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

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

Postby performer » July 4th, 2017, 4:50 am

My only objection to these kind of special effects is that everybody finds out about it too soon!

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 4th, 2017, 8:04 am

i wish my iphone would automatically capitalize like it used to. it no longer does. grrr

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

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 4th, 2017, 10:16 am

Mine does! Na na!


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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 4th, 2017, 1:37 pm

Though both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Mullins are being petty in their scepticism of my contention that the principles employed in motion picture special effects originated much earlier, I feel I ought to clarify it for the benefit of those that fail to get the gist.

I believe (at least in the case of Mr. Mullins, who seems to be a reasonable man) that we are being hung up on our modern definition of rear projection strictly in regard to motion pictures. Still images may be projected as well, and The Magic Lantern preceded the film projector by several centuries.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_lantern

As for the matte process, I have already succinctly described it as merely the juxtaposition of an image on a pane of glass with another object or image seen through a transparent window. If you will read the above article, you may see that “masked slides” were in vogue well before the advent of the motion picture. These devices were glass transparencies whose borders were painted, allowing a desired image to be projected through it. The technology is quite identical, except for the illusion of movement afforded by the cinema. However, even in these early stages, there were animations (as you may a!so discover above).

As for the definition of magic itself, we may refer to Wikipedia if we like. All it says it that it is the art of seeming to achieve the impossible or supernatural by natural means. By which of course it is meant, any means that is not praeteratural. Any means that is possible in fact.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_(illusion)

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

Postby Tom Gilbert » July 4th, 2017, 1:52 pm

Tsai is getting more exposure as this link came off of Yahoo's main page: http://www.cinemablend.com/television/1 ... contestant Basically, a recap of CaptainDisillusion's video, the fact it's on the main page will draw a lot more attention.

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

Postby Bill Mullins » July 4th, 2017, 3:59 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote:Though both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Mullins are being petty in their scepticism of my contention that the principles employed in motion picture special effects originated much earlier,


I'm not being sceptical of that, I'm saying that you were wrong when you said "Much of 'movie magic' came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related."

And the fact that magic lanterns existed well hundreds of years ago doesn't mean that:
1. Magicians invented them (enlighten me, was Christiaan Huygens a magician?) or that
2. Magicians used them to project an image of a background onto a translucent screen from the other side to create an illusion of a space that wasn't there (as rear projection is used in films).

Magic lanterns were a predecessor technology to motion picture rear screen projection. But rear screen projection required many advances from that technology, and those advances weren't made by magicians.

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 4th, 2017, 5:19 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:Though both Mr. Henderson and Mr. Mullins are being petty in their scepticism of my contention that the principles employed in motion picture special effects originated much earlier,


I'm not being sceptical of that, I'm saying that you were wrong when you said "Much of 'movie magic' came from stage magic technology, and much of it is essentially still related."

And the fact that magic lanterns existed well hundreds of years ago doesn't mean that:
1. Magicians invented them (enlighten me, was Christiaan Huygens a magician?) or that
2. Magicians used them to project an image of a background onto a translucent screen from the other side to create an illusion of a space that wasn't there (as rear projection is used in films).

Magic lanterns were a predecessor technology to motion picture rear screen projection. But rear screen projection required many advances from that technology, and those advances weren't made by magicians.


I don’t think you can quote me as having said that magicians invented the “stage magic technology” that they used.

My point was merely a counter to your assertion that these methods were exclusively devised by cineasts. An assertion that you have yet to substantiate, by the way.

You say that “rear screen projection required many advances”. No it didn’t. Anyone with a light source and a translucent screen, such as a sheet of paper, could have done it and undoubtedly did.

When you see a stage illusion involving a translucent screen with the shadow of a man behind it, that is rear screen projection. The illusion that the performer is still behind the panel when in fact he is about to burst through the lobby door and surprise everyone.

And are you telling me that you believe this effect by Teller was accomplished by the simple unidirectional casting of light upon the vase in the foreground?

https://youtu.be/SJH9iFOji_A

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 4th, 2017, 6:02 pm

what you fail to grasp is that the creation of an illusion is not sufficient for an act to be 'magic'.

a pick pocket uses sleight of hand but we don't call him a magician. a snake oil salesman uses deception but he is not considered to have practiced magic.

many broadway shows use some of the techniques you mention but no one leaves saying they went to a magic show

you have no workable or meaningful definition of magic.

you need to spend some time figuring out what magic is, and a good definition also makes clear what magic isn't.

try harder.

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

Postby Bill Mullins » July 4th, 2017, 7:37 pm

I don’t think you can quote me as having said that magicians invented the “stage magic technology” that they used.


You said that movie magic came from the stage magic. From context, I took you to be referring to the techniques used to implement movie special effects. I listed a number of such techniques, and claimed (and still claim) that they don't come from stage magic. You haven't shown any counterevidence that they did. Magicians and movie SFX artists are trying to do different things. There is no reason that they should have used the same technologies.

This is rear screen projection. It is NOT the same thing as Teller used in the "Shadows" effect you linked. Movie RSP requires not only a projector and a screen, it requires synchronization of projecting camera to filming camera, the ability to match lighting levels and color balances (eyeballs are much more forgiving and have a much greater dynamic range that film emulsion), camera lenses with depth of field to match foreground and projected images, and other technologies. Magicians don't care about them and didn't develop them.

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 4th, 2017, 8:17 pm

Bill Mullins wrote:
I don’t think you can quote me as having said that magicians invented the “stage magic technology” that they used.


You said that movie magic came from the stage magic. From context, I took you to be referring to the techniques used to implement movie special effects. I listed a number of such techniques, and claimed (and still claim) that they don't come from stage magic. You haven't shown any counterevidence that they did. Magicians and movie SFX artists are trying to do different things. There is no reason that they should have used the same technologies.

This is rear screen projection. It is NOT the same thing as Teller used in the "Shadows" effect you linked. Movie RSP requires not only a projector and a screen, it requires synchronization of projecting camera to filming camera, the ability to match lighting levels and color balances (eyeballs are much more forgiving and have a much greater dynamic range that film emulsion), camera lenses with depth of field to match foreground and projected images, and other technologies. Magicians don't care about them and didn't develop them.


You are being tautological. You are basically saying that film techniques were developed by filmmakers. That rear screen projection, superimposition, fading to black, as we know them--that is to say, in a distinctly cinematic way--were conceived by movie makers.

That is like saying that magicians invented the idea of hiding things in their vest pockets--at least in so far as their purpose is concerned.

When discussing technology, we ought to focus on the principles and the mechanics rather than the artistic mode by which they are employed.

To project light and create shadow is in principle the same process as projecting an image on a glass transparency, a single frame of film, or a reel of celluloid.

Hollywood films like King Kong used rear screen projection. It was not complicated or sophisticated. It was essentially taking a picture of a picture. And it still is. A matte is a painted border on a piece of glass through which an object or a live action sequence may be viewed (live) or photographed. The refinements you mention have !title to do with the principle and are mere red herrings in this argument.

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

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 4th, 2017, 9:03 pm

Tom Stone wrote:..."Captain Attention Junkie" is at it again. ...


What don't you like about the guy?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT_bTnkwLuE
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 5th, 2017, 10:09 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:When discussing technology, we ought to focus on the principles and the mechanics rather than the artistic mode by which they are employed.


says who? you seem to want to force us to accept a definition of magic that no one else in the world agrees to.

by defining magic solely by the techniques which might be involved in it leads us to meanjnglessness.

by your argument a telescope maker who uses mirrors is a practitioner of the magicians arts because magicians use mirrors. a con man and a magician become one in the same because both use psychological deception and sleight of hand. van gogh and the robot who applies to finish to new cars on the factory line are both artists because each dealt in paint.

i think the problem is you are a superficial magician who believes that methods are the crux to magic.

you are wrong.

lThe refinements you mention have !title to do with the principle and are mere red herrings in this argument.


no. the problem is your brush is so wide that the moment you go one level beyond 'it's an illusion' everything you claim falls apart. (ignoring the fact that you have zero historical evidence that supports your claim
in the first place). you consider this a red herring. the rest of us see these as the practical facts which makes you totally wrong.

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

Postby John M. Dale » July 5th, 2017, 12:08 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:i wish my iphone would automatically capitalize like it used to. it no longer does. grrr


Maybe this will help, Brad:

https://www.technipages.com/iphone-ipad-ipod-touch-enabledisable-automatic-capitalization

JMD

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 5th, 2017, 12:16 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:When discussing technology, we ought to focus on the principles and the mechanics rather than the artistic mode by which they are employed.


says who? you seem to want to force us to accept a definition of magic that no one else in the world agrees to.

by defining magic solely by the techniques which might be involved in it leads us to meanjnglessness.

by your argument a telescope maker who uses mirrors is a practitioner of the magicians arts because magicians use mirrors. a con man and a magician become one in the same because both use psychological deception and sleight of hand. van gogh and the robot who applies to finish to new cars on the factory line are both artists because each dealt in paint.

i think the problem is you are a superficial magician who believes that methods are the crux to magic.

you are wrong.

lThe refinements you mention have !title to do with the principle and are mere red herrings in this argument.


no. the problem is your brush is so wide that the moment you go one level beyond 'it's an illusion' everything you claim falls apart. (ignoring the fact that you have zero historical evidence that supports your claim
in the first place). you consider this a red herring. the rest of us see these as the practical facts which makes you totally wrong.


I do hope that the readers of this forum do not blame me for perpetuating this absurd discussion about film techniques. Their only relevance to my argument in the first place was that magicians have always taken advantage of whatever technology is available in order to achieve their effects. And “much of movie magic came from stage magic”. Which is self evident.

But because a few die-hards, who hate losing, want to keep up the jig….

Early film techniques consisted of Fading (got from stage lighting, by merely diminishing the light intensity of the scene); Superimposition of one image upon another (achieved by stage magicians and magic lantern showmen, by means of angled panes of glass etc.); Forced Perspective (the designing of sets and backdrops to create the illusion of grandeur); The Matte Process (which I have already described several times as the composition of an Illustration on a pane of glass or other transparency with another object or image, producing the illusion that both exist in the same scenario). All of these methods were optical illusions that could be seen by the naked eye. All the camera did was capture them on film.

The only processes unique to the film industry were Double Exposures (invented long before motion pictures), and Animation.

Editing is not strictly a “camera trick”, unless one simply stops filming and then recommences after the scene has been altered.

Film Processing is yet another matter. Advances in this part of the industry have largely to do with Optical Printing, which more or less made it easier and more efficient to do things like Superimpositions, but even this process relies heavily on the original Masking and Matte techniques (Green Screening is basically the Masking of an image, the blocking out of extraneous objects in the background. This when coupled with another strip of film, enables the processor to print them together to create the illusion that they were shot in the same circumstances).

Mr. Henderson, you are a dolt. You have the gall to say that “my definition” of magic is faulty and that few agree with it. “My definition” came from Wikipedia. Which is word-for-word what you will find if you consult Magipedia. And quite similar to what you will see in The Oxford English, The Cambridge, and the Webster dictionaries. Where in bloody hell do you get your definition, and just who agrees with you?

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 5th, 2017, 12:38 pm

the danger in relying on non industry-art based sources for definitions specific to an industry or art leads to the problem you find yourself in

let's look at another source, one you likely found but conveniently ignored. - webster. i suppose this is of equal authority to the two you mentioned.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magic

1
a : the use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces
b : magic rites or incantations
2
a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source Both pitchers, although they are older, haven't lost their magic.
b : something that seems to cast a spell : enchantment
all the mystery, magic and romance which belong to royalty alone — J. E. P. Grigg
3
: the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand entertained with acts of jugglery and magic

as you can see camera tricks would be strictly denied

you have based your position on nothing but your own wild imaginings. that may not make you a dolt, but it doesn't make you correct.

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 5th, 2017, 1:43 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:the danger in relying on non industry-art based sources for definitions specific to an industry or art leads to the problem you find yourself in

let's look at another source, one you likely found but conveniently ignored. - webster. i suppose this is of equal authority to the two you mentioned.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/magic

1
a : the use of means (such as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces
b : magic rites or incantations
2
a : an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source Both pitchers, although they are older, haven't lost their magic.
b : something that seems to cast a spell : enchantment
all the mystery, magic and romance which belong to royalty alone — J. E. P. Grigg
3
: the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand entertained with acts of jugglery and magic

as you can see camera tricks would be strictly denied

you have based your position on nothing but your own wild imaginings. that may not make you a dolt, but it doesn't make you correct.


I am not the one who finds himself in a problem, Mr. Henderson.

Your reading comprehension skills are evidently very poor. None of these definitions preclude the kinds of illusions that I have ascribed to stage magic or film.

The upshot is that “magic” is something supposed to be supernatural, but which in all likelihood has a practical explanation, especially when performed by a mere mortal.

You chose the most dubious definition I can imagine. A good definition ought not to use the very word in order to describe itself (“the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand entertained with acts of jugglery and magic”).

Again, fool that you are, you say that I have based my position on nothing but my “wild imaginings”. And Magipedia, and Oxford, and Cambridge. Whatever.

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

Postby AJM » July 5th, 2017, 4:41 pm

I do like following these types of discussions however begin to quickly lose interest when posters feel compelled to embed large swathes of previous posts in their replies.

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

Postby Bill Mullins » July 5th, 2017, 5:08 pm

jkeyes1000 wrote: And “much of movie magic came from stage magic”. Which is self evident.

You keep saying this, but you never provide examples of the magicians who used the techniques I listed here to create magical illusions before they were used by filmmakers.

Early film techniques consisted of Fading (got from stage lighting, by merely diminishing the light intensity of the scene);

Fades were not and are not accomplished by adjusting the light intensity. They are done by diminishing exposure, either by stopping down the camera's own iris, or using a supplemental iris placed in front of the lens for this purpose; or by sliding progressively darkened glass across the iris; or in the darkroom, by adjusting the exposure as the film is printed, or by chemically fading the film emulsion. Obviously, magicians can't do any of these, so no, fades do not come from stage magic.

Superimposition of one image upon another (achieved by stage magicians and magic lantern showmen, by means of angled panes of glass etc.);

Magicians did use Pepper's Ghost to place two images on top of each other. But filmmakers did it by double exposure, which is much simpler and cheaper. So I'll grant that movie makers copied a magician's effect, but they did not copy the (your words) technology.

Forced Perspective (the designing of sets and backdrops to create the illusion of grandeur);
I can't say I'm a fan of your definition here. The classic example of forced perspective in film is in Citizen Kane, where (as Roger Ebert describes it) "The tycoon has overextended himself and is losing control of his empire. After he signs the papers of his surrender, he turns and walks into the back of the shot. Deep focus allows Welles to play a trick of perspective. Behind Kane on the wall is a window that seems to be of average size. But as he walks toward it, we see it is further away and much higher than we thought. Eventually he stands beneath its lower sill, shrunken and diminished." I'm not familiar with any stage magician using anything like this before filmmakers used it (how could they? stages aren't deep enough to play tricks like this), but Richard Wiseman has taken advantage of the technique in his Quirkology videos (of course, this illusion works only on video's monocular POV; a person's stereo vision and the resulting depth perception in the actual presence of the magician, as would occur on stage, would defeat the illusion).

The Matte Process (which I have already described several times as the composition of an Illustration on a pane of glass or other transparency with another object or image, producing the illusion that both exist in the same scenario).
Again, which stage magician used this? How did it work so audiences at both the left and right sides of the stage were fooled? Matte photography works only from a single POV in space.

The only processes unique to the film industry were Double Exposures (invented long before motion pictures), and Animation.

And wipes, and dissolves, and speeding up and slowing down and reversing time, and "bullet time" (freezing time and moving the POV, as seen in The Matrix), and painting individual frames (to remove wires and such).

Editing is not strictly a “camera trick”, unless one simply stops filming and then recommences after the scene has been altered.
You just described one of the first movie special effects, as used by Méliès in 1896. It was something that he could not have done on stage.

Film Processing is yet another matter. Advances in this part of the industry have largely to do with Optical Printing, which more or less made it easier and more efficient to do things like Superimpositions, but even this process relies heavily on the original Masking and Matte techniques (Green Screening is basically the Masking of an image, the blocking out of extraneous objects in the background. This when coupled with another strip of film, enables the processor to print them together to create the illusion that they were shot in the same circumstances).
And this "green screen" of which you speak, which magician developed it so filmmakers could take advantage of the technology?

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 5th, 2017, 5:19 pm

clearly the idea that magic is supposed
to be supernatural is nonsense. many magic effects do not ascribe themselves to supernatural causes nor do many of them achieve a phenomena that transcends into supernaturalness in effect.

BUT by your definition a spirit medium who did not tricks would be considered a magician because they are attributed to have created phenomena of a supernatural nature.

by your definition a spirit medium who used illusion to create a supernatural effect is a magician.

are they?

and tell me, is wikipedia the height of your research acumen? are they accepting that as a valid source where you went to college?

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 5th, 2017, 8:03 pm

Mr. Mullins, I have no intention of wasting my time, researching the history of stage magic for the sake of this meaningless point.

As I said, the only relevance to this thread is that magicians have always and will always avail themselves of any and all technologies in order to achieve their effects. The optical techniques we are talking about were common to virtually all forms of theatre, which would naturally include magicians. Rather than belabour your tangential scepticism, why don’t you explain what point you are trying to make? That magicians either failed or chose not to take advantage of these means? Serious!y?

I think you are merely trying to score a counterpoint in order to “save face” in this discussion.

Fades were originated by Magic Lantern technology, and were achieved by lowering and raising the light, as with superimpositions and other devices designed to make images appear and disappear, long before the exposure of film was dreamt of. The first cineasts naturally continued in this manner until they realised it could be accomplished elsewise.

Filmmakers have used the angled glass method for superimpositions (both for pictorial effects and for title sequences) from the beginning to recent times. Live television broadcasts routinely used this method as late as the 1970s.

Forced Perspective has been used in theatre as long as there have been sets and backdrops. The example you take from Citizen Kane was not an invention of Mr. Welles.

The Matte Process has been used many times on stage to create the illusion that a portion of the scene is in motion. For instance, that clouds are passing by outside a window. A matte is not an ingenious idea. It is no more sophisticated than melting the frost from the centre of your window in winter and gazing on the evergreens outside.

You mention “wipes” as if I hadn’t taken them into account. They are edits (which I briefly referred to). And a “wipe” was easily achieved in Magic Lantern shows by drawing a card across the lens.

“Dissolves” are Fades to white rather than black. They may be done with double exposure or film processing. But they had their origin in The Magic Lantern. If you read the article I linked to above, you may recall that one image was often transitioned into another by juxtaposing them. And angled glass “supers” managed this as well. I believe I have a visual aid for you.

https://www.google.com/search?q=stage+i ... t0aC--U08M:

My mention of The Green Screen was only to associate it with the Masking Process of The Magic Lantern slides, which operated on essentially the same principle.

Now, your point is what? That I am “wrong”? About magicians being savvy enough to use these techniques, or willing to compromise their artistic integrity by engaging in “unsporting” deceptions?

Please try (for my sake as well as the other readers) to harp less on my supposed errors, and more on the substance of your rant.

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

Postby Tom Stone » July 5th, 2017, 10:00 pm

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Tom Stone wrote:..."Captain Attention Junkie" is at it again. ...


What don't you like about the guy?

There's a swedish VFX group in Tumba, which is walking distance from where I live. Good guys. I've got friends who work with them.
For some reason, Captain Attention Junkie decided berate and insult them, solely because... I don't know, apparently it is bad that a VFX group does VFX work? So he used words like "disgusting" and "laughable predictable". Berated them for not getting enough views, while simultaneously seemingly hint that trying to get views is something bad. Claimed that the only reason they'd got any attention was because one of the team members was a "blond bird". And their VFX work was labeled "100% Fake", whatever that means. And then he proceeded to pick apart one of their VFX clips, with a condescending voice and insults to their craftsmanship, basically calling their work "mediocre"...
...Ironically enough, none of Captain Attention Junkie's videos have got over a million views, except for this one that have two million views... while the original he is leaching off have 6 million views... So, one would think that a guy who is unable to produce original content would be grateful to those whose work he parasites off, but that's not how things work.
The Tumba guys was taken aback by the vitriolic attention, but then did a follow-up where they, at 0:22, make a 'homage' to Attention Junkie:


...all while an actual professor in VFX says she loves their work, and that she applauds the efforts made...
https://youtu.be/Pl9RoAFixmY?t=34

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 6th, 2017, 10:53 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:Mr. Mullins, I have no intention of wasting my time, researching the history of stage magic for the sake of this meaningless point.

As I said, the only relevance to this thread is that magicians have always and will always avail themselves of any and all technologies in order to achieve their effects. The optical techniques we are talking about were common to virtually all forms of theatre, which would naturally include magicians. Rather than belabour your tangential scepticism, why don’t you explain what point you are trying to make? That magicians either failed or chose not to take advantage of these means? Serious!y?

I think you are merely trying to score a counterpoint in order to “save face” in this discussion.

Fades were originated by Magic Lantern technology, and were achieved by lowering and raising the light, as with superimpositions and other devices designed to make images appear and disappear, long before the exposure of film was dreamt of. The first cineasts naturally continued in this manner until they realised it could be accomplished elsewise.

Filmmakers have used the angled glass method for superimpositions (both for pictorial effects and for title sequences) from the beginning to recent times. Live television broadcasts routinely used this method as late as the 1970s.

Forced Perspective has been used in theatre as long as there have been sets and backdrops. The example you take from Citizen Kane was not an invention of Mr. Welles.

The Matte Process has been used many times on stage to create the illusion that a portion of the scene is in motion. For instance, that clouds are passing by outside a window. A matte is not an ingenious idea. It is no more sophisticated than melting the frost from the centre of your window in winter and gazing on the evergreens outside.

You mention “wipes” as if I hadn’t taken them into account. They are edits (which I briefly referred to). And a “wipe” was easily achieved in Magic Lantern shows by drawing a card across the lens.

“Dissolves” are Fades to white rather than black. They may be done with double exposure or film processing. But they had their origin in The Magic Lantern. If you read the article I linked to above, you may recall that one image was often transitioned into another by juxtaposing them. And angled glass “supers” managed this as well. I believe I have a visual aid for you.

https://www.google.com/search?q=stage+i ... t0aC--U08M:

My mention of The Green Screen was only to associate it with the Masking Process of The Magic Lantern slides, which operated on essentially the same principle.

Now, your point is what? That I am “wrong”? About magicians being savvy enough to use these techniques, or willing to compromise their artistic integrity by engaging in “unsporting” deceptions?

Please try (for my sake as well as the other readers) to harp less on my supposed errors, and more on the substance of your rant.


you're again assuming that simply because these processes exist that they are 1) used by magicians or are 2) considered to be magic (i.e. produce a magic experience for the audience). these assumptions are as baseless as when you first assumed them

second you claim that magicians will use any technology to create their magic. except history shows they don't. many magicians proudly eschew certain techniques - even sometimes to their detriment. ever hear the phrase 'purist'? well, if you read more magic books and not just online articles you would have. many magicians proudly renounce gaffs and media manipulation. so to say that magicians always have done anything is again nonsense.

finally you miss the big point. the difference between using a projection as part of a live magic trick and camera tricks is that in the first case the magician is creating an experience that actually existed. the illusion is an illusion but the illusion actually existed to be seen and witnessed by humans. in tne case of media manipulation you are creating a performance that never existed. and that is a critical difference

you won't understand that because you have an incomplete and misguided understanding of what magic is

but that's ok.

you'll start performing someday and when you grow up you may start to understand

until then, spend more time listening and less time talking.

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

Postby lybrary » July 6th, 2017, 6:12 pm

For the most part this discussion is beyond me. Call me ignorant. I look at magic in much simpler terms. But I spotted two things I can comment on. Particularly the second one will confuse some, so that will be fun :-)
Brad Henderson wrote:second you claim that magicians will use any technology to create their magic. except history shows they don't. many magicians proudly eschew certain techniques - even sometimes to their detriment. ever hear the phrase 'purist'? well, if you read more magic books and not just online articles you would have. many magicians proudly renounce gaffs and media manipulation. so to say that magicians always have done anything is again nonsense.

Obviously not every magician uses every method. It would be silly to suggest otherwise. But when we talk about magic as a whole we are not talking about anyone in particular. It is therefore inconsequential if there are some who are purists who never make use of any technology whatsoever. They are merely a subset of what is considered magic.

Brad Henderson wrote:finally you miss the big point. the difference between using a projection as part of a live magic trick and camera tricks is that in the first case the magician is creating an experience that actually existed. the illusion is an illusion but the illusion actually existed to be seen and witnessed by humans. in tne case of media manipulation you are creating a performance that never existed. and that is a critical difference

I call this Wasshuber's illusion in honor of my compatriot's Schroedinger's cat: Say a magician performs an illusion that nobody watches (happens often when I perform). Did the illusion exist? Nobody experienced the illusion. So the illusion cannot exist. Or can it? The magician still performed it. This is quantum mechanics for magicians :-)
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Re: Will Tsai - Youtube Responds on ethics of VFX ;-)

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 6th, 2017, 7:40 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:
jkeyes1000 wrote:Mr. Mullins, I have no intention of wasting my time, researching the history of stage magic for the sake of this meaningless point.

As I said, the only relevance to this thread is that magicians have always and will always avail themselves of any and all technologies in order to achieve their effects. The optical techniques we are talking about were common to virtually all forms of theatre, which would naturally include magicians. Rather than belabour your tangential scepticism, why don’t you explain what point you are trying to make? That magicians either failed or chose not to take advantage of these means? Serious!y?

I think you are merely trying to score a counterpoint in order to “save face” in this discussion.

Fades were originated by Magic Lantern technology, and were achieved by lowering and raising the light, as with superimpositions and other devices designed to make images appear and disappear, long before the exposure of film was dreamt of. The first cineasts naturally continued in this manner until they realised it could be accomplished elsewise.

Filmmakers have used the angled glass method for superimpositions (both for pictorial effects and for title sequences) from the beginning to recent times. Live television broadcasts routinely used this method as late as the 1970s.

Forced Perspective has been used in theatre as long as there have been sets and backdrops. The example you take from Citizen Kane was not an invention of Mr. Welles.

The Matte Process has been used many times on stage to create the illusion that a portion of the scene is in motion. For instance, that clouds are passing by outside a window. A matte is not an ingenious idea. It is no more sophisticated than melting the frost from the centre of your window in winter and gazing on the evergreens outside.

You mention “wipes” as if I hadn’t taken them into account. They are edits (which I briefly referred to). And a “wipe” was easily achieved in Magic Lantern shows by drawing a card across the lens.

“Dissolves” are Fades to white rather than black. They may be done with double exposure or film processing. But they had their origin in The Magic Lantern. If you read the article I linked to above, you may recall that one image was often transitioned into another by juxtaposing them. And angled glass “supers” managed this as well. I believe I have a visual aid for you.

https://www.google.com/search?q=stage+i ... t0aC--U08M:

My mention of The Green Screen was only to associate it with the Masking Process of The Magic Lantern slides, which operated on essentially the same principle.

Now, your point is what? That I am “wrong”? About magicians being savvy enough to use these techniques, or willing to compromise their artistic integrity by engaging in “unsporting” deceptions?

Please try (for my sake as well as the other readers) to harp less on my supposed errors, and more on the substance of your rant.


you're again assuming that simply because these processes exist that they are 1) used by magicians or are 2) considered to be magic (i.e. produce a magic experience for the audience). these assumptions are as baseless as when you first assumed them

second you claim that magicians will use any technology to create their magic. except history shows they don't. many magicians proudly eschew certain techniques - even sometimes to their detriment. ever hear the phrase 'purist'? well, if you read more magic books and not just online articles you would have. many magicians proudly renounce gaffs and media manipulation. so to say that magicians always have done anything is again nonsense.

finally you miss the big point. the difference between using a projection as part of a live magic trick and camera tricks is that in the first case the magician is creating an experience that actually existed. the illusion is an illusion but the illusion actually existed to be seen and witnessed by humans. in tne case of media manipulation you are creating a performance that never existed. and that is a critical difference

you won't understand that because you have an incomplete and misguided understanding of what magic is

but that's ok.

you'll start performing someday and when you grow up you may start to understand

until then, spend more time listening and less time talking.


Mr. Henderson: for all I know, you might be a half decent magician, but you are, without question, a pitiable excuse for a logician.

As our fellow, Mr. “lybrary” rightly points out, the fact that some magicians didn’t use these methods in no way compromises my statement. All I am saying is that amongst magicians in general, all possible means of achieving an effect will be considered, and the most practical and efficient of these will be adopted. In other words, the easiest and most effective.

Have you ever tried to invent a trick, Mr. Henderson? I trust most of us in this forum have given it a go. One thing that we discover is how hard it is to come up with something original. And do you know why that is? Because there is scarcely anything new under the sun.

If you invent a brilliant routine that you have never seen the like of, someone is bound to tell you that a Mr. So-and-so devised it, circa 1898.

How does that jibe with your belief that magicians tend to eschew certain methods?

And here is another point. These effects that we are talking about are stage effects, very much like the typical contraptions that magicians have always used. Practical gimmicks that were used to create illusions before a live audience. What ethical objection would anyone have to using them? Why in the world would they not?

Superimpositions on angled panes of glass; fades and dissolves on same to make things appear and disappear; mattes (panes of glass with paintings or other designs on them, with transparent portions through which other objects or images may be seen to appear and disappear) etc.

Please tell the class what you find so abominable about these things. And why you think all the other magicians throughout history did too.

My point here is that these effects are not exclusively film effects. They just happened to have been filmed, the same way someone might film you pulling a rabbit out of a box that you showed “empty” by means of an a angled mirror.

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

Postby Roger M. » July 6th, 2017, 8:39 pm

jkeyes1000, you've really got to first get a better handle on who it is you're arguing your point with before you start going punch to punch with them! ;)

(unless you just enjoy arguing ... something for which I have personal sympathy, as it's a character flaw of my own).

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 6th, 2017, 10:41 pm

chris,

a better way of putting it is that a painting of a pipe is not a pipe. a film of a magic trick is not a magic trick. it is a film of a magic trick.

while we can capture the essence of the magic on film, we are indeed capturing something. the media magician captures nothing but creates the magic trick by manipulating the media. it is the illusion that was never seen.

a film of a magic show is first and foremost a film. the content is the magic show. that's a critical distinction. one that jkeyes cannot wrap his bearded little head around.

and yes jkeyes, i do know something about creating original magic experiences for audiences. you may have read about my work in wired magazine or the new york times. i don't usually brag about it, but now seemed as good a time as any.

i also know that there are many new things under the sun. that your experience and knowledge don't allow you to see that speaks volumes.

i think the proof of objection to manipulating the media throughout history is pretty obvious - from the fact that most magicians throughout history eschewed doing so. and for good reason. tney knew that the screen diluted the magic if for no other reason than the audience would simply believe what you had done was a camera trick. if you knew the history of magic you would know that the history of magic on tv is in large part the history of over coming this dilution and the battle against the accusation of camera tricks.

THAT'S (in part) why they eschewed those techniques - because they could think further down the road than just the immediate moment.

you should try that sometime.

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

Postby Bill Mullins » July 7th, 2017, 1:29 am

jkeyes1000 wrote:As I said, the only relevance to this thread is that magicians have always and will always avail themselves of any and all technologies in order to achieve their effects. The optical techniques we are talking about were common to virtually all forms of theatre, which would naturally include magicians. Rather than belabour your tangential scepticism, why don’t you explain what point you are trying to make?


The thing that you said that I have been responding to was that movie magic came from stage magic. I think you are wrong on this. (I think you are wrong about other things as well, but I'll let Brad work with you on those.) I gave numerous examples of movie SFX technologies that did not come from stage magic. You responded by either ignoring the examples, moving the goal posts, asserting that magicians did things for which you offer no evidence, or by saying that a basic technique of stage craft (such as raising/lowering lights) is the same thing as its vastly more complicated technical descendant in the film world (fade to black in movies). (Yes, lowering lights may have inspired the fade to black, but they are not the same thing, and what filmmakers did to accomplish the effect was much more complicated, and depended on technologies that had to be invented by filmmakers before it could happen). You've said that stage backdrops are examples of forced perspective and that border paintings on glass slides as used in magic lanterns are the same as matte photography in movies. Bill Taylor, ASC, is a magician who has a career in SFX photography (he's been awarded an Emmy and an Oscar for his matte photography work). You should be so lucky as to see someday just how complicated what he has done is, how much craft is demanded, and strong the illusion he creates is. You belittle the work of artists like him when you say "it's just painting on glass".

Comments like these, your misunderstanding of how fades are created, your statement that a wipe is done is done by drawing a card across the lens (laws of optics won't let it be done that way; it has to be drawn in the focal plane to be effective), all show that you really don't know what you are talking about.

If you want to prove me wrong, put some facts in your arguments. Tell me the magician and the effect. Link to a video. Quote from a description of an act by someone who saw it. Don't just say "stage magicians did this" (or even worse, "stage magicians must have done this").

I think you are merely trying to score a counterpoint in order to “save face” in this discussion.


Wow, you really are coming at this blindly. I've been saying stuff on this board without regard to "face" for 16 years.

Now, your point is what? That I am “wrong”?


The first correct thing you've said in this discussion.

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

Postby MagicbyAlfred » July 7th, 2017, 1:33 am

Lybrary Wrote: "Say a magician performs an illusion that nobody watches (happens often when I perform). Did the illusion exist? Nobody experienced the illusion. So the illusion cannot exist. Or can it? The magician still performed it. This is quantum mechanics for magicians..."

Strikes me as similar to the old conundrum, "If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound?"

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 7th, 2017, 7:49 am

Brad Henderson wrote:chris,

a better way of putting it is that a painting of a pipe is not a pipe. a film of a magic trick is not a magic trick. it is a film of a magic trick.

while we can capture the essence of the magic on film, we are indeed capturing something. the media magician captures nothing but creates the magic trick by manipulating the media. it is the illusion that was never seen.

a film of a magic show is first and foremost a film. the content is the magic show. that's a critical distinction. one that jkeyes cannot wrap his bearded little head around.

and yes jkeyes, i do know something about creating original magic experiences for audiences. you may have read about my work in wired magazine or the new york times. i don't usually brag about it, but now seemed as good a time as any.

i also know that there are many new things under the sun. that your experience and knowledge don't allow you to see that speaks volumes.

i think the proof of objection to manipulating the media throughout history is pretty obvious - from the fact that most magicians throughout history eschewed doing so. and for good reason. tney knew that the screen diluted the magic if for no other reason than the audience would simply believe what you had done was a camera trick. if you knew the history of magic you would know that the history of magic on tv is in large part the history of over coming this dilution and the battle against the accusation of camera tricks.

THAT'S (in part) why they eschewed those techniques - because they could think further down the road than just the immediate moment.

you should try that sometime.



Mr. Henderson, you have all the persuasive power of a moderately articulate baboon intoning that an mp3 of Whitney Houston singing “You Give Good Love” is not music. Or that Marlon Brando’s performance in the film version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” does not constitute acting. For that matter, that our exchange in this forum is not a real debate because it is just a bunch of computer generated pixels. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, your philosophy would succeed only in arguing yourself out of existence.

As you have illustrated for us with your pasting of the definition of magic according to Webster, there are numerous alternate meanings, the one we are interested in being but a subdivision of the general.

And the live performance of illusions is a subdivision of The Entertainment Industry, which comprises recorded music, film and video, amongst other formats.

Long ago, live entertainment was the sum total of public entertainment. But recorded versions of live performances are now prevalent. They reach far greater audiences, which begs the question: Is filmed magic a subsidiary of live magic, or is it the other way round? Despite its noble tradition, live theatre lies in the shadows of film, television and The Internet. As regrettable as this may be, you can not very well claim that THE PROPER DEFINITION of “magic” is strictly a performance art.

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

Postby Brad Henderson » July 7th, 2017, 9:25 am

again, you attempt to tell me what i think instead of asking me. you do that a lot. you say magicians in the past did something and yet have nothing to back it up

this is not a matter of taste. this isn't 'i don't like rap so rap isn't music'. this is a matter of address what an art is and what it does.

but you reveal your problem here - one which we pointed out to you too long ago: your brush is too wide.

simply becaue an illusion is produced does not deem the act of creating that illusion 'magic', specifically an example
of magic as a performance art.

likewise, just because deception is employed does not deem that act magic or an example of magic as a performance art

as bill pointed out with film, the intent, method, and effect/affect of their applications of these techniques are different than those of the magician.

those are important to consider.

i peeked at some of your older posts. found the card trick you 'invented'. the change is a poorly conceived bastardization of one in expert at the card table and your presentation is a verbose version of a hackneyed plot. i say that not to be insulting (the trick was insulting enough by virtue of its own existence) but to point out that you really lack the historical depth to be having this discussion. i'm glad you are. it's an opportunity for you to learn. sadly you don't seem interested in doing so

so i ask, why do you continue?

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

Postby jkeyes1000 » July 7th, 2017, 11:08 am

Brad Henderson wrote:again, you attempt to tell me what i think instead of asking me. you do that a lot. you say magicians in the past did something and yet have nothing to back it up

this is not a matter of taste. this isn't 'i don't like rap so rap isn't music'. this is a matter of address what an art is and what it does.

but you reveal your problem here - one which we pointed out to you too long ago: your brush is too wide.

simply becaue an illusion is produced does not deem the act of creating that illusion 'magic', specifically an example
of magic as a performance art.

likewise, just because deception is employed does not deem that act magic or an example of magic as a performance art

as bill pointed out with film, the intent, method, and effect/affect of their applications of these techniques are different than those of the magician.

those are important to consider.

i peeked at some of your older posts. found the card trick you 'invented'. the change is a poorly conceived bastardization of one in expert at the card table and your presentation is a verbose version of a hackneyed plot. i say that not to be insulting (the trick was insulting enough by virtue of its own existence) but to point out that you really lack the historical depth to be having this discussion. i'm glad you are. it's an opportunity for you to learn. sadly you don't seem interested in doing so

so i ask, why do you continue?


Once more, your grasp of logic and good sense is woeful. With a bit of di!igence, I am sure that I could find examples supporting my contention that some magicians, at some point in history, used all of the methods I mentioned. I do know enough about the field of magic to recognise principles common to both stage and screen illusions, whether or not I can recall names and dates off the top of my head.

You however, are ASSERTING THE NEGATIVE, defying me to find one such example (I have already linked to a few), suggesting that you are conversant enough with history to assure me that all magicians everywhere throughout the ages have thumbed their noses at such techniques. Now that would take some doing to back up. Good thing I’m not asking you to.

You fault me for guessing what you are thinking. As if you hadn’t started that, and haven’t riddled every comment with such presumptuousness yourself.

Am I wrong in supposing that you think you are spared the trouble of proving your point so long as you persist in questioning mine?

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

Postby MaxNY » July 7th, 2017, 12:05 pm

Craig Thanks for Posting this. I think I got lost many threads ago. If I was to throw a magic convention I would hire these two Forumsters, set up a boxing ring, with a $500 purse, each guy gets two minutes, 13 rounds, audience determines the winner. The silver faced moderator is very knowledgeable, and his video is highly edited, and super smooth.

As I have posted here before, I have 30 years working in NYC Post-Production, and also perform about 60-80 shows a year. The only time I regret the edited "Magic" videos, are when I have friends that send me stuff, with a "Have you seen this?" message. I should respond from now on forwarding the Benny Hill segment where he does magic, with a reply "How about this?"

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

Postby Jonathan Townsend » July 7th, 2017, 1:32 pm

How did this come from Brad's comment that he wished we'd have a craft category for media-based performances?
Brad Henderson wrote: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


Is this position controversial?
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