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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Formal Review of Creative Magic Square Circle (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mumblemore
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Wanting to do an appearance illusion at birthday shows, I sold a bunch of tricks on the Café, and bought the square circle, which "the packs flat, plays big" crowd is gonna love. This thing is not cheap (around $500), but gives you a lot of options and offers a scope and grandeur which it would probably cost more to get otherwise (not to mention the wear on your back as you lug person-sized illusions around).

APPEARANCE AND CONSTRUCTION: While I don't have the Victory Cubes, it seems to be of a similar material and design (from what I can tell from videos). It seems sturdy for an item so light, and has already withstood some rough-housing by my daughers (they both fit into the load compartment - they are the appearing assistants). The load area is huge; at least 3'x3'x3.' And it packs into a tote bag. I haven't used it in a show yet (tomorrow), but expect it will go over very well, as my rehearsal spectator could only see my daughters when she stood up high (and when the kids moved, my wife perceived "something fishy."). The inserts were very well constructed; flexible and springy but durable (I hope and believe).

EFFECT: This is the standard square circle production, but with a flexi-cloth, Spandex-like set of cubes large enough to fit two kids or a dozen beach balls, etc. Besides the fact that it adds a whole new scale to parlour shows without adding excess weight and setup, I think the best aspect of this Square Circle will be the options it offers. I am looking forward to using it to appear my assistant at beginning of birthday shows, and also to turn a wood frog cutout into a prince/princess. There will be many other uses evident as I go, I am sure. This is a very versatile prop. The fertile and practical minds at Creative Magic have not sent out the DVD with performance tips and routine ideas yet, as they are still editing it, but it promises to offer a good set of tips. They say they already have seen some very good routines performed. Judging from the potential of this prop to produce all kinds of light-weight stuff, and their strong track record, I believe them.

DRAWBACKS: My only technical problem is that there is a "bottom" to the load area which the person needs to "fall" through quickly as I pull the tubes up. When I pull them through the "floor" (a velcroed base cloth) can sometimes show through the bottom of the tubes. In other words, the person having the tubes quickly raised can push the material out of the bottom which leaves a less than clean conclusion to the show. I think this mostly a handling issue and that I can find a way to have the girl appear without loosening all the velcro (just part of it), and this will hopefully prevent the material from dragging out the bottom. This small issue aside (and hopefully Creative Magic will address this in the DVD), the prop works very well.

On another thread, a poster asked how this could possibly be used in parlour shows without making someone miss most of the show sitting inside the cube (which I explained at a party today as a "little kids' playpen"). I think the answer is that there are times when the proper volunteer will not present, and if you don't have an assistant, you may be out of luck. However, I've been lucky so far. Today a quiet girl, thrilled with the idea of "appearing" out of the cube read a book inside for 40 minutes until I produced her 1/3 of the way into the show, and I didn't even have to explain the secret to her as part of her 5-minute training.

SUMMARY ENDORSEMENT: If this Square Circle was a tad cheaper, it would rate a 10. While we have to consider research and development and overhead at Creative Magic and the craftiness of design, I still think the markup is a little stepper than the 40-50 percent which would seem fair, considering it is made in China at a low cost. The cost is slightly prohibitive (I had to sell some tricks I would have preferred to keep in order to afford it), and again, it doesn't look all that expensive to build, but that is not to say it looks cheap or that the builders cut any corners. It is solid and substantial, and it seems consistent with the markup for new magic tricks, which seems a little high industry-wide. But that's a topic for another thread . . .

I rate the prop well over a 9 out of 10, as it adds a whole new dimension to childrens' shows, packs light, sets up in 30 seconds, and delivers an impressive visual stunner in grand style. Creative Magic once again showed their mastery of producing incredible effects which are also practical and sleek. Kudos to them. I'll be using this regularly and continuing to appreciate Creative Magic's cleverness in their design and selection of materials. This may be one of 2007's best new effects for general and family parlour performers.
KC Cameron
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Yes, I want to get one, but the price is a draw back.
Mumblemore
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It is quite a good trick. I don't blame Creative Magic for taking the markup (they think there's a demand), but some of the same material is available on IKEA laundry bags for $10. This one's three or four times the size and requires four of them, but production costs cannot be that high. Like they say in other contexts, "It's the thought that counts ..." although I am making a cool production apparatus with one of the IKEA laundry bags (black) and a little black art.
kenscott
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The price is high however you are getting a pcs that is going to last a long time. Also if the price was cheap everyone would have them. If you use the production as an add on you can have this illusion paid for in 2 shows perhaps.

Good review!
Ken
Danny Hustle
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Does anybody have a link to where we can see this thing?

Thanks,

Dan-
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Harry Murphy
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The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
AshleyW
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Mumble-if you got it for $500, be happy. It looks like it's now $700 PLUS shipping. After watching the video, I don't know...will certainly work for younger school shows, after that, not sure how impressive it is for the price?
MikeDes
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Quote:
On 2007-07-23 10:47, AshleyW wrote:
will certainly work for younger school shows, after that, not sure how impressive it is for the price?


I too have been testing this product for Creative Magic. Before, I had built my own staged size square circle to make my assistant appear in my stage shows. I had been using it for 4 years. Believe me this method is VERY effective for ALL audiences. In fact I'm not sure why this illusion is being reviewed in the little darlings section.

This is a great stage illusion that weighs next to nothing, is easy to transport and plays huge. I know all the trial and error and different prototypes that Creative Magic has gone through to get to this point. If you just look at the manufacturing costs of the final version, than ALL illusions are greatly overpriced. Personnally, this illusion is a bargain for me.
Mumblemore
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To clarify, on Creative Magic's website, the item is listed as Cube Squared (it's proper name, which I should have used above).
AshleyW
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Quote:
On 2007-07-23 12:01, MikeDes wrote:
Believe me this method is VERY effective for ALL audiences. In fact I'm not sure why this illusion is being reviewed in the little darlings section.


Well I just showed my mother the video (she is certainly a muggle) and I asked to honestly tell me what see thought. She immediately thought the girl was in the big cube all along (hiding as she says) and thought it was strange the performer kept his hand so close to the "window". Anyway it has satisfied my theory that this will not always play well to certain audiences. Remember audiences are usually very loving. They will clap and cheer for you even when they are pretty sure they know how it is done. It does not mean you have fooled the room.

However, I do believe the props are secondary and if I made my own version of this I would likely do something with it that would be funny enough to distract them from "how it works" and get them to enjoy a routine instead of a trick.
MikeDes
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Well, to each is own. I'll rely on my audience reactions and experience over your mother's opinion about a demo video any time.
BtheDreamer
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Hello all thanks for your interest in Cube Squared. I thought I should pipe in here for a second with some first hand info.

First I should clarify the floor issue. The funny thing is the product testers didn’t get any written instructions sometimes we talked over the phone but for the most part they were on their own. So the flaps are actually an optional roof if you have bad angles or you can Velcro it to make a solid bottom for holding balloons or light objects. but in the case of making a person appear the best thing to do is have the flaps on the top and tucked back (and this is covered on the DVD) sorry for the confusion there Smile

Second Price – there are two ways to look at it and very few people seem to be in the middle some people seem to think it is over priced and others seem to think it’s under priced. I think this is the best way to decide if you should buy it or not. If you think it is overpriced then you are probably right and its not for you (I think beach houses are overpriced but if I had more money or time to spend on a beach I bet I would think it was a great deal.)

This is a professional prop designed for a working pro. As mentioned above the price is easily covered by one or two shows and will help you make even more money for years and years to come. It is easy to compare to items found at IKEA or Wal-mart but please do remember that its not the same thing at all – besides the obvious fact that this is more complicated and specific then anything you will find at the store they are also making and selling hundreds of thousands at a time keeping the manufacturing cost super low and the most significant thing is they can distribute their research and development costs over that large number (for example if it cost them $50,000 to develop the product they can plan on selling 100,000 in the first month and add an extra .50 to each one to cover those costs. In the magic world we don’t deal with those numbers not even close. So that does drive the price up.

We all know that DVD’s cost less then $1 to make yet we still pay $20 to $35 each because we know of the upfront cost involved. I respect the fact that this is a more foreign area and not as easy to see. But please know that we are not making a killing on these we spent over $20,000 developing this product and that was good because we were able to save a lot by using the contacts we had with having done Victory Cubes) which cost us more then twice that and took nearly two years to get right)

We have always stood by the fact that Victory Cubes could and should be priced higher but we have them where they are so that people can afford to get more than one set. As for Cube Squared I really feel that this is a very fair price for what you are getting. Its easy to feel like you should pay less then you would for a wood and metal prop but in my opinion our props are worth more then the classic (and very large and heavy) wood and metal props. But of course I am going to feel that way that’s why I started this company.

So just to set the story straight our manufacturing costs a lot closer to the actual retail cost then you probably think I wish we were just marking them up to keep everyone from buying one but we aren’t that is the price it needs to be for us to stay in business.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions about the Cube Squared please feel free to ask I am happy to answer any questions you may have.

Best wishes

B
AshleyW
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Quote:
On 2007-07-23 20:47, MikeDes wrote:
Well, to each is own. I'll rely on my audience reactions and experience over your mother's opinion about a demo video any time.


My mother's opinion IS the average audience.
To discount average people's opinion, is to be foolish.
As I said, just because they applaud you doesn't always mean what you think. Smile
I am reminded of a show many of us went to see at a theater, something went wrong and most of the audience saw assistants clammering around that weren't supposed to be seen, and at the finale most people smiled and clapped. Not really out of pity but just to be respectful and they were still having a good time. But that magi never did have a clue that the audience was wise to him. Oh well.

I also showed her this one http://www.creativemagic.net/stage/shadowtent.htm
and this one: http://www.creativemagic.net/stage/bscreens.htm
and she had no idea where the people came from. So believe what you want, I think the Cube Squared doesn't even come close.

Why not when a squared circle works?
The reason a "regular" table top squared circle can fool an audience is likely because both pieces are brought out freely to begin with. In a stage version of that same trick using a person as a load, you lose that ability, and there is simply a box that has been sitting there and is never quite shown "empty".

Now, in a perfect situation I might use it as a "prop holder" during the show and then show it eventually empty (really empty). Then some point later in the show using an unknown "cover" have an assistant get secretly inside, and soon later come back to the empty cube and produce a person. But then, that's in a perfect scenario.
MikeDes
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Ashley,

With all due respect there isn't an experienced performer out there who cannot judge the reactions of his audience to a routine he has performed frequently. To say that I have just been receiving polite applause when you have not been to any of my shows is ridiculous. If you don't believe in this illusion than it is obviously not for you. To try and cast doubt on an honest post made be an experiencd performer based on what he has lived is a little childish.

By the way you can clearly show and manipulate the outer box as well as the inner box. This may not be on the demo meant for magicians but that doesn't mean it can't be done and quite easily too.

Good luck to you.
Mumblemore
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Thanks Brian for your candid feedback. I understand your explanation of the pricing structure, and appreciate it. And I would just reiterate that I wasn't trying to compare your work to items from Ikea (although Ikea is very clever and does some great design too). Your Cube Squared is a genuinely well-crafted item which delicately balances practical issues (portability and set-up time)and a splendid, large-scale appearance illusion. I didn't mean to lead the thread onto other tangents, and do agree that perhaps it was a tad pricey to me because my focus is on the lower end "kid show" market, and as a part-timer, it is going to take a while to recoup. But it is a professional item and professional use will allow users to recoup quickly, and enchance their reputaitons with your product (and you should get "credit" for that too). So let's just say I splurged a little, and am glad I did.
Magicmike40
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Hi guys,
I also was a tester and just finished a show using the Cube Squared!

I knew I liked it but ....

Well I started the music showed the cubes put everything back together and produced my wife in a large room with no stage. When she appeared in the cube I actually heard the audiences gasp. I found this so funny I started to smile even more than I usually do. I knew I made a wise investment in the Cube Squared. After the show I packed the Cube Squared and my wife was floored. She’s use to large road cases and back breaking loads and putting the illusions together.
Super prop Creative Magic keep them coming.

Now for the Cube Squared technical problems I ran into because I was performing flat without a stage or rise.

Because I was doing the show in a large room with no stage or rise. I had to sit the audience farther back than I really liked to keep them from seeing down into the Cube Squared as they were being seated and entering the room. There is several ways this could be addressed.

First and the easiest fix would be to add a second ground cloth over the Cube Squared hiding the gimmick from being looked down upon. Then remove it during performance.

Second fix would be to add a top to the red cube. This can still be shown closed. Then fixed to opened like the gimmick to produce your item or left closed the choice is yours.

Third fix would be to add a Velcro friendly arch or decorative panel to the top front two edges of the outer cube like the letter (A) which would draw your eyes away from the gimmick and raise the line of sight angle that someone performing without a stage has to deal with.

I would like to hear from other testers. Smile

Magic Mike Gilliland
jay leslie
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You're mother is a good judge. She dosen't wamt you to go out in the rain and get a cold, either.

But it;s also helpful to have a few other non magi give you opinions too.

Jay (I value all of your opinions) Leslie
Kent Wong
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Watching video clips of illusions can be deceptive. Often, the spectator's mind is focused unnaturally to the props being used and not to the overall performance of the magician. These videos are, after all, designed to be viewed by fellow magicians to showcase nothing more than the props. As a result, it's not surprising that much of the showmanship and natural misdirection of a live magic show may be missing.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we blindly accept the opinions of the official product testers either. Although I'm sure they are trying to be as sincere as possible, there is always a nagging sense of a lack of impartiality. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard an official product tester (of any product) come out and say the product they tested was cr*p.

I've been thinking about purchasing this effect since I already own the Victory Cubes and I'm extremely pleased with the quality of the products. Cube Squared could be a nice alternative to the Victory Cubes when you want to produce a person, but don't have the right angles. That may often be the case in smaller theatres and halls.

Kent
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Magicmike40
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FYI
I'm just a working pro not an official product tester. I spent the money used the prop and have posted my findings. The only thing I got out the deal was the introduction price.
Magic Mike
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Mumblemore
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Ditto for me. I got a $100 discount for purchasing early (and am still promised a DVD when it comes out). I have not met the folks at Creative Magic and have none of their previous products. If I did not think this was a good product, I would not say so. I'm known for candor and directness, and am giving it to you here. Although the cost is high (in my part-timer's view), this is a very good item.
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