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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » What is your opinion on video editing magic ? (25 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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SoyMilky
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Don't hide your head in the sand, the successful people did it, don't pretend that they are all just doing pure continuous single camera magic, that's so two thousand and late.

Chris Angel
David Blaine
Cyril

They ALL did it, they ALL use video editing, EVEN VFX POST EDITING (editing techniques that will make old OLD magicians scream, you know ? The type who wish YouTube magic never existed ? The type who are still angry that the Mask Magician did what he did even though he have single handled FORCE magic to evolve like never before ? The type who thinks YouTube Magicians are not REAL magicians ?)

So...to all your Magicians here, young and old, what is your view on Magicians who video edit the hell out of their videos in YouTube/TV/Vimeo/Vidme/WHATEVER, cutting and re-arranging sequences, removing entire parts and re-string pieces together, and then SEPARATELY Film other footages INCLUDING FALSE AUDIENCE and FALSE reaction !!! and edit it all in as though it is one continuous event to make it more magical than it actually is.

What is your opinion of these Magicians ? (Remember, your favorite modern Magician probably did it so before you rage with your purist view, check on your own heroes first).

I ask this question because this has been a battle in me for quite a while, and I settled on the fact that Magic at its CORE is DECEPTION, VFX is just the new Deception, so let's stir it in and Decep the hell out of everything ! We are all lying anyway so let's just lie till kingdom come what do you think ?
Andy Young
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I don't understand what you are really trying to get at here. Are you asking because you want to make a promo video?

When there is a lot of editing, I am less likely to purchase the item. I look for reviews and such before I buy or pass.

I also watch some magic on the internet and if it isn't entertaining I usually just stop watching it. So editing doesn't matter.

Just remember if people book you for how you edit, think of how disappointed they will be if they see you in real life.
Wizard of Oz
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If the editing or post production "retouching" is dishonest in that it does not accurately portray what one or more of the live audience members may have seen, or THINK they have seen, then it isn't magic. At least not as we define the art. It is simply trick photography.

Now, if Angel does a stunt that uses a wire for instance, that isn't seen in reality, but is picked up on camera. I have no problem with editing the wire out in post production as long as it is accurate to what was actually seen in live performance. The same with editing for artistic reasons, or pacing. But if it is blatant false editing to enhance or cover up something that would actually be seen in the real life performance, then yes, I have a problem with it. That's just technology making up for a lack of skill by the performer, or, a pitiful attempt at making an average prop or effect look good enough to sell. Either way, it's bad magic.
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RevConfused
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I guess it needs to be looked at from the perspective of the viewer. If I am watching a video as a magician looking out for a new effect or potential purchase then my expectations will be different to a punter watching a show.

If I watch an effect advert I don't want the flowery bs and thunder and lightning I want to know what I'm buying and how I can use it. A punter watching an advert for a show, however, wants to be titilated and have his fantasy mind peeked and expectations raised!

In terms of a magician using cuts, fx et al, I personally don't like it, but, then again, I don't like phone app magic either.

I guess some will enjoy it and some won't.
danaruns
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So, to take this to its logical conclusion, why do magic at all? Why not just stand before a green screen and edit in digital effects? You could do things that are much more amazing and deceptive than anything that could be done in real life, right?

I am absolutely against it. Probably because my first magic teacher was Mark Wilson. Mark was the first person to ever get a magic TV series. He had to fight for it for a long time, because TV execs were worried that the audience would believe it was done with edits and other dishonest methods. Mark had to promise that all magic would be done before a live studio audience, and that it would use one camera from beginning of the trick to the end. When he finally convinced someone to take a chance on him, he opened up TV for every other magician who followed.

You want to ruin that. To make it all fake. If audiences know it's faked, they won't watch magic on TV anymore. And it will be ruined for everyone.

You want to be fake? Get yourself a computer and some DE software, and do anything you want without ever leaving your mother's basement. And you'll be nothing more than a cheap version of what they can see in any movie. But don't call yourself a magician; call yourself a filmmaker or something.

You want to do magic? You have to be real. NOT deceptive. Magic is an agreement between performer and audience that the performer will put on a demonstration of skill that will make the impossible appear to happen. Take away the skill element, or take away the agreement between performer and audience, and all you have left is you being a fraud.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
ThSecret
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Quote:
On Mar 12, 2017, SoyMilky wrote:
So...to all your Magicians here, young and old, what is your view on Magicians who video edit the hell out of their videos in YouTube/TV/Vimeo/Vidme/WHATEVER, cutting and re-arranging sequences, removing entire parts and re-string pieces together, and then SEPARATELY Film other footages INCLUDING FALSE AUDIENCE and FALSE reaction !!! and edit it all in as though it is one continuous event to make it more magical than it actually is.


That's television for you, is it not? Most television shows are heavily scripted and edited. If not scripted to the 'T', they are Told what they can say, and along what lines to talk. Referring to the heavy editing you were talking about, I suppose layman react more to these type of post-production workings, or producers believe it helps with better ratings.

Personally, I agree wit Dana's stance, as I like authenticity and realness. There is much more to appreciate towards what you see, when you know the magician is dedicated to his/her craft, for example performing sleight of hand, or well executed card tricks. When magicians are doing promo's and come on television/news, they perform solid, classic card tricks (ambitious, card through x, card transpo.) or sleight of hand. They perform simple things so well it is amazing to watch and entertaining.

I've been watching some of Jibrizy's videos, and I love the authentic crowd reactions he gets. (Maybe because they have that early 2000's nostalgic feel to them aha.) Likewise, in shows like Penn and Teller's "Wizard Wars" they state, "There are no camera cuts or camera in what you are about to see". Watching the creativity, showmanship, and performances of the magician is GREAT... I really don't know what else to say. The creation process is entertaining, and knowing they are performing using their own mind and skills makes it that much more entertaining and appreciable.

Without making this into and Angel Vs. Blaine debate (only using them to provide an example), I am not a huge fan of the excessive post-production work of C.A. Some things he does are so unbelievable, it does not deliver that authentic experience (such as his self-transportation, from under a garbage can on concrete, to the top of a building in the blink of an eye.) On the other hand, what I do like is his stage performance. What I really, really, REALLY like about Blaine is how he almost blurs the lines between what is real and what is not. The depts at which he will go to perform a "real" stunt is amazing, and then when he actually does an illusion, you are left wondering if it was also reality? Or you question his "stunt" as being an illusion, which is also funny - To me that is really creating magic.
"A play does not take place on stage but in the minds of the spectators."
jacobsw
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As a personal choice, I prefer videos that genuinely replicate the audience experience. But that's a personal aesthetic preference rather than some universal ethical principal.

Dana, I see where you're coming from, but magic is all about creating false expectations in the audience. If I false shuffle a m*****zed deck, am I violating my agreement with the audience to use cards in a random order? If I borrow a coin from an audience member and then swap it with a gaffed one, am I violating my agreement with the audience to use a borrowed coin? Why are those implicit agreements less sacrosanct than an implicit agreement about editing or camera tricks?
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
(Remember, your favorite modern Magician probably did it so before you rage with your purist view, check on your own heroes first).


Assumptions are your enemy.

Personally I don't like videos that show an experience that cannot be replicated in real life. I think Angel lost of a credibility with laymen when it became popular opinion that everything he did was camera tricks, and then lost more when his live show was nothing like his TV appearances.

Blaine got a lot of crap for the levitation thing where he used camera edits to make the reactions seem much bigger. I think he pretty much learned his lesson after that and his more recent specials more accurately reflect what you'd see in his live performance now. Do I know for sure? Nope, I have never seen him live, but that's the feeling I get.

As others said, I don't mind cleaning up the video to accurately reflect what the live audience experiences. Cameras these days are more hi-def than our eyes are. They may catch something that a live audience will not catch. If you work all your magic to that expectation you start tweaking away from what the live experience should be anyway. So that much, I think, is fine. But unless the performer can recreate the feeling and experience of the video, I personally am not very interested.
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DaveGripenwaldt
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Dana well covered some of the objections I have to calling film making a magic performance. The best example of why that is so is the reaction of people seeing something impossible looking on video; "Must be a camera trick". People KNOW what is possible with special effects - they see it every day at the movie theater and it becomes their default explanation for the explanation of a magic effect even if it is a video of a liver performance (the inherent weakness to magic on TV, as far as I am concerned.)

That said, I am actually happy all the video-cynicism exits because live performances benefit from it. When I do an effect live and in color for someone, I look like a freaking genius in part because all the "it's just a camera trick" explanations are stripped away from the spectator. I'm sure all of you who perform for people who are not on the other side of the screen have heard comments along the line of them being more impressed with what you did for the very fact that it wasn't on TV...and it was right in front of them...and there wasn't a camera involved. In fact, that aspect is worth playing up for an audience because it makes what they see live all that much more unbelievable.
funsway
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Coming at this from a different angle based on my personal experience. An audience acts differently when they know the event is being filmed/recorded.

Some of my best magic performance experiences have resulted from the energy and mass participation of the audience, i.e. I accomplished magical things never
done or imagined before. I do not refer to the trick or method I offered, but to the reaction of the audience that contributed to the "must be magic" mystique.

This cannot be achieved under 'videotaped' conditions. Therefore, I never see in a YouTube or DVD presentation the level of magic I know is possible.
I most YouTube events I see skill demonstration and ask, "where is the magic?"

So, yes -- editing a presentation may minimize the impact of magic in the effect -- but this already minimized by the fact of it being on video.
I appreciate that a person trying to find a way of making a living today is faced by problems of audience education, focus, attention, expectations, etc. --
but why call something magic if it is not? -- whether edited or not? Will the observer ever be able to appreciate magic even if they see it live?

I think WitchDoctor is saying some of the same thing. I believe the use of video can be a fine training tool, and perhaps even help with self-evaluation, but "magic" -- maybe not.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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WitchDocChris
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I have seen videos that convey a feeling of magic. Very few people have gotten their minds around how to present video that way, though. Most try to do what Blaine did and fail, because they're copying him and not doing their own thing. But I do believe it's possible to give a truly magical experience through video.
Christopher
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ThSecret
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Witch hit on a good point, it is so important to really discover yourself, and not try to be someone else, You must be YOU.

I was watching David Copperfield's dvd, the Fire Tornado one. Although the stunt was not my favourite, the dvd was comprised of this stunt and a stage performance. DC was on a circular stage surrounded by his audience, and it was probably one of the most amazing stage performances I have ever watched. His performance was entertaining, his comedy is witty but great, and the execution of his effects were simply astonishing. All the little things he did and the stories he created, every little aspect was put together so well, and you could see this by the reactions of his audience.
"A play does not take place on stage but in the minds of the spectators."
NWJay
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I dislike any editing which alters the authentic experience an audience member has. Magic is an art, and by altering its form in any way you are fundamentally altering the art of any particular trick that is being portrayed. The editors might be creating a superficially more flashy or "exciting" moment but that's to the detriment of the effect's creator's original intention and the skill of the performer.
Mr. Woolery
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Dana nailed it. Sorry, Jacob, but deception is a tool in magic, not the point of the art. Carpentry is not merely about hammers. A blacksmith works with hammers, a politician works with deception. The point of magic isn't just fooling people, it is entertaining them.

The use of camera tricks makes for the appearance of magic, but without the belief that you would see the same thing in person, it just isn't the same thing as magic. I used to love David Copperfield's specials on TV as a kid. I still enjoy watching him on YouTube. The reason I like P&T Fool Us is that I believe I am seeing what actually happened. I actually don't care for the premise, which is that magicians try to fool magicians. However, enough of them do concentrate on showcasing their performance skills that I get to see some really good magic that way. If I suspected camera shenanigans I would not watch.

Patrick
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Mr. Woolery, I actually agree with you. I, too, prefer shows like P&T Fool Us for exactly the same reason-- I enjoy it more if I'm seeing what a live audience would see.

My disagreement with Dana is that I think it's a personal aesthetic choice. Words like "fake" and "fraud" suggest that Dana considers it an ETHICAL choice.

A magician who goes into a lab and pretends to be a genuine psychic is a fraud.

A magician who uses camera tricks on a TV special is not.
danaruns
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Quote:
On Mar 13, 2017, jacobsw wrote:
Dana, I see where you're coming from, but magic is all about creating false expectations in the audience. If I false shuffle a m*****zed deck, am I violating my agreement with the audience to use cards in a random order?


You don't have an agreement to use cards in a random order. You have an agreement that you are going to use a demonstration of skill -- SKILL -- to make it appear that you are doing the impossible. Everyone understands that you will be misrepresenting some aspect of what you say is reality. But the notion of magic is that it is your skill at play, not your video editing capabilities, which take it out of the realm of a magician performing magic, and put it in the realm of video special effects, which is an entirely different thing.

With video editing, the agreement with the audience is that the audience will suspend their disbelief. With magic, it is important that there be no suspension of disbelief, or else the magic is ruined. The audience must believe that what they are seeing is really happening, and it is the magician's unseen skill that makes it appear that the impossible occurs.

No one goes into a theater to watch The Lord Of The Rings and comes out amazed that they have seen Hobbits and Dwarfs and Dragons. This is because the audience agreement is to suspend disbelief for purposes of enjoyment of the story, and the filmmaker makes no pretense that these characters are real. In magic, it is just the opposite. We want and NEED them to be amazed at what they see, and that requires an agreement that the audience will remain strictly critical of what they see, and insist that what the magician is showing us actually exists, and that it is his/her skill that makes it only appear to be reality, when it cannot possibly be. Tricking them with skill is what they sign up for. Tricking them with video editing is not.

The proof of this is easy to see. Before showing any audience member a video, tell them up front that what they are seeing is done with video editing and special effects, not the magician's skill. They will remain unimpressed (except possibly with the technology), and will not be truly entertained or amazed by it. Tell them, instead, that it is all done with skill, and they will be fooled, amazed and highly entertained, and will have a story to tell other people. Now, with the latter, if the video really doesn't use camera tricks, then you have shown them honest magic. If instead you tell them there are no camera tricks, but there really are, you have committed a fraud. Likewise, if you allow them to believe that there are no camera tricks by failing to inform them of this very vital fact, then you are again committing fraud, this time by omission.

Yes, I suppose I do see it as an ethical issue. But I also see it as one of practicality. Your way destroys the art of magic in the long run. It's a cheap substitute for skill. It's the recourse of one who cannot perform the magic.

I guess you can tell I feel pretty strongly about this. Lol! Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
Wizard of Oz
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The honesty of our lies is that we present the extraordinary under ordinary circumstances. The unreal in reality. The moment that is doubted is when we lose credibility and the art is meaningless.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
funsway
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But I don't lie, Oz. I tell my audience I am going to demonstrate something they consider to be impossible using guile, artifice, skill and special knowledge of how science and psychology works.

What could be more honest? I don't want them saying, "You fooled me." I want them to say, "So, that is what magic would look like if it were real." --
and them meet me 30 years later and say the same thing.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Mr. Woolery
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Jacob, a magician who does his tricks with video editing is not a magician. That's where the fraud is. If you claim to be performing magic, especially if you add fake crowd reactions, you are violating viewer trust.

Dana mentioned Mark Wilson. I think he essentially created that audience trust and thus established the idea that what we see on the screen accurately shows what we would see in person. Every magician on TV counts on that trust. All magic shows on TV used to include a statement that no camera tricks were used. Since viewers accept this, to fake the magic is fraudulent.

I will likely never be a pro, but there are several people on this thread who are. They have a strong understanding of the audience trust and know why violating it will sink a performer.

Patrick
jacobsw
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The proof of this is easy to see. Before showing any audience member a video, tell them up front that what they are seeing is done with video editing and special effects, not the magician's skill. They will remain unimpressed (except possibly with the technology), and will not be truly entertained or amazed by it.


But this experiment has been tried -- and it didn't come out the way you predict!

There's a filmmaker named Zach King who makes short films that involve (in his description) "digital sleight of hand." Everybody who watches them knows that it's video editing and special effects-- but millions of people watch his videos and end up truly entertained and amazed. Indeed, he delights his audience enough that he makes his living doing this "digital sleight of hand" full time.

Just on a personal level, when I watch one of Zach's videos, I get the exact same delighted, amazed, disbelief-suspending feeling that I get when I see a great live magician. Watch this and tell me if you agree:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoAmVSJ9iqw
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