Draven Reviews: The Evolution of Card Manipulation

not approved Title: The Evolution of Card Manipulation
Artist: Lee Ang Hsuan
Producers: Magic Soul
Retail Price: $35.00 USD
Learning Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Notes: The DVD stops after each section causing you to restart it.  Comes in 3 language options, English being the only one I can read.

 

 
Features:
•    Trailer-1
•    Trailer-2
•    Manipulation Cards
•    Set Up
•    Basic Technique
◦    Single Card Vanish
◦    Cardini Single Card Production
◦    Single Card Production
◦    Split Fan Production
•    Moderate Technique
◦    Twirling Card Production
◦    Serial Single Card Vanish
◦    Perfect Dual Production
◦    Tenkai Dual Production
•    Advanced Technique
◦    Japanese Fan
◦    Cross Fan Production
◦    Absolute Vanish
◦    The QUAD
◦    Example of Routine
◦    About the Staff

The Evolution of Card Manipulation is a DVD on just that… card manipulation.  But it comes at a time where other DVD’s are available on the market that could arguably do a better job at teaching this subject.

The material on the DVD for the most part isn’t new.  You’re looking at some basic entry level moves such as the single card production from a back palmed position, and split fans.  Some of the more advanced stuff like the Japanese Fan doesn’t look any different than the split fans in my opinion.  Maybe there’s some minor detail that I’ve missed, but I can’t really tell.  The QUAD production is unique and original to the young artist in the video, but even then it’s not something ground breaking.  It’s a neat flourish and that’s about it.

The Example of Routine section is an interesting display of how you can combine some of the moves taught on the DVD, with some other classical manipulation items like silks and disappearing candles, into a short stage routine.  However it comes pre-built for you with no explanation to the theory of how it was put together, or how to put together your own routines.  No explanation of what elements work together and what doesn’t, etc.

To do some of the productions in this DVD you’ll have to make some special cards that take advantage of black art.  And while Lee will mime what you are suppose to do against a finished product, you never see him actually build the prop.

The nice thing about manipulation is that a lot of it can be learned from just watching someone do the moves and you mirror along with them at home.  The problem we run into is that this DVD uses English subtitles to briefly explain the general idea that they need to convey when pantomime isn’t enough.  This means you lose out on a lot of learning potential on subjects on card preparation, fanning powder, steals, body loads, etc.  All of this I would say is critical information to be included on a project with an ambitious title such as “The Evolution of Card Manipulation” and none of them made it into the DVD.

Speaking of the title of the DVD I’ve got to say… I expected a lot more from something called “The Evolution of Card Manipulation”.  I thought I’d see something… like… Oh I don’t know… an example of how card manipulation has evolved over the years and how this artist was taking it “to the next level”.  Instead I get pretty much a cut and dry equivalent of an entry level “how to do street magic” book that we see in secular book stores all over the place that teaches you stuff like the Balduchi levitation, and a four piles of seven type card tricks.  I wouldn’t really even consider this a beginners DVD.  It’s a clip show really.  It shows you some moves but it doesn’t discuss the why’s or the how’s.  Other DVD’s on the subject like Jeff McBride’s “Manipulation without Tears”, or his “Art of Manipulation” series, or Dan Sperry’s Theory11 instant download on card manipulation are better resources than this DVD.

This DVD also suffers from a horrible formatting flaw.  There is no play all option and after every single section the DVD stops itself causing you to have to restart it.  The restarting gets real annoying real fast when you’re trying to review a single move over and over to learn it.  No one wants to stop practicing, get up, walk to the DVD player, Press play, select the chapter all over again, and hit play.  By the time you get into really focusing on what you’re doing you have to repeat this process all over again.

Overall I can tell that Lee has tried to put a lot of effort into making this DVD.  He’s a very talented kid, with a bright future in manipulation ahead of him.  I can assure you that we’ll be hearing his name again in the near future.  Hell he’ll probably even become a FISM champion before too long.  However as talented as he is, and skilled in the subject he is trying to teach, this DVD suffers from too many flaws to be something I’d recommend over what is already available on the market.  This isn’t an Evolution of Card Manipulation.  It’s more like a de-evolution.  Pass on this product folks.  You’re not missing much.

When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Sound & Video Quality and Overall Quality.

Product Quality: 4
The artist is talented in the subject being taught but 35$ for a DVD that barely scratches the surface of the subject of card manipulation yet claims such an ambitious title of “Evolution of Card Manipulation” is just a joke.

Teaching Quality: 2
Between the subtitles, and the under explanations on important subjects relevant to this material this could have been a much better DVD.  Having to restart the DVD after each chapter plays through though makes this an utter failure. The only thing saving this from a score of 1 is Lee is actually skillful in the subject he’s trying to teach.  At least he knows what he’s doing and is trying his best to teach you how to do it.

Video & Sound Quality: 4
Subtitles, and a backbeat that plays over and over throughout the DVD.  Video is clear though.  Good definition.

Overall Quality: 3
This is a product that does the same thing a lot of other DVD’s on the subject matter do.  It just doesn’t do it as well as the rest.  On top of that the formatting of the DVD makes it useless to try and learn from.

Have a product you want reviewed?  Want to see if it will stand up to the Draven Seal of Approval?  Contact me directly at draven@williamdraven.com to find out how your product could be on the next Draven Reviews!

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About William Draven

William Draven is a professional magician and sideshow performer living in Los Angeles, California. Follow him on Twitter at WilliamDraven or on facebook at www.facebook.com/thewilliamdraven
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