REVIEW: NEWSFLASH 2.0

First of all I have to admit that Axel Hecklau is a good friend of mine and I really admire his work and his never ending drive to make his work better. Nevertheless I will try to make a honest and objective review of his newest release NEWSFLASH 2.0

If you are not familiar with NEWSFLASH, please read my review on Newsflash 1.0 first.

In general I’m sceptical if someone releases a second version of an existing trick. The question is always does it make sense to buy the new version if you already have to original one. In case of NEWSFLASH 2.0, the answer is: It depends ;-)

But let me first tell you what you get for your money:

What you get

When I received the package I was stunned how thick it was compared to the original NEWSFLASH. It contains:

  • Two DVDs (120 minutes each), it was too much material in two languages to put on one disc
  • One set of Gimmicks (magnets) and two new  additional gimmicks for the Express Version. Later more on this
  • A printed folding reference, so that you don’t always need to watch the DVD while preparing a news paper. In general a good idea, but for me not all drawing were easy to understand at the first attempt. After watching the DVD a second time and doing the folds myself I know can follow them, but I’m sure this could be optimized.
  • Printed performance rights for live and online performances (TV rights reserved)
  • Printed Fold Finder posters for different news paper formats

The last ones mentioned are really a help for beginners. Although all folds are done having a reference on the news paper or on previews folds, the folding process is not trivial and the marks offer the chance to verify if you are on the right way during the folding.

You put your newspaper onto the line of the folding finder so that it matches the size of your news paper. Then you can mark all folds on the top and bottom of the newspaper easily.( Sure you will only do this while practicing the folding as you don’t want to show the marks to your audience.)

Axel explains on the DVD, that if your newspaper doesn’t match one of the lines exactly you should use the next wider one. When I tried this with a paper that was only slightly wider than the next matching line and I took the next wider one, the marks didn’t match with the foldings I did later on. The distance of the second fold to the border was much more than the expeted 12mm/1/2″.  Finally I found the the next matching line worked better although my paper did not fit completely inside this line.
You will have to try out which one really works best with your newspaper, just check the 12mm/1/2″.  Also before you make your marks double check if the middle fold of the newspaper is really in the middle otherwise the marks won’t be at the correct position.

On the DVDs the preparation of the duplicate (restored) newspaper, the necessary gimmicks and the setup in the torn newspaper is explained in such great detail that I really can’t imagine how somebody won’t grasp it. With the permission of Axel I include a video clip as an example:

What’s new

  • The folding for Broad Sheet papers has been completely revised. It’s now much easier and more logical. All folds have their reference to other folds, so that nothing has to be measured.
  • What I really like in the new version is, that every folding step can be selected as individual DVD chapter and as you can see above in the upper left corner the current step is always named. So if you get doubts at a certain step while folding, you don’t have to view the whole DVD to find what you need to know.
  • The first version was optimal only  for Broad Sheet papers (67cm/26″ to 83cm/32″ wide). Performers that had to use other formats hat to figure out how to deal with them on their own. In Version 2.0 Axel includes SEPARATE explanations and special foldings for Broad Sheet, Tabloid (small newspapers 50cm/19″ to 66cm/26″ ) and US paper formats (19″ to 26″ wide that are higher than wide)
  • For the Tabloid format a special express version is included where you don’t have to glue anything when preparing your paper for a show. Axel claims that you can prepare it in less than 2 minutes . To achieve this two additional gimmicks are provided.
  • The magnets are no longer rectangular but round now, which eliminates possible handling errors. Also they got thinner. Because the Magnets god wider at the same time fixing them to the paper got much easier.
  • Easier last tear for Broad Sheet and US-Version if you still have problems with this tear have a look on my article here

As I’m already happy with the old version, my favorite in 2.0 is this new included Poster Version:

While thinking about this I got the idea (not tested yet) that you could also use this for family events where you exchange the cue cards with pictures of members of the family and the poster with a big group photography of all of them.

DVD Production

Picture and production quality of the DVD is absolutely professional. The DVD is available only in NTSC, but almost all current PAL TVs and DVD players can handle NTSC. Vice versa is normally not possible. Perhaps because ot the NTSC coding  (Never The same Color ;-) ) colors and contrast seemed a bit  too strong when watching on my TV, but when played on my Laptop everything was fine. All instruction steps can be navigated to over the DVD menu which is a BIG leap forward compared to the old version.

As in version one Axels alter ego Constable Betz comments important steps and warns of potential pitfalls which I think is quite funny and authentic to Axel. On this DVD now the Lord of the Darkness (Martin Sierp) takes part as special guest and he and Axel try to do some comedy together. Sorry Axel, but you should have left him out. In my opinion its not funny at all and worse: the appearance of the vampire at several points on the DVD is completely unmotivated. But you buy this DVD to learn a great trick and not for the comedy.

What I was missing is a chapter for owners of NEWSFLASH 1.0 with a summary of the changes and improvements to the original if you continue using Broad Sheet papers.

I know that Axel is very serious about Copyrights of magic tricks and he is right with it. But I found it very annoying that the message about Copy and Performance rights is scrolled slowly over the screen after inserting both of the DVDs and you can’t skip it, especially if you just need to look up a single fold.

Should you buy it if you already own V1.0?

I’m sure every happy owner of V1.0 will ask this question. With a price of $132,05 / 87,89€ NEWSFLASH 2.0 is not a quick buy. If you don’t need to use Tabloid or US format newspapers I think it does not really make sense to invest this ammount in V2.0, although if you do a lot of corporate shows, the Poster Version alone could be worth the money for you.

I was told, that in some countries like Spain or Portugal you ONLY get Tabloid sized papers. So if  you have the original but always struggle with the newspapers that you want to use, then V2.0 is a clear recommendation for you to buy.

If you don’t have NEWSFLASH already?

I perform NEWSFLASH now for about one year as my opener and I can only say it’s an absolute killer. If you are thinking about taking a Torn & Restored Newspaper into your show you should get NEWSFLASH 2.0. Even if you already use another T&R newspaper it’s worthwhile to think about it to change to NEWSFLASH because of it’s advantages.

As I said above, it’s not a cheap trick, but for any working magician it’s a good investment. BTW. the fact that NEWSFLASH 2.0 is priced over $100 (in Euro it’s below 100€)  is due to the weak US-Dollar, so if you don’t like this, talk to your government ;-)

You can order NEWSFLASH 2.0 only direct from Axel Hecklau.

 

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2 comments to REVIEW: NEWSFLASH 2.0

  • Ray Werner

    Great review. I purchased Newsflash 2.0 last year. It really is that good. I used to perform Gene Anderson’s method for many years. I alway’s had a problem with his version. I would alway’s drop strips of paper to the floor before the restoration (Not good). Axel’s version is the easiest, cleanest method I have EVER used. It is worth every penny and would buy it again. :-)

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