Magic is a unique subject for TV due to limitations on how it is shot to preserve the secrets of the magic. However, TV is also just another medium to showcase magic. There are limitations and flexibilities that can be exploited to create an illusion effect for the screen. Just like any magician would be able to tell you that there are limitations and flexibilties that can be used if one is performing seated at a table, on a stage in a theater or close-up in a dimly lit club.
Well-known magicians such as David Blaine and Criss Angel have received a lot of flack with the community for taking extreme liberties in the use of film making techniques in creating magic on TV. However, it always seems to be the not-very-successful magicians who have time to spend on message boards and forums that are making these accusations.
I’m currently working as an illusion consultant for ilusi 2.0, an 8-episode Malay-language magic program that is developed for Suria (MediaCorp Studios Malay channel), funded by the Media Development Authority.
As the illusion consultant, my job is to work on material for the Street Magic segments of the program as well as developing the finale illusions & escapes. I have hired one of my regular collaborators to assist in the Street Magic segments, including choosing effects and training the two stars of the show.
Choosing material for TV is not as simple as looking through a catalogue of magic effects online. Effects have to be chosen based on multiple factors such as the performers’ strength, production budget, shooting location, time and variety. We are currently in pre-production and start to shoot in the last week of May.