Derren Brown – thoughts?

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  • Derren Brown – thoughts?
  • magic of course!

    mirrors. It's all done with mirrors.

    that was magical that you got in there first northern dan.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    tedious hammy dross


    Some form of projection onto the balls causing an ink to become black?

    if you flicked over to bbc, his feed was slightly ahead of the 'live' feed. Might be just to do with distances and transmission but who knows

    Premier Icon JohnClimber

    The balls didn't move all show, so I guess we'll find out on Friday


    I told him the answer.


    The man is a self indulgent @$$ hole, there's no doubt about it

    love it!

    as the poster said in Fox Mulders room; 'I want to believe'.


    i knew he was going to do that.


    Well he always claims his work is missdirection, a lot like David Blane a lot of his work relies on our belief in television. With Blane's street magic the real illusion is the sense that he works alone, even though you've got a whole production team standing behind the camera.

    I don't know if you remember a wee stunt Brown did where he had a live camera fixed on a section of a busy shopping street. Lying on the floor was a wallet with a crisp £50 note poking out, for the duration of his show they would check back and noone had picked up the wallet, or even given it a second look.

    What the camera couldn't see, but I could, because I was walking down the street that day…. was that there were wallets with notes poking out along the whole length of the street. Like a pound coin glued the the pavement everyone knew if you went pick one up you'd doubtless be the subject of some sort of prank or stunt, so like chuggers everyone avoided making eye contact with them

    If he'd shown the camera a lottery ticket bought that day with those 6 numbers on, I'd have been well impressed.

    But he didn't, so I'm sticking with the AlasdairMc theory. An infra red laser could have done it.


    I'd be surprised if he resorted to something like that – he normally goes for legit "misdirection" type stuff…


    OK, so the chances of actually picking the right numbers are something like 14,000,000:1.

    So how did he do it?

    I assume it relies in some way on having all possible numbers available to him to select somehow at the point when he writes down the numbers on the card, all the other ones I've seen do.

    I think maybe on the back of the black card, he has a bunch of stickers (black on transparent maybe) with all possible numbers on. He somehow gets these arranged into a neat, evenly spaced line at the point he is writing down the numbers (where you can see him fiddling with the back of the card, which is turned side on to the camera).

    Somehow he transfers this neat line either onto the balls or draped over them somehow at the point where he fiddles just before he turns the stand with the balls round.

    Possibly, they could just be put on a sheet of perspex, that slots into the right place on the stand? And be printed to look curved?

    However he does it, it is a very well done trick, way better than your average lottery prediction trick (there are a bunch of them), and it must be really hard reliably getting hold of the right numbers in the second or two that he has to get them.


    After he said 23, the far left ball moved.
    (Gif of moving ball)


    I'd be impressed if he predicted them at 2 in the afternoon so we could go out & buy a lottery ticket.

    The obvious way is to get the beeb in on it & delay the 'live' transmission buy a few seconds giving the production crew first dibs on the numbers.

    Delaying the transmission etc. would have no point – the key to the trick is that he only revealed the balls after the numbers had been shown on the lottery anyway. If he really had advance knowledge,it wouldn't need a split second delay, it'd need the BBC to delay their feed by about 10 minutes, for them to print out the numbers and get em stuck to the balls, and then for him to waffle on about it. It is pretty unlikely that the BBC would do that just to help one of their key competitors, particularly for something with so much regulation around it like the lottery.

    The only logical solution is that the numbers that you see on the balls got there *after* the real lottery draw.

    Which means it is either camera trickery, or something that he does in the split second when he is near the balls before he turns them round.

    It is probably not camera trickery, as he's a stage magician, so there's almost certainly a trick to it. I don't know exactly how he got the stickers onto the balls, but I think it *must* have happened at the point he turned the stand round, or just before that when he flipped the number board over (possibly with some preparation of whatever it is as he writes down the numbers).


    Thinking about it, the numbers have to be in ascending order, that must be key to the trick – I'm guessing because wherever he has the stickers snaffled away, they are in rising order. There are tons of card prediction tricks that work in a similar way.

    The neatest similar card trick I know is the one where a deck of cards is put into the magician's pocket, a person is asked to name a card, and then the deck is taken out to show that card is the bottom card – utterly impossible to explain at first, but dead simple when you know how it works. I've seen a neat number trick that relates to this too, where someone in the audience gives a three digit number, which is written down on a big piece of card so all the audience can see, and then the magician reaches into his pocket and pulls out a locker key, with the 3 digit number written on the key tag. This trick could be done with a combination of similar effects – although if it is, he does it incredibly well, no magicians I've asked can see exactly where he makes the moves, and it must be very hard to pull off.

    It is an interesting piece of misdirection – everyone is talking about it on the internet as if the hard thing is finding out the numbers, talking about camera delays, digital vs analog delay etc. Whereas that bit isn't at all hard, as he has the numbers read out to him, live on TV, so of course he knows them. The hard thing is taking the numbers that he knows, and getting them onto the balls somehow.


    Premier Icon aracer

    utterly impossible to explain at first, but dead simple when you know how it works.

    Well go on then…

    Premier Icon miketually

    camera delays, digital vs analog delay

    he doesn't usually use techniques like these though, does he?

    Well go on then…

    I'm not explaining the two tricks that I listed above, as they're pretty popular tricks amongst people who do magic for a living, and because I might get in trouble with the man who sells them (who I kind of know through work, friend of a friend). Suffice to say, they are both devilishly clever ideas, yet dead simple to actually do (given a bit of practice).

    I'm not explaining Derren Brown's trick because whilst it might be simple, I don't know exactly how he does it (assuming it isn't technological cleverness, which I don't think it is).

    he doesn't usually use techniques like these though, does he?

    Nope, and there's no obvious reason why any kind of delay would help, it'd only be useful if he appeared to reveal the numbers before the draw. The only technological device I think he might quite likely use is a particular camera angle in the last close-up shot – if the angles weren't very tight, I can't see why he wouldn't have a live audience for it.


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