Let's first start with the production value. Forget about the effect for a moment. The DVD quality
is ok at best. The sound was rough in quite a few spots. The menus were tiny and hard to read, but
well organized and easy to navigate.
On to the effect itself: The title effect is the
second effect on the DVD, so let us take them in order.
Confa(balloon)ation ! (4/5):
you're familiar with Confabulation then you know the basic effect . . . any three named items are
predicted ahead of time by the performer. The prediction is often found in the performers wallet, or
an envelope, etc. Guess where they're found in this effect. If you said, "in the spleen of a rabid
gerbil," you were wrong, but if you said, "Inside of a balloon that a spectator was holding before
the effect started," then you would be correct!
That's a good effect . . . no doubt about
it. It's a little odd . . . why the balloon? Volpe gives no reason for the balloon to the spectator.
He just walks up to the table and says, "Here I have a balloon. Hold it for me." Certainly direct,
but not the smoothest or cleverest approach. Regardless of that, the method for this effect is
pretty darn sneaky.
Thought of Card In Balloon (4/5):
The effect is similar in
appearance to the above effect. In this case the spectator names any card. The performer then pops
the balloon that the spectator has been holding from the beginning. When it pops, out comes a folded
up card which is the card named by the spectator. It's a true free choice.
performance, Volpe played it as though it were a strolling item. He walked up to a table and
performed it. The problem is that you need a pretty elaborate gimmick that sits in your case, and
it's not small. He had his case sitting open with the gimmick just nearby the table on a chair. Not
a realistic scenario for the strolling worker.
However, for stage, platform, or set shows,
this is a brilliant piece. Again, you'll need to provide your own presentation because Volpe does
not demo one. He just delivers it as a put-and-take and a tell-the-audience-to-do-this-then-that
kind of thing.
Extra Sensory Ballonation (2/5):
This is the same exact effect as the
above, however an ESP card appears in the balloon. The major difference is that this is a little
more portable, but still not good for strolling, and if you're gonna do ESP stuff . . . what's with
Transparent Balloon (1/5):
This is a section where he tells you how to do
this with a transparent balloon. Due to the method of the above effects, you need to use black
balloons. In this variation with transparent balloons, I'm not even convinced the method will work,
and I don't think Volpe is either because he didn't actually show us; he simply just told us about
It's quite complex, and additionally, even if it did work, I don't think enough is
added to the original effect to warrant the work required to pull it off.
Card and Name -
This is another one where we are treated (?) to Volpe sitting in his armchair just
telling us about how amazing this effect would be if you were to do it. Granted, in this case, it's
not bad, and the method's decent. It may be one of interest to some of you . . . Bring a spectator
up on stage, hand the balloon to her. Ask her name and to name a card. Pop the balloon and out comes
a folded playing card and a folded index card. The index card has her name on it, and of course the
folded card is the named card.
Card and Name - Assistant (3/5):
Same effect as above .
. . slightly different method. I'll be if you look at the title, you'll deduce the method.
Signed Card In Balloon (3/5):
This one is tough to explain without being biased but I'll do
my best. Let me explain. Years and years ago when Mark Jenest released Miracles While You Wait he
had a great trick where he blew up a balloon, gave it the spectator, borrowed a bill, vanished it,
had the spectator shake the balloon, and they here something rattling inside. He pops the balloon
and bam inside was the borrowed, signed bill.
I saw that effect and I immediately applied a
signed card to it rather than the bill. I'd been doing the effect for a while, and considered
publishing it, but most people I knew felt it was too similar to Jenest's idea to publish as an
original idea, so I declined. About a year or so later, this DVD is release with the very same
effect and basically the same method . . . Mark Jenest's method.
Volpe clearly, on more
than one occasion, mentions that this DVD and the method for all of the effects was inspired by
Jenest as well. I'm ok with that . . . Great Minds Think Alike and all that, but here's where my
bias might come out: I don't like part of Volpe's method.
First, he just explains it, and
does not do it or even show it. Second, he offers an alternate handling which is similar to the one
I use, but again, he just merely explains it. For each method it would have been nice to see his
finer points on the handling. Thus I rated it as a 3, because, although the effect is good, the
explanation was not.
Stage Version - Board Method (0/5):
It's very rare that I give a 0
rating, but this was silly. It was again Volpe just standing there talking to the camera and telling
us about this idea that he doesn't even demonstrate. He doesn't even so much as show us a single
prop. He's just a talking head explaining a method that I had to rewind, literally 3 times, just to
make sense of it.
Although I understand what he's saying, his method was not at all clear
enough to actually reproduce. I don't want to tip his method, but imagine if you bought a video
about how to assemble a car. You watch the video only to discover that it's a 3 minute segment of a
guy saying, "Well you just get a motor and some wheels and the body and you put everything together
. . . you'll need the right tools of course, but it's that simple." That's basically what you get
here on this effect.
Just a brief commentary about Luca Volpe. He seems
like a nice guy and definitely a skilled magician, technician and a decent performer. He's also a
creative guy. The only criticism I have of his performing ability is that when the sneaky stuff is
about to happen, he clearly gets nervous, frantic, and starts moving way, way, way too fast. It's a
tough habit to break; we've all been there, including me.
As for the explanations, I was
really hoping for a more solidly put together product. It was low budget for sure, and most of the
explanations where just Volpe sitting in some room on a chair talking to us. The majority of this
material might as well have been written as a book rather than a DVD. It might have even been more
clear because the lighting was pretty rough on the majority of the DVD.
as one who has produced DVDs, I know the costs involved, and with the poor lighting, poor sound and
B-Rated film of him in a chair, I can't imagine it was very expensive to produce, so asking
$35.00 for basically 1 trick.
The average of the tricks comes to 2.5. When you factor
in the price and the production quality, I'd say, pass on this and get Mark Jenest's DVD Miracles
While You Wait. It's not the most earth-shattering DVD either and there are some annoying parts in
it too, but you get more effects (more good effects too), and you get the method for everything on
this (Thought of Card in Balloon) DVD, plus it's $5.00 cheaper.
3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.