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Regular user
Sydney, Australia
156 Posts

Profile of dreidy
I work on a weekly variety show (I'm the technical director and on the management team) for community television. Well after a year of trying I've finally got our weekly comedian spot swapped to a weekly magician spot. The first show of the new season is next week. So, having finally got what I wanted, I began thinking, is there anything special we're going to need to do for the performers?

We'll use a three camera set up, long shot, mid shot and hand held for closeup. Other than camera placement, have any of you who've had experience on TV found anything that was a particular help or hinderance to you doing your best?


PS If you're in Sydney and want to catch the show, Channel 31 11pm Fridays - ChaosTV.
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Inner circle
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1565 Posts

Profile of Thoughtreader
You want the magician to go over exactly what they are doing with the camera crew and the director. If possible, run through it WITH the cameras on to ensure that the actions are best covered and the "methods" are not caught on tape. After all it is in everyones best interest to ensure the magician looks their best and by running through it earlier, there are no surprises in store because of a particular camera shot, no thread showing, etc...

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
AB StageCraft
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
1185 Posts

Profile of ufo
Well for one thing...let your performers know that you know and love magic too! That will take an enourmous edge off and help the creative process go places it simply cannot when the guard walls are up the entire time. Good luck!

"What's your drug?" she asked. "Hope" he said, "The most addicting one of all."
Liam Jones
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Veteran user
384 Posts

Profile of Liam Jones
If your producing effects and have an Apple / Mac computer available use final cut pro and bluescreen the video.
Nathan J. Roberts
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New user
38 Posts

Profile of Nathan J. Roberts
In doing TV, live being the scariest, I ALWAYS let the producer in on the method/secret. He/she always works to get THE best shots. They want it to look magical too. If I were coming on your show, that's all that I would require, if I'm ever in Sydney, I'll let you know. Hard to get there from the states though. Go Tommy Emmanuel.
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Inner circle
London UK
1682 Posts

Profile of Partizan
You don't disclose fully. The magician should come with a friend or manager who will know the camera angles for your routine.
All the director needs is positions of you in various parts of your act. what close-ups are required and other stuff is done by the various heads of sections.
You need to provide things like. I get this rope from here, I show it here and here. I cut it here, and restore it here. You should get a warm-up in most places, where you can view your performance and check angles.
Remember, You (magician) are doing them a favour, they need stuff to fill schedules with. Don't compromise your act for a pushy director.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
- Mark Twain
James Watkins
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Elite user
412 Posts

Profile of James Watkins
Just get as much as possible worked out with the camera crew so there is no confusion. (You would not believe the things that go wrong!) I remember once I was doing a routine on television, a palm was involved and at the moment of the palm, the camera behind me was switched on, and it was exposed! Good thing there was a monitor and I saw this, so I was able to get back into it by making a joke of it. Just make sure you have everything with the cameras down pat.

Keep it real,
James Watkins
Dr.Maya Baalaamurugaan
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Regular user
163 Posts

Profile of Dr.Maya Baalaamurugaan
Decide whether it is the crew you want to impress or the TV audience. If it's the latter, just get the crew to work "with" you instead for you by telling them how it works and how it should appear on TV. Good luck.
David Charvet
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Special user
501 Posts

Profile of David Charvet
A bit of advice from one who has produced over 300 television commercials and several weekly TV shows (non-magic) over the past 20 years:

I assume your show will be taped and not live.
If so, don't be afraid to do alternate takes and spend some time in post-production to clean everything up for the home audience (which is all that matters.)
PM me if you'd like to discuss.

Regards -
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20507 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
Congratulations David! You will need to unlearn some things and learn others.

1. TV differs from a live show mostly because of the limitations/benefits of focus.

2. You no longer have the whole stage to cover all the time.

3. The zoom lens often misses what is effective misdirection in a live show.

4. The zoom lens often removes the need for misdirection. (The frame is too small to catch the motion!)

5. You can't use the expressions on your audiences' faces to help you with timing.

6. The intensity of your facial expressions are much more visible to your audience.

7. If it is on tape, you can start over. (Whew!)

8. If you don't finish on time, they can fix that!

9. Costumes, hands and grooming get a much closer look by the audience.


#10. When you go back to the real world of live performance, remember that TV is cinema and live performance is theater!

Good Luck!

Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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