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Looking Glass 2.0 by Romanos and Magic Tao is a great introduction to the use of Shiners for anyone who hasn’t worked with them before. It even comes with a couple inside the DVD so you can start practicing right away.
The difficulty in writing this review is trying to describe the quality, and what you get without giving too much away. Shiners have been used for many years and are referenced in a lot of work. They’re a rather simple device to use, easy to conceal, and devastating in the amount of information they can give you when used proper. Shiners were a tool of the crooked gambler long before they were secret devices used to aid magicians in their act.
Looking Glass 2.0 takes the subject of Shiners and gives you a great starting point for using them in your own act. You’ll get a chance to see how they can be used for peeks which can translate into a whole range of different presentations. Card tricks, to drawing duplications, to mentalism. Shiners are a great item to have in your magician’s tool kit.
Included in the DVD are two different versions of a Shiner. One is the standard version you may already be familiar with, and the other is a magnetic version that can attack to a PK ring, or any other magnetic sensitive ring you may have. I understand that with the magnetic one they’re going for ease of use. “Let the magnet do all the positioning work for you” kind of simplicity but honestly it’s not an improvement on the classic handling. If anything the magnet just makes it more awkward, especially if you’re trying to conceal the “click” sound it makes when it attaches to your ring.
The quality of the Shiners included in the DVD is decent. They are made from a hard plastic, so they won’t break or shatter the way glass would, and they don’t have particularly sharp edges the way metal ones might. They are sized to fit perfectly into finger palm for most people, and take up very little pocket room. Texture, and weight makes them easily identifiable by touch when you’re going into your pockets to retrieve them. Since the Shiners are made from a thick hard plastic they don’t appear to be subject to being scratched easily. I’ve rubbed them together against each other, against coins, and dropped them several times to test that for myself. Without deliberate intent to try and break or scratch these things up they seem to hold up pretty well. So for general use with proper attention to care and handling and I think you’ll have a product that will last you many years. As for storage I keep mine in a small felt bag that was originally used to hold dice. You can probably find these bags at any craft, hobby, or game store.
Shiners are kind of like a Swiss Army Knife when it comes to utility devices. They are designed to help you peek at information without the spectator realizing it right from under their own noses. This along with their compact size makes the range of applications infinitely useful from close up, to street, walk around, parlor, and even stage. It’s really up to you to figure out what kind of magic you can create with the device, the DVD only gives you some good starting points to jump from.
If you’ve never worked with this kind of peek device before, pick up Looking Glass 2.0 and give it a chance. These are quite useful little things and I think you’ll enjoy what you get.
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: 8
DVD is good, product holds up well under use, easy to use, and has a wide range of applications.
Teaching Quality: 8
There are a lot of different ways to apply this device to magic. The DVD gives some great suggestions to get you started.
Video & Sound Quality: 8
Good sound and video. No issues.
Overall Quality: 8
A solid 8! This passes the Draven’s Seal of Approval with flying colors.
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