Page 1 of 2

What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 18th, 2014, 8:12 pm
by Tom Moore
So spinning off from the discussion elsewhere, several magicians are derided for putting out TV series / specials that are "all camera tricks" yet the very definition of those words means something different to different people. Green-screen, split screen, edits/cuts are all "camera tricks" in the traditional definition of the words and yet those techniques aren't used in these shows.

Pre-show / off camera work is often derided on Tv and yet is widely used in live stage shows.
People just out of frame pushing buttons / pulling levers / doing secret work is often derided on Tv yet in any stage magic show the wings of the theatre will be full of people doing exactly these things.
Showing "live" spectator's reactions and implying that they are reacting to the same magic trick as the viewers at home are seeing is often derided on TV yet duel reality is a core principle in most contemporary mentalism.
Showing footage of an object to prove it's normal, cutting to a different view to cover switching it for a different gimmicked (but identical looking) item then doing a trick with that is derided on TV but a close-up worker doing a pocket switch whilst "looking for something else", a stage magician showing lots of individual silks earlier in his show then later pulling out a bundle of silks that looks the same but is actually a load bag full of chickens in a stage show is considered fine.

So what to you is a "camera trick" and why are the above unacceptable on TV but fine in a live show?


Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 18th, 2014, 8:21 pm
by I.M. Magician
To me, a camera trick is when something happens that was not accomplished by the magician with his or her own hands. Instead, trick photography or camera work creates the illusion.

I don't know if a camera trick is ever not OK except when claims are made that no trick photography or camera work is used in the performance.

Compare it to a live band using recordings in their performance. Audiences get upset when it is used but the band may have never said that they wouldn't use it. If you go to a concert to see a singer sing, you want the singer to be actually singing live. You can buy a CD if you want yo hear a recording.

Is that the same as an audience watching a magician? Does the audience care how the magician accomplishes his or her feats?

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 18th, 2014, 8:58 pm
by Dustin Stinett
Mark Wilson created the "rules" for televised magic back in the 1950s. Like all good rules, they are simple and without obfuscation:

1. Everything that is performed can be performed live, with no camera or editing tricks of any kind.

2. To ensure Rule 1 is followed, there must be a live [non-stooge] studio audience that sees everything that the TV audience sees in real time.

3. A disclaimer by the producers guaranteeing these criteria.

Mark included the last one because he believed that it would provide credibility. Should they be caught "cheating," the producers and the performer loses that credibility and therefor the long-term trust of the TV audience. And that has always been his biggest fear: that the TV audience would not believe that what they are seeing is "our type of magic" versus "TV magic" and never tune in again; to any TV magic show.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 18th, 2014, 10:07 pm
by Tom Moore
With specific reference to #2 though how do you define the parameters of "the audience" - Can they be located anywhere in the room, can they be any size relative to the viewer, do we take in to account what they see/hear before and after the performance? Gary Ouellette took the view that you should treat the camera as though it was a single person (since most tv's are only actually watched by one or two people at the same time) and therefore anything you could do to deceive a single person was ok - thus you could have someone stood behind the camera doing something secret, you could have people outside of the frame of the camera (of the field of vision if it was a real person) doing something secret and you could blindfold a person to walk them to the location of a trick just as you switch off the camera when you first bring it in to a room thus stopping it from seeing the crane, elephant & mirrors you've got hidden round the corner.

There's also the question of pre-arrangement which (to an admittedly minor level) Mark Wilson did - when a volunteer came up to help with a trick and lend him a hanky that was someone who had been pre-selected (probably auditioned at some base level to make sure they'd be ok on camera) and who had been prompted to behave in a certain way and be vetted to ensure they wouldn't screw up the trick - in the days of B&W you needed them to hand you a clean white hanky not a dirty red spotted one. You never saw an assistant brought up, asked for a hanky and for them to say they've not got a hanky and then take their trousers off so at some level there was off-camera work that neither the TV nor studio audience would be explicitly aware of yet was an essential part of the presentation as a whole.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 18th, 2014, 10:54 pm
by Richard Kaufman
I would say that it appears Mark Wilson's set of rules has no bearing on the performance of magic on TV today.

NO ONE is going to broadcast magic on TV without edits because NO ONE will watch it.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 12:14 am
by Waterman
Camera tricks or not, how many televised prime-time magic programs have appeared on U.S. network television over the past 12 months? I recall only the Blaine special several months ago, but I'm sure there have been more (excluding shows like Penn and Teller's Fool Us ).

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 12:17 am
by Dustin Stinett
..."editing tricks" Richard. Not just "editing," like the style being used in "Masters of Illusion." There's a big difference. Even Mark used standard editing--in the style of the period(s) he worked in--between multiple camera shots during his taped shows.

As for the placement of the audience, you'd have to ask Mark. But since Mark worked in the round, in a standard studio setting, and with a proscenium style stage, I suspect that he'd say it doesn't matter. There just needs to be a "real" audience.

As far as pre-selecting someone for looks, making sure they have what you need, etc., I would think that's just good audience management for that venue. Every professional I know uses a form of pre-selection. Sometimes it's prior to the show starting, sometimes its done during the show (and without the knowledge of the spectator). But they still meet the criteria of not being a "stooge."

And to avoid any further splitting of hairs, A stooge (or a few more if you are Copperfield about to vanish a Lear Jet and the back row of people needs to move) doesn't count either. That is a tool used by magicians. Mark is talking about an entire audience being "in on the trick" and pretending that they are amazed. Even in the Copperfield example, the majority of people around the jet were "real" as was everyone in the audience.


Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 8:09 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Consider a live show as seen by the audience as present. Let's say some of them are streaming what they see via Google Glass or equivalent - IE their perspectives are available to a director. Ideally some selection of those video streams would be the TV program. Saving those data feeds and composing something from them after, even if time synchrony is maintained, is still a step down that slippery slope into "movie magic".

Carry on

Ultimately there's an "auteur" and the recorded/composed item has its ideal audience.

insert national commercial spot 30 seconds
insert local commercial break 1 min 15 seconds

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 8:59 am
by Q. Kumber
Here Anthony Owen writes about capturing Derren Brown's live show for TV. Nothing in the entertainment industry is ever as simple as it seems. Feedback from laymen about this recent TV screening has been excellent.

A live show is designed to be a live show. A TV show is designed for TV. The structure, lighting, pacing etc are all different. So capturing the feel of a live show for TV is not easy. ... ic/331152/

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 4:18 pm
by Tom Moore
Dustin - it's interesting that you mention Copperfield; his last TV special (Tornado of fire) is FULL of ""camera tricks"" whole elements of that show existed only for the viewers at home, lots of stuff happened just out of frame for the camera but in plain view of the live audience, multiple takes were used and edited together to create a (subtly) different reality to that which any one live audience saw. Ultimately they stuck to the Ouellett philosophy of treating the camera as a single viewer and also the idea that what should be conveyed to the TV audience is the same feel and memories of each effect as would occur if they came to see the effects at his live performance, even if it involves an extra deception.

So i'll ask the question again (since no-one has answered it yet) - what IS a "camera trick"

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 4:48 pm
by Q. Kumber
Referring to this post from another thread which is relevant to this topic:

Tom Moore wrote:
Q.Kumber wrote:
Ali Bongo as magical advisor would not have had the clout to insist on "no camera tricks".

Ali was never "just" magical advisor, he achieved a level of fame and professional respect amongst the TV world that was unmatched. For the record, he would literally stand in the box next to the director screaming at them to stop them using camera tricks or anything that to a lay audience would look remotely like camera tricks in the PD shows.

The whole ethos of the PD shows was that the audience at home would see what the audience in the studio had seen. Ali was with the director to ensure clarity of effect for the viewing audience. But he would not have had that power without the agreement of John Fisher, the producer.

Directors and editors who are not magicians really have no idea how to edit a magic performance for clarity. The lighting guy is mainly interested in getting the lighting right, the editor wants plaudits from his fellow editors for his creative editing, the camera guys for their camera work etc.

Sadly, a perfect example of terrible editing, from a magical point of view, was Ben Earl's recent TV series. But the editor will probably win a prize for his creativity.

I believe magic will work on TV providing the effect is clear and the performance credible.

One of the reasons there are so many edits on AGT, BGT and the X Factor is because most of the acts are of amateur (sub)standard and people would be bored to death if they had to watch them without the razzmatazz.

Yet, thanks to Russ Stevens, James More's two minute performance was tracked on BGT and the very best piece of magical TV I've seen in years was Derren Brown's Russian Roulette - a minute of pure silence and no edits. It was compelling drama - and any good routine is a mini-drama.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 4:55 pm
by Ian Kendall
Paul once told me a story about this; in the early days, he was not in the edit suite when the show was being cut. The editor (Mr Silitto I believe, I once knew his daughter) was not a magician, and cut a coin routine where the work was accidentally excised - in essence making the routine a 'camera trick'.

Paul then made sure that he was always in the edit suite so that this didn't happen again.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 5:22 pm
by Brad Henderson
"Camera trick" is perhaps a poor choice of words. I think we would all agree that manipulating the images after being recorded in an effort to "create" a magical phenomenon would be considered a camera trick. However, as Tom has pointed out, there are numerous other techniques, now ubiquitous, which some consider questionable though may, strictly, not be considered a camera trick.

I have been thinking about this today and will save you from the line of thinking, however one element I have been coming back to is the difference between manipulation of that which is captured by the media and the manipulation of the media itself.

No one would fault a magician for using a trap door or placing a very expensive aquarium in a restaurant for use in a performance. Based on the communities responses to Cyril (as compared to Criss Angel) that type of deception is not considered to be "line crossing". In this case, the media through which the magic is conveyed (ie video) is not manipulated.

Now, to be accurate, any televised or filmed production is inherently dishonest. The people in attendance see cameras and we at home usually do not. We do not fault the directors for setting up shots where cameras are hidden, even though their presence would be obvious if one were viewing the show live.

This type of "manipulation" is UNDERSTOOD to be an element of the media. We expect there to be cameras and lights even if we do not see them. To not see them, then, has no negative impact on the magical experience.

Likewise, in a stage presentation, we understand that their ARE wings and stages (which can be accessed in a variety of ways). BUT when a camera points at a scene and that scene is an open one, the understanding of the viewer, I would suggest, would be that there ARE no wings or secret areas hiding in clear view. Compare the collective reactions to copperfields statue of liberty to his levitation over the grand canyon. Both take advantage of what the camera "sees", but I think most of us see the statue as a fair and honest portrayal of magic but might shake our heads questionably at the presentation of the canyon piece.

Compare also the magician who throws out 100 ping pong balls and asks the 10 who received those marked with x's to join him or her on stage, versus the mindfreak who grabs someone from the audience "at random" or asks "people who happen to be at the pool" to swim beneath him.

In both cases we have the same stooging in play, but somehow they don't seem the same - at least to me. And I would suspect that if the methods were revealed to laypeople, the first would still be considered a magic trick but the second "fake" (to use a term I have often heard lay people use in describing their feelings on Criss's work.)

Let's face it, many of Copperfield's illusions have been exposed in a variety of sources but even upon revelation the audience seldom feels he is a "fake". Instead he is just a magician doing what magicians do. Is there something to the fact that his Tornado of Fire was perhaps his least impressive special to lay people? Is there something to the fact that none of the current magic special or shows on tv, the ones relying more and more heavily on these questionable practices, fail to receive any sort of notice among the laity?

Cyril went viral. Derren has gone viral in the US and is very popular where his shows have been aired. Lay people who have seen their work revere their work. But after Blaine's second special - has any of the magic really resonated with the public UNTIL he very clearly and very fairly pushed the spike through his hand?

Perhaps the audience can sense something is afoul in these questionable cases under discussion? After all, we as humans have become experts at the consumption of media. I may or may not be able to tell you why a show doesn't "work" but most people can sense that something is amiss. Perhaps we as media consumers have been trained by hollywood to know when a special effect is a special effect and when something is fishy is fishy?

I don't know.

But it seems to me one issue is the difference between manipulation of things in order to create an illusion and the manipulation of the media through which the illusion is conveyed. Could the "live audience" be part of the media, since it is their reactions and eye witnessing which is clearly part of the intended illusion? Is that the line which is crossed? (And I do not think the application of the mentalist's 'dual' reality necessarily applies here as inserting shots of people seeing something COMPLETELY different, filmed at a completely different time, is not the same as the audience and the spectator seeing the same simultaneous occurrence but interpreting it differently.)

Thanks for all the thoughts here. I am enjoying exploring this.

I will close with a quote from a great teacher of mine, one of the finest trumpet players in the world. He once said, "I will edit to save a great performance, not to create one."

I don't think there is a better philosophy from which to operate in matters of that concern.


Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 5:49 pm
by Jonathan Townsend
Tom Moore wrote:...So i'll ask the question again (since no-one has answered it yet) - what IS a "camera trick"

something other than realtime camera video feed. editing is "movie magic" where a shot of someone exiting a set cut with a shot of someone walking away from an outside door is interpreted as having continuity.

as Brad pointed out, TV audiences expect an edited production rather than an accurate report.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 6:43 pm
by Bill Marquardt
Tom - I have done some semi-pro work in video photography. It is very simple to make objects appear or disappear by stopping the camera, doing the "magic" and starting the camera again. This would not work in front of a live audience. It is most certainly a camera trick. Another method would be chroma keying, commonly known as green screening, to do similar things. That would be another camera trick. Chroma keying could be done during a live broadcast, but the live audience would only see the effect if they are watching a monitor. I believe these are the sort of camera tricks to which Mark Wilson referred. Simply placing a camera at a particular angle to optimize an effect for a TV audience is not a "camera trick" per se.

It also easy to create magical effects in "post" by simply cutting out frames or rearranging them, but obviously this only works in recorded performances and cannot technically be called a camera trick although I do not doubt that people would call it that. Sometimes this technique is useful in normal video work, as in one wedding video I shot when the still photographer walked in front of the newlywed couple during the first dance. I cut out the frames with her in them, did some simple reversing of a portion of the good dance sequence while keeping the sound track intact, and made the photographer disappear. No one watching the finished video was the wiser, as the change was apparently seamless.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 7:21 pm
by Tom Moore
Just to clarify, I know what post production and editing techniques are available (even on a quiet year I'm involved in 20+ hours of broadcast TV), I'm trying to understand what others mean by the words. As I say above the words "its all camera tricks" or "it's fake TV magic" are banded around by magicians when talking about various tv shows and special quite often yet no-one seems to have an actual definition of those words and when we look at the routines and sequences they are flung at there does seem to be a double standard at play. Principles and ideas that are commonly used in live performance are somehow considered cheating in a TV show.

To use the example above - why is Criss Angels "random stranger" who swims under him considered as bad whilst Copperfield's "random stranger" who just happens to be exactly the right weight to join him on Flying considered fine. In both cases the person presented as a random stranger is anything but, is clearly able to see mechanisms and secret stuff the people at home can't and is (through their actions and lack of actions at least) actively lying to the audience at home by pretending they can see the exact same magic as the folks at home.

David Blaine (and dynamo, and virtually every other street magic special) got a lot of flack for building fake shop fronts so that they could apparently, improvised, walk through a wall/window yet Siegfried and Roy, Copperfield, Burton and virtually every magician that has ever had a resident theatre show crammed their theatre with all manner of fakes, mechanisms and gadget that were disguised with just as much effort as the modern TV stuff. The former gets critised, the latter is considered entirely acceptable and normal practice.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 7:54 pm
by Brad Henderson
Did anyone fault criss et al for the fake store fronts? I don't recall that complaint. Cyril would be equally guilty but I don't recall magicians complaining about those clips either.

And even if they did I am unsure THAT complaint is a valid one.

Now, Copperfield flew with the woman in every live performance I saw. Does that change matters?

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 19th, 2014, 10:09 pm
by Ted M
My favorite camera trick begins at 2 mins, 30 sec:

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 20th, 2014, 8:01 am
by Jonathan Townsend
So this is not about video/movie magic but instead about what cues some people (here?) to complain "camera trick" . Okay, but that's close to politics. Good luck with the rationalizing.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 20th, 2014, 9:40 am
by mrgoat
I don't really have anything to contribute, but just saying this is a very interesting thread.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 20th, 2014, 10:33 am
by Brad Henderson

OR this is a thread about audience expectations and assumptions and how they impact their perception of televised magic. Understanding them could possibly help us not only improve televised magic but reveal strategies which can be exploited in other contexts.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 20th, 2014, 11:52 am
by Jonathan Townsend
Brad Henderson wrote:... about audience expectations and assumptions...

Sure, start by describing the audience.

magicians with political (within magic) gripes are not exactly the biggest advertiser demographic for a network when picking programs to show.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 20th, 2014, 12:24 pm
by Ted M
How do magicians on TV work to cancel the possible method of camera trickery?

Some cancellation strategies include an explicit promise, avoiding the edges of the camera frame, shooting the full routine without cuts, etc.

Luis Piedrahita gave a talk during Essential Magic Conference 2012 about balancing the needs of modern TV directors with the needs of the magician. (It's on disc 8.) While there will be cuts, audience response shots, etc during the routine, Luis communicates to the director the points at which cuts will damage the effect of magic -- he borrows a term from Paul Daniels and calls each of these a "point of no return." Even when the director is free to cut, he also lets the director know what's important to keep in frame (ie, "don't lose the walnut!"). Luis notes that sometimes a camera can enhance the magic by viewing the action from a vantage point unavailable to a regular person -- say, by shooting from underneath a glass-topped table.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 20th, 2014, 1:26 pm
by Brad Henderson
as these shows influence lay peoples perceptions of magic, what it is and isn't, I can see nothing wrong with analysis of the directorial choices from an informed perspective.

And lay people DO think of these things too. I spend a lot of time discussing magic with real people. The idea that criss angel is a 'fake magician' is not limited to our little universe. Sometimes it is wise to play to the smartest people in the room, not merely appeasing the loyal.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 3:48 pm
by P.T.Widdle
I just finished reading and watching the feature article on Yif. I have to strongly disagree with the author of the piece for declaring that he didn't care whether Yif used post-production camera tricks to achieve the effects in a couple of videos. He compared it to James Cameron using effects to sink the Titanic. I think that analogy is way, way off.

At least Richard, in his editorial, was open to the possibility that there could be another category of magic, one that encompasses post-production effects, but there needs to be a clear distinction. I've always liked the phrase, "An Honest Liar." And I've always admired the magicians who stuck by the Mark Wilson Rules. There's a reason Doug Henning turned down the Statue of Liberty trick.

It's a shame that Ellen invited Yif on her show because she saw the manipulated restaurant baguette video. False advertising.

Richard is right, magic is best seen live. But I think if you're going to do it on TV, make the effort for the TV audience to believe you're an honest liar. It can still be very entertaining, as evidenced, for example, by P&T's Fool Us show.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 4:17 pm
by P.T.Widdle
The more credulity is stretched every day, the worse it is for magic. Internet hoax videos get people upset, for example. They feel cheated. I've seen the reactions. I think the same holds true for these kinds of post-production miracles. They weaken magic by making people question their trust in the performer.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 4:43 pm
by Tom Moore
I find it interesting (and that it kinda proves my point) that so far everyone in this thread continues to express their dislike of "camera tricks" in tv magic and yet no-one has actually named an actual example and scrutinised why it's different to comparable methods used in "live" performance.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 5:11 pm
by Richard Kaufman
P.T.Widdle wrote:... but there needs to be a clear distinction.

And what do you suggest? A note appearing on the screen which reads, "These tricks are accomplished with special visual effects."

I really don't think that's going to happen.

As long as the tricks can be recreated in a live performance, it seems to work for both the audience and the performer. Watch Yif's performance of the baguette trick in the cafe (you'll have to search for it on YouTube--I couldn't embed it in the digital issue because it was blocked), and then compare that to his live performance of the trick on the Happy Camp TV show. Same trick from the audience's point of view (it seems to me).

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 6:06 pm
by Bill Marquardt
When Doctor Bombay appeared out of thin air on Bewitched, all of us watching television knew the effect was created by using "camera tricks." If Mark Wilson had done the same effect after telling us he was not using camera tricks, that would have been unacceptable, at least to me if not anyone else.

I believe that most people expect "magic" to be the result of a performer's skill, or at least his ability to misdirect our attention. Otherwise, anyone could stand in front of a camera and be a "magician."

Am I being specific enough?

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 7:59 pm
by P.T.Widdle
Richard, I thought your suggestion in the editorial about establishing a new category of digitally enhanced magic, or something to that effect, was intriguing. That's what my distinction is about. I don't think there should be a note on the screen. Rather, the videos should be shown separate unto themselves. Oil and water don't mix.

Personally, I thought Yif's performance of the baguette trick at the cafe was worlds apart from the Happy Camp show. The former looked like a miracle. The other was set back on stage (practically to the wall) with questionable angles and even a "flash" I believe. But here's the thing - without the post-production, the Happy Camp performance fooled the audience. It was a honest liar's performance. While the cafe performance falls under the Bewitched category.

Now that I think of it, why not show a note at the beginning and/or end of the video pieces? It would lend more credence to the other authentic material.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 8:08 pm
by Ted M
Bill - No, he's asking for camera trick examples from magic programs.

An example: In David Blaine's Street Magic, the Balducci levitation performed for the spectators on the street was a different trick than the levitation shown to the viewers at home.

[That noted, I otherwise loved Street Magic for many, many other reasons unrelated to this particular discussion.]

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 9:47 pm
by Bill Marquardt
Does anyone remember the outcry when Shin Lim faked a move by using a duplicate signed card in a trailer demonstrating one of his products? It was not a TV show, but still his excuse for cheating in the video was that he really could do the move but he didn't want anyone watching the video and deconstructing the method.

So now we are being told it's okay to fake an effect for TV as long as it can be really performed in public by other methods?

I don't get it.

Since I am obviously clueless as to what the purpose of this thread is, and it certainly does not follow the title of the thread, "What is a Camera Trick?", I shall gracefully bow out of the discussion.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 9:48 pm
by P.T.Widdle
Sadly, I see no difference between these two videos:

(begin at 4:20) ... ght-prices

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 25th, 2014, 10:14 pm
by Richard Kaufman
I certainly hope you see a difference between those two videos: one is a magician performing magic. The other is a series of obviously faked visuals done as normal actions by ostensibly ordinary people.

I believe that the impression of a layman watching Yif's video would be entirely different than watching a commercial about "regular" people pulling large things out of small boxes.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 26th, 2014, 4:07 am
by Tom Moore
Bill - By way of an example, look at the tricks i mention above. Criss Angel's "walking on water" & Copperfield's "Flying". They both use similar amounts of secret setup, they both use stooges acting as "real people" to legitimise the impossibleness of the effect, they both use editing to change the timing of the performance so that it's different from how it works in a live performance; yet one is (rightly) considered to be one of the greatest stage magic sequences ever and the other is instantly dismissed as "camera tricks" or "TV Magic".

Dynamo has people pulling thread just out of camera shot and records the same effect a dozen times and chooses the best response for broadcast = "Camera Tricks" or "TV Magic", Cyril rebuilds half the tables, signs and fishtanks in a restaurant, fills it with people who conveniently don't mention that today the restaurant seems to have completely different furniture in it, also films multiple takes and get lauded as an innovator. Siegfried & Roy built a theatre where every inch of the stage is full of trapdoors, mirrors, flying systems, people in the wings pulling bits of thread and have dancers running around on stage apparently completely oblivious to all of these items pretending it's a normal stage and are considered one of the greatest acts ever.

So why is it that virtually identical techniques, identical levels of dirty work, identical amounts of preparation are dismissed as terrible in some situations and celebrated and accepted in others? That's what i'm trying to ascertain - we each seem to have a line which once crossed makes us think it's "wrong" but no-one so far seems to know even vaguely where that line is.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 26th, 2014, 7:43 am
by P.T.Widdle
Richard, if the layman does not know there are CGI effects being utilized in the Yif video, then you're right, one video is a magician giving a performance, and the other is a commercial using CGI for an amazing effect.

However, once the layman does discover that Yif's video uses CGI, then there is indeed no difference between the two. The layman expects the magician to be an honest liar, and that what they witness on the screen represents the reality of the live situation. I guarantee that 100% of laymen who discover Yif was using CGI in the baguette video will not consider what he did to be magic. Hence, no difference from the TV commercial.

The Yif article author emphatically claims that Yif performing the baguette trick on the Happy Camp live TV show legitimizes the cafe video. He says they just use different methods. If we are now to consider CGI as a magical method, then I guess all bets are off. As Bill mentioned, anyone with access to the technology can perform miracles.

If post-production CGI is a magic method now, then George Melies was the greatest stage magician ever!

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 26th, 2014, 8:22 am
by Jonathan Townsend
who = politics

if a film student (think average movie goer/gamer these days) can sense or detect out-of-frame methods in use - FAIL

edits out of continuity risk taking a viewer out of the realtime experience.

my favorite example of camera "trickery" is where serveral cameras are viewing a band performing and the director cuts to a view of a musician just after they've done something interesting.


back to position five. scene two, take six. speed

"home i bring the briiiiiiiide"

fix it in post maybe need some ADR

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 26th, 2014, 10:43 pm
by John LeBlanc
Bill Marquardt wrote:Otherwise, anyone could stand in front of a camera and be a "magician."

YouTube notwithstanding?

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 27th, 2014, 1:33 am
by Larry Horowitz
Correct me if I am mistaken; I seem to recall an interview in the other " Magic" magazine where the founder of Circue dp Soliel was stunned to learn Criss Angels effects could not be performed live. Thus causing a slight problem in the show they were backing.

Re: What is a camera trick?

Posted: November 27th, 2014, 5:41 am
by Tom Moore
...and yet if you watch Believe (whilst it does have it's faults) you will see him performing several of his TV sequences live on stage every night. Obviously they're not identical to the TV performance but his live performances are as close to the TV performances as (to pick an easy example we all know) copperfield's flying was across the two mediums; so if we chose the most commonly used mantra of "its TV magic/camera trick if it can't be done live for a real audience" then several things we often call "camera tricks" aren't actually camera tricks.

Hence my conundrum and the reason for asking the question at the start of this thread.