Random I-Tunes Song of The Moment: The Unforgiven by Vitamin Piano
Whew! I just finished making this gimmick. It took about an hour and a half. Was it worth it? Let's find out.
The effect is one that's been played with by many including Road Runner and Coyote . . . yep . . . the moving hole. That's the effect. One version is a punched hole that visibly moves across a playing card to the other side. Another effect (the superior one in my opinion) is the restoration of a hole. Two versions of the restoration are given. Both are extremely visual, and the illusion is very real-looking.
The method is a very clever, yet pain in the butt to construct, gimmick. The DVD comes with everything (except for playing cards) that you need to construct your gimmick. It took me about 90 minutes to complete. It's very messy to assemble and I now have dried crazy glue all over my fingertips. But I also now have a pretty darn sneaky gimmick that will last quite a long time.
The method (once you've built the gimmick) is very clean and requires just minimal handling. However, ringing the gimmick in is pretty awkward and a lot harder than it appears to be for Darryl Vanamburg in the explanation. The gimmick is so small and awkward to handle at times. However, once it's in place, it's very easy to manipulate and use. Unloading the gimmick is super easy as well.
Bottom line: the method is pretty doable, and the illusion the gimmick creates is very good if handled correctly. It will take a fair bit of practice to ring in the gimmick effectively.
Ad Copy Integrity
Unfortunately, there are a couple of holes in the advertiser's claim. They're a bit misleading and/or need some clarification. The ad copy makes the following claims:
- Use any playing card or business card
- Perform Surrounded
- Spectator holds the card as the hole animates . . .
Claim number one is true. You can use any card, but the catch is that your gimmick is card specific. In other words, the gimmick I just created will work on red backed playing cards that have the Standard (or Mandolin) Rider back. It won't work on a blue backed card or a business card. I'd have to make a different gimmick for business cards, and another one for blue cards, etc.
The other catch is that your special gimmick holder can only hold one gimmick. So you have to kind of commit to what type of cards you'll do this effect with before you go out the door. Once you've made multiple gimmicks (e.g., blue, red & business card), you can decide to use the blue one for a while, then run off somewhere secretly and change out your gimmick holder to use the red one, etc. This swap only takes two seconds, but during the performance, you have to have already committed in advance to which gimmick you'll use. You're supplied enough "stuff" to make three gimmicks.
Claim number two is iffy. Loading on the gimmick requires you to be not quite surrounded. Once the gimmick is loaded, the effect can be performed surrounded, but you'll need that brief moment of spectators not being in a certain spot when you load the gimmick.
Lastly, claim number three is very misleading. It would seem to imply (or at least one could easily infer) that the spectator is holding the card and that you're not touching it. That would be wrong. You both have to be holding the card. You hold one end/corner and she holds the other.
Other than those three things, the ad copy is very accurate. Everything it claims is true.
With the DVD, you get the "stuff" needed to create three gimmicks. All of that stuff is solid. You also get what looks like a pointed silver bullet to put on your key chain so you can have it with you at any time you need to punch a hole in a card. You also get a security badge type of reel for carrying the bullet around in case you don't want to put it on your key chain. In case you don't want to carry the bullet at all, you get a plastic golf tee that can be used as the punch as well. All of this stuff is excellent quality.
You also get a sharpie pen that very cleverly houses your gimmick in such a way that the spectator can freely handle it with no problem. My only issue with the quality of the pen, is that part of my gimmick was not working correctly. I had to super glue something in place to make it work correctly. I'll tell you what . . . that was the biggest pain in the butt. However, it's fine now, and the gimmick works great.
The DVD is short and sweet and well shot, but the audio was a bit quiet. I had to strain a bit to hear a fair amount. However, I was able to get all the instruction needed to construct the gimmick and perform this. I was a bit bummed that there's really no real performance on the DVD (other than the trailer). There is an in studio performance that was pretty dry and didn't have the energy of a real performance. But even that wasn't until after you're taught how to construct the gimmick (assuming you pressed "Play All"). It would have been nice to see a full performance un-cut for a real spectator in a real situation before seeing what the gimmick was and how it worked.
As you can probably see, the majority of the "complaints" are pretty minor. However, there is one major complaint I have. This effect and method are very similar to an effect by Jay Sankey called Moving Violation. No credit or mention is given to Jay. Further, Jay's method has some advantages over this one. In Jay's method, your one single gimmick will work with anything (card, business card, paper money, etc.) without having to use multiple gimmicks. Vanamburg's method has the advantage of not having to carry around the small vinyl wallet. So there's give and take. Plus, I'm not sure that Jay's is available anymore.
Other than the lack of mention of Sankey's effect, this product is pretty solid. The method is simple and clean. The illusion is very good. The product is well made. The DVD is well made. The ad copy is 99% accurate. The bottom line is if you're into the whole moving hole thang, then you'll get your money's worth with this product. If you're not into the whole moving hole thang, then why the heck are you reading this review? Last, but not least, serious kudos to Vanamburg for having clean fingernails, fingers and hands. That makes viewing the video that much more pleasant.
4 Stars with a Stone Status of Gem.