Drone Strike: Public Record

Last week an ebook was sent out to a couple of GLOMM members called Drone Strike: Classified. It requires the use of a quadcopter. Ideally you want one with a camera and FPV (first person view, meaning you can see what the camera sees via a live feed) but it's not mandatory. The tricks below are described as if it has a camera. 

Yes this is a somewhat significant expense (depending on which model you buy), but this is also a pretty major league effect. And the quadcopter is fun to own regardless of doing tricks with it.

Here is the effect.

You stand out in an open field with your spectator. About 20 feet behind you the quadcopter rests on the ground. You tell your spectator you wanted to do this trick out away from everyone where you couldn't have any assistance from a secret helper. "In addition, I'm going to have the drone film us from above so you have a full 360 degree view of everything and you can be certain that no one else is involved. There's no one behind you, no one at all around. Okay?" 

You launch the quadcopter and both wave at the camera. it hovers about 20 feet over head as you have a card selected and signed by the spectator. The card is returned and they are given the deck to shuffle as the quadcopter continues to raise in the air to the point where you spectator can see on the video that it is just the two of you alone in a field with no one around in any direction. You take the deck back, squeeze it between your hands then offer it to the spectator to look through and find their card. It's not there. At this point you could strip naked and have every orifice searched. The card is truly gone. The drone hovers hundreds of feet in the air capturing everything. 

You slowly lower it towards the ground and the spectator can see it on the video feed making its way towards you. When it gets closer you tell your spectator to look up. They do so and they begin to make out the details of the quadcopter. As it gets closer and closer they see that attached to the quadcopter is their signed selection.

  • No switches. The card they sign while the drone is already in the air is the one that appears attached to the drone later on.
  • No assistants are used. Just you and the spectator.
  • The video from the drone can be watched and it tells the same story as the spectator experienced. It raises in the air and hovers well overhead while the spectator selects and signs a card. It continues to rise hundreds of feet into the air as the spectator shuffles the card back in the deck. It then lowers back down above you two and you see the spectator's face as they realize their card is attached to the drone.

Drone Strike: Classified is the work of GLOMM Elite Member #16. It was presented to me to gift to two random GLOMM members.

I don't mention it here just to tease you, I'm mentioning it because I've thought up a variation on the effect that I want to present to you.

Drone Strike: Public Record

I haven't performed this myself (it takes a while to become good with one of these quadcopters) and I'm sure there are some kinks to be worked out, but I think the heart of the method is definitely workable. It's a similar but not identical effect to the Classified version. 

It starts off the same. You launch the drone and your spectator looks at the video feed and can see it filming the both of you as you stand out in a field. They notice nothing unusual about the video they see. The drone stays in the air and rises above you two as a card is selected and signed. You have your spectator look at the video feed again and they notice that something is now dangling from below the quadcopter. As it's lowered towards you to it becomes clear that an envelope is now hanging from a string from the bottom of the drone. You pluck the envelope off, open it up, and reveal the spectator's signed card inside.

Okay, let's work backwards. The first question is how to get the card in the envelope. The answer is, you don't. You are going to use any of the commercially available card to envelope methods where the card is loaded into the envelope after the fact. 

Now the fun part, how do we get the envelope to appear? 

We're continuing to work backwards, so let's start with the final image of the envelope dangling down from the bottom of the quadcopter. Attach one end of a 12 inch string or ribbon to the envelope and attach the other end to the bottom of the drone. Now, that's the final position, but we want to keep it out of the way at the beginning. For this we need three things. Two magnets and 40 feet of fishing line. Yes, yes, I know. This all seems like a lot of work. It is. But it's also a really amazing effect. The idea of suspending something—like a prediction chest, for example—makes it seemingly impossible that it could be manipulated in some way. And in this case the item isn't just "suspended," it's floating in mid-air, untouched by anything.

So you have your drone, envelope dangling. Let's start with the two magnets, they should be relatively small and not overly powerful, and one should have a hole in it. Glue one magnet (the non-hole one) to the side or bottom of the drone. Where exactly you glue it will depend on which model you're using. You want to position it so when the envelope is held to the magnet it is not in view of the camera. That's all that matters. Take your fishing line and tie one end to the magnet with a hole in it. You will tie the other end to some object in your performing space, around a tree or a swing-set or something. Set the drone up so the envelope is pinched between the two magnets.

You see what happens, yes?

Your spectator does not examine the drone beforehand. You can gesture to it on the lawn, but you should be a ways away from it so they can't make out the envelope connected to it. When you raise the drone you have 40 feet where it will provide a clear shot from the camera. At this point you can have the spectator look at the drone as it flies, they shouldn't notice anything unusual. 

At some point you will raise the drone higher in the air. The outer magnet will get pulled off and the envelope will fall into position. Your friend will see something on the video feed and in real life that was not on the drone a moment before. 

You lower the drone, remove the envelope and remove their signed card. 

(You don't have to use a drone with a camera. In that case the audience will just see it flying overhead, they'll select a card and sign it, and when they look up again the drone now has something dangling from beneath it.)