jamy ian swiss: live in london

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Tabman » 07/14/05 07:39 PM

Over the past couple of months Ive enjoyed watching numerous magic dvds that have come my way through gifting or purchase. I'm looking at them to see if the skills I have picked up as a music video producer could be carried over to the genre in case someone came to me to do one of these. Mostly I have been disappointed by the production values, non broadcast colors, poor sound, bad lighting and unedited fumbling on the part of the performer so I gave it a spin expecting the worse.

Actually I couldnt have been more pleasantly surprised. The dvd starts out with a bunch of well put together clips of Jamy on national television, with P & T, on the news, etc. So far so good. The on screen menu was professional and easy to understand. Most of the magic dvd work Ive seen has been put together with one of the dvd made easy types of dvd software like Nero but live in london has a much better looking (and working) interface. So far, so pro.

Now I'm not a big fan of most magic music, its much too canned for me and I'd prefer something else (Waylon or Skynyrd). I wasn't knocked out by the music here either, it came from a canned needle drop type collection and reminded me of the theme music at The Desert Magic Seminar or a magic convention stage contest but I must say that the music only ran a few seconds and then was gone forever so it only bothered me for that brief moment.

The lighting, even though it looked to be single source with maybe some side fills was fine. There is very little shadow behind Jamy, the audio is clear and loud enough, Jamy's passion for magic comes through and the lecture was really quite good.

Jamy does his job and makes you forget you're watching him on a small screen and puts you in the room. His presentation is smooth and basically flawless with no fumbling or uncomfortable edits or cuts. And, you could see the table. You can see the magic. There's no harsh shadows or poor camera work to get in the way.

And the magic is very good. I really liked the first piece, Wishful Thinking a lot as well as the big apple effect and what a pleasure to watch Jamy do Al Baker's Animated Ring. He teaches them expertly and offers great advice and shares his philosophy (really, could you expect him not to???).

live in london is head and shoulders above most of the magic work I've seen up to this date. If you study Wishful Thinking you'll be adding it to your card arsenal. If you already know how to do a good card fold you can put it in soon too. Lots of good stuff here, too much to mention.

I could say more but I won't. Get it if you can. Great job, Jamy.

-=tabman

Wait, there is one more thing I've got to add. It was interesting to see Jamy sans Fumanchu.
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Postby Brian Morton » 07/14/05 08:33 PM

It was interesting to see Jamy sans Fumanchu.
Hulk Hogan has a Fu Manchu. I believe what Jamy had was considered a "VanDyke."

technically and hirsutely yours,
brian :cool:
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Postby Tabman » 07/15/05 06:59 AM

Originally posted by Brian Wendell Morton:
Hulk Hogan has a Fu Manchu. I believe what Jamy had was considered a "VanDyke."
Great, thanks for setting me straight!!! Anyway, I like Jamy better with the whiskers!!!

-=tabman
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/15/05 07:47 AM

Much of the praise for production values must go to Bob Hamilton who is responsible for most of the major magic film in the UK, includng all from International. He would have discussed matters with Jamy, resulting in a successful product, even though it was not filmed in a studio (yes I know some studio videos can be poor.)
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Postby Tabman » 07/15/05 08:56 AM

Thanks for that info, Anthony. I had wondered who produced the dvd. It's probably on there someplace but I missed the credits if it was. Bob Hamilton did a pro job on this video.

I wonder if Jamy was wired or it they used a shotgun mic on a boom. I was pleased that there was some room ambience in the sound. I dont usually like the way a lavalier sounds close in.

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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 07/15/05 10:44 AM

Thanks very much, Tabman, for the kind remarks. I'm pleased you liked the lecture video. I of course agree with you about canned music, but it's difficult to avoid unless you arrange to have original music scored, which for this limited purpose simply wasn't worth the expense and effort. But you make a good point, most such magic video music is plainly awful.

The source video was a two-camera shoot and I was mic'd, done at McMillen's International Magic. Originally released in Europe on videotape, it happened to work out that I waited long enough to see the passing of tape and the arrival of DVD, so I obtained the raw source tapes and re-edited the DVD product here. The edit does follow the original McMillen product to a great extent, but not exactly. All the menu work was done under my supervision, and it was extremely time-consuming, but I think it renders the material much more accessible and readily navigated than it might have otherwise been. And I also added the screens of text references.

I could also provide more detail about my facial hairstyling -- but I won't. BTW, the DVD is available from my website at www.jamyianswiss.com. Thanks again, Tabman.
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Postby NCMarsh » 07/15/05 04:48 PM

Tabman,

Really enjoyed your comments and agree with your views of what I find to be a VERY refreshing video. I did want to make a small comment about a very minor point:

what a pleasure to watch Jamy do Al Baker's Animated Ring
It is a tremendous pleasure to see...and the core idea is Baker's...however, I feel that the contributions that Jamy has brought to this effect in structure, presentation, management, and blocking are VERY significant and that, in all fairness, it is a pleasure to watch Jamy do Jamy Ian Swiss' Animated Ring.

It is wonderful to see a contemporary master bringing to life a piece that is rooted in the work of an old -- and frequently under-appreciated -- master. We see, in Jamy's hands, that Al Baker's work is timeless. But I do want to acknowledge that Jamy has made he piece his own.

Jamy's version has been sitting in my notebook among the list of items to add to my repertoire for about two years, and I just haven't gotten around to it. When I do, what I will be doing is markedly distinct from what I would be doing had I only read Baker.

I hope that this doesn't seem too nit-picky and I was very happy to see this posted.

Warmly,

N.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 07/15/05 11:43 PM

Boys, boys, let's not argue ...

Kidding. Thanks for the kind words, Nathan. But as I'm sure you're aware if you have my manuscript, "Theurgical Thread," I always thoroughly credit Al Baker, and I provide the reference (to "The Rising Ring" in Baker's "Pet Secrets") in the video. It may be my handling, presentation, performance, management, or what have you -- but 20 years ago, I started with the item that was in Mr. Baker's book, and I'm glad to keep his name and deserved credit associated with it.
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Postby Brian Morton » 07/15/05 11:50 PM

Nathan,

It's on my list too. Just one inch closer to the day I have to kill you.

brian :cool:
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Postby NCMarsh » 07/16/05 12:31 AM

Brian,

you marylanders measure time in inches? ;)

in any case..the grifter's ball sounds like a great showcase for you...makes me wish i was still in driving distance of the nation's murder capital...and sounds like i'm far from being a threat to you. Yet.

hope things are well there...

best,

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Postby Tabman » 07/16/05 07:24 AM

Nathan, you're absolutely right. Jamy's signature is on everything. I did feel that since Jamy so credited Mr. Baker that I must as well.

Also, I've never had the good fortune to attend one of the Card Clinics but after watching live in london I can see why his ability as a teacher of magic gets raves from everone who attends. It's inspiring to see how he does and teaches the card fold and load for Wishful Thinking.

A comment for Jamy: No, Jamy, thank you! Really excellent work. My professional interests in magic lie outside the performance arena but you can bet I'm adding the bit with the match book to the magic that I occasionally do for friends and clients here at the studio.

-=tabman
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Postby NCMarsh » 07/16/05 07:38 AM

I do want to be clear that I'm not trying to take anything away from Al Baker. Matt Schulien should (I believe) be credited in any published version of the card to matchbox...but that doesn't mean that Swiss' "Wishful Thinking" or Ammar's "The Yeast Card" should all be called Schulien's "Card in Matchbox"....

Best,

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Postby Tabman » 07/16/05 11:04 AM

Originally posted by Nathan Coe Marsh: I do want to be clear that I'm not trying to take anything away from Al Baker....
Not a thought in that direction. Your respect of magic and magicians is obvious.

-=tabman
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Postby NCMarsh » 07/16/05 03:31 PM

Thanks tabman, the same is clearly true of you likewise...

best,

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