(Close Window)
Topic: Vanishing Effect (Barclay House)
Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 7, 2013 03:28PM)

I've been trying to figure out just how David Copperfield was able to make the 3 "volunteers" disappear in the Barclay House segment of Unexplained Forces.
Here is a link to the video (I'm sure you've all seen it): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy0A7RgGtQA - effect begins at 5:48

My first guess would be that they are hidden in the base of the "house". However on close inspection when the camera revolves around it, the base appears to be too thin to conceal 3 bodies. Maybe it's deceptively thin...?

I also wonder about how the walls were made to rise automatically. Interestingly, right before they do rise, sheets of paper are blown outwards. Judging by the velocity at which they begin to move and the fact that using a standard fan would be too visible, this suggests that compressed air may have been used. If this is the case, then perhaps a pneumatic system was made to rise the walls. Any thoughts on this?

Anyway, I understand there are rules in place prohibiting us from sharing secrets, so perhaps someone could be so kind as to point me in the right direction, suggesting any appropriate books to create a similar effect.

Many Thanks,

Message: Posted by: Frank Simpson (Nov 7, 2013 05:48PM)
HI Mike!

Welcome to the Café.

Yes, there are rules regarding exposure, but beyond that you'll find that people tend to be rather tight-lipped, even in private communication, until they know you better. Sadly, it is not at all uncommon to have people drop in here with their hands out and expect people to give up hard-earned knowledge and/or principles.

The Barclay House, as with nearly all of DC's presenations, are not so much a "how did they do such and such" as they are a conglomeration of may disparate techniques and disciplines. In short, no, there are no how-to books on how to make a Barclay House type effect, beyond the fact that is based on many Spirit Cabinet effects which you will want to read up on. But most of them rely upon the obviously unelaborate enclosure, rather than the opposite in DC's case.

Hang in there and once we've gotten to know you, you may find more and detailed answers to your queries.
Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 8, 2013 04:51AM)
Hi Frank,

Thanks for your reply!
Do you have any suggestions on where to start here? How can I better acquaint myself with the other members of the forum?


Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Nov 8, 2013 06:27AM)

Post and share knowledge, ask questions, ask for input, share your thoughts and opinions.

Blair Marshall
Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 8, 2013 07:15AM)
Hi Blair,

As a Computer Science student, I do have an idea for an illusion involving the use of projectors.
I'll share it here.

Message: Posted by: TheMagicalMan (Nov 8, 2013 08:43PM)
I think the vanishing effect of David Copperfield isn't really an ACCOMPLISHED effect....you can achieve simillar ones but for the one he used, it is espicially created for him depending on the design of the house. I think if you search on the Café for spirit cabinet this will lead you for the start of creating your own spirit cabinet. Cheers :) !
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Nov 21, 2013 03:52PM)
I can't tell you details. I can say...it is VERY deceptive. Careful camera work here. The audience only gets one angle. I can tell you, this is one of the most complicated Illusions I helped build off the truck. It was tested, and we had to rig it all back up! An HOUR'S work or more...

Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 22, 2013 05:34PM)
Hi Doug,

Did it take an hour to setup or reset?
It's just incredible to think that 4/5 people were able to fit in that base.
Of course, perhaps from the perspective of the audience members in the stalls, the thickness of the base was more visible and thus less impressive than it appears on screen.

Has anyone seen the effect from the stalls?
How does it look? - I know Shrubshole saw it from the dress circle.


P.S. Doug, you mention the audience only seeing the illusion from one angle. Had the house been rotated and they were watching it from behind (same distance) would the effect be more revealing?
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Nov 23, 2013 10:00AM)
It took an hour or more to reset and not much more than that to build. Ya got four or five guys, it goes smoothly. No this is NOT a "surrounded" illusion, if that makes sense. I gotta be careful here.

The real work is in the pyro, and the "ghosts". Those were tested and had to be restrung. Hated it. I don't like heights, had to work from the "clouds" (audio baffles). Fire, I DON'T like, and stay FAR away from. Those guys are pro's and specialize in just THAT.

Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 23, 2013 11:28AM)
Other than pyro, I can't see what else there is to reset. Surely it's just a matter of getting the actors out of the base and re-lifting the walls.
Or maybe its the pyro that took so long to reset...?

Do you remember if any compressed air/pneumatics were involved?

Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 23, 2013 12:13PM)
Take a look at this video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAh2fjImmfc
Interestingly, from the front the base appears to be too thin to hold the actors, but as we are shown the back (and the camera stupidly lowers too much) it becomes obvious that the base is deeper than it appears.
Is the Barclay House base similar to this? This way you don't have to disclose any secret information. Haha


Message: Posted by: AllAboutMagic (Nov 23, 2013 08:20PM)
I think enough information has already been disclosed. I'm surprised this hasn't been moved yet.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Nov 24, 2013 01:20PM)
Yup. Said enough.
Message: Posted by: mikewarner (Nov 24, 2013 01:32PM)
Thanks for your help.