The girl who gets divided in half is an assistant if you wanna call her a stooge then do so. But she is used to create the desired effect for the audience that is viewing it, especially the blonde lady that was shocked and horrified by what happened. Her reaction was worth it.
If you listen to the interview with http://media.libsyn.com/media/thetrapdo ... 051110.mp3
Banachek he says 'stooges' are not used
, nor is camera edits
used to enhance effects, nor is CGI
used as has been claimed by some.
He says that the magic Criss is doing and the accusations that it brings are a testament to just how good he is.
Banachek is not one to lie, you might know already about his own history and the PROJECT ALPHA
He does say assistants are used in some circumstances similar to what a stage magician might do in certain circumstances.
Now I am not saying this is 100%, but it is pretty close to it being there. You might see some camera misdirection in very isolated shots.
Keep in mind this is TV though and there is also the audience at home. So Criss might use the odd thing, but the point is he isn't relying on them.
As for the effect in the bar with the levitation. I have heard that the effect was shown to them previous and was explained the second time, what your seeing is the second time, and they are not stooges they are applauding the brilliance of the effect and the people in the back are applauding the effect and its 'magic'.
There is no time and need to explain that during the film.
Think about this--Why would he need 'stooges' for that levitation? Why would he make it look so obvious that he is showing it to the front? Obvious he isn't hiding anything to us at that point. He certainly doesn't *NEED* stooges for that effect.
Suspicion, accusations and ad hominem attacks are used exclusively against Criss Angel and or anyone who defends him.
To just add something about TV--People's reactions sometimes might seem forced, due to the nature of what we are dealing with which is a contract to do a TV show, there is a certain pressure.
I am not saying in some instances there isn't multiple shots done, that might be the best way to make sure the product meets the demands.
Remember Criss is doing a lot of effects and stunts week after week, that in and of itself is a very difficult thing to do plus he has to do all his Radio Shows
, Tv appearances
, Autograph signings
, his own preperations for stunts, going over the film shoots--in a nutshell the man at times looks very, very tired
Under these circumstances it is very hard and difficult to perform but he does one edited of a job. If you ever had to fly here and there, do radio, do all these things on a daily basis you would quickly see your chops going south.
He is under of course enormous pressure and some of his choices I believe are not always the correct ones. Keep in mind also his show is 22 minutes, there isnt' a heck of a lot of time allocated to the effects themselves and probably on certain ones there is a cutaway not to hide a 'lack of skill' but to protect something in the effect itself.
What I personally would do differently on MINDFREAK and of course this is just my own anaylsis.
The Show should be one hour.
The effects and there showing shoud be saved to when they are actually shown i.e the levitation of the girl on freemont st.
They show it before it is finally shown. They should refrain from doing so and make it more of a surprise.
I would also get some of the stunts out of there, that is me though because I personally am not a big fan of 'stunts'. I find them boring. Maybe a few but I would definitely cut them down.
All in all considering the time pressure, the short shooting time sequences, the appearances, he is doing very, very well.