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The Switch Review

Official Review

April 10th, 2014 6:11am
Reviewed by Jeff Stone

Review of The Switch By Shin Lim

One DVD, $30 dollars and a DIY gimmick . . . is it gem or is it rubble?


This is an open prediction effect. A folded card is placed openly on the table and covered by the spectator. A card is chosen, signed and lost in the deck. A moment later, the spectator lifts her hand where the magician picks it up (very cleanly) and unfolds it showing that it is the signed card.


This uses a very clever gimmick that you have to build. The gimmick itself is pretty simple, but may take a little bit of work to build (especially if you have a hard time splitting cards). Everything you need to create the gimmick is supplied (except for tape/glue). If you don't have any troubles with card splitting, you'll be able to construct the gimmick in just 2 or 3 minutes.

Ad Copy Integrity

As you know, ad copy integrity is very important to me as a reviewer. It's my main criteria for judging a product. When I saw the trailer for this, it looked so impossible that I wanted to make sure that I gave it a thorough inspection when compared to the actual product. Unfortunately, it failed pretty hard on this front. The video trailer is dishonest. In short, the video trailer seems to have been faked. This is unfortunate because the real thing looks very similar to the video trailer. First, watch the real trailer below:

Now watch this video done by someone else:

The second video is much more honest. You'll notice that things are similar, but the trailer is missing a few things. Before I dive into those things, remember, that studying the trailer and ad copy is a huge part of how I judge a product and so I watch the trailers multiple times and analyze them to make sure you're getting the truth.

First, the method involves adding a little special something to the selected card. You can either add the something to the card in advance and force the card, or you can have a card freely selected and add the "something" after the card is chosen. Then, after the effect is over, you have to remove the "something" and a "something else" that also makes its way onto the signed card at the time of the switch.

Upon reviewing the trailer footage, the special something was never added to the selected card. The way the gimmick works and the way you must load it could not have been done in that trailer. Second, after revealing the signed card to be the one on the table, the gimmicks must be removed. Again, based on the way you remove them as taught in the DVD, he did not remove them. He only pretended to remove them.

Third, upon doing the riffle with the deck toward the spectator, you are actually hiding "something" underneath the deck causing you to hold the cards in a bit more (but not too much) restricted grip. The grip he is using in the trailer is way too open and free and would not allow for the "something" to be hidden.

Fourth, when looking at the signed card at the beginning and at the end, the signatures are slightly different. I had to look at this very closely. I took several screen shots and loaded them in Corel Paintshop Pro. There are at least two different places where the signatures look different from each other (i.e., the card signed at the beginning and the card revealed to be the folded card). Further, it's clear upon examining the signatures that they employed the technique that magicians often do to make sure that two signatures look the same.

There are plenty of effects where we have a card pre-signed with our own signature. Then during performance we sign a duplicate in an attempt to make it look as close to the duplicate as possible. That technique was clearly used here. For example, notice how squarely various points of the name line up with the diamonds on the card. The top of the "J" goes exactly from diamond tip to diamond tip. The straight line of the "J" goes right to a diamond tip point. The underline and other letters follow the same method. Using points like this is an excellent way to make two signatures look the same, and these two are almost identical. However the two underlines have different curves. The first signature also seems to have a different pen stroke thickness. The tip of the "K" looks different from the counterpart duplicate. Based on my next point, it's my assessment that both signed cards were signed before the performance even took place.

Fifth, upon watching the person sign the card, it would appear that the signature during the performance was completely faked. Notice that the selection was done with the deck face up, thus making it easy to specifically choose the Eight of Diamonds. Next, when the card is held by the spectator and he begins "writing," he's clearly not writing what is ultimately shown to be the signature. Further, there is a video cut while he's "signing" the card. My guess: that's when they switched in the pre-signed card. The person signing the card shows the signature to the camera, but you can clearly see Shin Lim gesturing in a way that seems to say, "give me the card." In other words, it would appear that he didn't want it seen on screen too long. When he unfolds the "mystery" card on the table, he fakes like he's removing the gimmick from the card, but he is not actually removing it. The gimmick is too big to be hidden the way he's pretending to hide it. Further, in order to remove the gimmick, there is more required than what he did in the demo.

Sixth, and finally, this is the big one: at the moment of the switch, he does NOT make the switch. He merely picks up the card that was on the table. How do I know? Because I slowed down the video (as best as you can on a YouTube video) and found two clear issues. The first error is based on the fact that at the moment you reach over to pick up the folded "mystery" card, you are finger palming something. He appears to be finger palming something in the video. However, just an instant before his hand reaches the playing card on the table, his fingers straighten out and it becomes very clear that he is not finger palming anything. Further, the card placed on the table which is partially open, shows us another discrepancy. When doing the switch, the opening of the card on the table must go out of sight for a moment and it is folded up and switched out for the real card. Yet in the video, that opening never leaves our sight which is impossible based on the method taught on the DVD. You'll notice on the second video above, that the magician clearly covers the entire card for a brief second. This is a needed moment for the method to work properly.

Though I can't "prove" that Shin Lim faked this demo, the evidence, in my opinion, is very compelling. The unfortunate thing is that the real method, etc. is very good and very doable, but it's not as clean as Shin Lim leads you to believe in the trailer. I will say, that in the second video shown above, though it is an honest handling, the real method can be even smoother and better looking than that, but not as clean as Lim portrays in the trailer. Further, in the trailer, there's another moment (just after he introduces himself) where he picks up the mystery card with two fingers. I'm not sure if he was trying to lead us to believe that he just performed the switch at that moment, but rest assured, no switch was performed there.

What further solidifies the fakery in my mind is that during the explanation section, he kept referring back to the demo by saying, the reason the demo looked so good was because this, that or the other. He even went so far as saying that in the demo when he placed the gimmick on the chosen card, that he got very lucky and it fell into place in the exact right spot. He continues by telling us that normally, you'll have to adjust the gimmick to get it to the exact right spot. He then adjusts the gimmick in the explanation showing us that it's a very clearly precise action that requires focus and two hands to do it. He continues over emphasizing that fact that he got lucky in the trailer. I don't buy it, folks. Not for one second.

As mentioned above, there is a need to get the gimmick on "just right" but if you don't (and you never will), you'll have to adjust it. However, he never explains how to make that adjustment in front of the audience without it looking suspicious. Further, he never really shows you how to smoothly and secretly get the gimmick onto a card that is freely selected. In my opinion, the only way to really safely do this (based on what I saw taught in the video), is to have a card already set up with the gimmick and then you force that card.

Product Quality

The gimmick "stuff" that you get to make your gimmick is simple and good quality. The video is well lit and well mic'd, but . . . the so called teaching is terrible. It was extremely rambley, nonsensical and heavily and clearly and totally unscripted. There were multiple cases where he just repeated over and over the same thing. Probably the most annoying thing was the constant promise that he'll eventually show us how to make the real gimmick. Often, it was hard to hear him because the background music was very much not "background" at all.

On the more positive side, there were a couple of cool vanishes taught. For those who cannot do a perfect - and I do mean perfect - Mercury Card Fold, you'll have to use the alternate handling which is to openly fold the signed card up right in front of the spectator. Then do a vanish of the folded card. He gives a couple of different ways to do this vanish which are pretty cool.

Also, some of the other techniques for effecting the change are very good. Frankly, I prefer them to the one that he was supposedly showing us in the demo. One of them is where you have the "mystery" card placed in an envelope that is sealed and held by the spectator. Then after the signed card vanishes, you very, very, very cleanly rip open the envelope and remove the card and unfold it showing that it is the selected card. Other versions involve leaving the "mystery" card on the card box or a smart phone held by the spectator. You simply slide the card off of the phone and open it revealing the signed card. It's very, very, very clean.

As for the DVD menu, it was a bit of a pain. There were only 4 chapters and they were all very long, so it was very difficult to come back and pick up where you left off if you took a break from watching the video - I did. Finally, nowhere on the DVD are you really shown how to load the gimmick real time during a performance where the card is freely selected. Further, during the early parts of the explanation, he says you can do the switch from the spectator's open hand. He then says, but that's the hardest way to do it with a promise to show us later. But he never does.

Final Thoughts

If it weren't for the complete hoax of a demo trailer, I would have given this product 3.5 stars. The method is simple and clean and very good, and relatively easy to do. But some stuff isn't properly or clearly taught or covered. However, a big fat huge ding for such a dishonest ad trailer.

Final Verdict:
2 Stars with a Stone Status of grubble (some gem ideas surrounded by a bunch of rubble music, poor teaching and lack of delivery on ad copy demo trailer).

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for The Switch

Author: Lim, Shin
Publisher: Shin Lim
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $30.00
Buy Now
Manufacturer's Description:

From the creative mind of Shin Lim: THE SWITCH is the cleanest way to switch a folded card for a spectators signed card.

Imagine placing a Mystery card on a table, in someone's hand, in a clear box, well... anywhere. This is done in full view of the audience. You then have a another spectator select a random card and sign it. On your command you cause their sign car to vanish completely from the deck. The spectator is asked to open her hands, the mystery card that the spectators has been holding the entire time is opened. It is the signed selection!

THE SWITCH is the cleanest way to switch a card because there are no boxes, no envelopes, etc. Words cannot describe how clean the switch actually is.
You have to see it to believe it...

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