Twitter's Vine Revives 1890s Magic Movies
Screenshots from a Vine video by user Max Michalsky
CREDIT: Max Michalsky on Vine
A spool of thread changes color as it dances on its own across a table. A mystery woman snaps her fingers in front of a glass of water and the glass disappears. Is it magic? No, it's the "magic" hashtag on Vine, a new app from Twitter that allows users to easily make and upload six-second videos.
To make a Vine video, users record several short clips that the app then stitches together automatically. The app provides an ideal format for simple magic tricks. But virtually all of these tricks are so obvious that the videos are clearly more about making funny and old-fashioned clips than creating illusions.
And old-fashioned they are. The videos use the same techniques as some of the short "magic" clips that people recorded at the beginning of film's history. Stitching together before-and-after shots helped Thomas Edison create the illusion of chopping off an actress' head in his one-minute, 1893 movie, "The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots."
Georges Méliès, a French stage magician and filmmaker, used that technique and developed others for the short magic movies he made from 1895 until the early nineteen-teens. In fact, Méliès pioneered special effects techniques far beyond anything Vine users are likely to tackle. For instance, covering half of the screen while filming allowed him to later put together two "halves" to create the illusion of two copies of the same actor appearing in the same scene.
A regular Vine user might be able to recreate some of Méliès' "Illusions fantamagoriques," however.
Here at TechNewsDaily, we noticed some of Vine's younger users have put together the most Méliès-like clips. If you have the Vine app, we suggest the work of the user "Max Michalsky," who doesn't appear to have graduated high school yet.
Inspired by Michalsky, we made our own magic clip using Vine, in which a cup (which we cut into sections) appears to rise out of a table as we hold a hand over it.