What has a magic wand, a webcam, and the ability to appear instantly in five different cities at once?
Answer: a children’s magician with the foresight to entertain his audience via video conferencing.
No longer the sole domain of boardroom executives, video conferencing is now able to send all manner of small businesses out into the world in pursuit of clients. And who better to take advantage of this ability to appear out of thin air than the hard working magicians and other performers who regularly bring magic to kids’ birthday celebrations across the country.
The Video Call Illusion
A quick search of TakeLessons.com reveals there are currently around a dozen magicians available to teach you the finer points of illusion through online video conferencing lessons–in fact, at $40 an hour we should all take a little time out to learn a few parlor tricks. If you can teach magic online, you can certainly perform it online.
And there’s no need to compromise the show. This isn’t a static YouTube video or DVD. This is two-way communication via video conferencing that allows as much audience participation as the magician can dream up and the party venue can accommodate.
And since the magician can remain at his castle for every performance, remotely broadcast appearances can be improved by incorporating a fixed set with enhanced lighting, smoke and mirrors, large props, and any other technological wizardry required to stage a complete performance. Performers are no longer limited to the tricks and trap doors they can fit in their vehicle.
As for the party venue, use a laptop connected to the large screen TV in the living room via an ordinary HDMI cable, and a HD quality video conferencing camera–these are already retailing for less than $100 and getting cheaper by the day–and the birthday guests’ worlds are ready to be rocked.
If the party destination happens to have an old Microsoft Kinect camera left over from a gaming console–or the host has access to a state-of-the-art Intel short range RealSense camera–then the move to fully interactive audience participation is complete. By using such 3D scanning tech the magician can embrace augmented video conferencing and allow their audience to pull rabbits out of hats with their own hands, without damaging the rabbit, of course.
The Elvis Presley of Online Magicians
The online magician can guarantee their audience’s technical capabilities by partnering with indoor playgrounds and kids’ party venues across the U.S. to create a series of showcase theatres.
While remaining in their home town, and on their tricked-out stage, the magician could set up remote, theatrical “huddle rooms” in major cities, just like the ones dominating current office video conferencing collaborations.
With simple all-in-one video conferencing hardware and a secluded room at the venue, the magician can perform whenever needed at multiple places at a time, greatly increasing their potential audience. Once one series of performances is over, simply have the venue operators box up the video equipment and ship it on to the next destination.
By following the precepts of current multiple caller video conferencing–with each audience presented to the performer on separate chat windows, while the magician remains center stage at the destination–the entertainer could even host multiple shows simultaneously.
So it’s over to Karen in Chicago to choose a card of her liking, then Joel in LA gets to point to which hand he thinks the magic coin is hiding in, before Mark in New York gets to say abracadabra and make the white rabbit appear.
The Future of Video Conferencing and Children’s Entertainers
Remote performances by all manner of children’s party performers will, of course, become de rigueur once 3D holographic video conferencing realizes its potential.
Big name companies such as Musion are already offering remote holographic spectaculars, but the cumbersome nature of the technology, which requires an elaborate arrangement of screens and mirrors, leaves it out of the reach of small business and private performers in the immediate future.
But the more portable versions currently being developed by organizations such as Microsoft and Queen’s University are certainly encouraging. These nifty bits of tech can easily be accommodated within a party atmosphere and are more conducive to the smaller groups that make up the party industry’s core market.
One thing is for certain, conducting your magic act via video conferencing certainly makes it easier to completely disappear at the end of the show.