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Q: Levitation trick ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: Levitation trick
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Performing Arts
Asked by: freemink-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 18 Jun 2002 04:03 PDT
Expires: 25 Jun 2002 04:03 PDT
Question ID: 28391
David Blaine does a trick where he seems to leviate in front of
passers-by on a street. He stands a few metres away from the people
with his back to them, and he rises to what looks about 15 inches of
the ground, and then hovers for several seconds. Crowd screams in

How is this illusion accomplished?
Subject: Re: Levitation trick
Answered By: till-ga on 18 Jun 2002 04:35 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
That seems to be a very nice trick.  It is based on viewing angles and
is described as the "Balducci Leviation".
"The Balducci method involves positioning your audience about 8 to 10
feet away at a 45 degree angle.You need to keep your audience small so
they are within this field of sight.
This is a very restrictive angle trick and it is essential that the
angles are practised,preferably with a friend or in front of a mirror.
The Balducci levitation involves pretending to float off the ground by
going on to your tip toes on just one foot ( the one furthest from
their view ) while the nearest foot is raised a little off tthe
This looks fantastic as the foot on your tip toe is hidden by your
trousers , the nearest foot and the angle they are watching at. You
only rise a few inches off the ground but the impression is fantastic.
This trick is all in the presentation with you appearing to rise
slowly , wait for a second or two and then return to the ground
quickly so as the audience do not have time to figure the trick out.
( )
You will finf several pictures giving more details on this pge as

Another finde description can be found at:
( )

If you should be interested in learning the trick yourself you can buy
a video describing it all in detail:
( )

So have fun with this excellent magician ... or maybe follow his

Search strategy:
( ://

freemink-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
Thanks Till.

Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: granddad-ga on 18 Jun 2002 04:43 PDT
Wires and video editing was used.

Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: frankieroberto-ga on 18 Jun 2002 04:55 PDT
I can do this trick, it's very cool.

What you see on television with David Blaine is slightly misleading
though. He goes up to people on the street, uses the Balducci
Levitation technique, and then films their reaction. After this has
been done, he does the trick again using complicated mechnical props
(harnesses and rigs, and so on), and this gives the close-up where you
can see right under his feet. The close-up is then mixed with the
reaction shot to make the trick look good on tv. - So basically it's a
mixture of the Balducci Levitation and camera trickery.

This is all fairly well known, there's plenty of sites which explain
it -
Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: gary8smith-ga on 18 Jun 2002 05:21 PDT
David Blaine is an illusionist - all of his tricks may be fantastic,
however it is not really 'magic'. Do with this logic, did he really
stand on that tower, or 3 days?
Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: freemink-ga on 18 Jun 2002 06:40 PDT
gary8smith - not sure what 8 means, but i apologise if that is your
Two points:
I think everybody knows that DB's tricks/illusions are not real
Standing on the spot for three days is not beyond human ability. There
are countless similar, well documented feats of endurance.
Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: porkribs-ga on 19 Jun 2002 11:30 PDT
At first, the solution seems too easy. How could something so
effective be so simple to perform? It's important to understand that
the effect is almost purely psychological. I've performed this
numerous times, and if I just say "I'm going to levitate now", my
audience always figures out what I'm doing. But when I build up to it
throughout the evening and really try to make the people I'm with
believe that I'm capable of levitating, and finally let them
"convince" me to demonstrate it, it blows them away. I have a few
friends who honestly believed that I could levitate after they saw me
perform this for the first time. But the buildup was crucial: we were
at dinner, and I had a friend (who was in on the trick) say to me
"Show Jeff and Laura how you can levitate". I "got angry" at her, and
said "You know that's not a party trick; it's a side effect of
meditation and I don't do it for show." Throughout the night, the
other people with us kept on asking me to do this, and I kept on
saying no... finally, after a few drinks (and in a dark room), I
agreed. They believed it was real for weeks, until I told them the
Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: joemturner-ga on 21 Jun 2002 08:36 PDT
It would be nice if the Google staff would take into consideration the
fact that magical information is a secret commodity, that the
information is for sale through authorized channels, and the fact that
it exists in unauthorized form on the Internet is no defense for
republishing it.

Many magicians spent a lot of time and money developing the techniques
that will be sought by others who use this service, and they deserve
to be compensated for their work.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with anyone on the
Google Answers staff who would like to contact me.  It would be good
for the magic industry if Google doesn't become a clearing house for
answering the "how did they do it" questions of every child, teenager
or adult who watches a magic show.  It would also be beneficial for
Google from a business perspective not to be sued by the actual owners
of the copyrights of the information, or to be taken to court for
distributing illegally published information.  Many of the sites you
will find on the internet are NOT authorized by the creators and
owners of the illusions.
Subject: Re: Levitation trick
From: freemink-ga on 23 Jun 2002 12:11 PDT

I have read a number of magic books, mainly sleight-of-hand stuff, and
it doesn't reduce my enjoyment at all when a magician performs a trick
that i have read about. And how tricks are executed seems to me to be
a reasonable topic of enquiry. Do you really think that people should
be discouraged from learning about such things (unless they pay the
autorized channels that is)? What is a secret commodity anyway? Can
you think of any more?

By the way, I have tried standing on the toes of one foot and looking
over my shoulder into a mirror, and you know what, the effect is
really cool. I'm glad I know about that, and how David Blaine edited
his street performance to make the trick look like something it
wasn't. Not an illusion. A con really.

Hope your discussions go well with the staff of Google Answers, and
hope you can find a way to chill out a little too.

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