Magic Designed for 3D TV

When we first got approached to be part of this 3D TV show, the magic content was not as significant as it is now. We were to host the show, do a couple of effecs and close with a illusion performance.

However, after we developed content for the show, the treatment was modified and the show will now feature about 14 smaller effects, 3 illusions and 1 mega illusion. Besides a number of original pieces, this could also possibly be the world’s first 60min TV magic special that is shot fully in 3D. In one very “interesting” segment, we are pulling out “The Impalement Cage” and Ning will get to fulfil one of her “ninja/ superhero” fantasies!

Designing magic & illusions for 3D required more thought and development. A 3D camera rig is set up different than a 2D camera, in terms of calibration and size. This makes planning shots all the more critical and thinking not just how the magic will look like in 2D but also to ensure the deception of the magic is not caught by twin cameras.

For the finale, we designed several mega illusions for the project but decided on the bus vanish due to various factors including budget and filming location. This is an original method that I first designed a couple of years ago for the launch of the Airbus 380. But, since that project did not go through due to the many delays of the delivery of the aircraft, I kept it on file ever since. The original method was designed for a live audience so I adapted it for TV for the bus vanish.

Due to the budget, we are not staging the illusion as a public event as that would require a significant percentage for sound reinforcement, manpower, security, staging areas, licensing and a host of other logisitic and coordination issues. So, we will be shooting this for TV although the method does not require any camera edits or CGI… that would be so much easier!

As with all large scale projects of this nature, it is the turnkey project management that propels the work forward to ensure a good product can be delivered. Planning, resource management & allocation, budgeting and time management are critical to keep things on track so that the best product can be delivered within the budget and time frame.

Filming starts tomorrow and we will finish in about 2 weeks. Locations will include iconic landmarks all over Singapore including the zoo, Chinatown, Little India and Orchard Rd.

We still have one epsisode of “M for Magic” to shoot. We have planned something really special for the season finale and are still in production for that. As I’m sure the young magicians who shot with us last weekend realize, shooting a 3min segment is not as easy as it seems. Taking into account camera angles, reaction shots, flow and the overall creative direction of the show, there is a truckload of things to consider besides the magic execution and presentation itself.

It is a TV magic month!


About J C Sum

International Headline Entertainer, Content Creator and Investor
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