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Khopri
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Well since I was the one that made the comment, I would say that if you have a television show and can get away with using CGI effectivly to fool both the layman and the overly-critical, "I-could-have-done-it-better" magicians watching at home, go for it. Just be sure to use it very subtly and don't rely on it for EVERY illusion in the show. It has to be hidden so that even SFX guys don't suspect anything. After all, what is CGI but just another form of smoke and mirrors to achieve an effect?

And who's to say that ol' Criss isn't using CGI already? There were a couple of shots in the building walk routine that seemed to have particularly blurry clouds.

And a couple of quick notes while we continue on this professional autopsy of a magician on TV:

Good job including magicians other than just Criss. The mask routine was nicely done.

Yes, the motorcycle vanish was terrible. Sorry, but that was just brutal to watch.
Most of those impromptu routines in front of the crew "just hanging out" come off as incredibly sophmorish and planned.

And if you are going to have a live audience involved in the execution of an illusion, you owe it to the people watching it in person to figure out a way to shock and surprise them naturally. No matter how well you edit or how effective you coach, there is nothing stronger than an audience that is genuinely blown away by what they just saw.
Professor Piper
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Quote:
On 2006-06-01 12:51, Jazz wrote:
The ones inside the barrier had a very specific job. That´s a given. I think he could have come up with a little more random way of "selecting" the volunteer. You´re right, if only she had been outside the barrier, that would have selled the illusion better. Maybe time constraints prevented it? Remember when DC throws and bounces a beachball wround to randomly select a spectator?


Ok, I've seen Copperfield live...Matter of fact I caught one of the beach-balls and was a participant in his "13" Illusion...

I'm not sure if you are saying that it wasn't random, but if you are, then you are wrong...It was completely random.


On to Criss Angel....

You may not like Criss, you may believe in your hearts that you are better...You may believe that your opinion or advice would improve his show...Or you may believe he is presenting Magic in the 'wrong' light...

You may believe that you can 'do it better'...

You may believe that you 'know how to present Magic to the lay-public in a more convincing and 'proper' way...'

What you must face, however, is the fact that YOU aren't doing it.

Criss has done more for the proliferation of Magic in the last year than ANY of us that spread our pearls of wisdom on an Internet FORUM have EVER done.

How do I know this?

I work in three VERY high-traffic Magic shops...Without fail, the day after a "MindFreak" airing I see at LEAST a half a dozen young men and women who want to check out Magic...No, they don't just want to see if we have "Learn how to levitate" videos...They are looking for books on Magic, videos, etc...

Here's something you might have 'glossed over'....

Criss Angel won "Magician of the Year" from the Castle last year....

HMMMMMMMMMMMM......

So, according to your own posts/thoughts, the Castle is now full of crap too???

I mean, why else would they afford such an honor on a poser?

Why not strive for the success that Criss has achieved and stop whining so much about how 'lame' his performances are?

By the way, how many folks did YOU perform Magic for in the last week?

Me, myself?

About 5,000, live, at a major Theme park...

(NOT patting my own back, just making sure you understand I'm not sitting in my living room making judgements, like others here)....

Prof. Piper
(Terry L. Tidwell)
"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
Jazz
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Hi Professor. When I refered to the beachball thing with DC I meant to say that it IS random. You cannot have it more random thank that. Sorry if I wasn´t clear.

I don´t think anyone posting here is saying he would make it better than Criss, or anything of that matter. Just people telling their opinions about a very interesting magic show. Some will love it, some will hate it. That´s what this forum is about. Any magician that has a TV appearance is going to have the same types of comments here, good or bad. I think in the long run it makes for a richer discussion in our community.

Remember what they say "there´s no such thing as bad publicity, just make sure you get your name spelled correctly" (Which with Criss, it doesn´t happen very often)
Professor Piper
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Very true and respected words Jazz...

But:

It seems that MANY of those that post keep harping on the same issues...As if they would be able to do it better...

And I counter it, with the very real arguement, ok...So if you are so much more creative, then why aren't YOU on T.V. doing it?

The fact is, it takes an enourmous amount of skill, charisma, talent, charm, LUCK, hard-work, dedication, and EXTREMELY thick skin to make it to the point that Criss has...

That's just a fact....

It's very, VERY, easy to play an 'arm-chair' quarterback...

What you see in these venomous posts is the realization, however buried it may be, that no matter what they say, those that post such vitrol will NEVER leave the armchair.

I, for one, applaud Criss for his success and THANK him for making Magic a bigger part of the lay-publics experience....

Lord knows they have enough of the 'reality' shows to choke on...

It's about time that actual ART makes it to prime-time!

Prof. Piper
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"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
Jazz
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I agree with you. There will always be some that will try to discredit anything anyone does. But I still think they are a minority.

As you well said not everyone could make it all they way to where Criss is. It takes a lot of different things to happen. I agree, especially the thick skin.

Let´s not forget that his target audience is the general public, not the "overanalizers, picky, know everything, I could have made it better guys" that hang around here. We all have certain amount of that, like it or not.

Before I said that some liked the show and some didn´t, and that is their right. But remember in order to have an opinion, everyone had to WATCH it first! Mission accomplished. I also said before that the show is good enough to be on a major network.
Professor Piper
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Jazz...

I'm with you pal, and I read what you wrote...No worries!

I was just unsure about your comment on DC and his random selection, of which you clarified nicely...

It was AWESOME to be on stage with him...Words can not describe the feeling.

I'm a bit touchy, in regards to critics, of anyone (Criss, Blaine, etc) who is making Magic more accessible/popular...

Making Magic more visable just make my life (and everyone else who actually performs for a living) all that much better...

I love and thank Criss and Blaine and Alan, etc....

It would do my heart good to see some appreciation on this forum, instead of such envy and spite.

I have no problems with you Jazz...None at all.

Prof. Piper
(Terry L. Tidwell)
"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
bobbyk
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I think Criss has done a lot for for the art of Magic along with David Blaine. I enjoy the show and I am not too worried about if he used a stooge or did a cut here and there.... I performed at a party Sunday night and many of the folks there were talking about Criss Angel because they saw his reruns on A&E leading up to the season premiere... Not one mention of Camera tricks or stooges. Imagine that?

The idea is to fool the audience, give them a "magical experience", one that they will talk about isn't it? How he/we get there isn't all that important. I have used gaffed cards, coins and other gaffed props... all the while leading the audience to believe they are "REAL" EVERYDAY OBJECTS.... They are my stooges I guess.

Also, lets not forget... In one of last years shows Criss popularized one of the most talked about effects of the year, "Sinful".... No gaffs, no stooges etc...

Best to all,

Bobby
Professor Piper
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BINGO Bobby!!

Criss, Blaine, etc...They have all made Magic more popular...More accessible..

More "in demand"...

Which makes me money...

I know, KNOW, that money isn't everything...

It sure does, however, make everything else a bit easier...

Thank YOU DC, Criss, David, Alan...et al...

You make my life fuller, and more profitable...

For that, I will be forever grateful...

Prof. Piper
(Terry L. Tidwell)
"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
Michael Dustman
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To answer Randwill's question, I admit a certain frustration with the "obvious use" of some camera tricks. If however, you can with a certain measure recreate that feeling in a live setting, than I say go for it in order to draw the crowd to see it.

Criss is supposedly trying to put together a full length live show. Copperfield freely admitted that he did an annual special for the sole purpose of advertising his live show. Once he made the Forbes list and started booking 500 shows a year, he no longer needed to rely on the television special. But...make no mistakes about it, he as well used convenient "edits" to sell an effect, but to his credit, could produce a pretty darn similar effect on stage.

I traveled at one point with an illusion show and have a pretty good background on what the "needs" are. I remember when I first saw Copperfield recreate the Alcatraz escape on stage in a live show. I assumed it would be pretty similar to the television special other than it actually took place at Alcatraz. (I saw him do it live about 5 months before the Alcatraz special aired). A couple years later while visiting Alcatraz, I retraced his steps for that special. In looking around the room, it became quite obvious to me, that what you saw on tv was not what you saw if you were there live. BUT, he was able to recreate it to a certain extent on stage. Same with the Floating Couch, same with the Laser, same Voyeur, same with Barclay House, etc. So I guess, as long as you can have an audience come out and see your live show and be able to give them what they saw on tv, then to a certain degree, it is "ok" to "clean it up a bit" for the purpose of television.

As far as obvious camera edits though, I can only relate to actually being at Niagra Falls when the special was filmed in Sept. 89 and catching the dirty work.

So...after a long rambling answer to a very good question by Randwill, I think to a certain point, some camera edits are acceptable, but you better *** well be able to recreate something similar to a live paying audience.
Jazz
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Well put Michael. When and if Criss puts together the live show, then I guess that´s when he will be judged. I agree that he has to duplicate most, if not all, what he has done on TV.
magicelam
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I've not read all the posts here, because I only made it halfway through before wanting to express some opinion (with no concrete evidence to back it up Smile)

How can any of you say "I don't know if he uses stooges..."

Have any of you been performing over 3 days? The use of stooges is obvious. Criss Angel is walking the fine line between elevating / ruining magic.

Him having the tv show makes magic more accessible to everyone, but him using stooges and camera tricks makes me get some hellacious requests at work the next day.

And any of you can go on and on about, "well, if you're performing your material correctly, people will be just as amazed..."

That's bullcrap. I have a pretty mean double lift, and 14 year old girls still ooh and ahh at my hotshot cut, but flying from building to building on national television is going to get a little more of a response.

I'm through rambling. But I'm just not a fan of Mindfreak, and I certainly hope it doesn't get a third season.
Mike
bitterman
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Prof Piper:

Quote:
If someone came into one of your three shops and asked for a book that would teach them how to make a motorcycle dissapear just like Criss Angel; do you point them towards a magic book or one on film/tape editing?


I don't think anyone is arguing that Criss Angel isn't very good at what he does, the question seems to be 'what is it he's doing?' Is it magic, illusion, camera tricks and staged reactions? Maybe the problem is the term 'magic' which seems to cover a very large grey area. Does 'magic' on a TV show have to be doable in real life/real time to be called 'magic', or was The X-Men 'magic' as well?
If you are not cheating, you are only cheating yourself.

Dutchco is about to put out some new Ebook: DUTCHCO. Get 'em while you can.
kregg
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Most of you do realize that several effects are developed just for television, right?
POOF!
Professor Piper
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Quote:
On 2006-06-02 09:20, bitterman wrote:
Prof Piper:

If someone came into one of your three shops and asked for a book that would teach them how to make a motorcycle dissapear just like Criss Angel; do you point them towards a magic book or one on film/tape editing?

I don't think anyone is arguing that Criss Angel isn't very good at what he does, the question seems to be 'what is it he's doing?' Is it magic, illusion, camera tricks and staged reactions? Maybe the problem is the term 'magic' which seems to cover a very large grey area. Does 'magic' on a TV show have to be doable in real life/real time to be called 'magic', or was The X-Men 'magic' as well?


I point those who are interested in Illusion to Mark Wilson's complete course, and I let them know that it takes: Time, Dedication, Practice, and Love to make Magic work...If they are serious about Illusion, as one young man who came in the shop the other day was, I give them the names of a couple of other books to research (Such as hiding the elephant)...

I do not tell them about camera-cuts, editing, etc....That part will come if and when they have a Television special...

If you are so down on the use of effects that can only be achieve via TV, then I would hope you have as much vitrol for Copperfield...

What, you think he REALLY vanished the Statue of Liberty with available stage methods?

You ACTUALLY believe all of those spectators that viewed that Vanish weren't in on it (stooges)?

All I know for SURE is that I've seen DC live, been on stage with him...He IS Magic.

I've avidly followed Criss's success with the 'MindFreak' series and hope to someday see him live as well....

Because it sure as heck looks to me like he is BECOMING 'Magic' in the same way...

Don't like it, then change it by doing it better.

Prof. Piper
"Nemo has been found! He was on an Admiral's Platter at Red Lobster!"
Randwill
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Quote:
On 2006-06-02 10:23, Professor Piper wrote:


If you are so down on the use of effects that can only be achieve via TV, then I would hope you have as much vitrol for Copperfield...

What, you think he REALLY vanished the Statue of Liberty with available stage methods?

You ACTUALLY believe all of those spectators that viewed that Vanish weren't in on it (stooges)?

Prof. Piper


It has always been my understanding that Copperfield DID vanish the Statue of Liberty for the spectators we see on the platform. The explaination I've read contends that the rig was built for the express purpose of making the vanish convincing for those people. Does anyone else know otherwise?
Bill Nuvo
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Quote:
Him having the tv show makes magic more accessible to everyone, but him using stooges and camera tricks makes me get some hellacious requests at work the next day.

And any of you can go on and on about, "well, if you're performing your material correctly, people will be just as amazed..."

That's bullcrap. I have a pretty mean double lift, and 14 year old girls still ooh and ahh at my hotshot cut, but flying from building to building on national television is going to get a little more of a response.


So are you angry that you can't perform what he does? Come on. I can't count the number of times when someone finds out I am a magician and they ask if I can make them disappear. You'll always get crazy requests. I just don't play along. I say "Yes I can, here is my card. Book my Illusion show and I will do just that." I am not up to proving myself to everyone. For me, when I am not getting paid to, I am not a magician. That's not to say, I won't give a little teaser or sorts.

And just as another point "but flying from building to building on national television is going to get a little more of a response."--I have had just as big of reaction from doing ye old arm twisting illusion. I have had people literally run across the room in shock/fear/disgust/whatever. It's all about presentation and showmanship which Criss Angel has.
BooRadley
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I don't mind that I knew how many of the stunts were performed...but the cheesy acting on the obvious camera cuts (i.e., the motorcycle gag) was deplorable. The cat routine was a bit obvious too. It's only disappointing because he's really much too talented to stoop to this in his act. I love the quick hitting stuff walking in public...I'd rather see him do more of that than the trick photography stuff. Loved the outdoor "girl-in-a-chair" vanish. Camera work could have been done better, but the effect was great. Mom crawling out of a suitcase? Oh my...move on Criss. Move on. The Las Vegas street vanish was okay...although Copperfield's version was slicker. But then, Chriss is performing LIVE in a surrounded situation and that REALLy takes some guts. A million things can go wrong, but he pulled it off. Loved the guy who wanted to check the fallen panels on the ground to see if the girl was hiding in there.

BooRadley
bobbyk
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Quote:
On 2006-06-02 09:01, magicelam wrote:
I've not read all the posts here, because I only made it halfway through before wanting to express some opinion (with no concrete evidence to back it up Smile)

How can any of you say "I don't know if he uses stooges..."

Have any of you been performing over 3 days? The use of stooges is obvious. Criss Angel is walking the fine line between elevating / ruining magic.

Him having the tv show makes magic more accessible to everyone, but him using stooges and camera tricks makes me get some hellacious requests at work the next day.

And any of you can go on and on about, "well, if you're performing your material correctly, people will be just as amazed..."

That's bullcrap. I have a pretty mean double lift, and 14 year old girls still ooh and ahh at my hotshot cut, but flying from building to building on national television is going to get a little more of a response.

I'm through rambling. But I'm just not a fan of Mindfreak, and I certainly hope it doesn't get a third season.


Not sure I understand your wishing the show to fail??? It's because you can't walk building to building or do some of his other illusions? That makes little sense to me. I can't walk thru the great wall of China or make the staue of Liberty disappear...It's never affected any work.

I would think that if Mindfreak makes your phone ring... that would be a good thing. I find it difficult to belive that anyone is losing work because they can't do what Criss does. Your line about performing correctly being "bullcrap" is a bit off the mark in my opinion.

I have seen big crowds be truly amazed by small effects done correctly. No, it's not the same as flying from building to building or the same as cutting a woman in half for that matter. If you are really looking for the same reaction to a double lift that an illusionist gets... Yours must truly be AMAZING.
bitterman
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Quote:
On 2006-06-02 10:23, Professor Piper wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-06-02 09:20, bitterman wrote:
Prof Piper:

If someone came into one of your three shops and asked for a book that would teach them how to make a motorcycle dissapear just like Criss Angel; do you point them towards a magic book or one on film/tape editing?

I don't think anyone is arguing that Criss Angel isn't very good at what he does, the question seems to be 'what is it he's doing?' Is it magic, illusion, camera tricks and staged reactions? Maybe the problem is the term 'magic' which seems to cover a very large grey area. Does 'magic' on a TV show have to be doable in real life/real time to be called 'magic', or was The X-Men 'magic' as well?


I point those who are interested in Illusion to Mark Wilson's complete course, and I let them know that it takes: Time, Dedication, Practice, and Love to make Magic work...If they are serious about Illusion, as one young man who came in the shop the other day was, I give them the names of a couple of other books to research (Such as hiding the elephant)...

I do not tell them about camera-cuts, editing, etc....That part will come if and when they have a Television special...

If you are so down on the use of effects that can only be achieve via TV, then I would hope you have as much vitrol for Copperfield...

What, you think he REALLY vanished the Statue of Liberty with available stage methods?

You ACTUALLY believe all of those spectators that viewed that Vanish weren't in on it (stooges)?

All I know for SURE is that I've seen DC live, been on stage with him...He IS Magic.

I've avidly followed Criss's success with the 'MindFreak' series and hope to someday see him live as well....

Because it sure as heck looks to me like he is BECOMING 'Magic' in the same way...

Don't like it, then change it by doing it better.

Prof. Piper


You didn't really answer the question, just kind of deflected it towards Coperfield. Do the ends justify the means in TV magic for you? As long as you think it looks cool, should you do whatever it takes to get the 'effect' across? Is that ok, or would it be like a golfer on TV improving his lie with the 'toe-wedge' when no one is looking?
If you are not cheating, you are only cheating yourself.

Dutchco is about to put out some new Ebook: DUTCHCO. Get 'em while you can.
Illucifer
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The vanish of the Statue of Liberty was indeed conceived and designed by Jim Steinmeyer and, yes, there is a real method that would indeed cause the live audience there on Ellis island to experience the effect as it was seen on tv.
Now, having said that, I will say that edits and camera effects were employed along with this method. That is to say, the view from the ground (i.e., the audience perspective) is legit and is what the audience saw (though in his later "15 Years of Magic" special, spotlights shining through the space between the towers were added - they do not appear in the original airing). When the shot cuts to a helicopter view, this is a bluff.
Oddly enough the helicopter shot could have been done live, and I'm not sure why it wasn't.
Any of you who are tv/film savvy out there will note that the ground stuff is all video, but the helicopter stuff is on film, which means it had to be processed and developed first.
Not sure why they chose not to use a matching format. Seems a glaring discrepancy to me.
It's all in the reflexes.
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