The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Murphy’s At the Table Lecture DVDs vs. Penguin LIVE Lecture Series DVDs (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Merenkov
View Profile
Elite user
407 Posts

Profile of Merenkov
I’ve noticed that Penguin sells Murphy’s At the Table Lecture DVDs for $7.46 apiece. Penguin also sells its own Penguin LIVE Lecture DVDs for $29.95 apiece. Many performers have participated in both of these lecture series. The contents of the lectures look almost identical (for the performers who have done both), and the production values look very similar (based on the clips I've seen from both series). So can anyone explain why there would be such a price discrepancy? Why would anyone pay 4x the price for a DVD of essentially the same lecture? Am I missing something?
Tim Cavendish
View Profile
Inner circle
1308 Posts

Profile of Tim Cavendish
The Dani DaOrtiz lectures at Penguin are superb. Buy them both. (If you find five you like, use the 5 for $99 deal to drop the price to $20/each.)

The Dani DaOrtiz lecture for At The Table is nearly unwatchable due to the terrible host, who won't shut up despite having nothing to say. Taking vapid questions from viewers via Skype is also a huuuuuge waste of everybody's time.
Orlan
View Profile
Loyal user
Washington
218 Posts

Profile of Orlan
I've seen a fair share of both, I'll point out a few things about them and then give my own opinion.

At The Table lectures have gone through some changes since they started, and their format has gone through iterations. They have settled in a twice a month release. They have also experimented with a small live audience, but have settled with no audience on set (staff and cameramen are sometimes used as spectators, sometimes there's also a friend or family member of the staff in studio). They also have switched hosts several times. These lectures are time constrained. The lecturer has a fixed time, and in the past they allowed some flexibility, but it looks like they decided to try to stick as closely as possible to a 2 hour format, with a few extra minutes for a last trick or a few words of wisdom. Some lectures are live, some are prerecorded. They take live questions from viewers for the live lectures. After a lectures airs live, they are often edited for content (swear words and technical glitches) and made available for download 24-48 hours after they first aired. Individual lectures of their recent new format are $7.95 each (they were more expensive before the new format), and a monthly subscription is available for $9.95- making them effectively $5 per lecture if you decide to subscribe.

Penguin Live Lectures have been around for longer, and they have also gone through some changes. They've rotated through a few hosts, but they have settled on the current host and format for some years now. These lectures are weekly. The studio is open to local magicians, so there's always a live audience in studio. There's no time restriction. Lecturers are encouraged to lecture for at least 2 hours, but can go for as long as they want to. The host encourages them to take their time and engages them when discussing the explanations. They take question from the live audience, as well as from the internet. Most lectures are live, but some have been prerecorded. They have also gone on tour, filming a few international lecturers for performers who can't fly to their studio due to schedule. Lectures are uploaded and made available for download a short time after airing (next day afternoon). Content is not edited after the fact, unless there was a technical issue during the lecture that took several minutes to fix. Individual lectures are $29.95 each after they air, but they can be preordered at a discounted rate. Deals such as the "Choose 5 for $99" make them $20 dollars when purchased as a bundle, and the subscription is $49.95 for 5 weeks- making them $10 a lecture when subscribed.



Now for my opinion...
I think both offer a great value for your money. Ideally, given enough money, I would subscribe and watch both. Having said that, my favorite are the Penguin Live Lectures. I think Dan Harlan is a great host; he keeps the lecturer going, interjects at the right times (to clarify a move or specific thing) and also plays well the role of interviewer (all lectures end with a 1-1 interview between Dan and the lecturer). He also tries to keep the lecture going for as long as the lecturer wants. 4 hour lectures are not uncommon, and there's at least a handful of 5 hour lectures.

I find that At The Table lectures are still going through several changes (format, host, length) and as a result they still haven't nailed their ideal format. They're still good, it's all part of the growing pains. I understand why they have time constraints, but in many occasions the lecturer has mentioned they still material to go through and they don't mind staying longer, but the host mentions they have to cut it short. Since there's no live audience, the host usually plays the role of the spectator, and the lecturer performers for the camera and the host. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think a live audience slightly increases the performance of the lecturer.

I think the Penguin Lectures are slightly superior in quality, and you pay a higher price for it ($20-$30 is still good price in my opinion). The At the Table lectures are still good, and for the price, it's almost a no-brainer.

Having said all that, what's my current strategy? I currently subscribe to At The Table, and I selectively pick and subscribe to the Penguin Lectures. When I see a Penguin Lecture coming up that I'm interested in, I buy a subscription for that month. I can then watch 5 lectures, and many times some of the lecturers I wasn't familiar with, end up being some of my favorites. In addition, having a live audience might not seem like a big deal, but definitely changes the performer's attitude. Also another plus for the Penguin Lectures.

My suggestion? If you want to get some of the previously aired Penguin Lectures, get the 5 for $99 deal if you can. If you are interested in a single upcoming lecture, subscribe for the whole month instead. You may be surprised by some of the lectures.

If you need a few suggestions on where to start, here are a few of my favorites. I'll keep the list short, so you don't break the bank!

At The Table:
Peter Turner
Eric Leclerc
Bobby Motta


Penguin Live:
Gregory Wilson (both are great)
Dani DaOrtiz (both are great)
Daniel Garcia
Patrick Redford 2 (haven't seen #1)

Hope that helps! Smile
WooverM
View Profile
Loyal user
285 Posts

Profile of WooverM
Orlan, well put.

I'll add that there are always live participants in the ATT lectures I've seen, Spidey, John Archer and even Peter Turner had a small group of people participating live.

I think that the Skype feature in the At The Table lectures is great and the custom and changing furniture on the Penguin live lectures is more of my taste since the performer actually performs as if he would to lay people, as opposed to the interviewer being next to him most of the time and being on a stationary, movement restricting table.
For example Spidey could have used chairs or even just a little bit more open space in one of his demonstrations which were a little held back due to the table.

So definitely, as Orlan said I like the Penguin format better and their interviewers are much more professional in their jobs to my taste, but eventually you need a good lecturer more than you need a good format.
Woover
Afal
View Profile
New user
60 Posts

Profile of Afal
If I was able to afford it, I would get both subscriptions. At the moment though I'm only subscribed to ATT. I do highly recommend taking advantage of Penguin's 5 for $99 deal though to get some past lectures, there's some great stuff there.
IMAGINACIAN
View Profile
Special user
In Your Thots
505 Posts

Profile of IMAGINACIAN
It Penguin live hands down for me. Great quality and value for money. I tried a couple of ATT, but am somehow put off by the format.
There is no better freedom than choice and no better choice than freedom.
ace1323
View Profile
New user
CT
18 Posts

Profile of ace1323
I usually pick and choose from both, sometimes based on name, or outline of what the lecture may cover.
But one thing both penguin and at the table have done though is exposed me to lecturers I ended up really enjoying, when I may not have been as familiar with the performers at the onset - or at least not in any kind of depth of all of their effects and presentations.
for example, just to pick a few - I really enjoyed the Axel Hecklau, Charlie Frye, and Nicholas Einhorn lectures - guys who while I knew of them going in, it wasn't much more than that and I ended up leaving a big fan after their lectures.
cheesewrestler
View Profile
Inner circle
Chicago
1147 Posts

Profile of cheesewrestler
A technical question -

The marathon Penguin lectures, the ones that go on 3 hours or more and must be downloaded (unless you enjoy watching people say "um um uh ..." in real time) before you can use standard features like FF - how do you put up with the enormous amount of download time, and the vast amount of memory they take up?

(PS - I have a 3-year-old HP Pavilion laptop, chrome 10, latest adobe etc. etc.)
Orlan
View Profile
Loyal user
Washington
218 Posts

Profile of Orlan
Quote:
On Mar 22, 2016, cheesewrestler wrote:
A technical question -

The marathon Penguin lectures, the ones that go on 3 hours or more and must be downloaded (unless you enjoy watching people say "um um uh ..." in real time) before you can use standard features like FF - how do you put up with the enormous amount of download time, and the vast amount of memory they take up?

(PS - I have a 3-year-old HP Pavilion laptop, chrome 10, latest adobe etc. etc.)


All you need is some extra hard disk space, I got an external hard drive where I save large files. You can always re-download if you need to.
Computer specs aren't very relevant for video playing since these aren't HD videos.

As for download time, not a lot you can do (other than get faster Internet). I sometimes start the download and the video stream at the same time, then switch when the download is complete.
fonda57
View Profile
Inner circle
chicago
2918 Posts

Profile of fonda57
It's not unusual for two places to sell the same product for a different price. You can a dvd at Target for ten bucks and the same one at Barnes and Noble for 26 dollars.

One At the Table that I watched was John Guastaferro, and the host on that one is so annoying that I had to stop watching for awhile. He talks too much and distracts the lecture by making funny faces at the camera and it's really off putting.
I j
Merenkov
View Profile
Elite user
407 Posts

Profile of Merenkov
Thanks to everyone (and especially Orlan) for your thoughtful replies to my original query. Although I “Subscribed” to this thread, I never received any email notifications, so I didn’t realize until now that anyone responded. Anyway, since I prefer owning actual DVDs instead of downloads, I ended up buying many of the At the Table (ATT) lectures, mainly because they were so much cheaper than the Penguin LIVE Lectures (if you buy a multi-disc At the Table dvd set from (ironically) Penguin, it works out to about $5/disc, one of the biggest bargains in magic).

I get what people have said about the hosts. I found Mike Hankins, the host for many of the early ATT episodes, acceptable, but nothing to write home about. Some guest hosts are scattered through those early years, including Gregory Wilson, Eric Jones and Joshua Jay. I much preferred the guest hosts, and I can imagine Dan Harlan being a great host for the Penguin Lectures (although Penguin inexplicably doesn’t include any scenes with hosts in its Sampler video, which I also tried). The recent ATT host, Chris Oberle, is the weakest of them all, and sometimes reveals a stunning lack of magical history. Even so, I’ll likely continue with the ATT series until Penguin finally (inevitably) lowers the price of their own lecture DVDs. I may break down and try the 5 for $99.99 deal someday, but I’m certainly not going to pay Penguin’s list price of $29.95 for individual discs.
Kozmo
View Profile
V.I.P.
5373 Posts

Profile of Kozmo
Well three always Reel Magic that have lectures, every issue of Reel Magic for $5 a month and if you shoot me an email I will let you watch for FREE for a month.
kozmomagic@me.com

Kozmo
Filip Struzka
View Profile
New user
Czech rep.
21 Posts

Profile of Filip Struzka
I personally prefer Penguin LIVE lectures. At the end there is always discussion, sometimes very long, with the lecturer on several topics and that is much more interesting and enjoyable than the format of At the table series.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Dvd, Video tape, Audio tape & Compact discs. » » Murphy’s At the Table Lecture DVDs vs. Penguin LIVE Lecture Series DVDs (2 Likes)
X
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.22 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL