New wave in magic videos?

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Postby Ruben Padilla » 07/09/02 10:52 PM

Last week at the IBM convention in San Diego, a young magician named Rodney Reyes (currently enrolled in film school in Orlando) handed me a DVD magic "movie" sampler that showcased a portion of his upcoming release (entitled Ikon). Intended for magicians, it is an artistic, stylish, highly imaginative journey into a fictional world filled with subversive undertones, religous symbolism, and an unconventional narrative. Oh yeah, it's also got magic, performed and explained by Rodney himself.

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?

The answer may determine the enthusiasm with which younger magicians (like Rodney) decide to share their new and often-groundbreaking magic.
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Postby CHRIS » 07/09/02 11:16 PM

I am all for fresh blood injected into the 'magic organism'.

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Postby Jim Morton » 07/10/02 10:12 AM

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. :)

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Postby David Acer » 07/10/02 10:48 AM

Originally posted by Ruben Padilla:
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?
Hi Ruben,

I believe the issue has less to do with format than intent. If the intention is to focus on tricks, then the simple, pared-down "guy-behind-a-table" format is perfectly acceptable. What you're suggesting is something entirely different - a vehicle that expresses an artistic viewpoint, thereby giving the tricks a context. I'm not convinced this is inherently better than the instructional approach, though it may be more effective in some cases.
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Postby Ruben Padilla » 07/10/02 04:58 PM

What about an actual movie (protagonist, conflict, climax, acting, the whole nine yards), aimed for the magician market (and not laymen), intended to entertain by telling a story and also teaching magic effects? This is closer to what I saw last week, and I was intrigued by the concept of a future in which we have a choice of magic video - straight tricks v.s tricks within a complete dramatic production. Assume the quality of the magic is good in both cases.

I suppose an analogy could be made with the adult video market. (Do you like wall-to-wall action or a storyline between the romps?

(Not that I ever watch those things... ;) )

Uh oh...here come the magic porno jokes...
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Postby Guest » 07/14/02 02:59 PM

Been there.

Asher/Fearson

Done that.

5 Card Stud. 1999

Loved it.

--Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 07/14/02 11:44 PM

What about an actual movie (protagonist, conflict, climax, acting, the whole nine yards), aimed for the magician market (and not laymen), intended to entertain by telling a story and also teaching magic effects?
The opening credits come to a close with the name Michael Curtiz as director. Peter Lorre, as Ugarte, walks into Rick's Cafe Amercain carrying stolen letters of transit. He finds Humphrey Bogart, as Rick, behind the bar holding forth with a deck of cards in his hands. Sydney Greenstreet, Claude Rains and S.Z. Sakall (as Senor Ferari, Lieutenant Louis Renault, and Carl respectively) sit transfixed as Bogart displays numerous variations of the Sybil Cut accompanied by Sam on the piano... playing "As Time Goes By." Rick is heckled by Conrad Veidt (Major Heinrich Strasser) but puts him in his place with a few well chosen retorts from Robert Orben. In walks Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid as Victor and Ilsa Lund Lazlo....
Before I quit, do you remember that Humphrey Bogart's character's name in Casablanca was Rick BLAINE?
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Postby Guest » 07/20/02 02:32 PM

Quick cut to Vernon sat at a table by a fire, explaining something.Alternative? Young hot shot, multi angles, quick cuts, framed as a story.

I know what I'd want to watch.You can watch what you want, lol.

Paul.
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Postby Guest » 07/24/02 12:35 PM

Originally posted by Paul Hallas:
Quick cut to Vernon sat at a table by a fire, explaining something.Alternative? Young hot shot, multi angles, quick cuts, framed as a story.

I know what I'd want to watch.You can watch what you want, lol.

Paul.
Are you referring to the classic Vernon "Reach Around Feel"? ;) (one of his most noted and to my knowledge, yet published moves. He got away with it almost nightly... well, if a young lady was sitting to his side at least... :rolleyes: )
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