With a new generation of computer-literate film-school students involved in magic and well-versed in new technologies, a question is posed. Will magicians embrace a new breed of inventive and experimental magic video productions, or do we just want the same old guy-behind-a-table-in-front-of-a-fireplace-trick/explanation/trick format?
I don't think that's important. What's important is the quality
of the effects. If some guy's DVDs start selling like hotcakes because of the way they are produced and not because the tricks are any good, then I think that's a very bad thing indeed. Soon the market could be glutted with young hotshots reinventing inferior versions of Dai Vernon classics for a new market that has no familiarity with the classics and is mentally incapable of learning from anything that is filmed with a tripod, and doesn't switch angles every three seconds.
On the other hand, it's hard to learn if you are asleep. There are some videos on the market, by extremely talented magicians, that are so deadly dull that they are actually capable of putting a heavily caffeinated individual into a coma in five minutes flat.
The real revolution in instructional videos is not going to be about the razzle dazzle one can add to their projects with Final Cut Pro, but about taking advantage of the features of DVD technology to produce more useful DVDs. Consider the advantage of multi-angle views. Wouldn't it be nice to switch to an over-the-shoulder in the hands view during some performances and explanations? I know Louis Falanga doesn't think so, but I suspect that his decision on this subject is based more on the current difficulty of adding these features than on the lame, "we've already narrowed the choice down to the best possible angles for you" that was printed in the L&L catalog.
As with the desktop publishing revolution of the eighties, what is happening in the video field right now is both wonderful and awful. Video production tools that once costed hundreds of thousands of dollars are now available for a fraction of that. This means that some talented people who previously would not have been able to compete in the video marketplace can now offer their products. But it also means that folks who should not be allowed within five miles of a computer will also be able to manufacture their own gaudy, unwatchable DVDs along side everyone else. The wheat and the chaff, once again, get thoroughly mixed.
The coolest aspect of this technology is the ability of magicians to offer their own DVDs on a purchase-by-purchase basis. Needless to say, the better known magicians will probably still mass produce their DVDs--it's much cheaper to do so--but lesser-known magicians will be able to get their work out there for examination in much the same way that underground bands and DJs get their work circulated with homemade CDs.
Well, I seem to have lost the original thread of this conversation, so I better quit while I'm ahead. :)