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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricks & Effects » » Review: Floating Card Trick (Leon Mjolnir) (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Ekuth
Product Description: Floating Card Trick
Product Creator: Leon Mjolnir

Product Link:
Product Price: $15.00

Product Price Point Value: 4 out of 5
Company Rating: 4 out of 5


For those of you who actually read my reviews, you know two things:

I'm selective and I'm brutally honest. If it's crap, I'm going to say so.
I also only review products I think *worth* reviewing.

At first blush, I wasn't quite certain that this video didn't fall into the latter category.

I was wrong.

A bit of background before we dig in, so you know where I'm coming from. I don't frequent the Café all the time- performing, life, ect intervene. But I do keep my finger on the 'pulse' if you will, of my areas of interest.

IT work is obviously one of them.

This product came out of the blue for me, so read the following review with the understanding that until a week ago, I hadn't even *heard* of the existence of this video. I haven't read any buzz, I haven't read any other reviews. I haven't had the time.

So what's the upshot? You're getting a completely fresh, unbiased review.

Which I strive to give anyway, but at least you can be sure these are *my* opinions and that they haven't been influenced by... well, anyone.

So, away we go.

First, let me say that if you're put off by the title- don't pass this by.
Yes, the spinning card/hummer card/whirlybird/helicopter/ufo card is THE basic standard IT effect. We've all seen it. Laypeople have seen it. Yawn, right?


With IT work, I've observed time and again that magicians fall into two categories. First, there are those who are attracted by the 'flash and sizzle' of IT. They pick up a kit/effect, play with it for a while, break thread, get frustrated and in the drawer it goes. Second, there are those who giggle like children upon learning about IT, and it becomes an obsession. These are the ones willing to put in the practice to make IT work properly.

Leon is obviously in the latter category. He states that he's been doing magic for over 20 years, and you know what? I believe him, because it shows. Oh, not in the patter, the smooth tones... it's in the confidence and effortless way he handles the cards. He's put the time in and he's earned his chops.

So much so that I wondered at times if I wasn't seeing the birth of a new subdivision of XCM.

Leon makes the spinning card cool again.


First, the video is available by download only. The pricepoint is fair, given the information you're getting.
Service was good, with no hiccups in the online order or download process.
The website is scarce, but to be honest I count that as a good thing. I despise fluff for fluff's sake, especially on product sites. So kudos for keeping it simple and easy.

The video is shot in a bar (obviously before or after closing) and gives a warm, casual feel.
Video quality/definition is good, lighting is even throughout. There's no jump cuts, fancy titles or effects here. Just simple vid.

Audio is where this suffers at times.
I'm fairly certain a boom mike was used to record the audio, and it shows from fade/bad audio positioning in at least two points on the video. A slight hum is easily ignorable, less so the echo that is apparent from time to time.

Leon himself keeps it simple, with just his smile, welcoming face and dapper mustache.
On a personal note, my mind kept wanting him to be dressed in Steampunk/Victorian clothes- it was mentally jarring to marry the Max Maven/Steve Jobs All In Black(tm) look to the warmth of Leon's presence. But, this is purely aesthetics and to each his own.

The Meat and Potatoes:

I'm going to get the negatives out of the way:

The video reminds me of a hodge podge of information that was put into a bag and shaken, leaving us random offerings with no real connective thread (no pun intended) at times.

That's not to say that there isn't gold worth mining for here, people. There is.

The main trouble is that there's really no 'structure' to the vid in places. One off effects are interspersed between explanations of moves and it just seems jarring. A good menu with a skip to chapter feature would be of vast help here, because you're going to want to go back and practice these moves.

The other thing crying for attention would be the implementation of a 'superpractice' type video ala the L&L titles, showing a close up of the hands and the technique/effect. Placing these after the explanation sections would eliminate much of the repetition in the early parts of the video and help to streamline the video for those of us familiar with IT and what to do with it.

"But Ekuth," you whine, "not everybody knows IT and the basics. What if this is the first product they get?"

Fear not, Leon has you covered, neophytes.

The first part of the video goes over the basics of IT, wax and stripping thread.
Leon offers us a good example of a small portable IT kit, and a very clever thread dispenser style device, using a common office product, that reminds me strongly of Joejoe's Webspinner in function, if not form.

He gives a good solid explanation of the basics. Nothing new to those of us who know IT work, but a good summation nonetheless.

We then move on to the "Speed Hookup" which is essentially a LeClair variant- but a clever one. I'll admit that I had not seen this technique for anchoring used before... waxless anchoring to the body? Yup. And there are clear advantages to Leon's method.

This is where the repetition starts to rear it's head and the need for the 'superpractice' bits would be so useful. To Leon's credit, he demonstrates everything using the standard white thread approach and then gives a demonstration with IT. This is a fairly standard technique in IT vids now, but I still feel that the repetition drags down the pace and could prove... well, boring to some. Once with the white thread is enough, and then a 'superpractice' vid sans (without) vocal component to review the lesson. Neat, simple, saves everyone time.

And that's the last time I'll mention it.

Second Hookup:

It's refreshing to see *someone* using long string theory. This technique is clever, as it allows for backup length for breakage, and sets you up for later effects. Leon gives a good 'out' for breakage here.

The Spins:

Rather than cover these individually, I'll go over the salient points.

Traditional Spin- we all know this one. But do you know what and where the 'catching zone' is?
Snap Spin- An alternate and more showy method of starting the card spinning.
Kick Spin- For a controlled, close quarters spin.
Vertical Spin- a unique spin for camera and very close work.
Deck Spin- Spinning a card from the top of the deck!

Wax Tips:

Tips on how to surreptitiously anchor the wax and how to end clean.
There are some really good practical workers tips here. Don't overlook this section.

The Moves:

Hand to Hand Tossing- The finer points on hand to hand floats.
Around the Body (v.1)- tips and technique for the around the body float. Not as easy as it seems!
Around the Body (v.2)- further practical tips on pulling off the around the body float.
Around the Body (deck spin)- Combining the deck spin with the around the body float.
Vertical Around the Body- Around the body vertical float. Yes, vertical. Advanced.
Basic Hoop- Techniques for creating 'provers' using your arms and fingers.
Figure 8 Hoop- Make the card circle both your arms, individually!
Vertical Hoop- Hooping on the vertical!
Up and Over- Very nice flourish type move.
Thumb Spin- Using the Z grip concept to create a visual impossibility.

Combining various moves, matching the flow of various moves to create a routine.

Utilizing the fine points of centrifugal force to smooth your spins.

Thread Tension:
The importance of thread tension and learning to 'listen' to your thread.

Around the Body Tips:
Advanced tips and refinements for the around the body spin.

Around the Body Recovery:
What to do when the card *doesn't* go all the way around you...

Card Fall:
Nice flourish float

Floating to Hand:
How to bring your cards to you. The impact of thread length and why changing it during performance is important.

PK Pen:
A classic that instantly resets.

Double Floating Card:
Honestly- THIS should have been the title of the video and the main sell point.

They might have seen one... but two? You know you've thought about it, and if your IT work isn't complex enough... try this advanced thread work. Also: Untangling your tangles the easy way.

Around the Body to Double Card:
Transition idea for ATB to DC

Haunted Deck:
Teaches the classic Haunted Deck routine. Nothing new, but a good presentational tidbit, though.

Cap and Glass:

THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the real hidden gem of the DVD/download.

A fantastic routine for close up or walk around.
Gutsy, bold and clever, this multistage routine with the magic up close and personal.

The routine as is builds well, but I would personally stop just short of the final stage and call it done... but nonetheless a brilliantly simple and seemingly impossible routine.

Closing thoughts:

Some personal background, thoughts on IT work, and the power of magic.

Final Thoughts:

Leon has done what magicians are supposed to do:

Take one effect and make it your own.

Don't copy, don't steal... innovate and create.
To make it even more impressive, he's taken a (relatively) old and common IT effect and raised it to a new level.

You may be tempted to overlook this video based off the simplicity and re-review of familiar concepts, but you would be missing some real gems offered by a magician who knows his subject and has the experience to back it up.

Yes, it's a bit rough. This isn't Penguin or Ellusionist... but it's part of a growing trend of magicians who are moving away from the major companies and releasing on their own. For my part, I find it refreshing and a warning sign to those mega-corps.

Yes, it's subject matter that has been trod before; but like building a house, you need to know how to lay a proper foundation before you can erect a gable roof.

What Leon brings to the table that is new is experience, creativity and passion. These deserve to be rewarded.

If just for the Double Card Spin, you should buy this video.
Personally, I'd pay the $15 just for the Cap and Glass routine alone. It's that clever.

"All you need is in Fitzkee."
Dominic Reyes
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Inner circle
Got to a gig too early so wrote his
1429 Posts

Profile of Dominic Reyes
Great review!

I was delighted when Leon first showed this to me, as there's several tips in this that can make a huge difference to anyone who's played with IT but found it too tricky.
From the feedback I've had so far, it seems to be getting a lot of magicians to jump back in and finally add this to their working sets.

Great job Leon

Leon's floating card is available to download or stream at Merchant of Magic

Hope this helps
Michael J
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Veteran user
334 Posts

Profile of Michael J
Hi Ekuth,

Thanks very much for the excellent review of Leon's floating card trick.

I downloaded this 2 weeks ago and was extremely blown away with the download. Your review has covered all the wonderful things that you can do with the floating card and as you say much more.

i also was fascinated by the Cap and Glass effect which I consider to be one of the highlights of the download. I'm working on that already.

All the best

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