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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Ammar - Thread Miracles (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Fredrick
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Scott,

I am happy to see that I am not alone in this corner. As I heard Max Maven say in a workshop 2 years ago - if we treat magic like it is trivial, then our audiences will see it as trivial. Selling the illuson that magic is easy to master is trivialization...
"Try to find the humanity in the magic and maybe you'll come up with something of your own. It's the humanity that gets you there, not techniques." Michael Moschen on Creativity
Fantasy Knight
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Toronto,Ontario,Canada
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Thank you for the info on the Ammar Series. I have just ordered it and am waiting for it to arrive..
Grew up near one of the greatest minds in magic the late Stewart James, in a town called Wallaceburg just 15 mins from Courtright where James could be found, time and time again he would inspire me to always be creative and just love all magic.
Carl Rheuban
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Malibu, California
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I received Ammar's DVD's this weekend and have now viewed the entire series. There is no question that this is the most complete survey of thread material to date. I wish this was available when I first started thread work.

Carl.
davekilpatrick
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I have been doing magic since 1973 but never did thread. I thought I'd ease into it by ordering the first DVD in Ammar's series. Hank Lee's accidentally sent me the whole series (and, of course charged me). I immediately called and they told me I could return the other two. Now they won't be able to wrench them out of my hands! Those sneaky elves at Hank Lee's! They knew after seeing the first one I'd want all three (they're mentalists, you know).
Anyway, I went from neophyte to where I feel I have a college degree in thread magic—at least in terms of knowledge. I have many criticisms of the series, but most of them are petty. It was really well done. I'm a bit frustrated in my early attempts, but very pleased in other respects. Without this series, I would have given up already.

You really learn a lot of usable material. Some is impractical, but most of it is good stuff. I'm no longer intimidated by thread magic, and would like to learn more.

One aside. I haven't used any of the ITRs. James George (the inventor of the ITR) plays prominent on the tape. It is for this reason, I suspect, that John Kennedy's Stealth Retractor was treated in a separate section (with a few cool tricks). I ran right out and got a Stealth Retractor and am wondering why I would need to buy an ITR? That is not made clear on the tape. The Retractor is motorized, not just spring loaded. It works great, but requires some patience if you need to rethread it. But it seems to me it does all the other thread reel stuff (not traditional reel stuff, however—no surpentine silks with this prop). But out of deference to James George, I think, Ammar didn't say if you get the Retractor, you can do the retractor stuff, AND some ITR stuff too. Again, it was treated separately.

Any of you have both a Retractor and an ITR reel? Am I way off base here? I was thinking of getting the Kevlar Pen Reel on Hank Lee's site, but with the Retractor, I'm not sure I have a need for it.

Finally, although the series is a bit of an ad for ITRs, there are many tricks you can do with cheap invisible thread available at most dealers. Another bargain is LOOPS for $10.
vovin
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I have all 3 video's, if you can only afford 1 of them get Vol 2. as there are more tricks on it, than the others, but all 3 are really good, and if you can afford them I highly recommend them.

The stealth retractor is a major disappointment. You can only use a heavy Kevlar thread which is quite visible cause if you use regular IT when the ball reaches the hole, or if it get's snagged on anything, it breaks. And there is an issue with the fact that the retractor spools the thread kinda slow. My local magic shop owner tried very hard to talk me out of buying it but I didn't listen and it cost me $60.00 dollars, for something I will probably never use.

To davekilpatrick:

As far as the stealth retractor replacing the ITR I don't think it would be convenient the stealth is a hand-held aparatus and the ITR can be attached on the body and allows you to show your hands completely empty and you can wear it all day long if you like. Plus a lot of tricks that I know of require the constant tension and reel of the ITR and the basic thread is a pain if you need to use long lenghts as you have to have a method of storing it so it does not get tangled up. I have found the ITR an absolute neccesity for thread work. The thread boss is the best brand I would recommend.
I wouldn't go with the Kevlar attachment as it is a lot more expensive and it has a tighter spooling aparatus (people who have a ITR will know what I mean) which means you can't extend as much thread as a regular thread boss.
davekilpatrick
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Vovin
Thanks for the post. I can now see the differences between the Retractor and ITR: empty hands and constant tension (although drop the Retractor in your front breast pocket and anchor elsewhere and your hands ARE free). Anyway, it is fair to say Ammar was NOT pandering to James George as I speculated! Sorry guys!

I love the slow graceful movement of the Retractor in raising a business card or playing card to your hand, or turning a page. It now (also) comes with super fine thread if you don't want to use Kevlar.

I think I'll be getting an ITR. Thanks for the clarification. I said watching the videos made me feel like I got a college degree in thread magic. However, I never said I was an A student.

Question for those using the LeClair Animator. Ammar has a section on his DVD series called "the LeClair Hookup." Can anyone tell me if the LeClair hookup is the same as the LeClair animator? Also, because I own the Ammar DVD series, is the LeClair video "Who's Afraid of Invisible Thead" still worth getting?

Finally, there were very few effects on the Ammar DVD that used ITR compared to other thread hookups (despite much time talking ABOUT the ITR). Also, the ITR tricks seemed a bit more awkward than the other hook ups (but still really cool stuff). Does any one know of a source of information with other ITR ideas to supplement those on the DVDs?
E-Leoni
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I bought the DVD'S when they first came out.
I like them. My only comment though, is, I was waiting to find out 2 things from the set ....JUST 2 BITS OF INFORMATION. Didn't get it.

One, how to tie the loops.
He explains that he can not disclose that information. I can guess at how it's done, and I've been doing it my way for awhile, but your always thinking, .."Maybe there is a better way"

In the meantime I'm still using my way. The second thing was.. ahhh, I just forgot now. Oh well I guess it wasn't important after all. That's what happens when you answer a phone call in the middle of writing.

One thing I notice on my DVD'S ...and I'm wondering if anyone else noticed. The audio seems to be slightly off sync with the video.
It's a little anoying but the information comes through just the same. I like the set.
Mr. Ammar did a great job, as usual.

E-Leoni.

Another thing I did after watching the DVD set, was to go back and take a look at some of Finn's work on thread. It brought back a lot of memories. I don't particulary like the floating stuff Finn did, but the moving effects are great. It was a nice comparison to Finn's work. Ammar mentions Finn a few times on the set. How can you not, I guess.

E-Leoni.
Carl Rheuban
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Davekilpatrick

The LeClair Hookup and animator are the same. If you are serious about studying thread work, after the Ammar tapes, I would highly recommend both LeClair's tape and book. He has a method for a haunted deck with a borrowed deck in the hands of the spectator that is very powerful.

I find with thread work that there are positives and negatives to each of the various hookups and gimmicks. I feel the LeClair hookup is very comfortable and gives me the feedback I need to always know where the thread is.

Carl.
Kjellstrom
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Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
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I use the UFC (Ultimate Float Controller)
to do some nice floating effects.
You can find this UFC here:
http://www.magiceffex.com/
I mostly do a standard floating like the floating rose effect.

After reading this topic I think I may order Ammars Thread Miracles.
Then I may find some new uses for my UFC.
Rcitgo
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I have them all.Their great .Get them.
Gary
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The series is good if you really need to know the bigger picture on thred magic. For the casual user, balance the overall cost with how often you plan to use thread effects.

Ammar's style is not to everyone's taste, but the methods are clearly put across. Good production values, but I did want to hit the guy in the L&L audience with a fly swat afer a while as he bacame overly annoying.

John Kennedy does a retractor for about $60, but I am fed up with it constantly jamming to the extent I no longer use it. The ETRs as sold through Chazpro and other dealers are major investments, but the slow movent is very effective.

The best investmeet I have made so far is John Kennedy's Z threads. Excellent value for money and used on a weekly basis at least. Extremely versatile and flexible.
"I can see clearly now, the brain has gone"
- Anon
Ryan
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So I am a IT Layman, who is thinking of getting 'reeled' into this phenonimum. Would this DVD series be a good/ideal place to start? Or should I 'fish' around for another resource? Smile
bekralik
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>John Kennedy does a retractor for about
>$60, but I am fed up with it constantly
>jamming to the extent I no longer use it.
>The ETRs as sold through Chazpro and other
>dealers are major investments, but the slow
>movent is very effective.

I agree with the ESR, although it's incredibly expensive. Good for a pre-set up levitation. I'm considering the UFC, also, although I'm wondering about getting the two-set UFC and how that will be more effective ... do you really require another stage hand? Can you hook-up two on yourself or somewhere where you can switch it, and make for some of the good movements it promises?

The Stealth Retractor fortunately hasn't jammed for me and I use it mainly for light PK stuff like forks and napkins and sugar packets across tables. The Hummingbird Reel REALLY jams practically every time I use it. However, I understand that John has changed the SR thread to half it's length to prevent jamming now? I dunno what kind of an impact it will have on the overall effect, but I guess I've never really used 10' ever.

Carlr, you recommended Le Clair's book and video ... I have the video ... is the book a good companion to have with extra material in it?
Magnus Maccormack
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I have the first two in the series and have really enjoyed them. Having also bought the vids that James George made in the 80's for his reel I was a little worried about the content. (I was less than impressed with the George's vids)

Ammar provides loads of info for all kinds of hookups, some for cloe-up some you van adapt for stage use.

LeClairs book, however, provies some insight into using the method behind thread work as opposed to just tricks with string.

If you can swing it, I recommend both.
Eight Spades
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Ohio (northwest)
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I've done thread work for about two years now and love it, but I still haven't found a quality-made, reliable ITR. I always have the problem of after a few retracts, the thread doesn't seem to pull all the way in and I have to tear the whole thing apart (which I'm sure you all know how hard this can be). My question is, what is the preferred ITR by all of you thread workers. I'm not looking for a cheap fix, but a real quality ITR that won't require a lot of maintenance. Thanks guys!

-Christian
"Tricks are only the crude residue from which the lifeblood of magic has been drained." -S.H. Sharpe
Harvey Nerzof
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HN Review 75: Easy to Master Invisible Thread Miracles Vol. 1, 2, 3 – Michael Ammar

AD:
There is more powerful potential in just a few feet of invisible thread than almost anything else in magic. This is magic that becomes the stuff of legends. No matter what type of magic you perform, from the purest sleight of hand to the largest grand illusions, this is the type of magic that creates conversations and reputations. People vividly remember the moment they saw something levitated and animated just inches away from their eyes.
Continuing in the Easy to Master tradition, this new set of videos is organized in a very structured fashion, taking the viewer from simple animations with short lengths of thread that can be easily set up and managed through intermediate effects that are a bit more involved and finally ending up with elaborate effects that are truly mind-bending.
Each video in this series also contains valuable supporting information on lighting, concealment, and theory that will stimulate your thinking well beyond the featured magic.
Volume 1 contents:
Section One - Introducing Elastic Thread
Section Two - Accessing the Threads
Section Three - Magic With Invisible Elastic
Tahoe Tessie and the Magic Postcard; The Rising Business Card; Whirling Business Card; Dan Harlan's Financial Attraction; Ammar's Portable, Permanent Wallet Hookup
Section Four - Finn Jon's Elastic Loops
Phenomenon Fork; Finn Jon's Bill That Falls Up; The Floating Bill; Electrostatic Straw; Things That Affect Thread Visibility
Section Five - Visible but Hidden Threads
Stefan Schuster's Self-Folding Bill with Kicker, featuring Ammar's Self-Contained Wallet Hookup; Acrobatic Matchbox
Section Six - The Traditional Reel
Knot Absolutely Instant; Knot Automatically Undone; Clearly Penetrated Mike Stand
Section Seven - James George Interview
Comparing Every Available I.T.R.; Care and Management
Volume Two

We begin with amazing ideas and applications of the James George Invisible Thread Reel, which includes marvelously deceptive methods of passing a solid hoop over and around floating objects that are marvelously deceptive. Also included are methods for working with threads from 6 inches to twenty feet long that create magic that people will talk about for a lifetime.

Section 1 – Magic Using the I. T. R.

Finn Jon’s Mystery Nut and Bolt ala I. T. R
The Chop Cup Application
Dave Nelson’s Dollar Bill Flight
I. T. R. Floating Bill
The Perfect Practice Hookup
Open Face Hookup
Z Grip to Lock the Thread
Hoop Pass
Rotating Hoop Pass
Bloom’s Balancing Card
Robert Henry’s Ashra Coin
I. T. R. Whirling Card
Section 2 – The One-Hand Hookup

Al Baker’s Erectile Bill
Socrate’s Personal Chi Power
Section 3 – The LeClair Hookup

Floating Bill
The Whirling Card
Section 4 – The One Point Hookup

The Animated Straw
The Coin in Beer
Baker’s Card from Hat
Whirling Card
Baker’s Ring on Pencil
Section 5 – John Kennedy’s

Stealth Retractor
Ammar’s Threading the Needle
Care and Feeding of the Stealth Retractor
Rising Business Cards
Rising Card
Self-Turning Page
Section 6 – Bonus Guest Star James George

The Floating Pencil
Tips & Theory
Why Threads Break and How To Avoid
Practicing with Threads
Controlling Your Space
The Hierarchy of Astonishment

Volume Three

This is the real work on storing, transporting and accessing the invisible threads you’ll use for any type of effect. The majority of this information is being revealed here for the first time in any format, and represents ideal solutions for almost any close-up, stand-up, corporate, bar or restaurant performer.

You’ll also find sources for invisible thread well worth the price of the video to anyone seriously interested in performing magic with thread. You’ll see what types of thread are strongest, ranked in order of strength according to similar dimensions, and how to separate and secure individual strands of the finest invisible thread.

Some of the information featured here has previously been sold individually for large sums of money. You’ll learn the exact method Ammar used to perform the Floating Bill on The Tonight Show, as well as the Steve Fearson Hookup, which creates what some of our greatest minds have called the most amazing magic they’ve ever seen!

Performance

Floating Bill
The Super String Theory

Section One - Thread Strength According to Similar Diameters

Section Two - Securing the Ends, Separating Individual Strands

Section Three –Storing and Transporting

Simple Playing Card
Finn Jon System
John Kennedy’s Z-Webs & Mini-Z-Webs
The Pin & Straw System
Sticky Mat Solution
John Haar’s Deck Gimmick
Clear Plastic Sticks
Lifesaver Holders
Wine Bottle Hookups—Corks, Ribbons, Clear Tubes
Under-Bar Bobbins
Mike-Stand Holders
Section Four – The Horizontal Two-Point Hookup Explanation

The Floating Bill
The Super String Theory
Section Five –The Steve Fearson Hookup

The Floating Lifesaver
James George’s Floating Spinning Ball

REVIEW:

A complete treatise on IT work – even though the electronic gimmicks are not fully considered (Ammar only deals with John Kennedy’s Stealth Retractor). The highlight of the tape IMO is the updated version of his Floating Bill routine: interestingly, the author does not use the gimmick he sold along with the routine for fifteen years…

A no-smoking version of Steve Fearson’s Floating Cigarette (performed with a Polo Mint and a different set-up) is also worth mentioning.

Overall rating: Very good (and very bad for exposure)

H.
Eirik
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Oslo
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Great rewiew,
I have all three of 'em, guess I'll have to go through them again, cause I have forgotten how many routines there actually are on those three.

Well done Ammar!

-e- Smile
...As long as i`m not a world-champion at anything, the great reactions of doin` magic will do just fine.....
EventEntertainer
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Look Ma!
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I think the frustration from thread comes from the fact of how fragile an item it is! But, that's what make it so special and all that impressive once mastered.
believer
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I just purchased thread head by Fearson and who's afraid of string by john leclair. wow. these videos are great. I am looking for the Thread Miracles 1-3 by Ammar. Do any of you guys have any material, videos, or ITR's for sale?
Thanks
troller
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Have any of you people seen or used the Spider Pen. Can the Ammar DVD make sense of using the Spider Pen?

My thought on the Spider Pen, first, it's cheaply made, material wise. The plastic pen is so weak that if you were to drop it, it could crack. Try that with a bic pen and you will know that you can throw it against a brick wall and only then, will it crack!!! My Spider Pen, when putting in a new battery, screwed in crooked. So I ended up forcing the screw in straight. That resulted in a stress crack along the thread part. So I had to use clear tape and epoxy to glue it together. The glue doesn't seem to hold too well onto the plastic, hmmm what going on here?... but at least the clear tape is working to keep the battery screw in. As for the thread, it is a little weak. I bought the Wonderful Bar effect that comes with some thread and it seems to be stronger. So after tangling the original thread of the Spider Pen, I reeled in my own thread using the spare thread that came with the Wonderful Bar. The tangling results when you spool out a 15" or more of thread, and if you were to break it in mid performance, the motor reels in the thread so fast that it gets tangled in upon itself. I found it sometimes impossible to untangle and thus I had to cut it all away, wasting valuable thread just to start all over again and respool some more thread on. I have yet to buy a replacement thread because I think it is not as strong as the Wonderful Bar thread!!!

Threading is little hard, but you do get use to it. One thing I did noticed, when threading, you keep the unit on, then spool the thread in slowly. If you were to break the thread or by accident, release the tension and loose it, the thread has a tendency to spool quickly onto the spool too fast, thus tangling and then it's all over. There is no way you can untangle the thread and therefore you would need to cut it off the spool and start over with some new thread. Learned that the hard way.

The tension on the Spider Pen is also weak, it could not lift a pad of paper 6"x2-1/2" A single sheet I am talking about. But it does lift a dollar bill and will lift silk and tissue paper.

The batteries that come with the Spider Pen are weak or not long lasting also. I am asking around to find a replacement but no one seems to know of what kind are needed. I also find that when using the SP, you have to use new batteries or be ready for limp thread. Great idea, but I wish someone would have made it a reel holder with a motor that would at least lift 4 pounds (exaggerating here!!!). Give me strength.

I wish that there could be a little more strength added to the motor so that it would give more tension. Maybe it's due to preventing the thread from breaking too easily. How the heck do you walk away to 30' with the Spider Pen is beyond me. There is another problem that I found. The top of the pen has a clicker that also hold the spool in. The thread comes out from the side of this holder and it is kinda sharp on the side of this holder, and if you move away at an angle, the thread sometimes gets cut. You can always revolve this holder around but in the middle of the act, now way without touching the pen and giving it away. I tried using tape to make it smoother there, but that just resulted in preventing smooth movement, and thus breakage again due to too much friction.

All in all, I am waiting to find out how to use it properly to get full effect on it. I bought a bunch of books, but they are not as detailed in showing how to make things float. I guess I will be buying the Ammar DVD's to see what it's all about.

The floating thing is what it's all about. If you try and use the thread, you will get a bouncing effect that I think is not desired. For it gives away the focal point of the axis and therefore people see that there is a string involved. I wonder if any of these videos deals with this? I also would like to know how to get it to float from one hand to another without moveing my hands. Very important when making something look like it's levitating. If I move my hands, it give away that my hand is moving the string.

Hmmm.... Any thoughts on the Spider Pen?
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