Monday, January 2, 2012

Practice: Mirror vs Camera

Magic takes a lot of practice, there's no avoiding it. But how do you check yourself? In the mirror or with a camera? Well I began learning a short routine of card vanishes. The routine lasts about 30 seconds and involves vanishing a card 3 times. As soon as I had the motions memorized and could do them without stopping to think what to do next I started using a mirror (I got to that point sitting at the PC watching the video of how over and over again). I stood in front of the mirror watching myself do the whole routine over and over. Once it looked good I literally turned 90 degrees away and tried it out. It was like the ground had fallen out from under me I could not do it at all.  Without being able to watch my self I just could not get through it without messing up and I had been so sure I was ready to perform. It was like starting all over again. Luckily I had the muscle memory already and it was more like training my brain to handle it. In the mirror I was simply watching my hands from another angle no different than had I just stayed at the PC. So I practiced it over and over again without the mirror and this time to check my self I used a video camera. The video camera was so much better. Watching myself on video meant I was not busy thinking about what my hands were doing and could pay attention. The first thing I noticed was that I was speeding through one part much faster than was necessary from "magician's guilt" most likely. I could tell that just watching it on the camera so I filmed myself doing it more slowly and it looked so much better. Then I put the video up on the computer and watched it slowed down to .33x speed which is silly but it lets me really examine my moves. Another thing I like about the camera is that I can watch the video without worrying about what I'm doing so I can see it more like spectator would.

So what to use? Well I would like to take a trick and only use the camera to check my self and see how I feel it impacts my progress but to others I'd say use what you have but if you are going to use the mirror make sure you're doing more than watching you hands from a different angle or only use the mirror sparingly to check your progress.

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