Title: The Complete Card Manipulation Set
Producers: Vernet Magic
Link: Available At Your Favorite Murphy’s Magic Dealer
Demo Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Px0NxU5Ptrc
Retail Price: $40.00 USD
Learning Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Here’s a subject in magic that I have a perpetual love hate relationship with: Card Manipulation. I remember fondly watching the masters like Jeff McBride and Lance Burton doing card manip on the television thinking to myself: “Now THAT’S magic!” I’ve always wanted to learn card manipulation. I’ve always wanted to put an act together like that, to be that awesome, and learning card manipulation has been a real labor of love. I’m still nowhere near performance level, but I can do a few basic productions and that’s encouraging. With so much material out there on card manipulation It’s kind of hard for a student to know where to begin. Good thing we’ve got Vernet to point the way. But is the Complete Card Manipulation Set really all that it is cracked up to be? Good thing I’m here to peel back the paste boards and take a look into this DVD.
What you get is a nicely packaged little box that contains two decks of flourishing cards and a DVD. One of the decks is a multi colored fanning deck, the other is a flesh toned back manipulation deck. Both decks are cut extra thin and both decks fan for absolute shit fresh out of the cheaply made tuck boxes. You’re going to want to buy some fanning powder and treat both decks prior to use. Otherwise you’re going to end up screaming at your TV while throwing your deck against the wall over and over. Admittedly, if you’ve never tried card manipulation before, you may end up doing this anyways before it’s all said and done. The stuff ain’t easy.
The DVD comes in two options. English and Spanish. The English option has a voice over. The DVD is split into three categories. The history of Vernet, The Manipulation Deck, and the Fanning Deck. There is also a credits option, as well as an option to automatically switch between displayed languages. Let’s take a quick look into what each section teaches.
The Manipulation Deck option teaches the following:
- Continuous Fan Productions
- Single Back Palming
- Multiple Back Palming
- Back Palming a Fan
- Cardini’s Back Palm
- Strictly Underhanded (Benson)
- Split Fan Production
- Back and Front
- Back and Front with Silk
- Perfect Production
- Toss Vanish
- Cards from Mouth
- Fan from Mouth
- Packet Vanish
- Bonus Production
The Fanning Deck option teaches the following:
- Thumb Fan
- Reverse Fan
- 4 Ways to Fan a Fanning Deck
- One Handed Fan
- Pressure Fan
- Closing the Fan with One Hand
- One Hand Fan Gag
- Splitting the Fan
- One Handed Color Changing Fan
- Diminishing Cards
While this DVD certainly isn’t the encyclopedia of card manipulation it does offer the new student to card manipulation an edge where other similar products tend to fall a little short on. It is a one stop shop to getting started. You do get two manipulation decks, and a DVD that explains the basics with easy to follow along to, multi camera angle demonstrations. The DVD has some annoying features that force you to sit through a couple annoying intros but once you get into the meat of the DVD it gets more tolerable. There is no play all option. You have to pick which section you want to work with, and then pick which individual item you want to review. While I feel that there are other products on the market that teach card manipulation better, such as McBride’s DVD’s, this one certainly is a good launching point. The manipulation cards aren’t the best on the market, like a lot of people I prefer Neilson’s cards, but they will service a beginner well since they won’t have the range of experience yet to have a preference. So in short the DVD does accomplish what it sets out to do, and that is instruct the student on their journey into the art of card manipulation. This product isn’t the final chapter on the subject by any means, but it is a good primer.
The DVD is listed on Murphy’s website as being Beginner level, but I think that is a misnomer. I think it is intended for the beginner yes, but it is by no means easy to perform. To get to a level where you feel confident performing in front of others is going to take a lot of practice. This isn’t going to be something where you’re going to put an act together the same day you bring it home, and I feel that’s an important point to make in a review. This is going to be a lot like that Fushigi ball thing that was the Christmas crave a few years back. Everyone and their sister wanted it until they found out how much work goes into learning how to contact juggle well and those balls went into the toy boxes never to see the light of day again.
As for the material taught on the DVD I’d certainly say it’s a good start. It’ll get you up and running, but as I said, it’s not the final word on the subject. You’re going to want to look into other works such as McBride’s DVD’s, Dan Sperry’s videos, the Evolution of Card Magic, and maybe take a Chavez course or Master Class at the Mystery School to round out your education. Would I recommend this product? That’s a hard question to answer. I’d have to qualify the individuals interest prior to making my recommendation. There are a lot of products out there that I feel do a better job teaching the subject, however if you’re just getting started, have no other experiences to work from, and want something that will give you a little taste of everything (props included) then this will do well. If you’ve already got some experience in manipulation, then this may not be your first choice.
At the end of the day I’m split down the middle on this one. Would I recommend it? Would I not? It’s not a bad DVD. The teaching is good, and it does teach you card manipulation. The cards you get with it are nice, but they do need fanning powder to become usable. The tuck boxes that they come with are utter crap, and will rip easy when you’re trying to pry them open. That isn’t a huge deal since audiences never see the tuck boxes during a manipulation performance, but for someone like me who likes to keep everything nice and pristine in the boxes they come with it’s annoying. I keep finding myself saying that this isn’t a bad product. It’s not exactly a great one, but it’s far from being the worst. If you’ve never done anything with manipulation this is a nice starting point. But you certainly won’t end your journey here. That much is certain.
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: 6
The price is fair for what you get, but you’ll pay for that discount in the quality of what you get.
Teaching Quality: 6
The DVD does teach the fundamentals of card manipulation but it’s neither the definitive work on the subject, nor does it teach it the best. What you have is a serviceable middle of the road option which may appeal to some.
Video & Sound Quality: 6
Sound and Video aren’t bad. As a matter of personal preference I don’t like English dubs, but that’s just me.
Overall Quality: 6
Not the worst product. But there are others out there that I feel are better. If you want something that will let you sample a little of everything then this maybe a good starting point.
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