• Alex Hui

TRICK REVIEW - Matrix Art by Mickael Chatelain



Here is my in-depth review of Matrix Art by Mickael Chatelain.


REVIEW PHILOSOPHY


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YOUTUBE REVIEW


If you want to watch the review, here is the YouTube version.



EFFECT


MATRIX ART is a matrix effect done on a single playing card. 4 holes are on a card. The performer is able to move the holes one by one, or instantly moves all the holes at once. 


WHAT YOU GET?

You will receive a fully made gimmick in either red or blue Bicycle Rider back. The color can be chosen when you place the order.  

You will also receive a normal playing card with holes to perform 2 routines taught on the tutorial.

A link to the password protected online instruction is also provided. 

QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK


The gimmick allows you to accomplish all the effects with minimal movement of your hand. 


This is a very sophisticated gimmick with a lot of moving parts. The design is pure genius and impressive. 


The making of the gimmick is very well executed. It’s a few card thick because of the construction. All moving parts are nicely integrated into a grand gimmick, and they function very well. The gimmick looks rather solid but I am not sure how long it can survive. I heard some cases that 1-2 moving parts are not too perfect and they move unintentionally (my unit functions well). Because of the very complicated construction, it is very hard, if not impossible, to fix it once it is broken. 


As for my guess about how rigid the gimmick is, the gimmick is built with some delicate parts but they are not something which can easily break. If it is used with care, I think it can withstand hundreds of performances without issue. However, it’s made of playing card after all, so don’t expect it will last forever. 


The gimmick is easy to manipulate. In spite of large number of moving parts, the gimmick’s operation is quite smooth. 


One unexpected advantage of this gimmick is how invisible the mechanism is from magicians’s view. In other words, the gimmick is kind of invisible even from exposed view. The audience can look at the gimmick from behind at fair distance without noticing the gimmick. Of course, it is not an effect designed to be done surrounded, so I won't recommend surrounded performance. But it's pretty safe for casual audience viewing from magician's back.

Overall, I am totally impressed by the gimmick. Just like the name of the trick, MATRIX ART’s gimmick is purely art. This is a beauty to look at, and work like a charm. Mickael Chatelain said on the video that each gimmick takes 3 hour to make. That’s my only worry because at some point they will stop making this gimmick. And if my gimmick is broken, I cannot enjoy this wonder effect anymore. That’s how much I satisfied with this gimmick because I am sure I would want a replacement in future.  

QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL


The explanation comes as online tutorial on Vimeo. The video can be downloaded on your own device. 


The effect is explained in a 31 minutes and 24 seconds long video. The explanation is presented by Mickael Chatelain. There are mainly several kinds of camera angles throughout the tutorial. The explanation is very clear. However, due to the nice invisibility of the moving parts, it is sometimes hard to spot them during the explanation. But if you are having the gimmick in hands, you should be able to follow without much issues.


Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted): 

  • Demo - 1:45

  • Secret - 4:17

  • Explanation - 7:15

  • Routine 1 - 04:50

  • Routine 2 - 10:29

  • Tips - 2:48


There are many ways to perform with this gimmick. On the demo, Mickael Chatelain demonstrates a very solid routine with multiple phases. This routine forms the basic structure for all the routines taught in the tutorial. 



The structure of the basic routine looks like this


  1. 4 holes are on the 4 corners of the card. 

  2. The performer moves each hole to one of the corners.

  3. Then with a snap of fingers, the assembled holes jump back to 4 corners. 

  4. Then the performer removes 3 holes from the corners, and toss the holes to join the remaining hole. 

  5. Then instantly the holes jump back to their corresponding corners again.


‘Routine 1’ and ‘Routine 2’ basically follow the structure above. For ‘Routine 1’, it start with an examinable card with 4 holes. And end clean with the same card. There is preparation and simple sleights involved. But they are easy and should not be any issue to even beginners. 

‘Routine 2’ also start with an examinable card but with no hole. The magician punches the holes on the card to proceed with the effect. In this routine, a hole puncher is needed. Honestly, since the basic structure of the routine is the same, I don’t think this version with a hole puncher is particularly more efficient. Since you need a hole puncher to do this ‘Routine 2’, I think it is less practical in most cases. That being said, it is up to performance’s taste and performing style. I am just saying that it has no obvious advantage over Routine 1.  


All routines are taught with magicians’s view and spectator’s view. Therefore, learners will have a pretty good idea of how the routines will look like from both angles. 


As for the tips, there is nothing much there. It’s all about the color of clothing that is suggested for card back of different colors. That’s nothing to do with the mechanism of the effect, and I think it’s only helpful in adding slightly better visibility of the holes.


There is nothing about gimmick repairing in the video. It is understandable because it’s almost impossible to explain the gimmick in details. So I suppose if you break the gimmick, you gotta buy another replacement. 

To conclude, the routine is nice and very solid. The teaching is clear too. Though there is visibility issue of the mechanism during the teaching, you can follow the instruction without issue if you have the gimmick in hands. Though I love all the routines in this tutorial, they all follow the basic structure. It would be better if more ideas can be shared. But if you understand the in and out of the routines, you should have no problem at creating your own ones.  


KEY POINTS OF THE PRODUCT

  • The quality of the gaffs is out of this world.

  • The gimmick should last very long but not forever.

  • The gimmick cannot be repaired by the buyers unless you are DIY expert.

  • Easy operation of gimmick

  • The routines are very solid and visual. 

  • The basic effect is very simple. Even a child can do it. 

  • The price is reasonable, considering how complex the gimmick is.

  • The gimmick is pretty invisible from all sides. So the effect can be done surrounded in some situations.

  • The effects are good for close-up and parlour. 

  • Instant reset. 


DIFFICULTY


The basic effect is easy enough for beginners. However, there are some sleights required for the routines. But they should be manageable for beginners.

In fact, here is the performance by my daughter.  




REST TIME


It’s instant reset. You can actually reset under the nose of audience. 


EXAMINABLE?


The gimmick is not examinable. But you can start and end clean in the routines after some simple moves. 


PROS ABOUT THE PRODUCT


  • Nice and solid routine. 

  • The gaffs are very well made.

  • It can be done close-up and parlour.

  • Instant reset

  • Reasonable price.


CONS ABOUT THE PRODUCT

  • Once the gimmick is broken, it’s done. It’s very hard to repair.

  • Limited variations of the routines. They basically follow the same structure.


FINAL VERDICT


I am totally impressed by MATRIX ART. It’s probably one of the most genius gimmick I’ve seen in years. 

The design, quality of the gimmick, and the routines are all top-notch. 

I can’t describe how much I am impressed by the gimmick when I first opened the package. But at that instant I know it must be something very exceptional. Without hesitation, I would say it is the best ‘hole matrix’ effect on the market. 

At the price of $65, it definitely sounds like a lot. I am not sure about the price before I got the gimmick. But as a buyer who paid full price, I would say it worths every penny. In fact, I am considering to get another one with different back color. 

This effect is good for anyone who loves high quality and visual magic. It works for professionals,  and will surely delight hobbyists. Its price tag may scare some people (to be honest, I was one of them.), but this gimmick is something that will not end up in drawer. It’s easy to carry and play big. I will give my highest recommendation to any magic lovers without hesitation.  

  • Tutorial Quality: 8/10

  • Effectiveness of Tricks: 10/10

  • Practical: 10/10

  • Creativity: 10/10

  • Cost Performance: 10/10

  • Final Score: 10/10


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