Olympic Reviews

Olympic Reviews

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Paul Nardini - The Ghost - Review

What is it?
A lot has been said about what this is.  In my view the majority of the issues on this product come down to two things:

1. For people it doesn't work straight out of the box
2. Some people think this is something other than what it is

This is a pad that enables you to duplicate a design in real time.  The participant writes on a piece of card which is subsequently placed in an envelope (if you wish) and kept by the spectator.  You need to touch the card briefly, but this should not be a focus, anyone watching this should forget this ever happens.

Why this instead of similar products?
There is one other product that people jump to when discussing this.  Yes, it has similarities  to Steam by Ali Nouira, but in my view, not really any more similarities than any two other effects might have (take two imp pads for example).  The methods are very similar but both have their plus points and ultimately they are very different.

To keep this review about Ghost, the plus points are that it is a very well designed pad that accomplishes a certain thing, the design duplication NOT using an imp pad.

There are many, many imp pads that accomplish a design duplication in real time but this offers a way to do it without the need for an imp!

This is what this is.  If you want a design duplication without an imp and without a force, this may be something for you.  Just be clear that this will not solve all your problems, it does this one thing well. 

Does it work?
For me... yes it does.  For some others, it seems not.  There seem to have been faults with the paper and faults with the pens.  Not great really.  There is one key piece on this that I will give my thoughts on in 'How is is as a package?'.  There are a number of forces in play and all need to work together for this to work.  When it does, the best you will get is a reasonably clear view of what the participant has drawn.  This is enough if you want to the spectator to draw something simple, but you can't do a very complicated picture for a number of reasons (also words have their limitations).

How adaptable is it?
It's really adaptable.  You could use this anywhere.  You will need to purchase refills (not necessarily from Alakazam every time but we will come to this later) and can be set up for 2 drawings at once.  There have been suggestions as to how to achieve 4 items to copy but for me, this moves away from what the pad is designed to do.

How is it as a package?
The pad is lovely.  It's a little heavy but thats fine.  The DVD is really well made and offers a number of uncut 'live' performances on what appears to be some bar staff and locals perhaps?  Nothing hidden on that front.

The bad point is that I believe they should have explained more about the required properties.  There is a key balance required for this to work and certain properties are present in a number of items.  I had a head start on this owning Steam, but you are given some paper and a pen in this package with little explanation as to what they actually are and why they are so important. I think that this was maybe something done to encourage repeat purchases of refills but at the end of the day, it's all business.

One comment I will make here is that I purchased refills the day after I got the Ghost pad (because i'm like that).  They arrived with everything stated, I was happy.  I noticed however that the refills were updated to no longer include any black cards, but the price had stayed the same.  This didn't add up for me.  I was very happy to pay for what I felt was a complete refill pack (no pen) but now I will look elsewhere when I run out.

You also get access to a Facebook group to discuss the Ghost Pad which is nice.  It seems like a lot of the work there is helping fix problems that shouldn't have been happening in the first place (what pen to get etc.).  There are a number of suggestions on there for routines etc from other performers and while I value the opinions there, I don't really understand why this product has got such treatment.  There are plenty of other products that would value having a discussion forum for purchasers more than this.  In my view, some of the discussions there are deviating from what the pad is about and also, a number of discussions there are from very helpful people answering questions that should really be directed at the suppliers.  There is not a problem in helping each other, there shouldn't really be a problem in the first place in my view.  The more people suggest doing something else, the more I like to go back to the routine provided (with a couple of tweaks).

One other point on Facebook, the Stealth Assassin wallet had a private forum to join up to, this has Facebook.  People don't seem to like signing up to Facebook.  My question is how is a dummy profile set up for the sole purpose of joining the group different to joining the private forum for the SA wallet.  You don't have to be truthful to join, you could set your name to be Ghost Pad and probably log in.

Will I use it?
Yes - It fits its purpose magnificently well when it all comes together.  You can't criticise this in comparison to imp pads, it's not one.  Take this for what is is and enjoy it.  The fact that the Facebook page exists is a good thing.  If you have any trouble, many people will be there to help you out, me included.

People are wise to a few performance techniques (like pads etc.), this will get one over on a skeptical person, it's very, very clean.  In that respect this is brilliant.

If I lost everything, would I get it again?
This feeds different parts of me.  I like gadgets, I like sneaky tricks, I like strong effects.  Me as a complete person would get this again to feed my urges.  The performing side of me might not get this again.  It works, but there are other ways to accomplish very similar effects, are the pieces that I like about this only things I would notice or are they things that the spectators will appreciate?  Time will tell.

If you have any suggestions for reviews please get in touch at: 


I can't guarantee I will get a chance to review everything but I will do my best!

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