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  • - Hey, Vanity Fair, I'm Zach King.

  • And over the years, I've gotten to amass fun collection

  • of props that I've used in my magic videos.

  • Like this one, the giant toy car.

  • So I'll take you in the studio, show you around.

  • [whooshing] [upbeat music]

  • [whooshing] All right.

  • So this is my office and this is where I not only work,

  • but also keep some of my favorite things

  • throughout my childhood and little things that have

  • inspired me, as well as memorabilia from my videos.

  • Like this one, the souvenir of France.

  • It's a Vine video where I grab it and take the Eiffel tower.

  • Merci beaucoup.

  • The fun part about working with miniatures to me

  • is it's really tactile.

  • It's something you can grab, you can play with,

  • you could block in the frame,

  • but it also means you have to get it 100% perfect.

  • So that means your distance from this to the camera,

  • but also the item in the background has to be perfect.

  • So you're lining up these three different elements

  • and it's fun, but it takes a ton of time to get it perfect.

  • If it's not perfect, you know,

  • you gotta fly back to France and re-shoot.

  • One of my favorite videos that I've done on TikTok

  • was based on one of my favorite books growing up,

  • "Harry Potter."

  • Of course, everyone wants to be able to fly on a broomstick.

  • So we created this illusion where,

  • with a mirror and the broomstick and pants glued to it,

  • it looked like I could be floating.

  • [gentle music]

  • You know, there's always challenges when we're filming.

  • The hardest one on that video is we were riding

  • and we'd chipped the mirror a little bit

  • or the Boosted board like,

  • dance between the cameraman and myself in the videos

  • is always an intense choreography, and that one especially,

  • because I'm on an electric skateboard

  • and I have to control that as well as hold this rig

  • of the mirror and the broomstick and the pants,

  • which is actually rather heavy, with one hand.

  • It's fun though, when you get that choreography down,

  • it feels like you just had an amazing dance,

  • and you know, the video turned out awesome, I love it.

  • I also love exploring ideas that kind of bend reality.

  • And a good example of that is this chair,

  • which I keep in my office.

  • It looks like a regular chair, right?

  • But if I sit down, it's not quite a regular chair,

  • it's actually what we call an illusion chair.

  • So it's based on the perspective of where the camera is.

  • It's actually, as you can see,

  • a bunch of curved cut wood perfectly to line up

  • just from one single angle over there.

  • So there's a lot of meticulous work that goes up front

  • in designing these illusions, from sketches, design,

  • 3D blueprints, and CAD models.

  • And that's only half of it.

  • Then we take that into reality.

  • When you're talking about making a piece of furniture

  • or a set, you actually have to just line up the camera,

  • and have it there during the entire construction process.

  • And it's a bummer because a lot of times

  • you end up building it and if you didn't

  • line up the camera right, you have to redo it.

  • So you gotta be detail-oriented.

  • So this next room that we're gonna be going to is

  • one of my favorites in the studio.

  • It stores some really fun treats.

  • Let's go check it out.

  • [whooshing] Okay.

  • So this is special room because this is

  • where we store our medium to large props.

  • Now, we store the extra small props in a special other room,

  • which I'll show you in a second.

  • So what you see in here is pretty much all the props

  • I've used over the years ranging from snack items,

  • like this giant Oreo here.

  • We've got this little miniature plane.

  • I was thinking about the name of the Wright brothers,

  • you know, who were some of the first inventors of flight.

  • And I was like, wouldn't be funny if there was like,

  • what if there was a wrong brother,

  • like what was his invention have been like,

  • and he would take a miniature, wind it up, throw it.

  • And then the plane would circle back and it'd become real.

  • And it would almost crash into him.

  • That's where that idea came from.

  • So I got this prop online the night before we had the shoot.

  • It arrived and I thought it came assembled,

  • like ready to go out of the box.

  • But no, I had to build this, it actually took me hours.

  • And look, there's even a complicated rubber band system

  • to how they make these spin and turn on.

  • I spent way too much time Super Gluing

  • and burning my fingers making this.

  • But you know, that actually happens a lot.

  • I always try to look in the fine print

  • when I'm buying props online now, it's like, is it prebuilt?

  • That is absolutely key if possible.

  • Now a lot of the props that we make here are actually made

  • in-house using design and 3D printers like this one.

  • So I wanted do a video where I was

  • playing catch with myself.

  • I would throw it this way and then catch it

  • close up to frame with this small little football.

  • And you can see, this one is actually just a perfectly

  • printed replica and we'll paint it brown.

  • It's all hand-painted with the little Wilson logo there.

  • But it's fun that we can make things really accurate to size

  • and just to the size that we need

  • so it's at the right distance from camera.

  • You know, my videos tap into a lot of different themes

  • and one of 'em tends to be games and sports.

  • So I've got things that are golf clubs.

  • I've got little mini bikes.

  • I've even got, this is a special one,

  • because I did a video with Tony Hawk

  • where I was skateboarding, showing him a skateboard trick.

  • And during the trick it transitions

  • to this little miniature.

  • And he actually signed this one for us, so that's cool.

  • Some props are a mix of 3D-printed as a base,

  • and then covered with fabric,

  • like this one that was used in a safety video commercial

  • we got to do for an airline.

  • And this is actually, really amazing craftsmanship.

  • All real zippers done.

  • And in terms of the 3D printing,

  • like things like this, my team will do that.

  • They'll design it in 3D software like in CAD,

  • and then we'll 3D print it.

  • And we'll usually do several different sizes

  • so that when we show up on set,

  • we don't know exactly where the position's gonna be,

  • based on it could be a different camera.

  • It could be a different lens that we're using that day.

  • So it's crazy amount of work,

  • but we make three or four different versions

  • just to scale the size.

  • This one was a completely custom design

  • where it's a little penguin.

  • We needed to do an illusion which was

  • having the audience guess which belly color

  • of the penguin is darker.

  • And so we printed a series of these to show off

  • just little tricks that your mind and your eyes play on you,

  • even though it's not reality.

  • When we're designing these tricks that actually play off

  • of real life principles, such as color illusions,

  • where it has to trick your mind,

  • those take a lot of time 'cause we actually have to have

  • all of our team and our friends go through these surveys

  • and seeing what really works,

  • and what's the science behind it.

  • And again, if that doesn't work for somebody out of the 99,

  • and there's one person that doesn't work for,

  • we still try to engineer it so every single person

  • that sees it can have the same effect.

  • So things like color illusions are difficult to create.

  • I think a lot of people, if they were to come here,

  • they'd be like,

  • "You love these miniatures and dollhouses stuff."

  • And it kind of looks like that because we have

  • a miniature house set that we just used in a recent video.

  • And it's got a mailbox, and what we did is, in the video,

  • I walk up and I ended up realizing I'm really large.

  • And you see that this was scaled down,

  • but it was like a forced perspective trick.

  • And I come down and grab the mail.

  • But then the twist on it was when I turn around to go

  • inside the house, the house was miniature.

  • That video took us literally months to concept and block.

  • We'd go out to the park for an afternoon,

  • figure out what was wrong, come back.

  • And I think we did that several times.

  • And finally, we went out and shot it.

  • And we just had a bunch of teenagers

  • standing out there eyeballing us, looking,

  • giving us the strangest looks.

  • It sounds so ridiculous but the reason this video took

  • months and months to do and multiple attempts is

  • because we actually just needed

  • the certain level of grading on the field.

  • We needed a field that went down

  • just like an inch every two feet.

  • And we actually spent a lot of time,

  • our team, looking for that field.

  • And so we found a field, finally made it happen.

  • But yeah, the smallest little variables in our videos

  • make a big difference, such as the grade of the field.

  • People chalk up a lot of our videos to CG and it's,

  • "Oh, it's a CG house that they replaced,"

  • but no, it's actually real, it has real windows and doors.

  • And that gives it a tactile feel.

  • That's the reason I got into filmmaking is because

  • everything was real.

  • I'd watch "Jurassic Park" and "Indiana Jones"

  • and you knew those tanks were real,

  • and you knew the dinosaurs,

  • they have real creatures that they were

  • interacting with.

  • And that's why I love film because you can feel it on set.

  • You're not walking onto to a green screen room,

  • and just pretending.

  • This is a special deck of cards because,

  • I made this video with my kids where it looked like we were

  • creating a house of cards in the foreground,

  • but then one of my sons walks around

  • in the background and knocks it over.

  • We came up with this concept pretty last minute.

  • So I just told one of my producers,

  • "Hey, we gotta spray paint the symbols.

  • "And what we do is we'll lay out these poster boards

  • "and then project the image,

  • "and then we'll trace it with paint

  • "and create stencils and then spray paint it."

  • It's always fun to have large items.

  • [cards crashing] That's a house of cards for ya.

  • Sometimes I'm surfing the internet

  • and I'll just see this giant thing.

  • And I'll be like, "I don't know what that's for,

  • "but I'm gonna buy it."

  • And so we bought this giant beach ball.

  • So far, no ideas have come to mind yet, but I think,

  • I think something cool will come out of that.

  • That also goes for things like this giant watch.

  • I mean, obviously you need to tell time,

  • but do you really need a watch this big?

  • I don't know what this is for.

  • That's the beauty of ideas, for me,

  • I do just randomly buy things online if it feels

  • like I could get some future inspiration from that.

  • That's why there's such an eclectic range of items

  • still here that we haven't shot with.

  • So out of all the rooms in the studio,

  • this room is by far my favorite.

  • I've actually only been inside once

  • 'cause it requires a big shrinkage process.

  • This is where we house our extra small props.

  • Take a look inside.

  • [bright music]

  • Oh, there's, there's Lucas in there, hi Lucas.