"It's like they got fifteen hours worth of random clips and couldn't pick the good ones. So they made 'em all really short."The term "blipvert" comes from Max Headroom and referred to highly time-compressed advertisements. More generally, a blipvert is a brief collection of often-random images cut together very quickly. The Trope Namer made Your Head A Splode. Note that blipverts only refer to very high speed montages. If it's a few seconds to pause on each, odds are it's just a normal Previously On.
—Diamanda Hagan!Oancitizen regarding the opening credits of The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996)
—Diamanda Hagan!Oancitizen regarding the opening credits of The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996)
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- The End of Evangelion has a Blipvert, featuring fan mail and actual death threats sent to Hideaki Anno after the infamous last two chapters were broadcast all over Japan. One scene features a reel of all the episode title cards.
- The technique is also used several times throughout the series. Shinji in the bath in the second episode, and most strikingly in the Mindrape sequence, where it's all scribbled words.
- The last half of the opening credits in the main series does this as well, cutting back and forth between scenes from the show, pictures of the major characters and jargon from the show written on stark white-on-black title cards.
- In episode 31 of Fullmetal Alchemist, when it shows Ed's first visit to the "gate", it rapidly shows a series of photographs. One of them is of an Austin-Healey Sprite Mk 1 with the Japanese Hagane no Renkinjutsushi logo in the license plate holder.
- This concept was used in Aliens Outbreak. In the future, the human attention span is so short that one-second-long commercial bursts are used to keep your attention. This is used to transmit an image of a Xenomorph into the viewer, making him or her obsessed with getting impregnated.
- In Transmetropolitan they're called "Block Consumer Incentive Bursting", better known as "Buy Bombs", and contain compressed information so potent you dream advertisements in your sleep.
- A Subway ad does this. It says "Spot the non-subway sub" and it flashes through impossibly perfect subs, with a monkey on a yellow submarine about halfway through.
- For a while, advertisements for Sprite consisted of exactly this, involving some very surreal, and frequently disturbing, pictures and clips, and all centered around yellow and green colored things. The message "Quench your Thirst" tended to feature prominently. Of course, it was so out there and ridiculous, it may have been a parody (or perhaps a pastiche) of this trope.
- Some GE advertisements had 'One Second Theater' stories at the end. A quick flash of a number of images, that if slowed down, told some sort of a story. This shows one slowed down.
- One of the earlier ads for Late Night with Conan O'Brien had Conan saying "Hi, I'm Conan O'Brien and I only have four seconds. So how do I..."
- The signature feature of one of the most famous Russian ZX Spectrum demoscene group, skrju, combined with (unintentional) Very Nice, Very Nice-like slideshow and really Merzbow-inspired soundtrack. Which is especially odd, considering that sq (formerly Screamer) once coded an oldskool-style Jaundice, kq (formerly Kristoph/Kreestaj, now inactive) was a graphical artist with pictures being pretty close to state-of-the-art and nq (more commonly known as n1k-o) is still considered to be the best musician on the platform, as well as bearing is own unique and quirky style... All of whom made this little and literally mind-blowing blipvert.
- Ur Example: The 1961 Canadian short film Very Nice Very Nice. The creator had recorded a montage of audio and, in a response to a suggestion made by a colleague, set it a similar sampling of images. Lipsett Diaries, a film created about Arthur Lipsett, the man behind Very Nice, Very Nice, also employs this technique deliberately to terrifying degree in illustrating Lipsett's psychological turmoil culminating in his eventual suicide.
- The original movie trailer for Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, 1964.
- One of the oldest, longest and most sinister blipverts of all (excerpts pictured) appears in The Parallax View. Its influence from Very Nice Very Nice can be plainly seen (the same image of the audience in 3D glasses is present in the original).
- In Sunshine, when the crew of the Icarus II boards the Icarus I, we get flashes from the group photo of the crew of Icarus I.
- In Run, Lola, Run, the theme is the butterfly effect (sensitive dependence on initial conditions). On Lola's three journeys her effect on other people is shown by blipverts, a series of polaroid photos showing the (widely varying) futures of those people.
- Used near the end of the trailer for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Requiem for a Dream and its trademark "hip hop montages" played every time someone uses a psychotropic substance. These montages have become famous enough to even be parodied — Lucky Star, for example, does one with instant noodles.
- The end of The 6th Day starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- At the end of the 1964 film The Time Travelers the team returns to their lab in the present day but find that time appears to be frozen around them. Their only option is to escape to the far future, which they do. But their brief presence in the lab has created a Stable Time Loop which is indicated by the entire film being reshown in blipvert mode, repeating over and over and getting faster each time...
- In The Jacket, when Jack is locked into the isolation chamber, he has visions that are presented as flashing images in quick succession.
- Don Jon features several sequences of briefly intercut footage from other works.
- Max Headroom is the Trope Namer, of course, and the Trope Codifier for Subliminal Advertising Twenty Minutes into the Future.
- The new Battlestar Galactica places a blipvert of scenes from the upcoming episode at the end of the main title sequence, an homage to the same device in Space: 1999 and Mission: Impossible.
- Thunderbirds did the same in the title sequence, which may have inspired the Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999 versions. (Both Thunderbirds and Space: 1999 were Gerry Anderson productions)
- Angel used quick flashes of images in the episode to cut from one scene to another.
- Babylon 5:
- An episode which took the form of a news report on the station had a "commercial" for the Psi Corps. During the commercial, the message "The Corps is your friend, trust Psi Corps" was flashed on the screen. Series creator J Michael Straczinski mentioned that the FCC has a precise definition of "subliminal advertising" and the director of that episode made sure that the Psi Corp blips were one-tenth of a second longer than that definition, to create an effect without "actually" brainwashing people. Other countries have stricter laws, requiring that segment to be cut out entirely for broadcasts in those countries. Ironically, studies have shown that subliminal advertising has no effect at all.
- The end of the last episode featured a blipvert of pictures of the entire cast and crew, with the intention that people could pause the playback (or, today, rewind their DVR) and put faces to all the names in the credits.
- The NBC drama Kidnapped used blipverts to enter ad breaks.
- On the final episode of Farscape, the Previously On segment was a blipvert featuring every episode of the series. Careful frame-by-frame examination actually reveals that one episode from the series isn't represented. This was likely not intentional.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer also does this in "The Gift". Careful frame-by-frame examination shows that every episode received a mention, and the very last frame was a still from the climax of the episode "The Gift" itself. Due to interlacing of frames, this was only viewable if watching one frame at a time in reverse....
- Chuck does this when something from the spy database in his subconscious bubbles to the surface.
- Second season slows it down so viewers can make some sense out of it.
- There's also the "Chuck's Secret" commercial aired before the series premiered, which, when slowed down, tells the premise of the show amongst the random imagery and messages.
- NCIS always blips the final image of the current act just before it starts.
- NCIS: Los Angeles does a very brief montage of black-and-white images before each commercial break, containing teasers for the upcoming act.
- Bad Influence, a kids' show about videogames, and How2, a factual kids' series, both from The Nineties ITV did "datablasts" during the credits- lots of text recapping the episode, flashed on screen quickly- the idea being that you'd video the program, and flick through the datablast on freeze-frame or slow-motion. In practice it didn't work, because VHS was too low quality. However, this practice has been Vindicated By YouTube- so here is a typical example from an episode of Bad Influence.
- In the Smallville episode "Blank", a montage of images from each previous episode represents Clark's memories. This is shown twice, played once when Clark loses his memories and again in reverse when he regains them.
- The title sequence for The Big Bang Theory presents a chronological series of together 109 images of the great moments and inventions in human history. Even in the early days, each image appears for a fraction of a second, but the pace really picks up when we get to the Industrial Revolution; progress occurs so quickly that each image appears for only a single frame.
- As noted by the quote above, a few opening credits can combine this with Design Student's Orgasm.
- While technically not actually done in the style of proper blipverts, Radiohead used only a few seconds of footage and music each in an extensive set of advertisements for Kid A. These were officially referred to as blipverts.
- In the David Bowie video "Underground", as he descends an invisible staircase in an alley, the camera goes to a closeup of his face that is suddenly interrupted by a blipvert of Match Cut closeups of Bowie through the years (including stage personas and movie characters). It switches back to the normal-time closeup, but just as quickly launches into another, lengthier blipvert of still more close-ups that finally slows down to focus on an animated one, and it's this Bowie that the video follows through the first chorus.
- In the Queen song "Mother Love", there is about 10 seconds of unintelligible noise over the music, which was later revealed to be a few seconds of all the Queen songs recorded before then, sped up, in reverse order. Which is fitting, because at the very end of the song, a clip of Larry Lurexnote 's cover of "Goin' Back" plays, and then segues into a baby crying:
I think I'm goin' backTo the things I learned so wellin my youth(baby crying)
- A floating screen that flashes a rapid montage of images features prominently in the video for Billy Joel's "Pressure".
- 4 of Tatu's music videos. "Prostye Dvizheniya", "How Soon is Now?", "Ne Ver, Ne Boysia, Ne Prosi" and "Clowns/Klouny".
- Get the Vacation Jackpot in White Water and the machine goes dead for a moment, then sounds sirens, displays split-second frames and soundbites from other animations in the game, then awards you the points.
- Similarly, in Scared Stiff (also by Dennis Nordman), after successfully completing the Stiff-O-Meter, the game starts a Mind Screw sequence that plays split-second animations, quotes, and soundbites at completely random times.
- In The Shadow, this happens after the player wins the Final Battle and successfully kills Khan.
- Ripley's Believe It or Not!: The introduction to the hidden mode, Frog Frenzy, is this (downplayed, though). After collecting the 7th Super Jackpot, the game appears to be going on the fritz, with lights going off and random animations on the display. It ends with the machine "rebooting" itself, until the words "JUST KIDDING!" appear in small letters. After that, Frog Frenzy starts.
- Completing Ringmaster Battle in Cirqus Voltaire causes this to occur. One notable snippet in this specific blipvert includes a boot-up screen from Python Anghelo's infamously cancelled Pinball Circus machine.
- Eternal Darkness had this happen every time a character (from chapter 3 on) picked up the tome of Eternal Darkness.
- Dying in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots results in a quick montage of images from recent cutscenes to flash before cutting to white noise and the "Continue/Exit" menu.
- In The Path, there is one for each girl at the end of their scenario. It is used in a very unsettling manner, accompanied with creepy music for added effect.
- Portal's GLaDOS has several screens flashing random images, most to do with cakes.
- Super Robot Wars Z example: When
Masaki'sAsakim's mech, the CybusterShurouga uses its Akashic BusterLey Buster attack, a series of flashing, blurry drawings result. These are the source of many Epileptic Trees regarding Asakim's connection to Masaki (though that was pretty obviously the intention. Dude even has the same voice as Masaki.)
- Mass Effect
- Mass Effect 1: When Commander Shepard accidentally activates the Prothean Beacon on Eden Prime, a nightmarish flash of images is played. It turns out that this was intended to be a warning about The Reapers, but being a stranger entirely to Prothean culture, Shepard had no way to interpret was s/he was seeing at first. It is also possible to see the vision again later in the same game.
- Mass Effect 2: Let the timer run down to zero in The Arrival, and you get a similar flash of images depicting the Reapers' invasion of the galaxy. Similarly, a sidequest lets you see a slightly extended version of the first game's vision, with a few extra scenes that make the whole thing easier to understand now that Shepard generally knows what's going on.
- The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Bloo's Brothers" features a blipvert of different variations on Bloo that other kids had imagined. One of them apparently resembles Homestar Runner.
- Done in Finding Nemo when Dory sees the word Sydney on a sewage pipe and suddenly remembers the previous events of the movie, from her first meeting with Marlin up to that point.
- Chowder pulls one in "The Froggy Apple Crumple Thumpkin" when Mung lists "the following ingredients" for the dish. This leaves Chowder in a daze. For the sake of interest, here's the scene in question.
- The Venture Bros.: in "Showdown at Cremation Creek, Part 2", the Previously On is so fast and densely packed with old scenes that is is basically impossible to understand.
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast had one near the end of the episode "Joshua", including a card saying "Haven't you anything better to do than to go through this frame by frame?".
- Vakama's visions from BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui tended to contain a sequence of flashing images. Some of these were actually foreshadowing later events from the movie. The end credits also had these.
- The finale of Moral Orel, "Honor", opens with the very end of the first episode "The Best Christmas Ever" with Orel believing deeply that God will fix everything, and he still has hope, followed by a rapid fire montage of scenes from the series during the one year between both episodes. The montage ends with Orel getting his cast off his leg after being shot in "Nature." showing the extreme contrast of the once innocently faithful Orel one year prior, to the more depressed Orel who's endured innocence shattering events by the end of the series.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Magical Mystery Cure", during the song, "A True True Friend," Twilight's destiny-swapped friends have images of their adventures from the last three seasons flash in their eyes when they get their cutie marks back.
- The montage in the "The Amazing World of Gumball" episode "The Burden", where Gumball and Darwin kiss a lump of Principal Brown's hair, several images of live-action hair being shaved are inserted in between each scene, cutting into the music with buzzing sounds.