"It's very sweet until you realize how many hidden cameras he had to set up to get all this."
In any situation where someone watches a recording of an event that the audience has already seen happening, the recording will — by the purest coincidence — happen to use exactly the same footage that the audience has already witnessed. That is to say, it will include all the same dramatic camera angles, pans and zooms as the original scene, despite that there's no way an in-universe device (especially a stationary
device, like a fixed security camera) could have captured and produced such, well, cinematic
Sometimes this is Hand Waved
by overlaying visual effects on the recording — conversion to black-and-white
, simulated scanning lines, a date/time stamp or watermark, meaningless computerese
, and so on; this still doesn't change the fact that the director is simply recycling footage from the previous scene, rather than attempting to recreate the scene as it would actually appear to the in-universe device (which, as Real Life
can attest, often turns out dull, grainy, over- or under-exposed, off-center, and etc.).
See also Dodgy Time Stamp
, Magical Computer
, Caught On Tape
. Compare Surveillance As The Plot Demands
, where the footage is equally implausible but not necessarily recycled.
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- The first part of Megazone 23 reuses action scenes as cam footage several times.
- Cardcaptor Sakura, episode 3 - "Sakura's Heart-throbbing First Date". In Kero-chan Check, Kero-chan wonders how Tomoyo was able to get all that footage of Sakura hunting down and capturing the Watery card.
- In episode 9 of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS the newer characters are given a brief rundown of Nanoha's past, which includes footage from the previous two series. While theoretically most of it could be handwaved as part of the general Midchildan Magitek, at least some of it came from the very first episode, before Nanoha ever even obtained her magical powers. All three seasons are rife with Magical Security Cams, but this example is probably the most blatant.
- However, some segments of 'brief rundown' include what appears to be more Magical Security Cam footage given some of the angles, zoom levels, quality, and so forth - except these were never part of the original series and were in fact created specifically for this sequence. In fact, it seems the security cam was so magical, it saw what looks like a good bit of a series denied the viewers!
- D. Gray-Man: When Timcanpy replayed Allen sending him away after Tyki Mikk destroyed his innocence and almost killed him. He did so from the viewer's angle, including himself in the picture.
- Sonic X went even further and used a fitting scene that wasn't even shown in the episode when it happened. In fact, said scene occurs afterwards.
- Lampshaded in Macross Frontier - A new recording of Ranka's public performance in an earlier episode surfaces, and it's exactly the same as the footage from that earlier episode. Alto remarks (surprised) that they sure "filmed that well".
- An episode of Evangelion had a group reviewing the Evas' success- including footage shot from the inside of an angel's mouth and the inside of a volcano.
- It was the clipshow episode with Gendo giving a report to SEELE.
- In El Cazador de la Bruja, Stalker with a Crush L.A.'s job is to stealthily monitor and film Ellis with a camcorder. Twice we see Rosenberg viewing the results of his filming. The one time the camera is fixed in place, appropriately angled, and unedited, averting this trope. The OTHER time is obviously reused clips from another episode, even though it would mean L.A. had multiple cameras set up, some right in front of Nadie and Ellis's faces, and then cut them all together.
- Happens in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Section 9 is reviewing footage of Kuze's attack on the Prime Minister. Assumedly the camera recording it was slightly behind and to the left of the Prime Minister's head. This is made all the more infuriating by the fact that the Prime Minister was using interceptors (microcameras that record video through the eyes of the person in whom they're installed) for security reasons, and realistically the team would have been watching the footage collected through her eyes. Also, the attack took place inside a Buddhist temple, which do not usually have security cameras in them at all.
- In Element Hunters, there is apparently technology to visually see the memories of the characters. This is used during their superiors' briefings and reviews of episodes, giving at least three perspectives of events usually.
- A rather odd example in the Bount Arc of Bleach. There's an old footage of a battle between Quincys and Bounts, which was not recycled scenes, but done in a cinematic way with multiple and dramatics angles and all (but Deliberately Monochrome and with typical VCR-ish distortion). It gets odder when Mayuri sort of handwaves it saying "It seems the one who filmed it did at a distance". It doesn't help.
- The cyberpets in Dennou Coil only exist as projections in the characters' Augmented Reality glasses. Somehow, the pets can see and hear things when nobody is around to point their glasses in the right direction. This becomes a plot point when one character uses her pets to spy on the others, implying that there were sensors around to spy with, and the pets were allowed to use them. The Fridge Logic in this series is rather Orwellian.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam has a rather egregious example of this when Domon and Allenby meet Wong for the first time. While Wong summarizes Domon's life story, a holographic video screen pops up behind him, showing not only Domon's flashback to when he was training with Master Asia (which was in the middle of the wilderness, where no one should have been around to record it,) but a clip of the series' first OP.
- Whenever a character needs to be seen having a recording/still photo of a previous event or another character, it will be a reused panel. There are practically no exceptions.
- However, often these are iconic scenes that are recreated by a new artist rather than simple copy-paste jobs. In fact, it's often a reused COVER - which most of the time is supposed to be metaphorical or representative of the contents without being an actual scene that happened.
- Mr. Freeze apparently had hidden cameras set up all over the place so he could watch footage of him giving his wife a snowflake necklace in the above mentioned Batman & Robin. Lampshaded by Crow T. Robot
- Another one pointed out in the Agony Booth recap: Batman shows Mr. Freeze a recording of Poison Ivy stating that she (not Batman as she'd previously told Freeze) unplugged his wife's cryotube. It's a replay of the clip from the movie, with no sign that Batman's vantage point at that moment was up near the ceiling.
- The same recap also mentioned how the security camera at Fries's lab apparently follows the good doctor and zooms in at all the right moments, such as when he plunges into that milky liquid that turns him from Fries into Freeze.
- In Batman: The Movie, Robin follows Bruce and Kitka's date on the TV in the Batmobile, but the camera that watches them follows them wherever they go whether it be in the restaurant, the horse carriage, or Kitka's apartment and of course the shots of this Hidden Wire match the ones we saw them in seconds ago.
- In Captivity, the main characters watch a sepia-toned video tape of the killer being molested by, and then killing his mother. Later, a similar video shows that the killer's brother was present.
- Averted in The Conversation - being a movie all about surveillance, all the security camera shots are accurate. In fact, it inverts it in that the normal camera sometimes behaves more like a security camera, though it's possible that the main character is under surveillance and we're seeing the footage.
- Averted for laughs in The Distinguished Gentleman, where an Engineered Public Confession was captured with a camera lying sideways. The payoff: everyone has to lean their head a bit to see the confession when it's played out, until someone actually gets the idea to turn the TV sideways.
- Enemy of the State. Deliberately played with. A lingerie store has a security camera, allowing the NSA group to rotate the footage in real time using "speculation" based on shadows and whatnot. They specifically point out that it's not reliable, and the Big Bad orders his men to get the bag and see if the MacGuffin is in it (it is).
- The Island has security cam footage of Michael Clarke Duncan trying to escape and being dragged back by guards that is not only obviously the same footage we saw earlier but includes an angle that puts the camera in the middle of a corridor about one foot above the floor.
- James Bond in Never Say Never Again. The attack on the terrorist hideout at the beginning of the movie is revealed to be a training exercise when we see a videotape of the events which shows what the viewers saw a few moments earlier.
- James Bond in You Only Live Twice. Viewers on the ground see one of the space capsule capture scenes from outside the spaceships - from the same angle as the audience see it.
- The crooks in Jackie Chan's Mr. Nice Guy are chasing a reporter after she catches their drug deal on tape. A pity her cameraman didn't survive, since he was good enough to catch the action from multiple angles without moving, and managed to edit the footage on the fly.
- Star Trek IV The Voyage Home begins with a group of Klingons replaying the destruction of the Enterprise from the previous movie — using footage from the previous movie, of course.
- Which was, in itself, a particularly egregious example of this trope, as the footage shown by the Klingons included the destruction of the Enterprise. As the only other vessel in orbit at the time, the Klingon Bird of Prey, was still in the hands of Kirk, where the Klingons get the footage from?
- Not only that, but the other scenes shown must have been recorded by the Enterprise's own computer, which was destroyed when the ship blew up. No explanation is given of how they acquired it (though there could have been a black box).
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. As Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Sybok walk away from the shuttle on the 'god' planet, the bridge crew watch their departure on the viewscreen, from a camera angle several feet away from the shuttle.
- Justifiable in Night Watch as the clips in question are from the Night Watch's (actually) magical Analytical Department.
- In The Running Man, both the faked footage that implicates Ben Richards as 'the Butcher of Bakersfield' and the footage that clears him is essentially the opening scene, edited in the first version and undoctored in the second. The edited version is kind of justifiable in that it's crude fascist propaganda, the second version isn't.
- An odd example is provided in The Matrix Reloaded. At one point during his encounter with The Architect, Neo is shown images of humans all over the world, and later images of his own life- many of which are scenes taken directly from the previous movie. However, it's justified in that the entire universe in which this takes place is a computer simulation, so—assuming the Architect keeps records, which seems likely given his characterization—he could re-render the scenes on his monitors from whatever angle he damn well pleased.
- Despicable Me has two seamless cuts to camera footage, implying that the camera shot and "real" one are identical. One goes from the collapsing pyramid to a news program. In the other, we follow the shrink-ray-stuff covering the moon, then cut to The Big Board watched by the minions.
- Futureworld has a scene towards the beginning, where park officials meet the press with a damage control type presentation. They explain, while showing 'archived' footage that just happens to be from the previous movie Westworld, how the park is now safe.
- Averted in P2. Since the heroine is locked in an underground parking lot at night, the footage on the security cameras are from a single angle and are badly lit.
Live Action TV
- In The 60's Batman series, in addition to Bruce and Kitka's date, there was an episode where The Riddler was making a silent movie. The camera was in his bakery truck or just past certain doors, but the footage was just monochromatic reclips of what the viewers had seen, requiring the "camera" to be out of the truck/on the far side of the room from where it was.
- In Andromeda, replays of events by the AI look exactly like if they occurred in the show, and in face, characters can look at the scene in 3D in virtual reality (though, to be fair, it is the distant future).
- A security camera in an episode of Blake's 7 cuts between two viewpoints. It'd make sense if it were cycling cameras, but one camera is uselessly but dramatically focused on the boots of the invading hordes.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have both avoided this with "security camera" footage in "The Prom" and "Reunion" were footage from previous scenes are shot in black and white and from a higher angle.
- Avoided in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation - men in drag stage a daring casino robbery, which we see in the usual style: flashy edits, strange zooms, slo-mo, everything. When the police view the security camera footage, however, it is obviously shot from a stationary video camera on the ceiling, not on multiple film cameras. In other words, it looks real. CSI abuses the hell out of Enhance Button, but not this trope.
- In the Doctor Who serial Planet of the Spiders, a psychic character is hooked up to device that shows his thoughts and is given the Doctor's sonic screwdriver. The device then shows footage from an earlier episode where the sonic screwdriver is used. Of course, some of the footage isn't from the point of view of the Doctor or the sonic screwdriver.
- A later episode in the series gets around this; during The Trial of a Time Lord sequence, when the Sixth Doctor asks how they can show footage neither he nor his companion saw during a Whole Episode Flashback, one of the other Time Lords explains that anything within a certain range of the TARDIS could be filmed.
- In "Forest of the Dead", while the footage that CAL sees of Donna on her TV can be chalked down to it being a computer simulation, rather than security camera footage, the closeup shot of a Vashta-infested suit's skull and the shot of the Doctor hanging on a ledge in the Library doesn't seem to match up with any visible flying cameras (which CAL is seen to use at one point).
- MacGyver, "Lost Love".
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode, "The Menagerie", Spock displays records of his initial mission on the Enterprise, actually footage from the show's original pilot. Shortly into the presentation, Capt. Kirk comments that recording devices couldn't possibly have captured everything they're seeing, and it indeed turns out that the footage is actually being telepathically projected by aliens.
- In the middle of the Star Trek: The Next Generation pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint", Commander Riker is shown a recap of the story so far, and Enterprise's internal cameras appear to be the same ones the film crew used.
- It's standard practice on Power Rangers for any and all video feeds to either reuse footage, or at least not look like it was taken with an in-universe camera. Some seasons handwave it with the images being literally magical, but not all of them.
- Averted in Power Rangers Mystic Force, when the Red and Pink Rangers hijack a parking garage's recorded tape to make sure their identities stay secret. Not only did the security camera not show the same fight footage from minutes earlier, but their Transformation Sequence was instantaneous in the recording, unlike what the Stock Footage earlier showed.
- Power Rangers in Space had the most egregious example EVER. Andros is watching security footage of himself and his missing little sister, Karone, playing. Now, not only does the footage constantly change camera angle, but the footage was also taken in an empty meadow where cameras would be unlikely. To top it off, one of the camera angles is a POV shot of the monster that took Karone! And despite all these cameras, the only clear shot we get of the monster is a Bigfoot-esque shot of the monster getting away. The security network was able to put a camera on the monster's head and still wasn't able to identify it.
- German TV Show Das Geständnis (The Confession) was a typical Daytime Talk Show which showed footage of the "guests" (albeit created for the show and not shown before) taken by a Magical Security Cam, all the while pretending that this was real. Bad enough to be mocked by German comedian Oliver Kalkofe, who called this "God's Security Cam"
- Ugly Betty provides an example of a magical cellphone cam: Wilhelmina Slater has shoved an old lady (Betty White) out of the way to get a cab. Two bystanders get the incident on cellphone cam. Result: A dance remix of the incident.
- Averted in the recent TV miniseries version of The Andromeda Strain. A small-town sheriff, infected with the virus, goes crazy and shoots and kills nearly everyone in a local diner. When the army watches the footage later, it's the exact same events, but seen from the security camera's position. However, this doesn't answer the question as to why a small-town diner in the middle of nowhere has such a need for security...
- Happens all the time in reality shows, and even some pseudo-reality shows. "So I'm assuming, if you're in the interview booth, you survived your ordeal with the scorpions?"
- Played with relentlessly on Drawn Together: sometimes no, they didn't survive. Sometimes their appearance changes in the cuts between. Sometimes they don't get interviewed After the incident, they get interviewed During...with the requisite changes to their "I had no idea" speeches.
- Nearly any Reality Show, especially of the Reality TV Show Mansion variety, will feature impossible shots, such as one person dropping a bombshell followed by a closeup Reaction Shot from a camera that couldn't possibly have been there during the "immediately previous" wide-shot.
- Lost's season 3 episode "I Do" showed Jack watching Kate and Sawyer in a post-coital glow in a bear cage, reusing the same footage from minutes prior. Which means that apparently that one security camera has: A) instantly-developing film stock instead of grainy video, and B) a side-moving dolly to add drama whenever it feels like.
- Turned into a Running Gag in Titus. Used often as a flashback or a fantasy segment. In talking about how great his current girlfriend Erin is, Titus mentions how horrible his last girlfriend was...case number 246-B (later referred to as "Noelle" in the episode "The Last Noelle"). The flashback was shown as a POV shot with the words, "Psycho Bitch Cam" underneath the shot of Titus getting punched repeatedly and telling the audience that his last girlfriend was a "5'1", 100-pound Jewish girl" and he still hasn't forgiven the Jewish people." When using purported actual security footage, it would usually be stationary, but most of the time, the magic security cams are really just what the world is like through someone else's point of view, such as "Biological Mom Cam" (Titus's mom takes her son to a bar and tells her to get her more "Mommy juice," with Ken stopping her, but not before ordering a six-pack to go and telling his son to keep the six-pack low while he drives), "Minimum Wage Cam" with a fast food worker giving Ken Titus his double burger order as he's having a heart attack while driving to the hospital, "Marijuana Task Force Cam" (the S.W.A.T team breaks into Titus's bathroom after Dave grows weed in there), "Fist Cam" (teenage Titus gets punched in the face while trying to fight his dad), and "Van Damme Fan Cam" with Papa Titus punching a man who claims that Jean-Claude Van Damme can kick Clint Eastwood's butt.
- Daytime Soap Opera cameras must have this, as one arc in Passions had Theresa viewing a fake video shot in such a manner and still being convinced. It's almost as though you can taste the stupid.
- Almost averted in the third story arc of Sapphire And Steel, where the capsules' surveillance cameras produce fixed-angle images with no zooms or other dramatic trickery — except in one sequence, which cuts between Sapphire in Capsule 3 and Sapphire's image on a monitor screen; the monitor screen image is clearly the same footage with a video effect on it, and includes a dramatic zoom.
- The Professionals. In "Heroes" an armoured car robbery is witnessed by a member of the public with a handheld 8mm camera. When we see CI5 watching the footage, it includes shots taken in an amateurish fashion (people in the way, jerky film, etc) but also scenes from the robbery it would have been impossible for the cameraman to have filmed (such as the shooting of a security guard who is inside the armoured car) but which we saw in the previous action sequence.
- Knight Rider: Every time the baddies of the episode get some footage of KITT, it's footage from the previous episodes. Since the series relied heavily on Stock Footage, there is a chance that the Magical Security Cam footage would later appear as part of the episode itself.
- KITT's own security cams are apparently also magical; the footage he records often shows events from multiple angles, all different from the one at which he was actually physically located.
- Jake20 has an especially glaring example, as footage from a spy satellite shows video obviously shot from near ground level.
- The Invisible Man has it subverted in the Pilot episode(s). When Darien breaks into Arnaud's stronghold, Arnaud is watching him from a bank of security monitors, the viewers perspective sometimes changing to just one fixed camera as Darien passes through that hallway. Only special effects are applied to show the "thermal vision" setting of the cameras, so Darien can still be seen while invisible.
- Averted by the Seinfeld episode "The Frogger". Elaine sneaks into Mr. Peterman's office and eats a cake hidden in the refrigerator. The following scene has Elaine eating the cake and dancing around in slow motion. At the end of the episode, Mr. Peterman shows her the scene as shot from a security camera. It shows Elaine dancing around in normal speed while eating the cake.
- Inverted on occasion by Arrested Development. Sometimes, when a security camera is present in a scene, the camera angle will default to the security camera. A good example can be seen in "Spring Break-Out".
- A stills-camera variation in the Saved by the Bell episode "Model Students" where Screech takes pictures of the girls in their swimsuits against their will. When we see the pictures, the girls happen to be perfectly posed with brilliant wide smiles. And they are also completely dry despite the pictures being taken at swim practice. So convenient of the girls to pose themselves like that for just enough time before getting into the pool and smile for any hidden cameras that might be photographing them.
- It can be safely said the reason producers and directors get away with this is because their audiences are so well trained to accept what they see. In the famous Bruce Springsteen video of "Dancing in the Dark" (directed by Brian De Palma!) he calls a teen-age fan up on stage with him. There was a controversy at the time as to whether this was "real" footage or faked. A skeptical viewing of the video, however, shows several close-ups of actress Courtney Cox as Bruce speaks to her and holds out his hand. For the situation not to be staged, the singer would have had to have a camera embedded squarely in his manly chest, stomach, or crotch.
- Averted in Lady Gaga's "Telephone".
- Averted in Dead Space. When telecommunicating with you, most characters also have a video feed even though most of them are usually on the run. In an early scene, you can see one of the characters through a glass while he's tele-speaking, and he's holding his hand at the exact point a camera would need to be to transmit the view you see of his face.
- This is because the images are actually generated in realtime from a camera positioned where it should logically be - this isn't uncommon in video games; even characters who aren't physically present are usually transmitting "live" from an unreachable room floating off the map somewhere.
- Homeworld gives us Magical Space Fighter Gun-Cameras in a cutscene from the first game.
- In Wipeout XL and Wipeout 3, there are giant screens that display the races. Strangely, they use the player's camera view, to the point of showing the HUD superimposed over everything.
- Although given that modern day F1 racing coverage uses extensive shots from the cars themselves, including superimposed rev and speed displays, this is not that far-fetched.
- Unreal Championship 2 The Liandri Conflict averts the trope by having footage of the competitors shot by cunningly-hidden cameras in the floor or floating bots. At least it does in the FMVs.
- Televisions in Katamari Damacy usually show your character from the same perspective as the in-game camera.
- Averted in kind of a behind-the-scenes way in Half-Life 2 in that characters appearing on television and computer screens are always actually being rendered live in a room hidden somewhere off to the side on the map that contains them and the background of the room they were in. You visit some of these locations later and see that there actually was computer equipment where they were looking and talking to you.
- At least half the shots in LifeLine.
- Happens in Final Fantasy XIII when Colonel Nabaat shows Sazh the security camera footage of how his son became a l'Cie at the Euride Gorge power plant. It's given scan lines, but is as full of dynamic camerawork as the game's other cutscenes. Also happens in a televised news report about the pursuit of the Pulse l'Cie, which reuses footage from an earlier cutscene.
- In Mario Kart 64, any jumbotrons on the race tracks had a live feed of you racing from your perspective. Even after the race was over, the screens would show the fly-over view of the track as you were viewing it. (The jumbotrons used the screen buffer as its texture. Consequently, the jumbotrons were turned off during multiplayer).
- Happens in Ripper (the FMV title), where the surveillance bugs allow a video feed from the room in which they've been placed. Any angle in the room is valid, with dramatic editing as well.
: It's cool the bug I put in his cigar box provides multiple camera angles.
- Flip-flopped the Shadow Broker Archives in Mass Effect 2. You sometimes watch legitimate security cam footage, like when Thane stealthily assassinates two guards. But then played straight with a video for Jack's escape from Purgatory, as it starts from behind a prison guard, then following her running, and then panning above her as she uses her biotics to flip herself over the same guard and then blast him once she lands.
- Averted in Dragon City when Emily pulls out surveillance tape of Rachel getting shot. Not only was there a good reason to have a security camera there (a mayoral press conference), but the comic uses new art (due to the fact that the art was upgraded multiple times between the original event and the watching of the video) and portrays it from the correct angle of a camera.
- The famous first step on the moon by Neil Armstrong was recorded by a camera on the outside of the landing module. The answer here is that there was a cargo pallet that they dropped next to the module, and that it automatically deployed and set up a camera to start broadcasting for this very purpose.