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TheMagicalMan
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I never performed illusions using BA, but now I got into it, and I got Andrew Mayne's Illusions EFX DVD. Fantastic stuff, but most of them use BA. I want to perform a teleportation in 1 second type of illusion, as the one I perform is a huggee pain in the behind. But here is the problem, I'm a beginner in using BA and looking to buy a scaffold. I do a lot of performances in different theaters, different venues, and the theater types are different, so I'M NOT IN CONTROL OF THE CURTAIN and the background. So using BA techniques would be impossible. I'm sure this problem has faced every person that has performed using BA techniques. Additionaly, even if it was the same color as my set up, the color variation and lightness/darkness is sometimes a problem. I thought of using a backdrop but it would be obvious and suspicious if I decide to use a backdrop FOR THAT ILLUSION PARTICULARLY during a part of the show, don't you think ? So if anyone has a solution to this or can guide me, may you please ?

PS: Is using a scaffold a good way since it is inexpensive and effective ?
TK Knight
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I've used BA in many different illusions over the years, and it's always a pain. In the real world, you have at most a few hours to set up, tech and light the show. It always uses so much of my lighting time. Avoid it if you can, especially if you don't have control in the venues.
TK Knight
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Oh, and when you finally get it lit perfect, that's when the spotlight ops accidentally expose it. Enough to drive you mad.
But on a positive note, it's awesome when you have total control over the curtains, lighting and haze.
Kent Wong
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We performed Andrew Mayne's mini-moto production earlier this year and, as a result, I learnt a lot about black art. Although lighting is important, the key word to remember is contrast. There needs to be enough contrast between the lighting you use and the prop so the audience cannot properly focus on the BA area. When we performed this illusion, we brought in our own lighting for this routine and told the lighting tech to simply turn off all of the stage lighting. This way, we had total control over the lighting in the venue and kept it really easy for the tech.

As for backdrop, we knew that the theater had a full black back curtain and so, that was not going to be a problem. But, thinking forward to other venues, we also had several black spider backdrops that could be used to provide the proper backing. We had decorations to place on the backdrops to give them meaning and a reason for being there as well.

This technique is extremely powerful and I wouldn't have any hesitation in using it again.

Kent
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Michael Baker
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Good thinking, Kent. Justify.

I have used black art a lot over the years. My uses were not to hide objects and personnel in the sense of an act like Omar Pasha, but for blocking out space, such as flash appearances, escape routes, etc. In such cases, contrast was essential, and in many of those case, BA magic could be achieved even on brightly lit stages.

Of course the backdrop, whether installed or free standing, should be black, whenever possible. However, if you are working on a deep stage, you can even create black "space" even with dark, but not black curtains, just by focusing all light downstage. Everything behind that will be so deep in shadow that it will render as black. It really kind of depends on what you are trying to pull off.

But the biggest help as mentioned is contrast. There simply must be a point for the audience to focus, so they won't be able to inside the critical zone. The lighter and brighter the colors of all forward objects, the darker the black will become by comparison.

For years, I used a back drop set that consisted of a set of 3 white French doors in front of a black backdrop, actually a set of scenery flats with a predominately black area. I put two spotlights on the floor very close to the doors, shining toward each other in an upward sweep. The light skimmed the front edge of the doors making them light up like a Christmas tree, and the beams crossed just in front of the "critical" area. This created a pocket of shadow directly behind that apex. Even with average lighting in the room, the illusion was perfect.

I also had BA that was there at times, and not at other times, so personnel could move behind the doors often enough to cement the idea that they were just what they appeared to be. But again, it all depends on what effect you are wanting to achieve. No one size fits all.
~michael baker
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Bill Hegbli
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Quote:
On 2013-09-10 00:45, TheMagicalMan wrote:
I never performed illusions using BA, but now I got into it, and I got Andrew Mayne's Illusions EFX DVD. Fantastic stuff, but most of them use BA. I want to perform a teleportation in 1 second type of illusion, as the one I perform is a huggee pain in the behind. But here is the problem, I'm a beginner in using BA and looking to buy a scaffold. I do a lot of performances in different theaters, different venues, and the theater types are different, so I'M NOT IN CONTROL OF THE CURTAIN and the background. So using BA techniques would be impossible. I'm sure this problem has faced every person that has performed using BA techniques. Additionaly, even if it was the same color as my set up, the color variation and lightness/darkness is sometimes a problem. I thought of using a backdrop but it would be obvious and suspicious if I decide to use a backdrop FOR THAT ILLUSION PARTICULARLY during a part of the show, don't you think ? So if anyone has a solution to this or can guide me, may you please ?

PS: Is using a scaffold a good way since it is inexpensive and effective ?


I don't know you can make all these assumptions. I would not say you are even a beginner or even a novice. The 1st thing I suggest you do is to educate yourself in the performance of Black Art. There are a number of books on the subject and a large volume on the expert in Black Art Kuda Bux.

If you use Google, you should find many references to these resources. Once you learn the methodology behind Black Art, you will be able to fulfill your needs.

To answer your question about setting the stage for a Black Art performance. Have you ever seen a David Copperfield show. Each illusion has it's own stage setting, that is part of theater.

Unless you tell your audience what you are doing, I don't know how they would know about the methodology. The only place I have ever seen Black Art used for the masses is on AGT shows. Even then I have never heard any of the actors use that terminology when being interviewed or by any of the judges. If the does bother you that everyone would know what you are doing, then the best thing to do is not do it. If you do not believe in what you are trying to accomplish, neither will anyone else, including the audiences.

So do or perform something you believe in and can accomplish without showing your guilt.

Good Luck in whatever you pursue.
Matt Adams
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It's absolutely possible to do in a mobile type of show. I have a mobile show and have some amazing ideas towards doing a motorcycle production on something as small as a church stage. Don't listen to the naysayers, but get out there, experiment, learn, and succeed. Anything is possible!
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Matt Adams
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PS. There are lots of ways to make it work for your one specific venue as well. For instance, if they have a fly system then you can simply fly and black fabric as a backdrop for the one illusion. Simply close the front curtains, do an effect in front of them, fly in the backdrop (and set the scaffold) and reopen the curtains. The audience would never notice the difference between the dark Backdrop and the black Backdrop. They would assume you close the curtains merely to set the scaffold.

Choice two - Use a couple poles on either side of the stage and run the black backdrop from pole to pole. Leave it in place for the entire show and it's no different than having a dark backdrop. It's now just a black backdrop. There's no reason you would need to change it.

If you give me a few more details perhaps I can help you more specifically than this. Hope this helps
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john wills
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In your PS you're talking about a scaffold.
Please can you explain us what is this apparatus and
what do you want to do with it.
Also important to know is, what do want to realize/create
as the effect the audience is seeing.
In answering your questions we can NOT go to much in detail,
because this is an open forum.

PS. For the scaffold, perhaps you can give a link, so we can understand you better.
john wills
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla......mdilevo4

Omar Pasha on you tube, THE classic of BA.
You can find an article on this subject
(and Omar Pasha) in Magic Magazine May 1997.
Michael Baker
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You'd be surprised what you can get away with, and where. But again... it depends on what you want to do. I can say that I have pulled off some serious black art stuff on a riser stage in a well-lit banquet room.

A lot of answers here will be generic by nature because, 1) we don't know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, 2) we can only give so much info here openly, and 3) we don't know your venue.

One other thing I failed to mention is that (again depending on your goals), the use of black light can tremendously aid black art. But if going this route, I'd be sure to think very hard about the planned effect, so that it makes use of other, more "magician-oriented" techniques, and not BA alone. Otherwise, the method can be picked, because it might be too similar to the black light acts on AGT. I've seen this done to great success. Ben Ulin's show at Adventureland in Iowa is a great example of this. Check the video for "GLOW". The levitation in particular, works to dispel what the audience may initially think.

http://www.benulin.com/photos.php
~michael baker
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TheMagicalMan
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Thank you very much all for your help, I mentioned that the illusion I'm trying to accomplish is a combination of multiple ideas on Andrew Mayne's Illusions EFX DVD. The effect I'm trying to accomplish is an effect where I go on top of a scaffold cover myself with a curtain, then I apperantly disappear and reappear behind the audience walking down.

Bill I already educated myself regardless of what I want to do when I pirchased Andrew Mayne's DVD, I was just asking for advice regardless one point.
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2013-09-10 19:14, TheMagicalMan wrote:
I mentioned that the illusion I'm trying to accomplish is a combination of multiple ideas on Andrew Mayne's Illusions EFX DVD. The effect I'm trying to accomplish is an effect where I go on top of a scaffold cover myself with a curtain, then I apperantly disappear and reappear behind the audience walking down.




I'm sorry, you did, and I managed to overlook that.
~michael baker
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Matt Adams
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Quote:
On 2013-09-10 20:15, Michael Baker wrote:
I'm sorry, you did, and I managed to overlook that.


You might have missed this small detail, but you always have good advice. Smile
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Kent Wong
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As indicated above, I have worked with Andrew Mayne's scaffold technique. However, your inquiry is getting dangerously close to the discussion of methodology and secrets. As a result, I can only speak in generalities. The scaffold was not designed with a run-around in mind, but it is possible to do it with some innovative staging. Think about these issues:

1. Once you "vanish", how do you get off stage unseen by the audience?
2. For the effect to seem magical, you need to reappear in the back of the theater IMMEDIATELY after the vanish. How will you achieve the time misdirection to allow this to happen?
3. To have a truly effective illusion, everything needs to be naturally motivated. WHY do you need the scaffold on stage? WHY do you need to stand on top of the scaffold before you vanish? WHY do you need to be covered by a cloth to effect the vanish?

I had to address these exact same issues when staging my deKolta Chair illusion. The key lesson I learnt was this: Anyone can do the trick. It's the details that make it magic.

Kent
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Kent Wong
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Here is a very rough video of my daughters performing the illusion I talked about way above. I apologize for the poor video quality, but it was taken by an audience member with a cell phone. This was the very first time they performed the routine in front of a live audience. Since then, the choreography and blocking have been tightened up quite a bit.

The intro to the routine talks about how, as parents, we only ever see one side of our kids personalities. When we're not around, that's when their wild side comes out. The routine is called "Born to be Wild". The kids visually make a costume transformation from "Varsity Kids" to "Biker Kids", while having a bunch of fun with the audience. Everything is set to a Garage theme, complete with shop lights, tool cart, tool box, broom, and scaffold. Props are taken from the top of the scaffold as needed during the routine to create a reason for it's presence and to subtly prove that it's completely empty and innocent.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=101......01528374



Kent
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Bill Hegbli
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My error, I was thinking of Omar Pasha and typed Kuda Bux, please forgive me for mixing a famous Mind Reader / Mentalist with an expert Black Art artist like Omar Pasha. I am so sorry for my error.
john wills
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Now I understand that we are talking about different (stage-) situations.
Maybe you try to find a way for temporarily blinding??
Try to make it clear for us, to understand you goal.
Where are you standing on and what do you want the audience to see...
Perhaps Matt Adams is thinking in the right direction.
TaylorReed
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The title to this thread is Problem with BA..

That is correct.. Black A-- is always a problem

it is best to avoid that problem if you can..

I once got the book from Gary Darwin. My good friend in Vegas..
About 100 ways to do black ar- cheap..
well, doing black art in my opinion is not cheap..

you must have control of your own theater or a sit down basis to make it make sense to do it.

Even then, the computerized lights can get wacked out sometimes and move around in places that they should not.

I'm not a fan of performing black a-- illusions.

TR
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Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2013-09-11 11:25, Kent Wong wrote:
Here is a very rough video of my daughters performing the illusion I talked about way above. I apologize for the poor video quality, but it was taken by an audience member with a cell phone. This was the very first time they performed the routine in front of a live audience. Since then, the choreography and blocking have been tightened up quite a bit.

The intro to the routine talks about how, as parents, we only ever see one side of our kids personalities. When we're not around, that's when their wild side comes out. The routine is called "Born to be Wild". The kids visually make a costume transformation from "Varsity Kids" to "Biker Kids", while having a bunch of fun with the audience. Everything is set to a Garage theme, complete with shop lights, tool cart, tool box, broom, and scaffold. Props are taken from the top of the scaffold as needed during the routine to create a reason for it's presence and to subtly prove that it's completely empty and innocent.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=101......01528374



Kent


Cute routine! The girls should be proud, and I can tell you are!

Concerns are obviously different for a production effect, but for a vanish, the BA doesn't always have to be in place. This was the idea for a vanish that I used with the French doors set I mentioned above. One area was initially a flash appearance. Once that space had become "free", I was able to later at the end of the act, hang a curtain panel in front of the same door (after having been seen walking behind it a few times), walk behind and immediately have the curtain drop, revealing... nothing! I was gone again. There was more, but that gives a basic idea.

There is one particular illusion in "The Great Illusions of Magic", by Byron Wels that is a ladder. You have complete freedom behind this in the beginning. Later, the assistant climbs the ladder and is covered with a cloth. The cloth drops and the assistant has vanished. The method to gimmick the required space is wonderful. It is done right in front of the audience. A custom-designed scaffold could do the same thing. Then, the proof is built in through blocking.

An idea not too different is that old Vanishing Girl Illusion with the triangular, open-frame base. Now you see me, now you don't! Smile

For a stationary space that cannot be changed, consider combining the use of the space with a Farmer & Witch type of illusion. A very undetectable switch could be done. This would give all the extra time needed to pull off a back of the audience reappearance. The scaffold would be perfect for that.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
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