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Help with Physics related project (non school related)

  1. Jun 25, 2007 #1
    Hello. I am a magician and I have heard from many sources Physics can be the best way to create and design illusions.

    I have a video of a magician performing an effect, and I need to know if that is possible, and how so. I also need help creating some effects.

    If somebody is willing to help, please reply/PM/email.

    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2007 #2

    NoTime

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    AFAIK illusion (your effect) is more about misdirection than physics.
    The idea being to cause the observer to use mental processes that do not interpret reality correctly.

    It might help if you posted a link to the video.

    One time I saw the action for one method of making a coin disappear from one hand to the other. The guy threw it with the ring and pinkie fingers and grabbed it with the same fingers of the other hand.
    Frankly, I thought the dexterity was more amazing than the trick.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2007 #3

    FredGarvin

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    I know the big illusions, like Copperfield's making the Statue of Liberty disappear is all optics. There is, to be certain, a lot of physics that goes into it. I do also think that the misdirection part is a huge part of the smaller tricks.

    I remember seeing some magician who prided himself on his technical knowledge when it came to his illusions. I can not remember the guy's name, but I remember him making one of the Hawaiian Islands disappear on the same show.

    Can you at least describe the effect here, in the open forum?
     
  5. Jun 26, 2007 #4

    Danger

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    Most of the big illusions are a matter of engineering rather than physics in the way that you're thinking of it (although, of course, engineering is based upon physics). The viewing angle can also be critical.
    With the right combination of optics, accomplices, and construction, anything can be done. Some of the more spectacular ones (the Statue of Liberty, for instance) can be done only on television.
     
  6. Jun 26, 2007 #5

    ranger

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    As an example of what Danger is talking about; there is a levitation trick called Balducci levitation - this is very angle sensitive.
    Just think of new ways to deceive your audience. Speaking of deception, I recall seeing a trick on Chris Angel's Mindfreak - he made one of those paper cups "float". But what he really did was stick his thumb in the backside (facing him). This combined with good execution makes it look real.
     
  7. Jun 26, 2007 #6

    Danger

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    Good examples, Ranger.
    I actually have one of a very big and impressive illusion. This isn't inside knowledge, so I feel no qualms about revealing it. The team screwed up, which made the mechanism fairly obvious. (Admittedly, I had it on tape and watched several times in slow-motion to make sure.)
    A female magician was doing a Copperfield-type stage illusion wherein the major apparatus was a huge conical auger similar to the one on the front of the vehicle in 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth'. With a shadow screen in front of her, this big drill impaled her from behind and came out her chest. They dropped the screen and she was hanging on the auger like a marshmallow on a stick, and it was still turning. What messed it up, although the live audience didn't seem to catch it, was that the part coming 'out of' her chest and the part going 'into' her back weren't rotating at the same speed. A minor slip, to be sure, but enough to skrag the trick.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
  8. Jun 26, 2007 #7

    FredGarvin

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    This was the trick I was thinking about. It was done by Franz Harary. The thing I remember about this was that, even though he had a live audience with him, they had to sit in a very narrow area. I assumed it was so the viewing angles were very closely held.

    I didn't know the David Copperfield tricks were for TV only. That takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?

    http://www.harary.com/magic-mega-006.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
  9. Jun 26, 2007 #8

    olgranpappy

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    I love how tiny that picture is... It *must* be real magic since he's obviously got nothing too hide.
     
  10. Jun 26, 2007 #9

    berkeman

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    I like the Criss Angel trick where it looks like he crawls out of a plate glass window in the front of a restaurant. All it took to do was to have two of his own people holding the sheet up in front of the glass, and keeping the camera where it could only see the sheet as he poked and pushed his way out. The trick was pretty obvious if you know how those kind of push-through-solid-object illusions are done. Still, it was nicely executed.
     
  11. Jun 26, 2007 #10
    The illusion I was looking to build was a laser illusion. It was an idea of a laser becoming solid. Also being able to bend and control the laser with my hands.

    A magician has done it before. Ill post the link.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=T-XoN1Ts6Wg
     
  12. Jun 26, 2007 #11

    FredGarvin

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    I did laugh at that guy's web site. If it was a picture of him alone, you could get it wall sized. Any picture of one of his illusions is postage stamp sized.
     
  13. Jun 26, 2007 #12

    berkeman

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    I didn't watch the link, but you can do this illusion with a dispersing tube that you shine the laser down. Your challenge will be to hide the tube before and after the main illusion. Smoke would probably be useful for all of that. Have fun.

    Oh, and be a bit careful with the laser. Even a low-power HeNe laser can hurt your retina if you take a direct shot.
     
  14. Jun 26, 2007 #13

    Danger

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    It was a pretty cool sequence. A couple of parts seem pretty obvious, but the 'quarterstaff' bit requires some thought.
     
  15. Jun 26, 2007 #14
    I am actually physic-ally disabled, haha. I mean I dont know squat when it comes to physics, which is why I asked for help here. I dont know what 'quarterstaff and a dispersing tube means.


    Edit :

    I advise you watch the link, aside from being able to help me by watching it , its a very, very good illusion. Have a look, you wont regret it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
  16. Jun 26, 2007 #15

    berkeman

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    By dispersing tube, I mean a flexible piece of mostly-clear tubing, like a soft plastic. When you aim the laser down it, the tube disperses enough of the light to be seen as a beam (especially in a smoky environment, which would disperse a normal laser beam enough to be seen).

    I'm at work -- the PF is okay, but YouTube would almost certainly be objected to.
     
  17. Jun 26, 2007 #16
    Oh okay.

    And sorry about the work, try to watch it later though.

    Thanks for the help..keep the comments coming.
     
  18. Jun 26, 2007 #17

    Danger

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    It's so long since I watched the thing now that I can't remember exactly all of the things that I was going to suggest about it. One for sure is that there's a stiff rod hinged to the chair on the performer's left side upon which he hangs the coathanger. It extends a little less than half-way between the chairs. You can actually see the shadow outline of it on his body at one point, and it semi-occludes the beam. Notice that he knocks it down out the way while 'breaking the beam' with his hand.
    I'm also at work, and just about to close. Will log back on from home.
     
  19. Jun 26, 2007 #18
    I will look at what you are talking about, dont hesitate to elaborate. However when everybody is giving their opinions, try to dumb it down as far as possible. Thank you.
     
  20. Jun 26, 2007 #19

    Danger

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    Hi Magic, I'm back. Got intercepted by the neighbours for a couple of brews and the wife for a steak, so this is my first chance to get back. What I meant about the 'quarterstaff' is when he picked up the beam and did the Robin Hood/Friar Tuck bit with it. (Or Jackie Chan, if you prefer.) I still haven't rechecked the video, and am going to bed soon, so I can't elaborate much right now. I'll do up a sketch for you tomorrow to show what I mean about the 'clothesline' rod. I agree with Berkeman that there are probably optical waveguides involved as well. That was my first thought while watching the beginning.
     
  21. Jun 26, 2007 #20
    Haha man, I shouldve gotten invovled with phsyics earlier, its too late now and I regret it, you guys are truly something.

    Thank you, I will eagerly wait for your sketch tommorow morning.


    On a side note, I got a warning for posting this question twice. And I wanted to to apologize, I wasnt aware of the rules and hastly posted twice before thinking. Sorry.
     
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