Artist: Brandon David & Christyrious
Producers: Paper Crane Magic
Retail Price: $24.95 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Length of DVD: 17 Minutes
Notes: The DVD comes with a gimmick and enough extra parts to make more gimmicks if you desire to.
• Instructional DVD
• Gimmick & Extra Parts.
• Play All
◦ In The Box
◦ Additional Gimmicks
◦ Closing Thoughts
A signed spectator’s card visually shrinks face up on the deck to half of its size, and then visually grows again to normal proportions. Then it can be handed out as a keepsake!
What Brandon David and Christyrious have come up with is not only an interesting signed card effect, but a unique and new concept in performing card magic. Their effect X-Pand, produced by Paper Crane, takes a spectators signed card and visually causes it to shrink (signature and all) to about to about half the original size before growing again before their eyes. I can’t say I’ve seen anything quite like it before on the market but I think it’s a killer closing bit to an ambitious card routine. Heck it’s a killer effect all by itself too.
The DVD comes with the gimmick you need to make the magic happen, and enough extra parts to make additional gimmicks should the original wear out, or you wanted extras to switch out for because you’re doing walk around or street magic. At 17 minutes you’re not looking at a huge time investment, and by the end of the DVD you should be pretty set to go out and perform the effect. The handling though get’s a bit tricky and may require a little practice to get used to the feel of the trick. Due to the gimmick, getting used to the “feel” of the trick is a bit of an understatement because the card deck is a bit heavier than normal. Not that the spectator will ever notice, but you’ll want to be sure you’re comfortable with the extra weight in order to sell the “normality” of the cards to your audience. When you perform X-Pand you’re going to be a bit dirty from the back angles so this isn’t something I would necessarily suggest you perform when surrounded. However the dirty angles are fairly easy to keep covered so as long as someone isn’t standing directly behind you looking at your hands you should be okay.
X-Pand is going to be one of those tricks that you’re either going to love or hate. I for one am pretty impartial to it. It’s a bloody great concept, but I just don’t like the gimmick. For starters unless you plan on ditching the gimmick after you’ve done the trick you’re stuck switching your deck out before you can continue working with it. Also, and this may just be me, but I just don’t like how it feels. It’s bulky, and honestly I just don’t like the handling. The gimmick is very bold in how it works so much that if you aren’t careful about your lighting and angles you’ll give it away despite performing it as how the instructions say.
Overall I think the concept is good, and in the hands of Brandon and Cristyerious I think it looks convincing on video, but I get the impression (especially from the length of time I’ve been working with it) that it only works because it’s them. This effect is going to do one of two things for you, either it’s going to work for you, or it’s going to sit in your junk drawer. I don’t really see a middle ground for it. I’m pretty middle of the road on this one, and while I like the idea I think your own your own for taking a risk in buying it.
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 gimmick is well built, and the DVD teaches the trick well, but I’m just not happy with the angles and handling.
Teaching Quality: 7
Well taught, and very well explained.
Video & Sound Quality: 7
Sound and video are both clear and crisp.
Overall Quality: 5
I really like the idea of a shrinking signed card. I’m sure some of you who buy this will make good use out of it, but given the bulkiness of the gimmick, the need to ditch or deck switch for other tricks, and the angle sensitivity this isn’t a trick that I’d perform. Would I recommend it? I’d say use your own judgment, and proceed with caution. This product barely squeaks by with a Draven’s Seal of Approval.