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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Have the big performers gone beyond being magicians/illusionists? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

sammagic
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Do you think the big performers such as Copperfield, Angel etc have gone beyond being magicians/illusionists? What I mean by this is, have they gone beyond the techniques of the usual illusion concepts that can be performed in most places, to rely more on stooges, camera tricks, technology etc.

Yes I know most illusions involve some degree of technicality etc, but most of them can be worked out.

Yes they are great performers of the art, but don't you think that they have gone too far with the technology? Illusionists of the past didn't have such technology but in my eyes some of the older illusions are better in fooling even today's audiences and even magicians.

Do the TV audiences trust the TV shows these day's? Especially with Chris Angel!!!!?

I'm not trying to say that the 'big boys' are not any good, but in a way don't you think that the art of illusion is being spoiled by certain performances and performers?
Mike Maturen
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With Criss Angel, I would have to agree.

I haven't seen that so much with Copperfield, although I haven't seen to much of him lately, because he is no longer on TV. I understand his show in Vegas is fantastic. Obviously live it is more difficult to use technology.
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jay leslie
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Apearantly you have never studied Vaudeville.

The only differences in Motivation, Implementation and exicution is modern technology.

This applies to all aspects of human behavior. Greed, jealousy and other negative ways of thinking are not new but the way people use technology, as a means to their ends, is.
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The diffetence between Criss and Copperfield is this imho....

Copperfield sets out to touch your heart, to go for the intimate connection, even with his biggest illusions such as 'Portal' all the way to the smaller setting for 'Grandpa'. He structures his jokes even, to get that connection. That's why you can watch even his older stuff is still 'feel' the performance.

Criss however, always seems like he is out to prove something. Like, 'Look, see what I can do!'... Then he proceeds to do it with camera tricks at that! Smile This approach gets old very fast, especially after 5 or 6 seasons. He shouldn't have taken a TV episode deal imo... You get desperate for bigger and better at a rate that's unmanageable.

Copperfield (and Blaine) were smart enough to stick to one hour specials.

But alas, Criss doesn't even do well live if you take in the many reviews of his shows.

Anyway, to the OP, technology isn't the problem... Thinking things through, or not, is really the issue here imho...
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Kent Wong
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Magicians have always taken advantage of the technology available to them. In fact, sufficiently advanced technology can often seem like magic. But technology has grown exponentially over the years. Society has become more educated about that technology and magicians are constantly challenged to stay ahead of the curve. If you want a perfect example of how magic and technology blend as one, just take a look at the performances of Marco Tempest.

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cafeinst
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I remember watching David Copperfield fly over the Grand Canyon on TV in 1984. He's a great magician/illusionist, but I doubt he did this without some sort of camera tricks. I couldn't find that trick in Tarbell.
BRodgers
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This is an interesting topic. I always thought that if some of today's technology were available to the old greats like Thurston, Houdini, Blackstone etc, who's to say that they would not use it to fool their audiences?

I agree that Chris Angel goes too far, but what if a magician from the past, that we all respect, had the tools we have today would he do the same with them?
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mixman
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The job of performers (including Magicians)is to entertain audiences. By any means possible. Magicians have an extra challenge in that
they claim to perform the impossible. In addition to this, many "Standard" illusions and methods were exposed thanks to the masked magician (although thankfully most people have forgotten that show). If technology can help create or enhance a more believable illusion, great. Television specials are a unique field of entertainment for Magicians. The producers of these shows do not care what the live audience sees or knows. They are concentrating on the ratings. If the performer fools the live audience, great. If not, so what, it's the TV ratings that count. The purpose of a live performance and a televised performance have some significant differences.
Personally, I have never seen any of Chris Angel's performances, live or televised. But I kind of doubt that he gives a rat's ass about what other magicians think of his methodology. However, I do think that multiple takes to successfully record and effect for broadcast
shows an alarming lack of preparation. But if you think Hollywood cares, just go see "Now you see me".
BRodgers
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Mixman - I agree, however I think the issue most of the time has to do with expectations. When I go see "Now You See Me" or "The Prestige", I am expecting to see fantasy, special effects and actors playing magicians.

When I see a televised "live" performance, I expect to see much less, if not any, digital effects trickery. These types of shows tote themselves as reality, therefor I want to see less post production work. Now I know all those shows use that term loosely, but it should be far from a movie type of set up.
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DavidThomas
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I think the Grand Canyon experiment with Copperfield failed and he learned from that. Never again did he perform a large scale illusion that was either not "believable" or something he could recreate on stage. On his specials there were things filmed that could never be produced live. For example;

1) flying above the crowd out side the theater would be impossible to stage, but his flying on stage both and on the stage is believable and soooooo fantastic.
2) The black art leg illusion was performed on TV in full light outside, but any lay person seeing the live show would think they saw the same thing
3) The "in the round" special had illusions that could never be done surrounded.

I applaud Copperfields integrity in always making sure the things he did on television could always in the mind of the lay person be recreated. Liberty was taken for the main reason of making it look it's best. I guess the best word for this is "Camera finagling" and not "Camera trickery"

I do tire of people asking me did you see the latest trick that could never be performed live. Magic on television has it's challenges, but having the eyes of and audience in one place, at the perfect angle, allows for some amazing things. I just don't think we magicians should take advantage of that making it "unbelieveable."
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JohnShawOriginalSynners
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"I insist that 'anything goes' regardless. A magician can depend upon his skill & digital dexterity & be a so-called artist in his profession. On the other hand, a fairly decent showman can come along & with the most barefaced of cold decking methods or planted situation take the play entirely away from the performer relying upon skill alone. I don't give a hoot or continental what or how much has previously been set or framed. If it fools those who were meant to be fooled it has served it's purpose. If there were 7 in the audience & the performer enlisted 6 to convincingly fool the 7th, I still think it the thing to do, although that is a pretty drastic example, & there would have to be a strong reason for fooling that 7th person. The effect is the thing, & don't forget it for a minute. The end justifies the means."

Now, I'm sure that many will not agree with this statement or would even consider doing such things in any of their shows, but it is a little food for thought.

Oh, that quite was from Theodore Annemann from Jinx #6
krille
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Quote:
On 2013-07-04 15:49, DavidThomas wrote:

2) The black art leg illusion was performed on TV in full light outside, but any lay person seeing the live show would think they saw the same thing



DavidThomas,

Are you sure about your #2 statement? You are talking about the Steve Fearson laser illusion, right?

On the TV show David performed this outside but he was already "in position" and jumped out from behind a car. The way I see it, this can be done live the same way David did.

I fully agree with your other points.

Even if I personally don't fancy magic done "for the camera" I do understand that TV magicians need something that can't be analyzed so easily since people will watch the clip over and over again. Magicians rely on people not remebering all the details when seeing it live.
Campbelly
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Quote:
On 2013-07-04 15:49, DavidThomas wrote:
1) flying above the crowd out side the theater would be impossible to stage, but his flying on stage both and on the stage is believable and soooooo fantastic.

I have been told in certain cities Copperfield did actually walk out of the theatre and literally fly away.
George Ledo
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The OP asks several questions, so here goes my opinion...

Quote:
On 2013-07-01 22:36, sammagic wrote:
Do you think the big performers such as Copperfield, Angel etc have gone beyond being magicians/illusionists?

No, I think they have gone beyond what we think of as magicians, and gone with what the general public thinks of as a superstar entertainer.

Quote:
What I mean by this is, have they gone beyond the techniques of the usual illusion concepts that can be performed in most places, to rely more on stooges, camera tricks, technology etc.

Why would a top-level professional entertainer want to limit himself to what he/she can do? The usual illusion concepts are well over a hundred years old. Some of the old illusionists used stooges and technology. Camera tricks? That's called misdirection.

Quote:
Yes I know most illusions involve some degree of technicality etc, but most of them can be worked out.

Sorry, not sure what you mean by this.

Quote:
Yes they are great performers of the art, but don't you think that they have gone too far with the technology? Illusionists of the past didn't have such technology but in my eyes some of the older illusions are better in fooling even today's audiences and even magicians.

The illusionists of the past worked with what they had. Even some of the late-19th-century books on magic included this "new" thing called electricity which could be applied to magic effects. The Greeks used hydraulics to create some of the effects in their temples, and if they'd had video projection back then, they would have used it. As far as "fooling magicians" -- who cares?

Quote:
Do the TV audiences trust the TV shows these day's? Especially with Chris Angel!!!!?

How about Survivor and similar "reality" shows? They bring in the ratings and the advertisers. As far as the industry is concerned, people are buying their product, so who cares?

Quote:
I'm not trying to say that the 'big boys' are not any good, but in a way don't you think that the art of illusion is being spoiled by certain performances and performers?

Yes. But only because of poor performances, not because of technology. On the other hand, I've said it before and I'll say it again: a bad actor does not spoil theatre -- he just comes across as a bad actor. There are lots of good actors, and the general public recognizes them as such. In general, bad actors don't get too many chances in commercial theater and the movies (unless they happen to be the latest "reality personality" and the producers think they can sell tickets); they generally work in amateur theater, which is generally recognized as such. However, there's nothing to prevent a wannabe illusionist, who doesn't have a clue what he's doing, from putting together a show and calling himself a professional. Unfortunately, there are more of these nowadays that good performers, so the general public offen assumes that these people are the trend.
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