Here is my in-depth review of Optix by Tobias Dostal.
When I review a product, I’d like to judge the product by itself alone. I will try to put myself into readers’ shoes and give the most honest review.
I paid full price of the product, thus as a consumer I want my readers to have full information about the thing they may be getting.
If the product is good, I say it out loud. At the same time, if there is bad about the product, I don’t hesitate to say it.
I believe by giving you the most transparent information, you will have better knowledge to judge.
Helping my readers is my biggest goal with this review.
WHAT YOU GET?
You’ll get a specially made gimmick, which can handle the flash and the vanish of the effect.
It is a single unit body and that’s all you need to perform the effect (of coz, you need spectator’s phone as well).
You’ll also receive the magnetic charging cable to charge the unit. It takes 1 hour to fully charge the gimmick. A full charge will allow the unit to illuminate for 2 hours continuously.
You will also get some extra material to adjust the gimmick to suit yourself. As everyone is built differently.
A link to the online tutorial is included in the box.
QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK
The gimmick is built professionally with nice material. It should last very long time with care.
The only thing which may break is the electronics. But since it is not something super high-tech, I suppose it will work for prolonged use.
It is also cleverly designed in a way that it allows an automatic secret maneuver which helps you worry-free during performance.
All in all, I am impressed by the quality of the gimmick.
QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL
The effect is well explained in the 1 hour & 37 mins long video.
Length (minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted):
Live Performance- 9:06
Overview (Gimmick & Handling)- 24:22
Phone Size- 5:00
Any Color Phone- 3:59
Important Tips- 3:16
* 1st Vanish: 7:23
* 2nd Vanish: 2:42
* 3rd Vanish: 2:31
* 4th Vanish: 3:26
* 5th Vanish: 5:18
The Transformations- 9:52
The Routine- 11:42
Important Tips- 5:34
In Live Performance session, you can witness performances in different settings. The videos are well shot so that you will have a clear idea of how the performance should look like in real world.
In Overview session, Tobias Dostal explains the working of gimmick and teaches you how to customize (you don’t have to if you don’t want to) the gimmick to better suit you. The tutorial is very clear and that DIY is in fact very easy. So if you want to make the effect work for you perfectly, you should do it anyway. It takes about 10 minutes max to do it.
In the second part of Overview, Tobias teaches you how to hold, activate, position, and vanish the gimmick. This part is shot from a single-angle (it’s like the Super Practice Session of the old L&L Publishing video) and it’s very clear. This part lasts about 10 minute & 13 seconds.
In the session regarding different size & color phone, tips are given to handle different phone types. There is additional helpful tip regarding how to handle the gimmick. The tip is very helpful.
In 'Important Tips’, Tobias teaches about how to get in & get out the effect.
In 'The Vanishes', the main vanish is taught with all the details. Afterwards, there is a close-up multi-angle practice session which makes the move perfectly clear to viewers. This part is very valuable because it makes sure you understand the move. I seldom see such a nice touch in tutorial these days. Very nice work. The tutorial of the 1st vanish last 7 minutes & 23 seconds.
Then 4 more vanishes are taught. They are all practical and suit different performance styles.
In ’The Transformations’, Tobias shows you different ways to change the phone into other objects like sunglasses, orange, deck of cards and handkerchief. Though all the effects are fun to play with, I personally don’t like them too much because it will distract the audience and make the effect less strong. But you may find a good way to use them. This session last almost 10 minutes. A good source of inspiration and a fun watch.
’The Routine’ session shows you the whole routine in sequences. The most important part is about how to switch the phones. The tutorial is down to details, and the switch is very convincing. You will probably be fooled even you have watched the method seconds ago. Different handlings are taught in this part. All of them are practical and effective.
The last session of the tutorial is about more tips. There are some valuable advices here on how to make the effect work perfectly. Must watch.
To conclude, the production quality of the tutorial is top-notch. And it is packed with useful information about every details of the effect. I am 100% satisfied with it.
There are 2 main moves in this effect, namely the switch and the vanish. Both are not particularly difficult though they are little bit angle-sensitive. A little bit of practice in front of mirror will make them right.
The best viewing angle is 180 degree from the front. Strictly speaking, the method will be exposed when it is viewed from behind or sides. But still, the method is flexible enough that you can manage the angle with your own handling. Viewing angle should not be a big issue at all.
There is no strict requirement for clothing.
You can wear short sleeves and any color (though darker one is better) when performing this effect. A jacket is optional but the illusion of the effect works much better with it.
The effect doesn’t have to be done in dim environment. In fact, it is as deceptive when you do it in full daylight. The illusion of the effect depends more on the sleight than the working environment.
DOES IT REALLY WORK WITH ANY PHONE?
Almost. This effect literally works with any phones.
But I will doubt if you want to perform this effect with any phones because the effect is not meant to be performed in this way. Just like we won’t pick a 5-year-old as a helper for Poker demonstration, you won’t pick a wrong phone for this effect. This is about the judgement of the performer but not about how practical the trick is. In most cases, you can work with phone with different colors and sizes.
ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECT
I will include my analysis of the effect in my product review. In this analysis, I will present my view on the strength and weakness of the effect. And will also go deeper with magic theory in mind.
First of all, most people may ask if audience will realise they are holding their phone from the beginning. I am quite sure it can pass audience’s radar easily. The reason is simple: we are living in a world where most of us are using phones with similar form factors. When the audience is distracted by watching the effect, their attention is not on the phone. After all, the 'performer phone’ per se is not important. It is the effect and the screen they are shooting the video is important. Therefore, no one will notice a thing especially the back of the phone is out of the view.
In addition, their phone does not leave their sight for a second. Thus, their rational minds will eliminate the fact that they will be holding their own phone. As we can see, as long as the frame of the effect is on the phone the performer is holding, all attention is there.
To make good magic, we performers must do our best to fool spectators' mind. Staging of effect is important because it determines how impactful the effect is. You don’t want to hint that this effect is about transposition until the very last moment, or the audience will put their focus outside the frame of the effect, trying to guess/predict where the phone will go. This is a vanish effect, followed by an unexpected transposition. If you put focus on the vanish sequence, there is no way the audience being aware of the phone they are holding. However, if too much focus is on the vanish which is about to happen, you will put yourself in a situation that they burn your hands or even the phone. Therefore, the sweet spot of this effect should be ’the frame’ (the area in front of the performer), where magic will happen but the audience don’t know what it will be. By focusing audience on 'the frame’ instead of the effect(s), the audience will stop making too much judgement/guessing prematurely.
PROS ABOUT THE EFFECT:
1. Very visual
2. Gimmick is well-made
3. An almost perfect tutorial
4. Durable product
5.Fun to play with
CONS ABOUT THE EFFECT:
1. A proper staging is needed or you will ruin the effect.
2. Not 360 degrees viewing angle.
The effect is awesome. The product quality is top-notch. There is nothing much to complain about.
While there is concern on phone types and lighting condition for some performers, I don’t think those arguments against this effect is much valid.
The physical manipulation of this effect is secondary, it is how you frame and fool the minds counts more.
As I mentioned above, the switch is so smooth that it will fool yourself. If the switch is done invisibly, there is no way for audience to suspect anything. We are not switching the latest iPhone/Android phone with a 90s bulky phone, there is nothing to fear.
I am satisfied with everything in this effect. This is a super visual and memorable effect for people. The price is so reasonable that I would have paid double to get it.
This effect has my highest recommendation.
Product Quality: 10/10
Effectiveness of Tricks: 10/10
Cost Performance: 10/10
Final Score: 10/10