Use of digitization to obscure faces, logos, etc. Getting out of hand?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Michael Harris, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    I can see a legitimate use such as someone not giving permission or producers unable to get clearance to use a persons image on TV or covering up a license plate to protect privacy but somethings just seems silly.

    For example I saw on program where a hat logo was digitized. Before it was covered I noticed it was a NY Mets logo. Guess a Yankee fan did not want it seen.

    Numerous times I'll see logos on clothing digitized. No free publicity? Or, are producers so worried about law suits if a product is seen in a bad light.

    I caught that silly Jessica Simpson program once on MTV where she and her husband go to the Kentucky Derby. Everytime they cut to the big screen in the infield any image of the race on the screen was blurred. I know that NBC has broacast rights to the race but does a few seconds violate "fair use"? Kinda silly to watch our "heros" cheering to a digital blur.

    How about seeing a turned on TV in the background that is blurred out.

    You get the idea. I'm I just being silly or has this practice gotten carried away.

    If there are any lawyers out there, is there a difference in showing faces in a crowd in a news context such as people standing behind a reporter and faces that may be caught in a "reality show" where I see most instances of blurring. I do know that in a sporting event there is a statement on tickets saying that you give permission to have your likeness broadcast as a condition of admission.
     
  2. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    Go read any of the threads about Mary Tyler Moore Season One and the edit made to remove Mary singing "White Christmas" during a Christmas episode. If I recall the original showed her singing only two lines from the song and they either couldn't or wouldn't get the clearance for it.

    I am not sure how old you are, but I remember "back in the day" when a talk show host would have on a guest and couldn't refer to the name of the network if it was a competitor! (For example, if Alan Alda was a guest on The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson would either introduce him as "The star of MASH, seen on 'another network' " or "seen on CBS", which was deleted before the broadcast.)
     
  3. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    Yes, I remember the "on another network" references. I wonder what changed to allow what is now, in effect, cross promotion. Now a host tells you not only what network a guest's show is on but its day and time!
     
  4. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    I think they should take it to a further extreme. I think that if you walk into a store that sells Nike apparrel wearing something by Adidas, those employees should be allowed to burn those clothes off you while you are wearing them. Or if you drive onto a Lexus dealership driving a Grand Am, there should be a wrecking ball dropped on your car immediately. Or maybe that would be just too silly...kind of like, well, blurring out images on broadcasts. Programs are now either totally sanitized of any character or referral sources for other programs. We don't have the Olympics...we have a live broadcast commercial for Joey.

    The first I remember of this was when Mike Tyson was in his prime. When the sports guy on the local (or national) news told you about the fight, they couldn't use footage of the fight, rather a series of still photos taken. All because it was broadcast by either another network or pay-per-view. It was stupid then, it's stupid now.

    Bruce
     
  5. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

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    While I was in Athens for the Olympics there was a sign at every venue entrance telling visitors what they can and can't bring in. Of course there was the usual list of weapons, dangerous articles, etc. But, there was an admonishment telling visitors that they could not wear any clothing that had large obvious logos of companies that were not official sponsors. Like Pepsi? Don't wear that Pepsi hat. Fan of Master Card? Not in the Visa games. I would love to know how many fans were denied entrance due to logo violations.
     
  6. Don Black

    Don Black Screenwriter

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    The IOC also puts tape on the logos of all of the monitors, gadgets, etc. of non-sponsor companies. They are simply protecting their major asset: visibility.
     
  7. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    Conversely, I watched TSN coverage of the Saskatchewan-Winnipeg CFL Labour Day Classic (and rarely watch sports television), and was appalled by 2 things - first the superimposing of sponsor corporate logos on the turf between plays during wide shots, simulated to appear as if it were on the field because it would be blotted out where players were standing, and second, what I consider the "FOX"-ing of CFL football: remember the comet tail on hockey pucks during Fox NHL games? TSN superimposed an orange first down marker across the entire width of the field to show 'stupid' football fans where the next first down was!
     
  8. JamesED

    JamesED Second Unit

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    The first down marker is still heavily used for every football game isn't it? I do find the blue screens behind the batters in baseball stupid, so FOX or whoever can stick in their ad or a sponsor. More ads out of one spot in the background rather than sell the spot for the entire game.
     
  9. Kwang Suh

    Kwang Suh Supporting Actor

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    They've been doing those things for years now. Lots of people actually like the 10 yard marker, as it makes it far easier to see if a team got the first down if they're very close to the 10 yard mark.
     
  10. andrew markworthy

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    If you think all this is bad, you've never seen the BBC in its heyday:

    (1) Brit TV is (rightly) concerned about not instilling commercialism in kids, but the BBC used to take this to extremes. Any kids' programme where kids were encouraged to make things out of household products (e.g. a space rocket out of an old washing liquid bottle, etc) would have the name of the product taped over very unsubtly. This baffled me when I was a kid because usually there was enough of the logo and artwork uncovered to make it perfectly obvious which product it was (and they were nearly always more expensive brands than my thrifty mum would buy). In other instances, literally all of the product was taped/painted over or had all printing scrubbed off it, which looked truly bizarre.

    (2) Any generic name for a product (e.g. 'hoover' for a vacuum cleaner) would be strenuously avoided. This led to some ludicrous phrases. E.g. in the UK sticky tape is almost invariably called 'Sellotape' regardless of whether it is that brand or another. One kids' BBC programme (Blue Peter, one of the longest running shows in the world) always called it 'sticky backed plastic' and the phrase stuck as indicative of the silliness involved in the exercise.

    (3) In drama for kids (and often with adults) domestic scenes would be unique in having nothing with a product label in site. Breakfast scenes seemed to be the only ones in the world where cereal came out of packets with no brand name. In concerts, any obvious logos had to be covered up. E.g. I was once at a piano recital where the second half was being televised. During the first half, the pianist had been playing a Steinway concert grand. You could tell this because there was the word 'Steinway' in big gold letters along the side. Come the interval, a technician came on stage and put a piece of black masking tape over the name and also over the Steinway name emblazoned above the keyboard. However, the logo of the harp was kept visible, so anyone watching on TV who knew anything about pianos would instantly know which make was being played.

    (4) Top Cat had to be renamed 'Boss Cat' in the UK because Top Cat was a brand name for a cat food. You thus had the opening song ('Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang, He's the boss, he's the ... etc) and then very incongruously a title card announcing 'Boss Cat' would appear before you went into that week's episode featuring ... Top Cat. I suppose we should be grateful that every enunciation of the word 'top' wasn't replaced by a British voice saying 'boss'.

    I've got to say that in fairness to the BBC, they seem to have relaxed the rules in the last few years, but they're still cautious at times. E.g. I did some research a few years ago funded by a well-known pharmaceutical firm and was sternly warned before doing a radio interview not to mention the name of my sponsors if at all possible.
     
  11. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    The music videos thing is because MTV has a policy that if you want to advertize on their network, you must pay them. I assume other networks have a similar policy.
     

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