I don’t want to just talk about myself! I’m starting a new series here on my blog called “My Favorite Performers, where I point out magicians and artists who I think are simply magnificent. In this first post of the series, here’s one of my favorite entertainers who’s getting even better every day — Zach King.
This world-famous video trickster is causing quite a stir with his sensational digital illusions. He specializes in short video clips that show off his “digital sleight of hand.” He’s a master of camera tricks, combining his professional skill as a video editor with mind-boggling visual effects, sensational ideas, and most importantly, his winning, warm personality and hilarious sense of humor.
Zach, also known as FinalCutKing on YouTube, is even more famous for his brilliant “magic vines” on Vine, the social media platform that requires its users to quickly make their point. In each of his six-second Vines, he performs an astonishing trick that makes me laugh every time.
For example, he jumps through the closed doors of a car (see the Vine below), makes part of his body invisible and grabs money off his computer screen after copying and pasting it.
It might sound like Zach is doing basically the same magic I perform on my live shows. But here’s the difference: While we both use the language of magic, we each take totally different approaches. In fact, if someone tells me I’ve made a magic trick look as impressive as he can with his video trickery, that would be a huge compliment for me!
In his videos, Zach makes it look like he could perform real magic.
If you compare our two methods of surprising audiences, I would say that each of us has one upside and one downside. My downside? I need days (and sometimes weeks or months) to rehearse, create and invent a magic technique and refine the sleight of hand needed to master the effect, but I’m bound by the laws of physics.
On the other hand, Zach’s edited-video medium allows him to express his creativity in seemingly endless ways, with near-complete freedom from physical or scientific laws. Using the language of magic and the technology of video, he blends effects with an enormous helping of creativity and humor that results in delightful morsels of pure entertainment.
Zach recently appeared in an HP commercial:
On the other hand, there’s my upside: I am able to perform my illusions live in front of an audience. Try that, Zach!
Where’s all this magical entertainment going? Will physical magic and digital effects blend together into one category of entertainment?
This coexistence of physical magic and magical video effects represents a remarkable development for the magic art. Dealing with this revolutionary blending of effects and close-up magic is a big challenge to present on YouTube.
Certainly some of my live magic effects play better in person than they do on YouTube. That’s because a big part of magic’s appeal is the interaction between magician and audience. So with my videos, it’s especially important to show me interacting with people in a live setting — letting the videos’ viewers also experience that joy and surprise of live magic.
Zach’s videos astonish his viewers in a different way. With the arsenal of video effects up his digital sleeve, Zach shows us that nearly everything is possible, dancing delightful circles around the now-ubiquitous awareness that video can no longer be trusted to show us exactly the way something happened.
Is Zach’s brilliant brand of trickery the future of magic? I’ve been impressed with his reality-bending video illusions ever since I first encountered them three years ago. Now this young innovator has shown us how that niche can be filled, making it grow larger and more formidable every day. I love his work, and that’s why he’s one of my favorite performers.
Photo by Muhammad Ali Khalid, edited by Charlie White