I was recently asked if it was ok to film my performance of close-up magic at a wedding. I replied back to say it was, and gave a few helpful pointers so that they would get the best footage.

I got a little carried away, and afterwards thought that the information would be good to share for others who will have a videographer documenting their wedding or event – or if you just want to film it on your smartphone to share on social media.

If you do share video (or pictures) of me performing, please tag me in them. It of course is useful from a business point of view, but I really do enjoy watching the magic too!

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YouTubeProbably best just to email me a link to the video! 😉

Anyway, here’s my reply:


Thanks very much so thinking to check. I don’t mind being filmed, however, to get the most from it I suggest the following. (By the way, I’m not trying to tell anyone how to do their jobs, but give some tips so you get the best footage possible)

  • When I perform I’m performing for the guests, not the camera (it’s live entertainment, not a TV show)
  • Some videographers get so involved in watching the tricks they zoom in on my hands (which is where I’m directing the audience to focus on their attention) – the problem is they then miss the audience reactions, etc
  • It works best to frame the shot to give context – include me, the trick, and the audience. Otherwise in 20 years time you’ll watch the video back to see a random pair of hands shuffling a pack of cards!
  • The reactions can be more important than the trick itself. Seeing 10 of your guests suddenly have a look of shock on their faces and start screaming and shouting in amazement is better than a close-up of a card being turned over.
  • Film the whole trick. I’ve been filmed loads and noticed that videographers rarely stay for the whole trick; they video the beginning and the first half, then wander off before I finish (which is where the big reactions are). Very odd, but happens a lot!
  • Search for “David Blaine Street Magic” videos on YouTube (his early material) and see how the magic and the reactions are captured.

One thing I do ask is if anything goes wrong (and once in a while something does) or the videographer happens to catch how a trick is done that it isn’t put on YouTube. However, if things go right then please share away (and please tag me in it so I can see it too!!).

It’s actually quite odd because I was talking to a photographer (the amazing Sarah Ann Wright) about this last weekend. Because a photographer has to tell a story in a fraction of a second they try to capture everything in a single frame, whereas videographers can sometimes get carried away looking at the screen on the back of their camera and end up missing the larger context.

Sorry that has been such a long essay. It really wasn’t meant to be, but after 15 years of performing I’ve developed my repertoire and know where the best angles are and when the big reactions come. Feel free to forward this email to the videographer, and if they want to contact me prior (or just have a chat on the day) I’m more than happy to work with them so they get the best possible footage to use.

Thanks again, Robert

Filming magic
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