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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » The downside of using a mirror (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Hardi
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There are repeatedly discussions which mirrors are best for practicing and were to get them.
I always work for perfect sleights. But in my opinion controlling the spectators attention is even more essential.
My motto is "there are no perfect sleights", and "no sleight without misdirection".
Practicing leads to perfection. But practicing into the wrong direction perfects the faults.
I strongly believe, practicing with a mirror misguides to bad habits. There is a great temptation to concentrate to much to the hands, where it is vital to look at the audience. I also believe that blinking with the eyes in the moment when the sleight is being executed will be trained with the mirror.
I therefore use the mirror rarely and only to check my angles.
I think it is much better to follow Jonathan Townsend's advise to "get yourself a web camera and learn to use it to RECORD your work, and to review it on the PC". Otherwise use neither.

What is your opinion?
stuper1
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Agreed very much.
Tspall
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Very good point! I think there's room for both. You're right, the mirrors will help with slights but not as much with performance. But, sometimes you want to focus on just the mechanics. once you have that done, you should then be focusing on performance. A full length mirror, video camera, webcam, they will all help with that. A good magician will focus on both of those. I figure how much time and in what order a magician will practice these depends totally on that individual.
Tony
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cosermann
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You could tape yourself WITH a couple of mirrors at each side. That way you get several angles on tape; the head on view and the mirror angles.

Regards,
Regards,
Eric
Pete Biro
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I find a full body mirror works just fine as I need to see the body language as well.

But, nothing beats doing it with laymen watching. Almost every trick CHANGES when someone is watching you.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
sethb
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While I agree that a practice mirror can create some bad habits, I still think it's a good way for you to observe the effect/sleight from the spectator's point of view. If your false transfer doesn't look convincing in the mirror, it won't look any better on tape.

Having said that, I agree that overuse of a mirror is just as bad as not using one at all. A mirror is just a tool, it's not a miracle fix! I also agree that performing for a mirror doesn't replace performing for real people. But for about $35, I think it's a good investment if used carefully and intelligently. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Bill Palmer
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Learn the moves and sleights with a mirror. Then learn the routines and rehearse them without the mirror. There is no inherent advantage of a video camera over a mirror, except for the ability to replay.

But I would steer away from a web camera. The resolution is lousy and it eats up storage space on the computer. A good digital camcorder can play through your television set. It will probably have much better resolution.

HOWEVER, and this is IMPORTANT, do not let the video be the final step. While a video camera can see a lot in low lighting levels, there are areas of contrast in which it can be very misleading. One of them is in "black art." Use your eye for that.

I had a friend who is an illusionist. He did not use the chrome strip down the sides of his Zig-Zag, because he felt they called attention to the uprights. Instead, he left them out, because his video camera made it appear that the upright disappeared against a black bacdrop. It didn't. It showed up like a big, fat sore thumb. I told him. He didn't believe me. Remember where I said that I had a friend who is an illusionist?

Ah, well.

Any tool is only as good as the craftsman who uses it.
"The Swatter"

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muzicman
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I practiced night and day in front of a mirror. I moved the mirror around so I could see different angles. I became very comfortable with my slights and my patter and could do it in my sleep. Then I went in front of an audience. There was no mirror! I had become so used to the instant feedback that I could see, that I felt awkward and thus became very tense. This changed my entire act. Granted it was my first, but as a musician I am accustomed to being on stage and entertaining. I went home and had to relearn my act without using mirrors. They are good to start with, but don't rely on them. It's kind of like music, you learn to play without looking. I now use video cameras for rehersal and practice, and of course my wife..... but the mirror is something I have learned to do without.... well "almost" entirely. Is there a 12 step program?
Mr. Muggle
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Quote:
On 2004-07-27 15:29, Bill Palmer wrote:
There is no inherent advantage of a video camera over a mirror, except for the ability to replay.



Bill is very wise with his vast knowledge, but I think that he did miss an important benefit regarding video. Training yourself not to "blink" when performing slights.

Video can catch the blinking of your eye when you are doing the dirty work and you may not notice it in mirror sessions. I recall lengthy discussions about this years ago, and as everything in magic- everyone had their own opinions.

At a minimum, use the mirror(s) AND video tape yourself if you have the ability.

I don't want to re kindle the old debate, but no one mentioned the "blink of an eye". The use of a video camera (if possible) as a live monitor feed is the best "mirror" IMO. It will teach you things that the mirror will not- simply because it sees more.

MM
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Kozmo
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The camera doesn't lie

it also doesn't see mis-direction...when you use a camera you need to be aware of that...

just because the camera sees it doesn't mean the eye is going to to

koz
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2004-07-27 22:38, Mr. Muggle wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-07-27 15:29, Bill Palmer wrote:
There is no inherent advantage of a video camera over a mirror, except for the ability to replay.



Bill is very wise with his vast knowledge, but I think that he did miss an important benefit regarding video. Training yourself not to "blink" when performing slights.

Video can catch the blinking of your eye when you are doing the dirty work and you may not notice it in mirror sessions. I recall lengthy discussions about this years ago, and as everything in magic- everyone had their own opinions.

At a minimum, use the mirror(s) AND video tape yourself if you have the ability.

I don't want to re kindle the old debate, but no one mentioned the "blink of an eye". The use of a video camera (if possible) as a live monitor feed is the best "mirror" IMO. It will teach you things that the mirror will not- simply because it sees more.

MM


No, I didn't miss it. But you are right about that part. Magic Christian does a wonderful impression of a magician who has developed a series of various tics for various sleights -- a blink for the pass, a twitch for a double lift, etc. Then he does a trick that uses each one of the sleights, and it looks like a person with St. Vitus Dance performing a card trick.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Mr. Muggle
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Now that sounds like something worth seeing.

MM
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
swatchel-omi
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Like Bill, I've found that hooking the video camera to the TV works great. Make sure you move the tripod around to different angles and heights. Set it at "kid height" to make sure short people or sitting people can't see what's going on from the bottom. Make it taller than you, aim it from the back, etc.

You probably won't catch yourself blinking though, unless you actually tape your performance.

Joe
mattisdx
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I use a webcam, makes it easier on myself cause I can video tape my actions also and go back and see what I need to fix and perfect Smile
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