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Profile of james_magic
I was wanting to make a magic video for my local film festival. I was just wondering what I should do to keep them interested?

Should I have several cameras for different angle shots? Does it matter if one of the cameras can see the other camera?

Any ideas for this video would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
Dennis Michael
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Profile of Dennis Michael
Take a college course on video production.

Notice TV, no "good" video clip lasts more than 10 seconds before a change in view.

Multiple cameras are used for this, each focusing on a different point of view. Keep this in mind when shooting.

As you go up in production, so does the cost... hence multiple cameras cost more than a single camera shot.
Dennis Michael
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Profile of mvmagic
To begin with, yes, multiple cameras are definitely better than having one which zooms in and out.

Keep in mind that cameras can come really close and a very small thing can appear huge on screen. Also, it is preferable to have "focused" magic— something that takes place at a certain area, like a close-up mat. Remember to use props that have enough contrast so that they can be CLEARLY seen. As you propably want to be more than just a pair of hands, magic which has your face in the frame is a good idea as well.

And go through your effects and routines with the director so that he knows in advance where the key points are. This insures they don't accidentally cut away to another angle or for that matter have a camera follow your hand which is secretly disposing something. I have personally been involved in a taping where we revealed the illusion secrets to the director and cameramen (secrecy agreement signed by them) to have an absolutely optimal flow of shots, camera moves and angles.

In magic itself, the best magic for TV is something that has a definite highpoint. Also having quite direct magic is a good thing. I would personally choose a thing like perfect pen done very close to my face over a long billiard ball routine or some card magic taking place solely on the table.

I hope you find at least some of this useful.
Sent from my Typewriter
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Profile of RileyG
If you are shooting this video and editing on your own with a single camera, you can give the impression of a multiple camera shoot by doing the following:

1. Shoot the complete act from a long shot (establishing shot).
2. Shoot your show from another camera location and angle and frame (close-up, half frame close-ups, etc)
3. Shoot the show from another angle and camera frame.
4. Cut these different angles into your master shots to give the illusion of multiple cameras.

We call this COVERAGE in the business...
Riley G Matthews Jr
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Profile of jcmagic
Generally it's best to have more than one angle, but if money is an issue you can make a big deal about that fact you only shoot one angle to avoid camera tricks. By the way, if someone sees you live how many angles do they get? If your magic is really good you don't really need more than one camera (that's not to say that if you have the money it couldn't be made better with multi cameras).

Also my second tip is get the lighting right. This will make all the difference. I can't possibly go into complete detail here; check out your library under photgraphy and/or theatre lighting.
Good luck
Jon Raiker
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Profile of Jon Raiker
Hop on over to:

[outdated link]

Pick up Andrew Mayne's book "How To Make An Action Movie For $99."

I'm sure there is a ton of great information that could help you on your quest to make an independent film in this book. Hope this helps.

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Profile of Pekka
More anything, more money. That's the rule in video production. But the real question is, how do you make the video interesting? Is it going to be just you and magic or is there going to be some sort of plot? It is a film festival and you might want to make a plot for the thing, a reason for magic.

Peace, anti-capitalism, etc., are always popular among artists and you might want to think if you can make your magic representing something like that. (An Iraqi flag changes into American flag and then a coke can is introduced from the silk. Believe me, all those bohemian artists would give you standing ovations.) Smile
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Profile of Sybilmagic
If money is an issue I would consider approaching university students. I myself currently produce videos and edit them at university. I am sure there would be a local uni you could pick up some students from to do this. Try and go for second or third year students. I myself always find it hard to come up with ideas for shoots as it is hard to come up with cost effective ideas. Bingo this idea you have would hit a lot of students as being a logical assignment to do.

Ohh and another thing— you mentioned seeing other cameras (muliple camera shoot); this can be okay. If the style of the video is like an interview based shoot, it is nice to see the location in which the interview is based. However always have safe shots that don't include other cameras; a good idea is to make sure you have a good quality camera such as Canon xl1-s getting the main action then a low cost camera to get cutaways i.e. audience faces, shots of the performer and possibly other cameras, etc...

Hope this helps!!!
Sid Mayer
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Profile of Sid Mayer
A lot of good advice so far. Here's some more.

You need to do a lot of research first. Video has a "grammar" that must be learned before you can make a coherent production.

You'll also want to know something about editing— what can and can't cut together, avoiding direction of movement reversals and much more.

Try to get experienced help and a competent director. Remember that you can manipulate time and eye focus. Avoid amateur mistakes such as pannning (almost never except with a moving object), single mics on camera, shaky camera work, etc.

Help your editor by providing cutaways, reaction shots and presence track. Plan your shots before you start taping.

It's very easy to produce images. It's much more difficult to produce a finished work that has real audience appeal.

The more you know, the better you'll do.

Good luck with your project,

All the world's a stage ... and everybody on it is overacting.
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Profile of phonic69
On 2002-10-15 05:59, DenDowhy wrote:
Take a college course on video production.

Notice TV, no "good" video clip lasts more than 10 seconds before a change in view.

Multiple cameras are used for this, each focusing on a different point of view. Keep this in mind when shooting.

As you go up in production, so does the cost... hence multiple cameras cost more than a single camera shot.

Apart from Blaine's poorly edited levitation, most of his magic specials (the tricks) are filmed from one angle for the entire effect. If it works for him, why not us?

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Profile of BryanDreyfus
A set-up that works for me is: one cam full shot head on (wide enough to get helpers too), one cam hand held usually moving back and forth getting waist up from three angles (left, right, center enough for me and one guest) and one cam hand held that looks from behind and shoots audience response.

Although I feel it is rude to your live audience you should not play to the camera ... on occasions a glance and comment to the watcher is permitted and necessary to make the watcher feel part of show.

Then comes post production editing.
Oh sure, I can spell "Antidisestablishmentarianism", but I can't type t-h-e.
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