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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Time after time » » Practicing in front of a mirror vs. video recorder (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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HusssKarson
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Use cam. You won't be looking for lens when you perform for real
ferrari
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I start out practicing a trick with a mirror first and then work with a camcorder
Bill Palmer
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Use three camcorders -- one at the front and one at each side. Back them off, and use telephoto.

Also, use a lot of light. This will help you put more info on the video.
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alibaba
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I do a fair bit of mirror practice, but I've realized that angles can be a problem when you're standing at a mirror. You are, essentially, looking down at your own hands. Often when I perform, I'm standing and the specs are sitting down and from their perspective some of my moves (i.e., the DL's in the ACR) were betrayed by the angles. When I started using video, I positioned the camera at the eye-level of a seated spectator and things started getting better. I learned to lower the pack to a 30-40 degree angle. The angles issue was especially pronounced for moves such as the Tenkai palm, which are very VERY angle-sensitive.
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courtmagician
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I prefer video cameras over mirrors, just picked up a new HD one, but I can also use my digital still camera for video as well if I wanted a mult-camera set-up (plus an older tape one, and I have an older digital still that takes video if I really wanted to get extreme).

The only thing I find I do is that I turn the view screen towards me so I can make sure my hands are in frame so I sometimes have a tendency to look up at it to make sure I'm still in frame. The more I do it, the less I look up though - but unlike a mirror, you don't actually have to look at anything but your hands or your "audience".

I like Aaron's idea, but the problem is that usually the quality on a webcam is low and unless you have a fast computer, it's very jerky.
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George Ledo
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I said this elsewhere, but I think if I were performing nowadays, I'd invest in one of those inexpensive multi-camera security systems with a split-screen monitor. Say four cameras, one in front and two on the sides, and the fourth one farther back. I would ignore the cameras when I'm "performing" and just play the recordings back after each session.
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Yellowcustard
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I recorde and viwe back my routines just on my camera. Its good to watch with the sound down or only listen to the sound. Once I have a routine flying I recorde it and keep it. It comes in handy if I am doing a routine I have not done for a while. I feel that from mirror and camera practice I learn a lot. Yet compared to what I learn doing it for real it little.
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rjones683
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I believe that for me a camera is the way to go. But each has his/her own method. With a camera you can share the performance for others to review.
rlmiller007
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You can buy a mirror with a hole in it that the video can be shot through. try porter's camera store.
StJohn
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Also you can live feed the camera to a monitor. Put this right next to the camera and you can see what it sees live.
Even a webcam on a laptop will do.
jnrussell
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I use a camera, especially when I'm working on a brand new trick/routine. That way, if I say something brilliant (or stupid), I can remember it later. It also provides for some hilarious outtakes for private showings! LOL
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Tryllejakob
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I always start with mirrors,then I don't have to look over tons of bad recordings. I have a wardrobe with mirrors on, this give me a kind of mirror box so I can se front and to sides. When I'm happy with the mirror performace I tape with the web camera.
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Montana76
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A lot of good advice in this old thread!
What software would you use for webcam practicing?
Terrible Wizard
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Yes, good advice here.

If I could go back in time to when I first started (which wasn't that long ago, but still), I'd tell myself the importance of a good practice space.

Instead of spending money on silly tricks and not so good books/DVDs, I'd make sure I had a well lit area with table, decent close-up mat, large mirrors and a camcorder on a tripod. Would have been a better investment than some of the tat I spent money on and regretted ... Beginner magic books should have a chapter devoted to the importance of simple things like this!
bartleby
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My 9 year old is my first audience. He is still young enough to be amazed and that really helps me feel like I am performing magic. Sometimes he is the only audience I need.
somethingupmysleeve
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Interesting topic and useful advice. I have a mirror I can set opposite me on the dining room table, plus a DSLR camera with tripod for video. I sometimes find it a little awkward to watch myself back on video, but it's really useful.

I can also take a pack of cards or a gimmick on my commute into work, to practice handling (I have my own seat on a quiet train, so no risk of flashing to fellow commuters!).
SandwichMan
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I used to use the mirror A LOT.

Nowadays, I just use my parents. Smile They are extremely critical...which used to hurt my feelings when I was younger, but I don't care anymore, haha.
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Soniczjx
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I feel video recorder is pretty good and the downside is expensive as mentioned as above. I think we can use mirror to check the angle of certain sleights and using the video recorder to record the whole routine or performance to check the certain timing and gestures and misdirection.
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