For a bit of background, I have met Dan Tong in person before. Back at SEAM in 2008, Dan was there and I was able to talk to him for a while. He is an incredibly knowledgeable magician who really has performed all over.
This is another "utility" item by him offered at CardFinesse; a top change that can be used for more visual effects than the normal top change, and if done well, the idea is to have this be more deceptive than the original.
Regardless, ON WITH ANOTHER REVIEWZZZ!!111!eleven!!What CardFinesse Says://
This move was invented back in 1960's by Dan Tong. Of course the concept itslef came from the Top Change. We think this is a much cleaner way to perform the move, there need no misdirection, angles are fairly good, and you can use it for many applications.
The video clearly explains the move in several sections: Basic Overview, Mechanics, Applications, slow motion, we have all these sections so you should have no problem learning the move.
Used: Control, switch, ambitious card routine, steal, applications only limited to your imagination.
Well, they weren't lying...First Thoughts://
Well, based on my past experiences with CardFinesse with the "Dan Tong Color Change" download, I was reluctant upon downloading the "Top Change". The last video I got was very grainy, the quality wasn't good, the lighting wasn't superiour and the audio wasn't great either. Well, you can read that review...viewtopic.php?f=10&t=157511
Anyway, this one was of a similar file size and type, and so when receiving this, I expected bad... Grainy quality. NOT at all! This download (I am not sure how they did it) is MILES beyond the other in quality. Still not GREAT (but we will get to that in another section) but SO much easier to learn from.Quality://
This file, as stated, isn't nearly as bad as the last one. The editing, camera work and quality are far better. There are still a FEW problems...
1) The lighting and contrast are still rather... challenging to the eyes (if that makes sense).
2) Dan Tong still started and stopped on certain segments that could have been edited out.
3) Audio still sounds... not great. This isn't a HUGE problem, but what would help a TON is just buying a cheap lapel microphone.
4) A TRIPOD. Once again, not something that deters from learning, but really THE thing that would make this more proffesional.
Other than that, I am WAY pleasantly surprised!Teacher and Teaching://
Wow... As stated, I have met Dan Tong. I own some DVDs by Dan Tong. I know Dan's teaching style and I know that he is generally very good.
This wasn't a TOTAL departure from his usual good teaching (like the Color Changes was) but still had a lot of stumbling and a lot of little scenes that could be taken out. I understood what he meant, but I was confused at first (but that may just be me).
I now, after about 2-3 viewings, know and use this top change.Format://
I have to bring this up again; the format consists of, as mentioned, the following...1) Basic Overview:
22 Seconds long. This shows the basic mechanics, then the top change again.2) Mechanics:
40 Seconds long. This has a short explanation of what is happening. There is a well known palm used in this that isn't explained, so if you don't know about basic card mechanics, this isn't for you.3) General Cards That Are In Play:
47 seconds. This is a rather fumbly explanation of all the cards that you use for this. This DID help me understand the change better, but still wasn't fun to watch. The part I didn't like is that the audio would randomly stop and the video would to; then text would show up on the screen, detailing what had been done. I feel as if this was rather obvious and the text was unnecessary, but to each his own; what really would have been the smart thing to do would be have Dan Tong actually explain all this stuff as opposed to just having text show up that says what he should say for a few seconds.
36 seconds. This section is not "really" applications. It is Dan, for a few seconds, telling you that this can be used for a top change or for "Helicopter Card" (which I have never heard of and he says nothing about). I do suppose this is really for you own imagination and creativity though.5) Slow motion
This is 50 seconds long and he shows the top change twice in slow motion.
Overall, I think the format needs work, but it was sufficient.Top Change://
The top change itself, in this manner, is something I have not seen before. I do think it is a BIT too covered the way Dan does it (which you can see the demo video) however I feel that it is a great move to add to your arsenal. I have been in live situations where I have needed a move like this, and this offers a switch (top change) you can do when the spectators are burning your hands.
I like this move and I feel that it has a lot to offer.Angles://
The angles for this are not great, but aren't TERRIBLE. You can do this for anyone on your right side. This shouldn't be a problem if you perform standing up; if you perform seated, this MIGHT not be a move for you.Difficulty://
This move is rather easy (and can be picked up pretty quickly). I think that any sort of intermediate magician who has a basic knowledge of card sleights wouldn't have a hard time picking this up at all.Price://
I will say that this is an average priced download at 4 bucks. The ONLY thing that I would say that would make it not worth the money is the running time, which I talk about below.
Can be bought at...http://shop.cardfinesse.com/Running Time://
Well, this download runs IN ITS ENTIRETY for about 3 minutes and seven seconds. Yeah; not a very long download at all.
I was able to learn from this, yes. I do however think that there are a lot of things that could be done and SO many more things Dan could have gone over to make this download FAR more worthwhile. I understand the mechanics, but not where, when and all the subtleties behind this move. IF Dan had really been performing this SINCE the 60s, I feel that hearing his insight (and not a VERY brief, cut into talk about the move and it's mechanics) would have been REALLY beneficial and something I would have enjoyed thouroughly.
Add in more content and this would be worth FAR more than the asking price; as of now, I would say that that is strictly up to the discretion of the viewer (in which case many, unless they were SEEKING out this move, would not find it worthwhile).Overall://
Overall, I was surprised pleasantly by the quality this time, although there are many easy things that could have been done to rectify all the problems I found WITH this download.
I like this move and probably WILL end up using it, and for four dollars, I will say...
Recommended AS noted.