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Inner circle
4299 Posts

Profile of magicgeorge
Both are very different learning tools so it's hard to say what is better. It's a bit like saying what's better a draught excluder or a mackerel?
It depends on the quality of both and how you use them.
They say a picture paints a thousand words so if a DVD shows hundres of frames per second it must be equivalent to a pretty large book.(Yeah, I know, nonsense)
I'm a big fan of books and that's how I have learned most of my stuff so far. However, on the other hand I find it easier to look at a picture of a hand on a deck to see where to put it rather than follow instructions in word: this finger here, that finger there etc. Try a bit of both and see what works best for you
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Regular user
San Francisco
126 Posts

Profile of Hernan
In my opinion, every classic magic book should have a video "study guide".
And every video should have a comprehensive book to go with it.
Books and video are both equally important.

This might make a good series of topics. Which available video's demonstrate which classic slieghts from Bobo and Royal Road, Card College, etc.
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Elite user
406 Posts

Profile of Dark
I think Hernan hit the nail on the head. One method is not better than another, they compliment each other. In the same way going to lecture for a class compliments the class text book.

For someone who doesn't have access to a mentor or other magicians(like myself), DVDs go a long long way to fill that gap.
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New user
77 Posts

Profile of kingsnqueens
On 2003-02-01 16:15, Peter Marucci wrote:
DVDs, tapes, etc. are fine for learning moves and routines -- IF you just want to "do tricks".

If you are after more depth, more background, more principles -- more "magic", in short, then books are the only -- repeat, ONLY -- way to go.

Sure, the younger crowd will go with DVDs; you will always go with what you are most familiar with.

But that doesn't make them better -- or even good!

For the first time I must disagree with Peter. Like him I've been a student, and in love with the craft & art of magic for over 50 years. There have been times that magic put dinner on the table for my family and me. It helped me pay my way through college to become a social worker.

Before I retired & moved to the farm I used magic to break the ice with new clients.
I worked many years with the homeless. I found how effective magic can be used to teach concepts to children of all ages. I even used magic while working with men, women, and young people in prison. As a teacher I know that everybody is different. Some find it harder to learn from books. Some learn better from pictures. As for myself it helps me to use both, and many times I get something from one that I didn't get from the other. A good example is Michael Ammar's Cups & Balls videos, and book. I bought them to try to learn the Vernon Wand Spin. A move that I just couldn't master. I tried to get it by the book, but no way. It only became clear to me from watching that part of the video over & over at slow speed. Now I feel like a jerk it's so simple.

I guess what I really want to say is, there has never been a better time to study magic. Today through books, videos, and DVDS (I love DVDS )You can invite the best of the best, magicians into your living room to give you private lessons. With video & DVD, the teacher can explain & show you why they make this move, look this way, or do what they do. If I say apple, most of us don't see the word APPLE, we see a picture of a round juicy piece of fruit (apple) in their mind. Alas, that's why we say "One picture is worth a thousand words". I'll use everything I can to become the best I can be as an entertainer of magic & magick.

Good learning & Good Magic! ... Manyfingers
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
3545 Posts

Profile of Turk
This is an impossible choice. Each does a different thing and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. I love having the books for indepth study and topics that are usually not taught on videos (presentation and psychology for instance).
On the downside (for books), I frequently get frustrated reading something, picking up the prop, losing my place in the book, and then trying to find my place in the book (all the while trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing with the prop at that point in time) I usually then have to back up and re-read some prior text just to get to the point where I was when I lost my place.

Also, I sometimes mis-read or mis-interpret what a performer is attempting to describe. A prime example of this is my inability to understand the instructions for illustration #3 in Jeff Pierce's "The Joining" rubberband routine. No matter how many times I read and re-read this instruction, I am unable to end up in the position shown in Illustration #3. A great routine that will be impossible for me to perform until I have someone physically demonstrate this "move" for me. This is frustrating.

On the other hand, I really appreciate videos more because I can see what the author is "getting at", I can see the ACTUAL handling, timing, misdirection and audience reaction and audience management (if the video has a live audience presentation). And, with some DVDs, you can even set the
player to repeat a specific portion of the DVD over and over again--until you "get it right". This is the next best thing to having personal live instructions.

And, Jay Sanky in his "Paper-clipped" video, does a great job of not only demonstrating the "moves", but also spending a significant amount of time explainging his handling and psychology in the effect. This can be worth more than learning the "moves", IMHO. Well done, Jay!!

Another great example of learning the elegance of an effect, and the timing and "elegant class" revelation is Scott Berry's "Ring and Ribbon" effect. Surprisingly, not a word is spoken but I was entranced watching this presentation and then the wordless "explanations". You could never have learned this "information" from Scott in a book--no matter how gifted a writer Scott might be. There just is no substitute for learning this effect correctly other than by viewing the presentation (over and over again, I might add).
The ideal is to have both--and this is what the Camirand Academy does--a lengthy book with text and explanations and handlings AND a companion video that presents all effects in the book but WITHOUT explanations. A little more expensive but well worth it. Way to go, Scott!!

On balance, since I primarily (but not exclusively) buy these items for information so I can learn to proficiently perform certain effects, my nod would have to go to the video/DVD over the book--if I had to make a choice between them.

Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
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Inner circle
Hong Kong
1954 Posts

Profile of alexhui
Turk made a good point here. He has made most of the important points clearly in his post.

Personally,I think the 'things' you study from books and videos are different. Books, as many people mentioned above, provide you the deep dicussion and details with the magic effects. This kind of information is rarely covered by average instruction tapes. Serious magicians should learn the necessary information from books.

While some supporters of instruction videos/DVD may think that books are not ideal enough for learning the moves, misdirection,and timing. Books can hardly provide you the moving picture of the effects. So videos are also important in learning, but it is the case mostly for beginner or intermediate learners. The advanced magician already has certain basics mastered (misdirection/timing). So reading books only can serve the purpose.

Books and videos/DVDs are both good. So I think it is not necessary to seperate them and place a tag on them. If either of them serve you well,just go for it.

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