Midterm Trick Documentation (Kenny Friedman)

Midterm Teaser

In Class Trick Performance

Here is a video of the in-class performance. Unfortunately, the iPhone 5s was not playing, which both took away from the overall effect, and distracted me during the second half of the video. Check back soon for a staged (but better!) performance of the trick.

Three Videos At Once

Here is a video that shows all three of the clips playing simultaneously. The top clip is the video displayed on the Projector (by means of an iPhone 4S), the bottom left video is played on the iPad, and the bottom right video is played on the iPhone 5s.

Main Idea


The main idea was to tell the story of the computer using multiple devices: the projector, an iPad, an iPhone, and some physical devices.

The inspiration for this trick was Marco Tempest’s iPod TED Talk trick. I love the way he augments his storytelling with “tricks” spread throughout. I wanted to build on this idea by using vertical screens (instead of on a table) as well as using multiple sized screens. I tried multiple ways (see “Expanding on the Idea”) to get this effect. After trying many methods, Marco’s MultiVid software ended up being the best way to perform the trick.

How It Was Done


Here is a diagram of the system in place. The trick uses 4 videos going at the same time. One video is for the iPad, one is for the iPhone, one is for the projector (which is projected from a second iPhone), and the 4th is a “teleprompter” that only the magician can see (so he/she knows  where they are in the trick). All 4 videos are connected to a MacBook. All 5 devices are running MultiVid (available for free online).

I purchased an iPad case that allows for holding it with your palm, so my hand would not get in the way of the screen. I could not find a similar product for the iPhone. I tried to make a “handle” on the back of the iPhone, which failed miserably. I also used a 30pin-to-VGA adapter to transfer the iPhone video to the projector.

The videos were all created using a 30-day free trial of Final Cut Pro X [FCPX] (some of the animations and “slides” were created in Keynote.app, and then exported as QuickTime files to be used in FCPX). All of the audio across all 3 of the video displays (that the audience saw) were pushed to a single device (the projector connected iPhone) to get the audio through the room’s speaker system, as well as to prevent slightly-out-of-sync audio (which is more obvious than out-of-sync video).

Audio: The audio was created in the same way that my previous trick (see: Siri++ ), however I augmented Siri’s voice with additional sounds and music. The music included instrumentals of The Beatles & Bob Dylan (Jobs’s favorite bands… but mine too, so there’s not too much of a connection there 😉 ). Most of the sound effects were used with the default iLife sound effects (that come with Garageband.app or iMovie.app). All audio editing was done within FCPX.

Video: After some failed attempts to get After Effects up and running (hoping to get it figured out by the final presentation), I defaulted to Keynote animations and FCPX free trial.

Expanding on the Idea

I would love to get interactive elements working on multiple screens, however MultiVid only supports video. It would be great to write software to make interactive across screens. (I am going to try to play around with this, but for it to work, I need to figure out how to do it in a way that doesn’t take as long as a PhD thesis [see, THAW]).

Also, after working on the trick, I see why Marco did it on a flat surface. You are limited by what you can hold if you want to do the trick vertically. I will have to see how this can be improved.