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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Al Schneider's cups and balls (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Pete Biro
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That's much like the Goshman toss vanish. Next time you hit town, ask me to demo it. Smile
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Al Schneider
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I talked with Goshman at some lenght about this.
We agreed on the concept.
Al Schneider
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Woland
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I am reminded of watching the late Clarence Brown performing a song in which he imitated with his guitar, the sounds made by a man and a woman arguing with each other, while he mouthed the words silently. If you shut your eyes, all you heard was guitar playing, but if you watched his face, you actually heard the words being pronounced. He was creating this inside your mind. I think that a convincing false transfer does a very similar thing
funsway
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This made me review Al's "Theory and Magic" DVD -- it's all there.

It is grounded in the Assumptions we make when viewing things. Worth a read for everyone.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Al Schneider
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The material in the L&L DVD’s Al Schneider Technique Vol 1, is the beginning of the discussion. The thread of that material began in 1960. It led to the L&L DVD’s in about 2004. The thread has continued to develop and the most recent level was reached in 2011. It has the form of “The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception.” It is for sale on amazon dot com. A block of them was purchased for use by a university for a psychology class. This book goes into more detail about how humans observe the real world and how, we as magicians, create reality for our audiences.

Now, I really do not want to just throw out a reference as so many others do here and leave you hanging. So here is a brief view of what it is about.

In essence, it says that people have a data bank of visions in their head. When we observe, we use bits of information from the outside world to trigger those visions. The example of the singer mouthing the words is an excellent example of this. The singer’s visual suggestions trigger sounds in the audience’s head that are already there in these visions.

We as magician’s can utilize this device to produce a kind of reality and, thus, magic deception. We essentially do the reverse of the above. We put deceptive actions in our visions. Then during performance we trigger these visions which cause our bodies to send trigger images to the audience which in turn trigger the visions in our audience.

To put this another way. We bury something in our own subconscious. When we trigger it, our subconscious sends a message to someone else’s subconscious that cause them to believe something happened that did not. Essentially, the book describes what the subconscious is.

To put it another way: if we consciously do something to deceive someone, it will be viewed as a puzzle. For example, it will be seen that the hand is quicker than the eye. If you can perform some deception with your subconscious, the observer will see it as reality. Thus, virtual magic can occur.

This concept was developed after the L&L DVD’s.

I once presented this at a get together with Dr. Rubenstein and the New York coin guys. There was a trial lawyer there and he said that this concept explained a lot about people relating incidents in the courtroom. He had wondered why people see things the way they do. He claimed that this concept explained the confusion he observed and that this information changed the way he did his job.

I guess I got carried away here. I kind of feel bad to get so theoretically deep here. All we want to do is find somebody’s card and bring a moment of amusement into someone’s life for a few seconds. Ali Bongo’s words ring in my head, “I say, do you think that is necessary?”

All the best.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2012-12-09 12:14, Lawrence O wrote:
...The "zero measurement piece of wood" is defined by the Gestalt Theory as following the "Law of Continuation" where a straight line that is interrupted before being resumed is not a zero in PERCEPTION even if it is a zero in vision and the lines are mentally connected as just One straight line with a visual interruption rather than two lines in sequence. Similarly, according to the "Law of Continuation" the non visible ball that just vanished has "travelled" if it reappears under a cup. Naturally this is not limited to geometry or C&Bs and would also apply in our art to the Coins Across etc...


The vanish described by Al is a clear application of the Gestalt "Law of Continuation": the visual gap between the release by the right hand above the left and the catching by the left hand is "filled" by the direction of the line of movements. Actually Sylvester the Jester demonstrates very nicely that we are never aware of even a larger gap than the one referred to by Al. In the Sylvester Pitch, an object (even large) is visibly tossed from one hand to the other as another one is secretly tossed from the receiving hand to the visibly tossing one. The distance is way larger than the one Al is referring to. Yet Sylvester has noticed that spectators are only aware of the expressed tossing move when they could technically physically "see" the secret simultaneous tossing back move. We are aware only of the openly offered starting place and of the receiving place. Awareness does follow the Law of Continuation, as Al expresses it, by tapping in our mental data bank.

Another Gestalt law is also at work here which is the "Law of Grouping": the ball is associated psychologically with a holding hand. The holding hand and the ball thus form a "group" which is psychologiically associated. What is transferred psychologically is actually not the ball but the group (hand holding a ball). Thus the visual gap is easily filled up by the shift from a starting group and the destination group (following the Law of Continuation. The "Law of Grouping" is also in play betwen the hand and the cup. As it is established as a destination entity, the cup and the balls (irrespective of their number) form a group: the receiving group. Either the group has to be dissociated the ball is tabled separated from the cup (or from the hand), or it has to be shifter to a destination group. Not only is there no awareness of what happens in between but our mind fills the blank. We "see" the ball go from one hand to the other.

Along the same line John Ramsay would let us "see" an object tossed up vanish in thin air by simply erasing the perception of a receiving group. This is also commonly performed with the "Hanging coins". Naturally the object doesn't vanish in thin air, the receiving group is sugggested as naught and, as Al expressed earlier in this thread, there is no "zero measurement piece of wood"...
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Al Schneider
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I am glad to see that Sylvester came up with this. The gap in Goshman's toss vanish is about 6 to 8 inches. Ask Pete Biro, one of my favorite people, about this. In a routine I call "Dances with Coins," the length is about 25 inches.

The following is a step in the development of the routine. I think it demonstrates what I am talking about.

http://youtu.be/8um1W1-cGLs


With all this, I am amused that magicians will destroy a vanish by curling their fingers and cupping their hands to cover a space of 1/4" of an inch. Comments please.

Al Schneider
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Al Schneider
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I just watched it again. It does not exactly address what I am talking about. But tht routine was changed to apparently toss the coin through space a long distance. It was done several times. I don't know where "Dances with Coins" went to. Need to find it. I think I did it at a lecture in England a couple of years ago.

Sorry about that.

Al Schneider.
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Woland
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The "xerox" part seemed particularly excellent to me. I think the video illustrates quite a few of the concepts you've presented here, and in your books. (I am reading "Deception" chapter by chapter - studying "Misdirection" now. The recently-re-released coin book arrived yesterday, and the concepts you describe there are also shown in this video.)

Side point - someone mentioned here or in another discussion at TMC, a recent "New Yorker" article about the stage pickpocket Apollo Robbins. In the article was mentioned a scientific paper published online, here, entitled "Stronger misdirection in curved than in straight motion," in which it is claimed:

Quote:
Here we show that curved motion, as employed by the magician in a classic sleight of hand trick, generates stronger misdirection than rectilinear motion, and that this difference can be explained by the differential engagement of the smooth pursuit and the saccadic oculomotor systems. This research exemplifies how the magician’s intuitive understanding of the spectator’s mindset can surpass that of the cognitive scientist in specific instances, and that observation-based behavioral insights developed by magicians are worthy of quantitative investigation in the neuroscience laboratory.


Robbins executed a French drop with either curved or linear motion. "The spectators’gaze stayed on the right hand more often after the curved motion, whereas it jumped back to the left hand after the straight motion."

Thought you might be interested.
Al Schneider
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I have read that discussion. I also read someplace else that the observation is not true. I do not know where I read that. In essence, I don't care. I understand there is another observation which I do believe. That is when the eye moves its focus from one point to another, it stops gathering data. If the eye follows a object as it moves from point A to point B it continues to gather data. I find it interesting but I do not see an application to magic. However, that said, it could explain the previous observaton. When someone moves their hand in an arc, I assume the audience moves their eyes from the beginning point to the end point of the arc. Thus, according to the second principle, they would be blind during the transition. In rectilinear (fancy word for straight) the person might tend to follow the hand. Thus, the eye would not be blind.

Again, I do not know how I would use this. I think it was just good fodder for an article in a mag. I would be worried about the motion in an arc drawing undue attention and switching the spectator from subconcious observation to concious observation.

By the by, here is something I have noticed. Sitting in a car waiting, I noticed a blue light in a truck at my neighbors house. It was nightime. If I looked just to the side a bit, I could clearly see the light. If I looked directly at the light, it disappeared. I assumed it was parallex in action. Then, I didn't think the distance my eye shifted would be enough for the parallax action. I surmized that the light was blikning and probable shifting a bit. My reasoning was this. Peripheral vision is sensitive to change more than direct vision. Here is my analysis. If the lilght is dim, it cannot be pickied up by my cetner vision. If the light is blinking and moving back and forth slightly, my peripheral vision can sense it. Thus, looking to the side, I could see it. Looking directly at it, I could not. Here is another factor about this. I know this being a programmer and programming insturments. When LED's are used in insturments, they are not on constantly. To do so would use a lot of battery energy and generate a lot of heat. So, the microcontroller chip turns LED's on and off quickly. As a guess, turn on for 10 milliseconds then turn off for 50 milliseconds. Can't remember exactly what the values are. The human eye sees the LED on continuosly. And the batter last longer. That is why you move a calculator past you face, you see a bunch of dashes and dot hanging in space. That is something that has be capitalized on with a variety of toys.

Anyway, don't ask me what this has to do with cups and balls. Got carried away again.

My nest task it to comment on the numbered points Mr. O made a bit ago. Still working on the book I mentioned a bit ago. It will be titled, The Theory and Practice of False Transfers. It will detail the little cup routine I put up for view.

Thanks all.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Woland
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Thanks, Mr. Schneider.

Quote:
I would be worried about the motion in an arc drawing undue attention and switching the spectator from subconcious observation to concious observation.


That's a good point. If you look at the videos that accompany the paper, the arc move is clearly unnatural, but it does take attention away from the other hand. I think in a performance, you would make the arc move seem to be The Move.

Before reading the paper, I was wondering if a natural curved motion would have the same effect as a "stagey" curved motion. I don't think you can tell from the experiment that was done.

Looking forward to that next book.
Lawrence O
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I don't know if this answer Woland's question but In the Gestalt Theory, according to the Law of Continuation (a discontinued perfectly aligned straight line is perceived as continuous) an arc followed by a blank followed by an arc along the same circumference, is perceived as a continuous circle. Actually most people don't know that the Tourniquet lost a lot when its name became French Drop because it's generally performed laterally. The name Tourniquet in French comes from "turning" (which means rotating as much as turning). Thus an object would be held with the thumb underneath as opposed to the Spellbound position. The thand then supinates (rotates the hand palm up at the wrist) as it moves down and in front of the performer in an arc. The extending fingers of the left hand start moving at the very time as the right hand started to move down in an arc. Both hands meet in the center (when the drop is made and the left hand continues the arc towards the left. Then the left fingers close into a fist with a quick pronation and supination move as the fist closed, to give life to the object in the left hand. Then time misdirection is built by an extra action of the right hand (what Ascanio was calling an "Obliteration parenthesis) like tugging the sleeve, taking up the wnad, lifting up a cup... Then the vanish is revealed directing the lefft hand move towards the alleged destination where the object is supposed to reappear.

All of this to say that The Law Of Continuation works for moves done in an arc. Now it doesn't supply evidence that arched movements are more deceptive. What the brain however has more difficulty in analyzing are turnover or symetrical moves. This is true wether the turning over is horizontal or vertical. Pavel had a trick only based on this: his cups where numbered with large digits but two of the cups were marked with a large 1 digit in the front and a big 3 digit in the back. The cups were on a tray with colored balls unde each. The blue one was under the cup showing a 1 digit, the white one under the cup marked 2 and the red one under the cup showing a 3 digits. The tray was brought to the audience to allow a spectator to check that the balls were actually under the cup claimed and easily remembered owing to the visible digit. When getting back to his table Pavel would turn towards it, therefore turning the tray with no other move than his body turning back towards thetable and place the tray on to the table by the front before going back empty handed beneath his table. he would thenn cause the magic and lift up cup number 1 where the red ball would appear, then cup 2 still with the right ball, then cup 3 with the blue ball appearing beneath it. A similar principle is in play in the Dai Vernon turning a card over through the fist and in the turnover move of one column of cards in Out of this World. There are many opportunities offered to magicians by this brain discrepancy in analysing. Very few people realize that the image we see in a mirror is a symetric image of the body and that the moving right hand is seen moving to the left side of the body we look at). Little research has been made in this direction and therefore it opens a large avenue for new moves. Try spreading a Svengali deck face down before letting the ribbon turn face up and then try to directly spread the cards face up.

Whether a pronation/supination move (as performed in the brilliant Al Schneider Coin Vanish) seems sufficient to be analyzed by the brain as a turning over move and, as such, as a full move and, as such, as an Obliteration Parenthesis, isn't obvious.
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Al Schneider
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The French Drop has some very powerful features. Actually, I wish the name would not have been translated from Tourniquet. It may be more powerful than my beloved Schneider Vanish. Consider this. It is one of the few moves in which a coin or small ball can be picked up from the table ready to do the sleight move. In most other false transfer moves, the object picked up must be shifted to another position to do some move. It has a natural and strong visual retention quality to it. And, if the transmitting hand pauses a bit, the audience can see into the hand and see an MT palm.

It is different in that it is a take move rather than a put move. I cannot see where one is better than the other.

It is also great to do with a magic wand. The object is taken from one hand. That hand is seen MT. That hand turns palm down and without any extra motion can pick up a wand to wave over the other hand. During all of this, the hand is seen MT. It really can appear as perfect magic.

Just an observation.

Al Schneider
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Lawrence O
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An added advantage of the Tourniquet is that the ball initially taken up between the thumb and first finger can be brought up for a larger audience to be able to see it. When the ball is in Spellbound position or on the extended fingers of a palm up hand, it is by nature lower, and the front spectators' row then screens the vision of the ball for the spectators in the back rows.
Naturally if the French drop is used for a smaller audience the right hand should be not be raised as high, and the elbow remain closer to the chest, as it should for a larger audience: this prevents making the move overly demonstrative.
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Woland
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Thank you, gentlemen, for continuing this discussion. I'm also reminded of what Merrill said, in his knife book, about the greater deceptiveness of a lateral move, since apparently the eyes follow that sort of movement less effectively.

When I first learned the color-changing knives, at Tannen's, as a young boy, the demonstrator showed me how to hold the knives vertically, and spin them around while twisting at the wrist. That's a very unnatural move. Merrill's move is much better. (Currently, however, I am mostly using Pop Haydn's move, showing the knife to myself as I look to check it and verify its color, which is a smaller move than Merrill's, but I think even more convincing.)

The information about the tourniquet is very helpful. Didn't you once indicate, M. O, that you had a manuscript almost ready for publication on that subject?
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Just placed an order for Al Schneider Magic book, the most expensive magic book I have ever paid for, and since this is a book written by Al Schneider I am confidant that it will be worth every penny.

I am legally deaf and was force into buying a book rather than buying a DVD because of no Closed-Captioning or subtitling. It is SHAMEFUL that this still goes on today after so many years of complaints. What can I do about this? I know I don't want to spend the rest of my life fighting for what is RIGHT!

I do believe that producers of Magic DVD's should have a "WARNING" label on their websites stating that they "DO NOT SUPPORT" Subtitling/Closed-Captioning. Yeah, I am angry about this and rightfully so.

Anyway, I am a big fan of Al Schneider and can't wait for his book to arrive.
Lawrence O
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Quote:
On 2013-01-05 10:04, Woland wrote:
... Didn't you once indicate, M. O, that you had a manuscript almost ready for publication on that subject?


I do but it's not made in a commercial form and is sent upon request to friends. Friends like Curtis Kam, Tim Feher and Kent Gunn who studied it, seemed to find value in it, and there are photographs in the notes on my facebook page to complete the text. But, again, if it's very deep on the sleight, its built in misdirection and the finesses or subtleties which can be attached, it's not a document in achieved commercial form. So if you want a copy just send me a PM with your email address.
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Al Schneider
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Lawrence O
Here is a response to your comments.


Al, You are basically underlining some major points:

1) The goal of this little venture was to demonstrate the power of glancing at the audience at the time of false transfer.
>YES

2) As the balls are rolled out of the cup in the beginning, the other hand goes to a rest positon on the edge of the table. That is the exact postion of the steal of the final load. It is done here to get the audience accustomed to the hand being in that position.
>YES

3) Both hands move at precisely at the same time.
>YES

4) The audience is consciously aware of the little balls being rolled onto the table. They are not conciously aware of the other hand going to the edge of the table. However, it is registered in memory as being a normal action. Therefore, when done later, it will not be noticed.
>YES

I got confirmation, watching you perform this routine, of several other points that you clearly put in play but sofar didn't underline:

1) the mouth of the cup arrives flat on to the table and not at an angle (a Ramsay recommandation as well) even though you are using the forward momentum for the loading. This is true even with the large load (consistency of gestures)
>The forward momentum of the cup during the small loads was not used. The balls at that point are clamped against the inside of the cup. They cannot move. I did not intend to do that with little and big loads. I have never done that motion with the big load before. I do not need that motion to load the ball. I normally keep the cup mouth down and use the table to complete the load. I did the flip motion to match the motion of the right hand when it picked up the three balls at the same time. It just felt better.

2) You justify the tilting of the bottom of the cup towards the audience by pushing forward, with the hand holding the cup, the little ball that just appeared under the cup.
>Actually I didn't need to tip the cup forward here. The little ball, as mentioned, is clamped against the inside of the cup with my little finger. It can't move. I had to move the visible balls because they are black and while watching the camera, I could not see if there was one or two. So I moved one of the balls. I just used the top of the cup to do that. In a final routine I do not know what I would do. In the clip I should have used a different color to clarify where the balls were. The little balls were not released until the cup was almost at rest on the table.


3) Even though you state that the hands should start at the same time, you are denying the Slydini principle according to which both hands should start at the same time AND finish moving at the same time. Attention stays with the last moving part on the table.
>Sorry, I never heard of that. I base my movements on the idea that all humans universally start and stop both hands at the same time. Humans cannot behave any other way unless highly trained. This is even true when one hand appears to stop when the other continues moving. If one hand stops moving before the other, the other will change direction or pause when the other stops. As I understand, the hands are locked together in continuous motion.

4) You do a follow through after the climax (the apparition of the large load) by tapping the cup mouth towards the audience (not an effect but a statement -the tap-, replying to a potential question: the cup isn't tricked and it is empty) and you lift the large load and let it fall on the table (another statement -the noise- replying to a non formulated question: the ball is solid)
>Dropping the cup like that was a nervous twitch. I am not comfortable doing this routine. Only did it a few times and each time was different. Normally I would not drop the cup. I dropped the ball because I saw on the monitor it appeared as a large black dot. It did not appear like a ball. I picked it up and dropped it to show it was a ball. Again, my selection of color should be changed.

5) You conclude the routine with the same move (first finger pointing up) than you started it. Initially it's is used to gain attention and at the end it serves to punctuate the routine. A nice touch.
>Once again this is just a nervous twitch. I am bad at patter and presentation. I don't know what I should do here. I did the finger thing both times out of nervousness.

There are several other points that could be underlined, but it's your show and it would be nice if you would expand on the finesses that you have placed in there. Maybe like how you keep the large load to be able to steal it from that position and how you would get it position in real life (even if I understand that this is not the points you had a purpose to underline in this short routine.)
>The large steal will be in the book explaining all details of this. The steal was for this demo only. I just wanted to put together a complete presentation. The transition of the little balls to the cup was what I wanted to show. The disappearance of the three at one time and the production was just to finish the thing so it would be acceptable to put on youtube.

Thanks for you comments.

Al Schneider.
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Woland
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It's wonderful to read the blow-by-blow discussion of the routine.
Lawrence O
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Al Thank you for these detailed comments.

I'll wait for the book and you can be ensured of a faithful student, even if my positive criticism seems, unfortuantely, to keep making you uncomfortable. I admit that analyzing things is an embarrassing sickness (but I thought from reading you that you were similarly "infected" (or should I say "affected")).

I may see "different" things that the ones you want to put in there and I thank you for correcting me on your intent. Now when you express that your intent is conscious or subconscious (the exact word is pre conscious, I know) it seems irrelevant and naturally doesn't require justification. We all have our nervous twitches and some of us think that they express as much as our conscious intents. Some want to dig in that, some don't. Both approaches have virtues. Naturally I confess that I'm sufficiently anxious to be wanting to dig as deep as I can and get feedback on what I thought I perceived

So thank you for having taken the trouble of a detailed reply. Even on points were I feel that I could present counter arguments, I think that I owe you to integrate first the ones were I cannot but agree and only then start reconsidering the ones where I may disagree.

The quality of your performance is a fact and facts have a tendency to be stubborn (in real life).

Thanks again.

The second wizard of smart. Smile
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
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