]Illusion[/i] DVD, several effects use different music than the original TV specials from which they were taken. One can presume that this was because the synchronization rights were either unavailable or too expensive for the project.

So at his level there is a lot more to the music than the typical local magician who just buys a track on iTunes.
Message: Posted by: john wills (Aug 22, 2013 07:40AM)
Hi Blair,
I saw the show two times in an arena in Germany. In this country the clouds had faded away and a mylar curtain dropped down from heaven (LoL). From row 10 and (later on row 14) the mylar creates a whole different picture.
Santé
John
Message: Posted by: roberthoudin (Aug 23, 2013 04:44AM)
Regarding DC doing a lecture on his creative process, French magicians may remember that this is exactly what he did when Gerorges Proust opened his Museum of Magic in Paris. I was not there but I know a few magicians who were and spoke about how well structured that lecture was. DC hd drawings showing how a few illusions went from 1 idea to the actual performance piece, and how all details got to be considered... This was a truly special event, as I understand it and I wish he and his team could do it more often.
Message: Posted by: mvmagic (Aug 24, 2013 11:54AM)
Is this really what Café has become? A newbie comes here with one goal, get the secret, and so many people just jump right in? "In depth discussion"? Yeah right.
Message: Posted by: john wills (Aug 24, 2013 01:49PM)
Mvmagic:
That's why I used the words -- perhaps - guessing - study - myth.
I agree with you!
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 24, 2013 01:59PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-20 21:23, TheMagicalMan wrote:
...if any of you have worked with DC on this and have any clues. The disappearence....the video....the evidence....the reappearence...
[/quote]

Those of us who worked the DC shows signed Non-Disclosure agreements. Sorry. You won't get the info from us! :)

Doug
Message: Posted by: charliecheckers (Aug 24, 2013 11:13PM)
It's to bad that the topic moved into methods discussion, as I too find iit distasteful. I think a general discussion about the development of the plot and contributors of the effect would have been interesting.
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Aug 25, 2013 02:57AM)
It's magic... ;)
Message: Posted by: mpicard (Aug 25, 2013 12:23PM)
[quote]
On 2013-08-25 00:13, charliecheckers wrote:
It's to bad that the topic moved into methods discussion, as I too find iit distasteful. I think a general discussion about the development of the plot and contributors of the effect would have been interesting.
[/quote]
I had a feeling from the start that this thread was just a way of extracting secrets to the illusion.

I agree, the discussion of the development of the plot and contributors of the effect would have been very educational and interesting.
Most young performers do not realize that an illusion like portal etc. is teamwork not only in execution but mostly development.