Artist: Mike Hankins
Producers: Paper Crane Magic
Retail Price: $24.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 32:53
Notes: This effect will require the use of a camera, and it is picky about the type of camera that can be used. Most I-phone users will be delighted to know that it works with their I-phone.
• Instructional DVD
• Chapter Selections
2. Gimmick and Construction
5. Spectator Management
7. Basic Forces
8. Final Thoughts
A card is selected by a spectator, remembered, and lost back in the deck. You whip out your personal camera to allow the spectator to document for prosperity exactly what they are about ready to witness. As you light up a lighter and raise the flame above the deck of cards something phenomenal happens… The shape of their selected card appears to be glowing about the flames! Is this their imagination? No, this is Illuminate!
When Mike told me about this product I was excited to get a copy for myself. I like organic magic, especially when it can be done impromptu, and just about anywhere. I also like when you can use everyday objects in the effect. The promo looks amazing, and the instructions on the DVD are well taught. The gimmick packs small, and can be taken with you anywhere virtually undetected. With the exceptions of a few minor hiccups that I’ll explain a bit later, this has the potential to be a real worker on the streets for anyone who does close-up or walk around magic.
The DVD, as I said is very well taught. One of the first things Mike covers is the use of a camera for this effect, as the entire trick is dependent on the use of a camera that you’ll supply. This means that yes, you need to gimmick your own camera, but don’t worry the installation process or the gimmick won’t hurt your camera in any way. Anyone who uses an I-phone will be delighted that this gimmick seems to love them. For the palm-pre users like myself, we’re not so fortunate. As Mike covers in the DVD, Illuminate is picky about which camera’s it will, and will not work for. The good news is if you are in the minority who don’t have a camera that will accept the gimmick, then upgrading to a camera that does won’t cost you much.
Mike covers everything from installation, to performance, and even goes a step further to discuss important subjects like audience management, and card forces (in case you don’t have one you like already.) You get to see some great reactions to one or two real performances on the streets, as well as Mike’s detailed instructions back in the studio. Given the simplicity of the effect, I’d say Mike really goes above and beyond with the extra thought he put into the product.
You get enough gimmicks to either properly install it on two cameras, or have a backup in case you screw up your first attempt. The gimmick is small, virtually undetectable, and easy to operate. Given what it is, and what it does, Mike is really cleaver to have thought of this application for it.
As for practicality, it’s just about as practical as any other card trick. The revelation is very visual, and both the deck and the lighter can be borrowed. It does seem to work better in darker rooms, so this makes it ideal for clubs, or a late night get together.
The product doesn’t come without my complaints though. I love Mike as a performer, but in the interest of an honest review I am absolutely frustrated with the product. I’m unfortunately in the minority where I don’t have a camera that will work with the gimmick, so I’ve been putting off this review for a couple weeks because I’ve been trying it on every phone or camera in my house to no avail. I’m happy that Verizon gets the I-phone next month, so who knows maybe I’ll become an avid user of Illuminate then? Until then, I’ll have to be content to grumble at my unsuccessfulness at making the darn thing work for me. The only other complaint that I have with the product is the need to supply the camera that you’ll use for the effect. I don’t like this aspect for the same reason why I don’t like I-phone magic. To me it doesn’t seem magical when the magician supplies the audience with an electronical device that could, in theory, be the thing that’s accomplishing the magic. I LOVE the idea that the spectator can take a picture of the EXACT moment when the magic takes place, but I wish somehow it could be done with a borrowed camera.
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 Over all Quality.
Product Quality: 5
The DVD is fairly priced, the gimmick is practically undetectable, and the reveal is beautiful IF it works on a camera that you own. The low score is only representative of my personal
failure, and displeasure at getting the gimmick to work correctly for me. I’m sure had I got it to work on one of the four camera’s that I own then I’d have rated it higher.
Teaching Quality: 7
For such a simple effect, Mike teaches it completely.
Video & Sound Quality: 7
The sound and the video are both clean, and there’s a nice score playing in the back ground that is original to Mike himself.
Over All Quality: 5
I’m not a fan of the idea to supply the audience with the camera, and I’ve had issues getting it to work correctly on any of the camera’s that I own. However, the reveal is pretty, it packs small, the gimmick is practically invisible, and it’s perfect for that impromptu moment, just as long as that moment comes either at dusk or later. I’m sure there’s going to be quite a few I-phone users out there that will be very happy with this product. I’m also sure that I would probably be using it myself if I could get it to work. So I’m going to chalk this one up as a hit or miss. This is either going to work for you (and work well), or it’s going to be something that will sit in the bottom of your magic trunk and collect dust. It’s your call.