When we were developing a finale illusion for this TV show, we were looking to do something different from what we have done before. Being a visual medium, especially in 3D, we knew it had to be a visual illusion and not a psychological one like our “Impossible 4D Prediction”. In Dec, we vanished 5 people 24ft up in the air so we did not want to present an illusion that features people.
The largest inanimate object we have worked with was a car that we teleported cross country live in front of 16,000 people. So, we decided to try to vanish a full-sized 40-seater bus.
The obvious challenges of trying to make a bus vanish are the sheer size and weight of the object. The production costs for such an illusion need to be kept under control and designing the method with practical limitations in mind are always part of the process.
As this is an adaptation of an illusion that was to be presented “live”, it also keeps to our personal ethics and philosophy of not using CGI or any deception added during video post production (we are not big fans of that).
The only two magicians that I can think of who has performed a large bus vanish: Lance Burton has presented a bus vanish (designed by Jim Steinmeyer) on one of his television special as well as Franz Harary on his Magic Planet series and India’s Magic Star. But, I’m pretty sure no one in the world has done it in 3D before!
As I mentioned in my previous entry, I first conceived the method for the illusion for the launch appearance of an aircraft that did not go through. It is one of the illusion techniques that I wanted to employ but did not have the right project to showcase it… until now.
The methods of Steinmeyer’s, Harary’s and my bus vanish are all completely different from each other, testament that different creators can come up with different solutions to different illusion problems.
There is a physical set-up of equipment needed for the TV mega illusion. As I blogged about before, calculating dimensions is a necessary evil in illusion designing. And that is one of the first steps of turning an illusion idea into a plan and subsequently a physical reality. Finally, a use of trigonometry and the Pythagoras theorem we learnt in secondary school!
Other factors needed to consider for the illusion are the weather conditions. Wind and rain is never a friend of illusions when we stage in an outdoor environment. And for the purpose of TV filming, sun direction/ position is critical. Shadows, changes in lighting during a take or a position that creates reflection off shiny surfaces (like a bus) can ruin a shot and everything has to be reset. I foresee the staging and filming of the bus vanish to be challenging and time-consuming, more so than if we were to perform it live.
Look out for photos from the filming when we do it!