Film the Hand
"All right, sonny, that's enough. Just take off."note 

When someone really doesn't want to be filmed, they'll stick their hand in front of or over the lens.

For someone filming hands doing something, that's An Insert. Or Hand of Death.

When someone accidentally blocks the lens with their own hand, that's Camera Obscurer.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • In Frank Miller's version of RoboCop, a robber being caught on a TV camera punches the camera in order to keep from being filmed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Done by Prince Charles to the documentary cam after his disastrous defeat at Culloden. In 1745.
  • In at least two of Michael Moore's movies, several people he's trying to interview- up to and including senators- don't even let his camera get close enough to put their hand over it. Some of them actually break into dead runs upon seeing him on the opposite side of the street.
  • In The Dark Knight, Lao is telecommuting to the meeting of Gotham's crime bosses. The Joker interrupts the meeting and verbally tears into Lao, at which point he puts a hand over the lens and the connection cuts off.
  • Verne does this twice in the bonus short "Hammy's Boomerang" on the DVD of Over the Hedge, both times involving RJ and his lackies attempting to make fun of someone (either Hammy or him) on camera.
  • Occurs in Die Hard 2, when an overzealous reporter tries to question Colonel Stewart, his crony covers the camera and says "No pictures, you pinko bitch."
  • In Live Free or Die Hard, McClane puts his hand over Warlock's webcam when the Big Bad hijacks it to talk to them, and asks Warlock if he can trace it. The Big Bad has to point out that covering up the camera does not shut off the microphone.
  • In the 1920 Buster Keaton short film One Week there's a scene with Sybil Seely (who plays his wife) taking a bath. When she leans out of the tub to retrieve the soap, a hand is placed over the lens.
  • Edward Nygma does this to a security camera in Batman Forever. "Why hasn't anybody...put you in your place?"
  • In The Pirate Movie, one of the police spots the camera and pushes it down when it is trying to film a group of police beating up a single pirate.
  • At the start of Billion Dollar Brain Harry Palmer has left British Intelligence and is working as a private eye. A pile of photos on his desk show a couple caught in bed in a hotel room, and the last photo just shows a large fist flying at the camera.
  • In The Dead Pool Inspector Callahan does more than this; he actually grabs the camera and tosses it away. However the footage of this event has already been recorded on video, as the reporter points out. Fortunately she's more interested in getting an exclusive interview from Callahan in exchange for not pursuing the matter.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Without a Trace, where the person being filmed ends up knocking the camera to the ground.
  • Scully puts her hand on the camera at least once in The X-Files episode "X-Cops" (she really hates the camera guys and is very direct about informing them about it).
  • Every "fraud against consumers" style TV show tries to have those as often as possible, it gives a visual "proof" that whoever has just been explained to be a con artist is not even bothering to claim innocence. Smarter scammers set up rendezvous and don't show up which robs the show of the intensity this visual trope provides; thus fooling most consumers on how which fraud artists are skilled career criminals and which are amateurs.
  • Blon does this in the Doctor Who episode "Boom Town". The newspaper photographers still caught her face, which the Doctor recognised and promptly thwarted.
  • Life on Mars (2006): Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt does this to a newspaper photographer. This becomes a (very) minor plot point later on, when the fact that Gene's face is hidden by his hand protects his undercover identity when the picture makes the front page of the local paper.
  • Variant on MythBusters — after a day's worth of full-scale testing wrapped up as a day's worth of failed full-scale testing, Adam walked up to the cameraman and put his hat over the lens.
  • Wendy does this when Ben tries to film their breakup in the pilot of The Middleman.
  • The Coroner: In "That's the Way to Do It", the mayor of Lighthaven does this after she is photographed attacking a Punch and Judy booth.
  • Banacek: In "No Stone Unturned", the crane operator does this as the documentary film maker tries to film inside the crane cab as he is loading the sculpture. Banacek later wonders exactly what it was he didn't want the camera to see.
  • Major Crimes: In "Wish You Were Here", the murderer suffers a Villainous Breakdown when confronted with her crimes and shoves her hand into front of Buzz's camera as he is filming her confession.
  • Death in Paradise: In "Dishing Up Murder", a restaurant hostess does this when a guest attempts to film the temperamental celebrity chef (because the footage might have revealed that the chef was an impostor).

    Video Games 
  • Kanji does this in the opening movie of Persona 4, after beating the shit out of two goons. That's just who he is.
  • In The Sims 2, when a romantic couple are in a photobooth together and have their picture taken, the last picture in the sequence is of one of them holding their hand in front of the camera.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Total Drama Island: When a cameraman sneaks up behind Gwen to see what she's drawing (A picture of Trent without his shirt) she annoyedly covers the camera lens with her hand, and later in the TDA special Noah does the 'Talk-to-the-hand' variation of this to Sierra when she tries to interview him on the Red Carpet, though this was most probably because he was on a call with someone at the time.
  • The ending to The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Runaway Pants" ends with the cast about to beat up the narrator with Mandy covering the camera.
  • In the first Shrek movie, just before Shrek and Fiona can have their wedding kiss, Shrek covers the camera.
  • In the film Fireman Sam: Alien Alert, Buck Douglas films his show "Alien Quest" in Pontypandy. While he's still filming, Bella Lasagna interrupts the show, welcoming aliens that arrived in Pontypandy. Buck Douglas gets angry, approaches the camera, and almost blocks it with his hand to stop the embarrassment.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Appears a lot on news broadcasts. This is usually accompanied by the cameraman or journalist shouting, "Do not touch the camera!" Chinese officials do it a lot.
  • Church of Happyology is also known for this. They go beyond just using hand on a camera, but also physically attack the camera man, then send a policeman to accuse the cameraman for unlawfully recording a conversation.
  • Michael Jackson did this frequently.
  • Late 19th century and early 20th century Wall Street finance mogul J. P. Morgan was sensitive about his swollen, purple nose caused by rosacea in his later life. He absolutely despised being photographed in public, and was known to do this and even to physically try to knock photographers' cameras (which in that era were quite fragile) to the ground in hopes of breaking them. He only wanted retouched photographs of himself to be seen by the public.
  • In the 1987 Four Corners documentary "The Moonlight State" that exposed government and police-protected gambling and prostitution in Queensland, Australia, one alleged underworld figure famously responded to being confronted on camera by ordering his men to; "Break his camera and break his mouth too!"
  • The cover of Photojournalism: The Professional's Approach (the 2nd edition) has a police officer attempting this on a photojournalist, but unfortunately for him the cover shot was taken by another nearby journalist.