I’m always thinking about how to use video screens to make the show play bigger. It’s technology that 10 years ago really wasn’t within the grasp of the average magician, but now for less than $1,000 you can have a compete set up…even less if you already have a laptop computer!
One of the things about the Micheal Buble show that I was recently at, was that the screens weren’t just for making him bigger. There were three screens and sometimes there was a “set piece” like a the moon above. Sometimes it was a close up of a band member or the audience in the middle with Buble on the sides or vice versa.
This is something that doing a couple seasons on Masters of Illusion taught me, that the background adds a lot. In their tech sheet they ask if there’s something you want as your background. Something simple like adding a picture of a workshop when you’re doing a bit about inventing a trick, or a picture of your wife when you’re doing a routine about your wife adds a lot of production value to your show, and that’s just still images.
For the last few years I’ve been thinking about how to make my show play bigger. It’s a good thing to have in the back of your head when you’re working on your show. A good example was last week I saw my friend Matt Baker perform at a gig for about 80 people. Normally that’s not a huge show…however the gig was in a 15,000 seat venue!
It’s easy for a solo act to get lost on a stage like that. Matt did a great job at that show, and managed to make it work in the venue.
It comes down to how can you make what you do play bigger. This particular stage wasn’t any bigger than many stages I’ve performed on, but visually it made the performer look small. There were a couple reasons for that, the big one was that they wouldn’t turn off the venue’s lights and use the lights on the stage for the show. That meant he had the 5,000 empty chairs behind him which broadens what people are looking at, making him look tiny.
Honestly, I think most illusions shows would have looked small on that stage with the conditions he was working in. With that in mind, something like a normal card trick would be virtually invisible on the state. Little things like trying to make your card tricks work with a jumbo deck won’t hurt for smaller venues, but will really help when you find yourself in situations like this! -Louie