Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 1st, 2017, 7:12 pm

i have long advocated for accepting and promoting a genre of magic which is magic for media. this would solve so many issues among magicians. it would allow those interested in that type of magic to embrace it and all the techniques at their disposal openly and fully. it would eliminate the back and forth between magicians who do and don't manipulate the media as part of their deceptive tool box. and audiences wouldn't feel cheated after paying to see a tv magician in vegas who can't do any of the stuff they saw which made them think they wanted to buy a ticket in the first place

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Tom Stone » July 1st, 2017, 7:28 pm

Ah, the eunuch "Captain Attention Junkie" is at it again. Those who are unable to create original content themselves, seem to have no problems leaching off the work of others.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 1st, 2017, 8:09 pm

No matter how we may despise camera tricks, none of us is ever going to successfully define the art of magic in a way that disqualifies them. It is the art of deception. It is theatre. Magic in general must necessarily include all illusionists. However, we can relegate them to their appropriate genres. We can distinguish Techno Magic from Traditional Magic. Sleight of hand from mechanical. Practical from Mental, etc.

The hitch is that few magicians want their audiences to know what kind of magic they are employing! They prefer them to be clueless in regard to method.

If you don’t like being lumped in with performers that use video editing etc., you are going to have to tell the crowd something of your standards. Do you use digital imagery? Mirrors? Stooges?

Where will it end? At some point, we need to zip our lips because we can’t deny the use of every tactic. Like all dissemblers, we ought to dispel the common suspicions first, and hope that the gimmick or the move we favour is the last thing on their minds.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 1st, 2017, 8:22 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izJbgzP1tRA

The question comes down to what you want folks to expect when you are present and doing the entertaining.

If you have the video camera/big screen thing happening as part of your show - seems a shame not to use available technology to maximum effect.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 1st, 2017, 8:39 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:... If you don’t like being lumped in with performers that use video editing etc...


The topic was post real-time digital cleanup. Fine for "storybook" depictions of magic. Not sure it's part of "practical" effects.
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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » July 1st, 2017, 9:02 pm

It's interesting because the proliferation of "magic" accomplished by camera tricks on fake reality TV shows and YouTube generally sets up in-person close up performers to have an even stronger impact on spectators than they were able to have prior to camera tricks having become a far more common phenomenon. I believe that the vast majority of people who have witnessed Will's Matrix routine (as just one example among many) on TV or YouTube know, or at least strongly believe, it was done by means of camera tricks and/or other technology. Thus, when they see sleight of hand effects skillfully performed in person (e.g. color change, snap change, coin and card vanishes, sponge ball magic, and on and on) they are likely to be that much more impressed, knowing, or at least believing, that it is attributable to authentic skill.

On so many occasions, I have had people make comments to me along the lines of, "When it happens far away up on a stage, I know there are trick boxes or mirrors, or whatever, but when it's six inches in front of my face and I'm watching really closely..." Not to diminish stage or platform magic in any way, because it can be fantastic, and is enjoyed by many people, but that same dichotomy between stage and close-up arguably exists between tricks people see on TV and YouTube versus close up magic performed for them in person. I would be quick to add the caveat that, IMO, most, if not all, successful stage magicians possess a tremendous amount of skill, and certainly far more skill than those individuals who are a mere conduit for effects accomplished by camera tricks. Of course, it can also be argued that the latter category of performers (camera-tricksters) simply possess a different sort of skill - but the skill is primarily on the part of those who are able to accomplish the technological aspects of the tricks...

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 9:27 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:No matter how we may despise camera tricks, none of us is ever going to successfully define the art of magic in a way that disqualifies them.


why not? it's a perfectly simple task and one that has already been done (and if not disqualifying them, at least taking them in account for what they are and how they impact what is perceived)

The hitch is that few magicians want their audiences to know what kind of magic they are employing! They prefer them to be clueless in regard to method.


which explains why we never see magicians label themselves as sleight of hand artists and or manipulators.

If you don’t like being lumped in with performers that use video editing etc., you are going to have to tell the crowd something of your standards. Do you use digital imagery? Mirrors? Stooges?

Where will it end? At some point, we need to zip our lips because we can’t deny the use of every tactic. Like all dissemblers, we ought to dispel the common suspicions first, and hope that the gimmick or the move we favour is the last thing on their minds.


so a less informed audience leads to a greater appreciation of an art form?

do musicians zip their lips about autotune?

there is no reason why we cannot be open and honest about the types of techniques employed. in fact the essential difference between magic and charlatanism is an understood awareness of the types of techniques employed.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 2nd, 2017, 9:46 am

Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:No matter how we may despise camera tricks, none of us is ever going to successfully define the art of magic in a way that disqualifies them.


why not? it's a perfectly simple task and one that has already been done (and if not disqualifying them, at least taking them in account for what they are and how they impact what is perceived)

The hitch is that few magicians want their audiences to know what kind of magic they are employing! They prefer them to be clueless in regard to method.


which explains why we never see magicians label themselves as sleight of hand artists and or manipulators.

If you don’t like being lumped in with performers that use video editing etc., you are going to have to tell the crowd something of your standards. Do you use digital imagery? Mirrors? Stooges?

Where will it end? At some point, we need to zip our lips because we can’t deny the use of every tactic. Like all dissemblers, we ought to dispel the common suspicions first, and hope that the gimmick or the move we favour is the last thing on their minds.


so a less informed audience leads to a greater appreciation of an art form?

do musicians zip their lips about autotune?

there is no reason why we cannot be open and honest about the types of techniques employed. in fact the essential difference between magic and charlatanism is an understood awareness of the types of techniques employed.[quote]
--------------------

I think I already provided the reason why we can't exclude special effects from the general definition of magic. Because that is basically what all magicians are using. Illusions, deceptions. I agree with you, that we should distinguish between types of effects, and levels of skill, in order to give each performer the credit that he or she is due. And I didn't say that all magicians are reluctant to vaunt of their specialities, but in general, they prefer to mask their methods in any way they can, no doubt for fear that by making disclaimers about what they don't do, the audience may more easily deduce what they do.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 1:22 pm

this seems true to you only because you have a sloppy definition of what constitutes magic. a careful definition can preclude and or address the use of camera tricks.

and i disagree that being open about methods makes it easier to deduce. look at derren brown - he managed to fool even self proclaimed well informed magicians by a judicious use of informing his audience. what you see as a spotlight others can use as smoke.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 2nd, 2017, 1:30 pm

Brad, Derek Dingle's business card and promotional material always contained the phrase "sleight of hand artist."
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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Jeffers » July 2nd, 2017, 2:04 pm

And as I read Brad's post, I looked at a Cardini poster on the wall, which proclaims him to be "a deft manipulator".
Will Tsai is a "visualist" - whatever that is.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jack Shalom » July 2nd, 2017, 2:59 pm

Certainly Mark Wilson offered disclaimers about camera trickery, and Marc Salem offered $10000 to those who could prove the use of stooges in his show. And for some--but not all--of the public, those distinctions continue to be important for their enjoyment.

From my perspective, what guys like Zach do is great and enjoyable. But it's not Our Magic. Copperfield and the Statue of Liberty? Now we're getting into the essentials. Would it have been more or less magical (or acceptable) if the disappearance had been through CGI?

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 2nd, 2017, 5:58 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:this seems true to you only because you have a sloppy definition of what constitutes magic. a careful definition can preclude and or address the use of camera tricks.

and i disagree that being open about methods makes it easier to deduce. look at derren brown - he managed to fool even self proclaimed well informed magicians by a judicious use of informing his audience. what you see as a spotlight others can use as smoke.


I am well acquainted with the use of words and the forming of definitions. What you refer to as a "sloppy definition" I quite explicitly described as The General definition. As in any art, there are going to be varying degrees of talent, owing to the diversity of performers. We can sloppily proclaim that some Rap singer is not our idea of a musician, but we cannot deny that he or she is a part of the industry. We can define our narrow prejudices if we wish, but we must acknowledge them as such.

Many magicians use more than one approach in their acts. A mixture of sleight if hand and mechanical stage effects. These performers I trust, do not intend to distinguish between the sorts of tricks they do, as they transition from one to another, but rather imply that their entire shows are the products of admirable prowess.

In case I wasn't clear, I myself loathe camera tricks in a magical performance. I am merely conceding the futility of eradicating them from the world of magic.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 6:35 pm

you underestimate the ability of some to define. music has a clear definition that eliminates the subjectivity of taste.

a con man uses deception and illusion and is not magic, nor would anyone confuse it for such. the use of illusion is not the defining element of magic.

there are ways to define the use of illusion and deception in order to differentiate between the use of camera tricks and other strategies in magic.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 6:36 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Brad, Derek Dingle's business card and promotional material always contained the phrase "sleight of hand artist."


yes. which is my point. unlike the claim to which i responded many magicians have happily made known the means through which they produce their magic.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 2nd, 2017, 6:54 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:you underestimate the ability of some to define. music has a clear definition that eliminates the subjectivity of taste.

a con man uses deception and illusion and is not magic, nor would anyone confuse it for such. the use of illusion is not the defining element of magial

there are ways to define the use of illusion and deception in order to differentiate between the use of camera tricks and other strategies in magic.


No, my friend. In order to define Magic to the exclusion of camera tricks, one would need to forbid the use of other kinds of visual deception. There isn't a hell of a lot of difference between concealing an object with black felt and editing it out of a picture. Obscuration is the common factor. The only true distinction is that one is traditionally performed before a live audience in real time. Which means that you would need to disqualify post production from recorded magic shows.

Then there would be the question of whether or not modern technology is capable of editing bits out of live performances. I suspect the man in the video link above could have persuaded the producers of the programme to allow him to use his own overhead camera, by means of which he might have frozen a frame or two on the monitor before the judges.

In short, you would have to restrict the future development of the craft, and prohibit the use of new methods which do not conform to your standards. Are you willing to do that?

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 7:08 pm

see below
Last edited by Brad Henderson on July 2nd, 2017, 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 7:12 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:No, my friend. In order to define Magic to the exclusion of camera tricks, one would need to forbid the use of other kinds of visual deception.


no. you wouldn't. why would you even think you would have to?

In short, you would have to restrict the future development of the craft, and prohibit the use of new methods which do not conform to your standards. Are you willing to do that?


except that you don't. your are making grand prouncements based on nothing but your own limited perspective.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby MagicbyAlfred » July 2nd, 2017, 7:38 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Brad, Derek Dingle's business card and promotional material always contained the phrase "sleight of hand artist."


And aptly so, I might add. Interestingly, when he gave me one of those cards at the Castle, I fooled the pants off him when I Tenkai vanished it...

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Bill Mullins » July 2nd, 2017, 7:39 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote: do musicians zip their lips about autotune?


They certainly lie about and downplay their use of lip synching.

Ten or so years ago, a mentalist (Craig Karges? hard to remember) did a show at the local university for the student body. He offered a significant cash reward to anyone who could prove he was using electronic means to create the effects he was performing. Which was pretty ballsy, since one of his effects was done with a John Cornelius Thought Transmitter.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 2nd, 2017, 8:26 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:...there are ways to define the use of illusion and deception in order to differentiate between the use of camera tricks and other strategies in magic.


From whose perspective?

The comment (and not even complaint) was using post production digital cleanup to alter what the realtime audience saw from what the home TV viewing audience saw. I'm guessing the display of market context and the sans minds site was the raw nerve.

BTW, Dingle was known for using making and using something in addition to pure sleight of hand in his tricks
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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 2nd, 2017, 9:21 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:No, my friend. In order to define Magic to the exclusion of camera tricks, one would need to forbid the use of other kinds of visual deception.


no. you wouldn't. why would you even think you would have to?

In short, you would have to restrict the future development of the craft, and prohibit the use of new methods which do not conform to your standards. Are you willing to do that?


except that you don't. your are making grand prouncements based on nothing but your own limited perspective.


Much of "movie magic" came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related.

Does it really matter whether an optical illusion is created with mirrors in a live setting or produced by electronic means?

One could argue that the use of mechanical devices on stage is "cheating" because it gives undue credit to the operator who merely flips a switch or pushes a button. These now quaint techniques were once just as "cutting edge" as computers are now. If Magic had been defined solely as s!eight of hand, much of what we now do would be verboten.

Again, I don't like camera tricks. But I recognise them as mere variants on the general theme of illusory deception. It would be absurd to suggest that there is a right and a wrong way to deceive the viewer, a proper and an improper way to fake them out. Good luck with that!

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Bill Mullins » July 2nd, 2017, 10:02 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote: Much of "movie magic" came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related.


Don't think so. When Georges Méliès created the first movie special effects, he was specifically doing things with film that he could not do as a magician. And that has been the trend ever since. Rear projection, stop motion animation, matte photography, miniatures and models, animatronics, makeup (such as that done by Rick Baker) -- none of these have much to do with stage magic technology. And for the last 40 years, much of "movie magic" has come from Lucas's ILM -- motion controlled photography and all the CGI innovations that they've made: motion capture, digital characters, digital composition. Not much magic (as we know it) there.

To me, the biggest difference in camera tricks and most everything else is the audience. All the other things can be seen by the performer's audience, in-person and in real time. Camera tricks can only be enjoyed by someone who isn't watching the performer live. Magic, at its highest levels, occurs between a performer and an audience - not between a video screen and an audience.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 2nd, 2017, 10:33 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:No, my friend. In order to define Magic to the exclusion of camera tricks, one would need to forbid the use of other kinds of visual deception.


no. you wouldn't. why would you even think you would have to?

In short, you would have to restrict the future development of the craft, and prohibit the use of new methods which do not conform to your standards. Are you willing to do that?


except that you don't. your are making grand prouncements based on nothing but your own limited perspective.


Much of "movie magic" came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related.

Does it really matter whether an optical illusion is created with mirrors in a live setting or produced by electronic means?

One could argue that the use of mechanical devices on stage is "cheating" because it gives undue credit to the operator who merely flips a switch or pushes a button. These now quaint techniques were once just as "cutting edge" as computers are now. If Magic had been defined solely as s!eight of hand, much of what we now do would be verboten.

Again, I don't like camera tricks. But I recognise them as mere variants on the general theme of illusory deception. It would be absurd to suggest that there is a right and a wrong way to deceive the viewer, a proper and an improper way to fake them out. Good luck with that!


who said anything about right and wrong?

who said deception is the sole measure of magic?

who said the means of deception are the defining element of magic?

your views of what magic is seem to be based on several assumptions that i don't think hold true.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jack Shalom » July 3rd, 2017, 6:59 am

So anyone want to take on Copperfield and the Statue of Liberty? Any different from erasing the statue from the video in post-production?

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 3rd, 2017, 7:19 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote: Much of "movie magic" came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related.


Don't think so. When Georges Méliès created the first movie special effects, he was specifically doing things with film that he could not do as a magician. And that has been the trend ever since. Rear projection, stop motion animation, matte photography, miniatures and models, animatronics, makeup (such as that done by Rick Baker) -- none of these have much to do with stage magic technology. And for the last 40 years, much of "movie magic" has come from Lucas's ILM -- motion controlled photography and all the CGI innovations that they've made: motion capture, digital characters, digital composition. Not much magic (as we know it) there.

To me, the biggest difference in camera tricks and most everything else is the audience. All the other things can be seen by the performer's audience, in-person and in real time. Camera tricks can only be enjoyed by someone who isn't watching the performer live. Magic, at its highest levels, occurs between a performer and an audience - not between a video screen and an audience.



The use of rear screen projection, matte paintings, superimpositions, clever makeup and even robotics (automata) have all been employed by magicians. And my point is that the use of other visual deceptions, such as those involving mirrors, are in essence, the same. They all create a false image. The mirror shows the spectator an illusion of an object that is not there, a reflection on a glass screen. Early cameras were nothing but light boxes with angled mirrors in them.

What you are describing as "real magic" is simply Traditional Magic performed before a live audience. But before we had the ability to record events, that is all we could manage. The broad definition of magic does not preclude other kinds of optical illusions.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 3rd, 2017, 8:10 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote: Much of "movie magic" came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related.


Don't think so. When Georges Méliès created the first movie special effects, he was specifically doing things with film that he could not do as a magician. And that has been the trend ever since. Rear projection, stop motion animation, matte photography, miniatures and models, animatronics, makeup (such as that done by Rick Baker) -- none of these have much to do with stage magic technology. And for the last 40 years, much of "movie magic" has come from Lucas's ILM -- motion controlled photography and all the CGI innovations that they've made: motion capture, digital characters, digital composition. Not much magic (as we know it) there.

To me, the biggest difference in camera tricks and most everything else is the audience. All the other things can be seen by the performer's audience, in-person and in real time. Camera tricks can only be enjoyed by someone who isn't watching the performer live. Magic, at its highest levels, occurs between a performer and an audience - not between a video screen and an audience.



The use of rear screen projection, matte paintings, superimpositions, clever makeup and even robotics (automata) have all been employed by magicians. And my point is that the use of other visual deceptions, such as those involving mirrors, are in essence, the same. They all create a false image. The mirror shows the spectator an illusion of an object that is not there, a reflection on a glass screen. Early cameras were nothing but light boxes with angled mirrors in them.

What you are describing as "real magic" is simply Traditional Magic performed before a live audience. But before we had the ability to record events, that is all we could manage. The broad definition of magic does not preclude other kinds of optical illusions.


then perhaps your definition of magic is too broad to be of use.

can you give examples of matte painting used by magicians in live performances? i'm unsure what you mean by this. can you give examples of read screen projection and automata used by magicians in life performance where the audience was not fully aware that thiese were the techniques being openly employed? (though i am also unsure how the use of secret mechanics in performance in any way relates to creating the impression that a performance than never actually occurred occurred).

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jack Shalom » July 3rd, 2017, 8:45 am

Lots of iPad and screen/live performer synchronization magic going on today.

No idea if Copperfield's Portal actually uses camera trickery, but evidently the possibility is strong enough to kill the enjoyment for some.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 3rd, 2017, 9:19 am

Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:
Bill Mullins wrote:
Don't think so. When Georges Méliès created the first movie special effects, he was specifically doing things with film that he could not do as a magician. And that has been the trend ever since. Rear projection, stop motion animation, matte photography, miniatures and models, animatronics, makeup (such as that done by Rick Baker) -- none of these have much to do with stage magic technology. And for the last 40 years, much of "movie magic" has come from Lucas's ILM -- motion controlled photography and all the CGI innovations that they've made: motion capture, digital characters, digital composition. Not much magic (as we know it) there.

To me, the biggest difference in camera tricks and most everything else is the audience. All the other things can be seen by the performer's audience, in-person and in real time. Camera tricks can only be enjoyed by someone who isn't watching the performer live. Magic, at its highest levels, occurs between a performer and an audience - not between a video screen and an audience.



The use of rear screen projection, matte paintings, superimpositions, clever makeup and even robotics (automata) have all been employed by magicians. And my point is that the use of other visual deceptions, such as those involving mirrors, are in essence, the same. They all create a false image. The mirror shows the spectator an illusion of an object that is not there, a reflection on a glass screen. Early cameras were nothing but light boxes with angled mirrors in them.

What you are describing as "real magic" is simply Traditional Magic performed before a live audience. But before we had the ability to record events, that is all we could manage. The broad definition of magic does not preclude other kinds of optical illusions.


then perhaps your definition of magic is too broad to be of use.

can you give examples of matte painting used by magicians in live performances? i'm unsure what you mean by this. can you give examples of read screen projection and automata used by magicians in life performance where the audience was not fully aware that thiese were the techniques being openly employed? (though i am also unsure how the use of secret mechanics in performance in any way relates to creating the impression that a performance than never actually occurred occurred).


A matte painting is nothing more than an image on a sheet of glass with a transparent portion through which other objects may be seen to appear. A filter. Show a portrait of a woman wearing a white dress. Then suddenly a red rose blooms upon it. This may be achieved either by the matte process or by superimposition of an image onto a pane of glass in the foreground.

Such illusions are not exclusive to either stage magic or movie magic. They are common to both.

The serious issue here is whether anyone has the right to impose limits on the creativity of magicians. There is no doubt in my mind that magicians have always used any and all means at their disposal to achieve an effect. Who are we to put a halt to that? Admittedly in some cases, the discouragement of embarrassments like stooges would enhance the respectability of the art. But regulations are like double-edged swords. They can also stifle innovation. Which if you think about it, would be most untraditional.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Bill Marquardt » July 3rd, 2017, 10:21 am

Over the last several years, I have come to learn that magicians are a peculiar lot. Not so long ago, a video appeared on the internet showing a magician performing coin sleights that seemed impossible, even to magicians, some of whom questioned the performance as being camera trickery. Just for kicks, I downloaded the video and examined it frame by frame with my video editing software. I found no evidence of camera or editing trickery, but of course, that does not exclude the possibility that the creator was extremely adept at faking a video.

Upon announcing on a forum that I could find no detectable evidence that the video was faked, I was pounced upon by several fellow magicians questioning my credentials as a video expert and some calling me an idiot with too much time on my hands for even attempting to deconstruct the video. This was a lesson for me that not all magicians are nice people.

Anyway, my personal opinion, and it is fine with me if you disagree, is that it is improper (unethical?) to present a faked video or television performance as an example of true skill as a magician. The general public is aware that a magician uses some sort of trickery or skill to perform seeming miracles, but sly video editing or "camera tricks" to perform effects that are not possible in live performance belong in the realm of special effects for movies. Otherwise, anybody with a camera and a Start/Stop button is a magician.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 3rd, 2017, 11:22 am

Bill Marquardt wrote:Over the last several years, I have come to learn that magicians are a peculiar lot. Not so long ago, a video appeared on the internet showing a magician performing coin sleights that seemed impossible, even to magicians, some of whom questioned the performance as being camera trickery. Just for kicks, I downloaded the video and examined it frame by frame with my video editing software. I found no evidence of camera or editing trickery, but of course, that does not exclude the possibility that the creator was extremely adept at faking a video.

Upon announcing on a forum that I could find no detectable evidence that the video was faked, I was pounced upon by several fellow magicians questioning my credentials as a video expert and some calling me an idiot with too much time on my hands for even attempting to deconstruct the video. This was a lesson for me that not all magicians are nice people.

Anyway, my personal opinion, and it is fine with me if you disagree, is that it is improper (unethical?) to present a faked video or television performance as an example of true skill as a magician. The general public is aware that a magician uses some sort of trickery or skill to perform seeming miracles, but sly video editing or "camera tricks" to perform effects that are not possible in live performance belong in the realm of special effects for movies. Otherwise, anybody with a camera and a Start/Stop button is a magician.


I agree with you on several points. Yes, magicians can be snits. They think they are superior wits because they are privy to secret knowledge which they jealously guard. And yes, there should be ethics that guide their performances.

If I had my way, I would forbid outright lying on stage. Asserting something that is utterly untrue. If one makes a claim it should be honest. When one is compelled to hide the facts, let him omit mention of them, but not discredit himself or the profession by fibbing.

If one pretends to sleight of hand, but instead resorts to mechanical contrivances, this ought to be discouraged. Likewise if one boasts of physical means of achieving an effect when actually using digital wizardry, that should be naysaid. But if no false claims are made, then I'm afraid "anything goes".

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 3rd, 2017, 1:20 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:

The use of rear screen projection, matte paintings, superimpositions, clever makeup and even robotics (automata) have all been employed by magicians. And my point is that the use of other visual deceptions, such as those involving mirrors, are in essence, the same. They all create a false image. The mirror shows the spectator an illusion of an object that is not there, a reflection on a glass screen. Early cameras were nothing but light boxes with angled mirrors in them.

What you are describing as "real magic" is simply Traditional Magic performed before a live audience. But before we had the ability to record events, that is all we could manage. The broad definition of magic does not preclude other kinds of optical illusions.


then perhaps your definition of magic is too broad to be of use.

can you give examples of matte painting used by magicians in live performances? i'm unsure what you mean by this. can you give examples of read screen projection and automata used by magicians in life performance where the audience was not fully aware that thiese were the techniques being openly employed? (though i am also unsure how the use of secret mechanics in performance in any way relates to creating the impression that a performance than never actually occurred occurred).


A matte painting is nothing more than an image on a sheet of glass with a transparent portion through which other objects may be seen to appear. A filter. Show a portrait of a woman wearing a white dress. Then suddenly a red rose blooms upon it. This may be achieved either by the matte process or by superimposition of an image onto a pane of glass in the foreground.

Such illusions are not exclusive to either stage magic or movie magic. They are common to both.

The serious issue here is whether anyone has the right to impose limits on the creativity of magicians. There is no doubt in my mind that magicians have always used any and all means at their disposal to achieve an effect. Who are we to put a halt to that? Admittedly in some cases, the discouragement of embarrassments like stooges would enhance the respectability of the art. But regulations are like double-edged swords. They can also stifle innovation. Which if you think about it, would be most untraditional.


again - who has ever said anything about regulations?

i think you are living in a world of your own delusion

can you give me an example of a stage magician who has used this matte painting principle to produce a magic effect? names please

and what of rear projection? who has used that in a manner in which the audience is unaware of what they are seeing? names please.

and automata - explain how that has anything to do with your ludicrous position

please

and then tell me how any of that in live performance - if examples exist - relate in any way to using camera editing to create a performance that never existed.

we'll wait.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 3rd, 2017, 4:04 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:
Brad Henderson wrote:
then perhaps your definition of magic is too broad to be of use.

can you give examples of matte painting used by magicians in live performances? i'm unsure what you mean by this. can you give examples of read screen projection and automata used by magicians in life performance where the audience was not fully aware that thiese were the techniques being openly employed? (though i am also unsure how the use of secret mechanics in performance in any way relates to creating the impression that a performance than never actually occurred occurred).


A matte painting is nothing more than an image on a sheet of glass with a transparent portion through which other objects may be seen to appear. A filter. Show a portrait of a woman wearing a white dress. Then suddenly a red rose blooms upon it. This may be achieved either by the matte process or by superimposition of an image onto a pane of glass in the foreground.

Such illusions are not exclusive to either stage magic or movie magic. They are common to both.

The serious issue here is whether anyone has the right to impose limits on the creativity of magicians. There is no doubt in my mind that magicians have always used any and all means at their disposal to achieve an effect. Who are we to put a halt to that? Admittedly in some cases, the discouragement of embarrassments like stooges would enhance the respectability of the art. But regulations are like double-edged swords. They can also stifle innovation. Which if you think about it, would be most untraditional.


again - who has ever said anything about regulations?

i think you are living in a world of your own delusion

can you give me an example of a stage magician who has used this matte painting principle to produce a magic effect? names please

and what of rear projection? who has used that in a manner in which the audience is unaware of what they are seeing? names please.

and automata - explain how that has anything to do with your ludicrous position

please

and then tell me how any of that in live performance - if examples exist - relate in any way to using camera editing to create a performance that never existed.

we'll wait.



You are obviously striving to gain the upper hand in this forum, to prove yourself the sharpest. Yet you perpetually misrepresent and mischaracterise my statements.

Who said anything about regulations, you ask? We are talking about what qualifies as “magic”. You claim that the general definition is too broad. Logically I infer that you advocate ruling out certain kinds of illusions. That would be regulation.

There are many magicians that have used mattes and rear screen projection. Only a fool would doubt it. Besides it isn’t even necessary to research the matter. The fact that it clearly can be done in a live stage show is sufficient to make my point.

A point which you call ,”ludicrous”. Quite unjustly. My reference to these cinematic techniques was in response to Mr. Mullins comment suggesting that these were inventions of the filmmakers. While I would not be so unkind to call his remark “ludicrous” it certainly bears a stronger resemblance to that adjective than my refutation.

And lastly I never said that recorded shows are equivalent to live performances. I have not only acknowledged the difference but expressed my own distaste for the former. It remains a fact that you are incapable of disputing, that the art of magic comprises all sorts of deceptions and illusions. Its tradition as a live medium has remained unaltered for thousands of years solely because video technology was unavailable. Do you think that magicians would have disdained to use it in ancient times, had they the option?

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 3rd, 2017, 6:14 pm

IF all he did was show Will's clips and demonstrate the use of post realtime digital effects would your reaction to his video be less?

If all he did was show the AGT clip and demonstrate the use of digital cleanup would you be surprised?
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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jammen » July 3rd, 2017, 6:34 pm

CGI isn't magic. I felt the same watching Tsai's dismal presentation as I do when the "Game of Thrones" dragons appear. He should have tried to enhance his presentation instead of relying on a gaffed table and post-production digital wizardy which fooled no one and denigrates magicians with real skill.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 3rd, 2017, 6:37 pm

jammen wrote:...instead of relying on a gaffed table and post-production digital wizardy....


I get you about presentation (dismal you say) - but wait a second - which is it that you're objecting to, the use of black art as method or AGT's production staff fixing up the video after? (or both - let's just get the problem stated clearly).
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Brad Henderson » July 3rd, 2017, 11:56 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:

You are obviously striving to gain the upper hand in this forum, to prove yourself the sharpest. Yet you perpetually misrepresent and mischaracterise my statements.


no. i'm merely pointing out that your positions are groundless. is that gives me the upper hand, that's the fault of your position not my response.

Who said anything about regulations, you ask? We are talking about what qualifies as “magic”. You claim that the general definition is too broad. Logically I infer that you advocate ruling out certain kinds of illusions. That would be regulation.


what definition are you talking about? you seem to think that you have some definition that the rest of us must subscribe to and you accuse us of trying to regulate matters?!?

i don't know what your definition is but based on the conclusions you seem to have drawn from it is is worthless.

where is this accepted definition you keep harping on about?

There are many magicians that have used mattes and rear screen projection. Only a fool would doubt it. Besides it isn’t even necessary to research the matter. The fact that it clearly can be done in a live stage show is sufficient to make my point.


and yet, you can't name a single one. that's curious isn't it. and just because something can be done, doesn't make it magic. i can take a [censored] on the stage but it doesn't mean it's magic just because it can be done.

i have seen rear projections used in many shows, and never once have i or anyone in the audience thought that it was mean to be taken as 'magic'.

only a fool would stake an argument on a claim for which he has zero examples

It remains a fact that the art of magic comprises all sorts of deceptions and illusions. Its tradition as a live medium hasremained unaltered for thousands of years solely because video technology was unavailable. Do you think that magicians would have disdained to use it in ancient times, had they the option?


and it's a fact that gambling comprises all
sorts of tables and chips and shuffles, but tables and chips and shuffles are not gambling.

and where do you get off making such a baseless and provably false claim that magic has remained unaltered for thousands of years? that one statement alone make me dismiss everythjng you have written as the ravings of someone terrible uninformed.

would have magicians disdained to use it? i have no doubt that some would because we know that many in our lifetime had the access you speak of and chose not to.

i think you need to spend less time writing and more time reading and thinking. you don't seem to have any basis for any of the things you say.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Bill Mullins » July 4th, 2017, 12:05 am

jkeyes1000 wrote: There are many magicians that have used mattes and rear screen projection. Only a fool would doubt it.

I doubt it.
Name a single magician who has used matte screens for the creation of an illusion. Or link to a video showing it done. Or quote from the conjuring literature where it is discussed.

Besides it isn’t even necessary to research the matter. The fact that it clearly can be done in a live stage show is sufficient to make my point.


I think your point was that "Much of 'movie magic' came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related." It didn't, and it isn't. They are two separate ways of creating illusions -- separate in intent, method and effect.

My reference to these cinematic techniques was in response to Mr. Mullins comment suggesting that these were inventions of the filmmakers. While I would not be so unkind to call his remark “ludicrous” it certainly bears a stronger resemblance to that adjective than my refutation.

It's [almost] ludicrous to suggest that the technologies were invented by filmmakers, rather than magicians? If I'm wrong, it should be trivial for you to name a magician who invented one of the techniques used by filmmakers I named earlier.

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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby Dustin Stinett » July 4th, 2017, 1:06 am

When are you guys going to realize that the only thing Brad Henderson does not know is how to use uppercase letters?


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