Watch: Mind blowing! Close-up magic doesn't get any better than this

I really don’t give a damn how he did what he did. On a day when the misdirection of a corrupt world leader was so blatant I appreciated his gentle “magic” Perhaps my age allows me to appreciate the wonder of his presentation without caring at all how it happened…There were too many acts today that I do understand and that disgust me. He made me smile.


So you’re saying you don’t even speak Canadian? Let’s build a wall and make the Inuits pay for it.

/I really have no idea what I’m doing here

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You could feed multitudes with five loaves and two fish if he came to your picnic.

I was marveling at his terrific feats of palming small objects, and then the freakin’ baguette emerged from thin air. I got nothing. The guy’s amazing.

What I like about his guy’s routine was how he brought you along for a ride. The way he did those very obvious looking passes at the beginning with the coins (I imagine he wasn’t actually passing anything at all when he did them). So I was watching it thinking, “This isn’t that impressive.” Then there was one with no obvious pass and I thought, “Alright.” Then it went to pure impossibility.

But I was impressed at his ability to draw the audience in. Watching a few parts very slowly it seems obvious that a coin disappeared right before my eyes without him touching it or obscuring it which means that it was a gimmick, as others have said. But if I watched that live, I’d be sitting there wondering if I really saw what I thought I saw. “How did he do it” isn’t that interesting a question here because it obviously involves some technological solution to the problem of making coins appear. But magic is showmanship, and he did a good job.

I once watched a guy pluck a lightbulb out of the air. Just waved his hand in a circular motion over his hand and at some point in the motion a lightbulb was in his hand. If I could watch it frame by frame I bet I’d have a good idea of what was done, but in the room, it was truly amazing.

There’s definitely some masking there. Look at the edge of his hand, where it meets the red background.

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I agree. I don’t think it can be a screen as @Mister44 proposes, because

  1. The hands cast shadows over the jumping coins,
  2. When the coins change to petals, viewed at 25% speed, it does look like something covers one of the coins momentarily. It doesn’t just snap out of view.

Of course, it could be a blend of both, as well as live-processing of the feed from that one conveniently-stationary camera.

In doing some research on Yif, it sounds like he’s admitted that his ‘bread’ video used masking and video effects (and actors) to achieve the impossible.

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Without getting into specifics about Tsai’s performance, there is a concept in magic called the “Too Perfect Theory,” which is really more of a conceptual stance about effects and methods. Basically, the theory posits that if an illusion is “too perfect” such that it can only be accomplished by one (obvious) method, then it is actually imperfect and flawed. A primitive example might be if a magician makes a dollar bill vanish in his hands and reappear on the other side of the room in an impossible location. Too perfect? A smart spectator might immediately grok that the bill that reappeared is not the same bill as the one that vanished because…how else?*

  • This is why magicians are fond of signed dollar bills, torn corners or other “proof” that the bill that vanished and the one that reappeared in an impossible location are one and the same.

What do you mean: fake? What would make it real? Real magic? All magic tricks are fake. They’re a mix of gimmick, misdirection and sleight of hand, and this one is no different. It’s a brilliant trick.

A massive baguette materializing out of thin air behind his hand, can only possibly be accomplished through video editing, right? There’s nowhere for that bread to be. It’s not merely how he makes it appear, it’s that when half of the bread has appeared, the other half still has to be somewhere, and there’s only one place where it can be, and it’s not there. It’d video editing or true magic. I don’t see any alternative.

After watching it and thinking about it…I’m thinking a pair of linear polarizing filters is the key to the gaff. I’ve seen people suggest other mechanism that the video disproves. When two linear polarizing filters are lined up correctly, they’re pretty close to being optically clear (well, that’s a lie, but it’s close enough to the truth for this trick.) If you rotate one of them by 90 degrees, they’re pretty much opaque and tend to look black. As the filters rotate, the light coming through dims. That covers the whole “shadows on coins” thing, if there’s coins under optical filters.

I haven’t bothered to rewatch, burn hands, and try to figure out what that explanation doesn’t cover. It would explain the 2-3 frame fade in/fade out of the coins. Also, it covers the snap transition much better than anything else I’d seen. Another thing I noticed was that the rose petals don’t appear in the exact spots the coins were in. I could be wrong on that, but it looked like the reveal was similar, then the petal production covered the filter rotation.

All of that said, the actual sleights are very impressive. Well done.

Yes, thank you.

What I mean is that with stage magic, especially close-up magic, the audience is shown the impossible: ladies floating, sawed in half, or cards vanishing. But there’s always an element of intrigue, wondering how the magician pulled that off. Did they use wires to float the woman? But if so, how’d she float through hoops? It makes us think and sparks our imagination.

But when a magician makes a three foot baguette literally appear from thin air or coins appear suddenly with the snap of their fingers, it turns on our BS detectors, because we know there’s only two possibilities: a technical gimmick (video editing, a mechanical table, etc) or actual magic. It lessens the illusion by being too good.

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