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ALPHA CARDS - Jesses Magic

PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 16:08
by the-harlequin

All the blurb:

Alpha Cards - Heat Changing Playing Cards

Available - £14.99

Heat sensitive, REUSABLE color changing cards! Hold an Alpha Card in your hand, and it will magically change from spades to hearts! If you wave it in the air, the card will change back to spades. No setup or reset required. Just add a little body heat to the special playing card. This is a brand new technology for magicians. It looks like real magic!

MANY POSSIBILITIES! Includes 2 special Alpha Cards, and instructions

Now I have to say that I suffer from CUPS a great deal and since moving abroad (having to leave my chest of gadgets, gimmicks and tricks behind) went on the spending rampage with the card ordering a host of DVD's, decks, books etc. Out of all the purchases, this was the biggest money waster.

Whether it was because I used to have one of those T-shirts in the 80's/90's that changed colour in the heat... I don't know. These days i just rely on the sweat of the desert heat to change the colour of my clothes (usually a darker shade of its original and a little wetter!). Do not expect great things from these. The principle is a great idea, and the technology top-notch, but until they design them to be more examinable the hold fire (pardon the pun). Upon scrutinising the video you can see various flaws (incl. the trailer showing the use of flash paper with the cards... yet the instructions state not to use with FP or you will ruin the card? Strange contradiction)

- cool idea

- not able to hand out
- not good in various lighting situations.
- Cards are darker than normal bikes and show up in a spread
- Need to ensure the right temperature before a reveal/change
- Have to replace frequently according to the instructions (money making??)

Hope this helps and is not too critical; afterall I admire anyone who can create their own props and tricks. This one is just a little too commercial for my liking, though will suit some I'm sure. I think I shall go back to the traditional magical methods of changing a colour with sleights rather than technological laziness... time to dust the Royal Road book off. THE QUIN.

Currently watching:
- T&R Project by Huron Low
- Fingers of Fury by BBM

PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 20:21
i quite liked them...

didnt really read the instructions...i would say for card magic, maybe not so good, but anything with a mental-tinge to it, then there's some unusual concepts spring to my tiny mind...

PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 20:33
by Lord Freddie
I was interested in these at first, but most accounts I have heard from people that have them, is that the cards look too odd and suspicious which is something I try to avoid as the focus then changes to the prop other than what you are doing.
It's something I call the Hypnotrick effect, all it takes is for someone to shout out that there's something funny about the card and you look a complete fool. Although it's not always necessary, I do like to be able to offer things to hand out for inspection whenever it's required and these cards can obviously not be.

Also, having the flash paper effect (which looks great) on the demo is tantamount to false advertising and I'm not sure if this is legal. Surely a disclaimer should come on the screen that these cards are not to be used with flash paper, rather than disappointedly finding it out when you have shelled out for them.

I shall give these a miss. Good idea, but not thought out enough.

PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 21:00
by seige
For the record, I quite like these too.

In fact, I used them in a performance situation over the Xmas break, and they went down a storm. Albeit I was in an ideally lit room and performed the effect across a dinner table.

I think I'll keep one on my personage at such occasions, as the effect I performed went down so well.

And more importantly, even my wife—who is no stranger to magic—didn't even bat an eyelid and thought the effect was without explanation.

PostPosted: Jan 15th, '08, 22:16
by Lord Freddie
There's definitely a difference of opinion here, Jeffrey. I have been quite put off them by things I have heard but would still like to see them before my own eyes to see how 'fake' they look. They seem rather expensive for what they are.

Even though it's even more expensive than Alpha Cards, I think I'll invest in Masuda's WOW for a similar kind of effect.

I feel, however, that Jesse will take the things that have been said into consideration and we'll see Alpha Cards V.2 in the near future. Hopefully ones that'll work with flash paper. I still think that's very cheeky and misleading though, showing an effect on a promo video which you can't do with the actual item. Downright misleading.

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 06:08
by the-harlequin
Hi all,

Perhaps my review may have appeared a little too critical, with hindsight. One point I would like to clarify is that: yes the video clip does show the use of the cards with FP... but it also shows the card warped and burnt after the effect which in fairness any sensible person will realise means that it cannot be used again. My point is that at 7.50 a card (you get 2 in the pack) it could be rather an expensive trick to perform if you are going to use FP.

Seige, a quick question (having used the cards in a performance situation). Do you find the stem of the spade is visible a little to much during the heat transpo? I've tried different lighting and tested it on others but they say they can see the stem too easily! Wondered if you had any advice on this?

Cheers. THE QUIN

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 12:10
by seige
OK... firstly, never let the card be shown mid-transition for a great period of time.

When the transition took place (from HOT to COLD) I was waving the card. The effect was the blurred card slowly turned to black.

The fact that I showed the red 'version' briefly and immediately started waving it around was a great hide.

And... I had the selected 'real' black card on the deck face down, so a simple top change made it examinable.

The effect was basically this:

1. Spectator selects a card
2. Card is shown around to others, magician doesn't see it
3. Card is returned to deck
4. Magician (ME!?!?!) tells that I will reveal the card...
5. I produce a red card, definately not theirs
6. The spectator looks baffled
7. Until I wave the red card in the air, and it slowly visually becomes their card
8. I hand out their card

The method is simple...

1. Have the Alpha card tucked behind your neck, held in place by your collar, so that the face (sensitive) area is against your skin. This should be enough to keep the ink clear

2. Force the BLACK version of your alpha card from the deck

3. Have the forced card returned to the deck... secretly control it to the top, face down

4. Show empty hands and announce a reveal is afoot. Take the deck in your dealing hand, do the following with your other hand:

5. Pull the card from behind your neck—this for me was a comedy moment... you could secrete the card anywhere on your personage where it gets warm enough

6. Show the face QUICKLY while it's still red and say 'Ta-dahhh' or something else which implies smug correctness.

7. When the spectator doesn't seem impressed, turn the card to face you and say "So the xxx of hearts wasn't your card?"

8. Turn the face back to the audience and gently fan the card... just enough to get cool air around it, but NOT TOO VIGOUROUS in a way which will make it illegible to them

9. Gradually, the card will change to the 'black' version. Show this briefly before performing a top change, handing the card face-down to the spectator to examine

Not a bit of flash paper in sight. And no need to ruin the cards.

With utility gimmicks, you guys need to think outside the box.

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 12:14
by Lord Freddie
Are the cards palm-able or will any kind of bending damage them?

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 12:19
by seige
Lord Freddie wrote:Are the cards palm-able or will any kind of bending damage them?

The cards are actually more elastic and recover better than bikes. Palming is fine, but I would imagine a Mercury Fold would kill them ;)

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 12:55
by greedoniz
These sound like a great idea.

One quick question. Are they similar enough to normal bikes to be able to get the spec to hold inbetween their flattened out hands for a very clean face up transpo? Or would the spec know the difference?

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 21:52
just put it in their palm face down problems, but maybe another persons hands on top of theirs too for the heat...

though i can get them changing easy with my thumb and index finger...

i've applied some mental-magic thinking, two cards are chosen, and then we visualise them joining together to make one card, a new strange kinda card..that incorporates the colour/suit from one person, a number from another...and you have a "fused identity" thing going on...

they all revel their cards, the person holding your "prediction" card, the alpha card, opens their hands, and the original card that they've seen now takes on the identity of everyone elses...

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 23:13
by Lord Freddie
Has anyone ever questioned the cards appearance?
I am concerned about this as the effect itself is good, but I try out new effects on people I know before I put them into my shows and once using overly suspicious gaff cards have proved too unreliable for professional use. There has always been a smart alec who notices the card is different from the rest.

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 23:31
i would say as you're forcing the card in question freddie, just get that person to sandwich it between their hands, and they're not going to feel the difference...well, they've not so far for me at least...

unless they're used to handling cards every day...i wouldnt thought they'd go "hang on...this one feels slightly different..."

maybe not ribbon spread them incase of someone with acute eagle eyedness..

but worst comes to the worst, lap it...

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 23:35
by Lord Freddie
Thanks matey.

I thought they looked slightly different, somewhat darker? Is this not the case?

PostPosted: Jan 16th, '08, 23:51
yeah..well, mine are...

leave it next to a sh***-card or cr*** and you'll be fine to find it...

well, i do that, cos i've got warm hands (cold heart) and inadvertantly changed half the card whilst holding the deck...

5 secs in the fridge to turn them back if you're practicing and impatient...

20-30 seconds close to a very cold drink gets them pretty much back...

plus, even if it's in a see-thru type envelope, it can be examined/looked in to check there's only one card...then away you backs to compare it too...