So how does David Blaine's levitation work?

I didn’t want to hijack the other levitation thread, which was explicity NOT about David Blaine. I’ve seen promos for him on TV, doing his little levitation trick.

So how does HE do it???

you may not want to hijack the thread, but at least read it. Your answer is referenced in that thread many times.

It’s not clearly explained in that thread…and it’s simply done…

He stands on one foot. Seriously. If you make sure your audience is in the necessary position (behind you and to one side), it’s possible to lift yourself off the floor with the foot furthest from them, without what you’re doing being visible. To do it well, you need strong leg muscles, but that’s it. In David Blaine’s case, the footage is interspersed with phony extra shots of him hanging higher up, which are filmed separately.

Well that’s what he ACTUALLY did but what you see on tv is a camera edit/special effect. David Blaine is known for doing lots of camera edits in his specials. He will often film the same magic effect multiple times and edit his best performance in with the best audience reaction that he gets and make us TV home viewers think that it all happened spontaneously in one take.

So Blaine stood on one foot, but then the whole performance was edited to make it look like he floated about 1.5 ft above the ground, which you can’t do with the one foot levitation… and it happened to be the best audience reaction of all the takes (Probably well over 25 takes).

Edits, yes, but I don’t see there’s any special effects involved. There’s three groups of shots used:

  1. The ‘lifting off the ground’ moment. You see him leave the ground, always from one angle to the rear, and never see him rise more than an inch or two off the ground

  2. ‘Astonished onlookers’, who could have been filmed at any time and in any place (but as you say, are probably just the choice cuts from many many takes)

  3. Shot of Blaine hanging high in the air, without showing us what’s above him.

Since most of what he does is bullshit, why does he continue to get work? Why are people fascinated with him?

Because he’s an excellent close-up magician, very proficient with a deck of cards, and has great technical skills mixed with a very eerie presentation and presence.

Because he’s a terrific sleight-of-hand magician. I mean, you can’t deny the guy’s as good as card magician as anyone else alive.

Everyone knows all magicians are bullshit. It’s just that the good ones are terrific entertainers.

How about the TV specials? He’s known to use editing and planted associates to make himself look better than he is.

I guess he just rubs me the wrong way.

Sorry to break this to you, but every TV magician does this.

I know that. It’s just that I’d like to jam Blaine’s arrogance down his throat.

I’m a bit of an amateur magician myself. Blaine is a great performer, but I haven’t seen him perform andy particular sleight of hand tricks that I thought were exceptional. In fact, I think he’s technically lacking based on the difficulty of his tricks.

Copperfield can do a three card lift, Teller can force anything, or deal seconds all day in front of your eyes and you’ll never notice.

Blaine’s card force is the same as mine, and is pretty basic.

IMO, the single reason he has stood out from the crowd is because he doesn’t seem like a ‘magician’. He doesn’t use the overblown pomp & ceremony or melodrama of the Copperfield ilk, but works the opposite way - he’s taken the shy geeky kid who spent his adolescence practicing card tricks, and used that to create a persona to work with. Don’t forget, when his TV shows started, the small-scale on-the-street idea was quite unusual and innovative.

Next you’re going to tell us there is no tooth fairy! :mad:

The Balducci Levitation

Eerie presentation and presence? I’d like to know where people get that impression from. All I see from him is:

“Hey. Hey. Let me show you something.” Then it’s process patter.

I see nothing eerie about his presentation or presence.

I don’t want to sound too naive, but I honestly never realized this. I always thought there was someting a bit more skillful and clever going on.

He doesn’t do it by standing on the toes of one foot. I watched several videos on You Tube of Blaine doing this trick on the street (once IN the street!) Clearly both feet are off the ground. I suppose the videos and onlookers could be faked/staged but I think this would get out.

I’m convinced it’s some variation of the standard magician’s levitation illusion and that there’s some kind of device involved. The trick is to keep it invisible and the giveaway may be that he always has his back to the camera, so I’m guessing there’s some kind of little jack maybe made of a transparent material that goes under one foot from the front (to make it even harder to spot).


OK. I revisited this. In ONE of the You Tube videos, you can see actually see Blaine standing on one toe, but in the others, the space under his feet is completely clear. Also, there is a “how to” video that shows a (visible) jack being used. The only trick is somehow to make the jack “invisible” (or at least much less visible)…

Are these videos from a passer-by that happened to have a camera ready, or were they released by Blaine and/or his associates?