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Frank Tougas
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Inner circle
Minneapolis, MN
1712 Posts

Profile of Frank Tougas
I am not sure where to post this so feel free to move it.

A lot has changed since the days Mark Wilson introduced network television to magic. Back then every effort was made to counter the executives charges that magic wouldn't work on television.

He put in a live audience and practically invented the disclaimer that "All the magic you are about to see is performed without the aid of any camera tricks. It will appear to those of you at home exactly as it does for our studio audience."

Nowadays, at least in the past ten or so years, this idea of no camera skullduggery has been manipulated and massaged to the point where that definition no longer has meaning.

For example in doing close-up it is perfectly okay to "lap" an item during the course of a trick. On television is ditching something out of frame equal to it or is it a video effect?

On television we control the exact position where the entire audience sits. It allows us to make someone appear outdoors on a park bench or make an airplane appear after four people raise a tarp cover. Something we could not have an audience see. Is that camera trickery?

The lines have been blurred even more by Copperfield, Blaine and Hararry. I think it is cheating of sorts and tends to make those executives of long ago right about magic and its credibility on television.

What do you think constitutes a camera trick or what was the most blatant camera or video effect you have witnessed on television?
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
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Profile of mnmagic
My deffinition of camera tricks is close to what you said yourself. Any attempt to achieve an effect that otherwise could not viewed by a person standing in the same place as the camera constitutes a camera trick. This might include angles, tight or wide shots, cut or pastes, or other digital enhancements.

I do not believe lapping to be a camera trick because to a person standing in place of the camera, the effect would be the same. Likewise, doing a paper tear and dropping the gimmick on the floor behind the restored paper while the camera is in tight to end the trick clean would be because a person standing there would see it on the floor.

I would believe the most contemporary and prominent example of camera trickery (at least by my definition) would be David Blaine's levitation.

In fact, I could argue in context to some extent that David's show, in general, is one big camera trick. In the sense they collect some of the biggest and best reactions from spectators and might, if needed, edit in a better performance of the effect close up. The end result is a much stronger show and a stronger more mystical performer.

My 2 cents
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Tampa, FL
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Profile of GuySavoie
My litmus test is both simpler and, at the same time, more involved.

If an audience suspends disbelief and is willing to be both fooled and entertained, then the magic and method is legitimate. If that means 100 stooges and 1 spectator, as long as that 1 spectator has a "magical experience," it is valid.

If a performer tells the audience "no camera tricks," then uses them and the vast majority of the viewing audience does not catch it and experiences a "moment of astonishment," then that's good enough for me.

Of course, if the performer fails and damages the public perception of magic, that is just as bad as Uncle Billy exposing his TT to everyone.

I am a purist, in the sense that I believe the experience of the audience is of absolute importance. If that means a TV camera at a special angle, I have no problem with it, so long as it works.

--- Guy
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Profile of cupsandballsmagic
What about misdirection then? I mean you can't misdirect a camera but you can misdirect a director and give him irresistible shots while you do your work!

Think of another well-know levitation which was gaffed...Now this guy has been ***** about but in my mind what he did was create a memory for people and that memory is the same memory you would have had if you had seen that impromptu levitation presented correctly live.

By that I mean with the correct psychology and build-up, etc.

The line is a little more vague in those two instances...
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