A shot or series of shots that are frequently reused in a show. Copies of this footage are kept on hand and spliced into a show as needed.
Almost every show has some degree of Stock Footage involved — establishing shots are the most common of these, along with their kin the Aspect Montage. Some shows, though, rely on it to an extensive degree, and some — like "Magical Girl" anime — have made its use into an artform. Not a well-liked artform, but an artform nonetheless.
Stock Footage is used mainly because it is inexpensive — filmed once and used multiple times, it makes for a great return on your investment, as long as you don't care whether or not your audience gets tired of the sequence(s) you recycle.
Sometimes, Stock Footage is used which was not originally shot for the show in which it is used. This appears most often for military footage, when the producers don't have the budget to shoot a convincing battle scene and aren't Backed by the Pentagon. In such cases, the quality of the Stock Footage can be substantially different (and several decades older), making for an especially jarring effect. On the other hand, historical fiction dealing with (for example) World War II or the Vietnam War, may deliberately use period-era footage as stock. As a stylistic choice, it can help with the mood of the story a lot.
With digital compositing and other effects, one can stretch the stock footage further. A single effects shot can be overlaid into many scenes. In animation, data is often stored in layers, either as original animation cels or digital files, allowing character animation to be re-used on new backgrounds, sometimes reversed.
Occasionally, stock footage from other sources is used in cartoons for comedic effect; a series of stock footage clips are shown, each one more absurd than the last.
Not to be confused with the AATAFOVS episode Stock Footage.
Compare Limited Animation, and for news reporting, B Roll.
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In general, anime is somewhat notorious for this, as it is (or was) seen in Japan as an acceptable way of keeping budget down, especially in the pre-digital-rendering era. While less ubiquitous now, a lot of classic shows that had otherwise tight budgets tend to use stock footage quite a lot - as outlined below.
Sailor Moon's first season was particularly low budget and it showed because more than just the usual transfomation, attack, and speech footage got recycled — pretty much anytime you saw a cool shot, you could expect a later episode to rip it out and use it again out of context, and in one early instance, a shot of Sailor Moon dodging a punch just ripped a few seconds out of her transformation sequence. Since this show also had many different animators, it could get jarring to see recycled footage appear because the characters would look completely different. Egregiously, the season's final episode has the entire sequence of Usagi hitting Mamoru in the head with her test paper repeated using mostly the same footage from the first episode. While there was a plot reason for this, the animation quality of the first episode was dramatically lower than the final episode, making it extremely obvious what was being recycled.
Beautifully averted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha and its sequel series. While the series makes some use of the typical transformation sequences, they are quickly shortened over the course of the series and then eventually phased out all together and absolutely nothing about the fight sequences is stock.
Wedding Peach had the bridal transformations, and the warrior transformations. You could tell how much animation budget was available for an episode depending on whether they did the warrior transformations or not.
The first anime season of Slayers had stock footage for some of the spells, as well as Gourry drawing out the Sword of Light. The second and third seasons remarkably avert this, even though all three of the original 1990's seasons had cheap budgets (and it shows at times, especially during the end of the first season and parts of the third). When the series revived in 2008, they, too, averted this.
It should be noted that Eva's infamous "elevator sequence" (51 seconds with Asuka and Rei, not speaking) was considered important/intentional enough to show up in its entirety in the "Death" compilation movie. They even reanimated it! (In "Death" and the director's version, Asuka gets a nose twitch at about the 40 second mark).
The most extreme example of this is Episode 25 of NGE, which contains roughly five seconds of original animation: a four-second sequence, a half-second sequence, and about three dozen individual frames that are variously panned, zoomed, or just held there with a voice-over.
Let's not forget the 1 minute+ static scene in episode 24 where Shinji kills Kaworu.
The use of the Stock Footage "Lain walking under telephone lines casting creepy shadows" montage in Serial Experiments Lain actually heightens the impact of a sequence in the last episode, in which the same footage is shown without Lain in it after she erases herself from existence.
Revolutionary Girl Utena pushed its use of stock footage to new heights when, after viewers had gotten used to seeing footage from early duels re-used in later ones, the animators replaced Utena's hair with another character's so they could use sequences of her losing one of the early duels to depict a completely different character losing a duel.
Tenshi Ni Narumon used this trope at the end of the first 12 episodes, with a repeated sequence of Micheal opening the Book of Chaos mystically, then making some generic philosphical statement. It then subverted itself in a later episode, when Raphael interrupted the statement to ask, "Didn't you say that one already?"
Lampshaded in one episode of Digimon Savers in which two of the protagonists are fighting successive waves of enemy Digimon. Stock footage is re-used for the appearance for every wave, causing one of the protagonists to comment that "they keep showing up the same way like all the others!"
The Digimon series in general had this problem with major attacks for the Digimon themselves. The problem is that instead of using a generic action line background, they keep the background the move was first used in. It's really annoying when the characters are fighting in a desert and Mifafomon keeps shooting fireballs over an arctic tundra background.
That, and all the "Digivolve" sequences. They were shortened a lot of the time in later episodes, but the first series spent a long time re-using the same animations of the main digimon powering up.
Notably used in an interesting way in the Savers short film. The usual "Burst Mode" evolution scene is shown, but it has been re-animated and is shown in a more dynamic way, from a different angle.
Particularly bad in Macross 7. Almost every space battle was composed of 80% stock footage, to the point that Gavil dodging Gamlin's laser cannon burst to the chest of his Humongous Mecha, a piece of stock footage used to defeat him over a half dozen times before, was simultaneously shocking and mixed with hints of "Why didn't he do that ''before''?"
Needless to say, Voltron had 22-minute episodes that consisted of about 16 minutes of original footage and 6 minutes of the Lions leaving their lairs, forming Voltron, etc.
Oddly, Voltron also suffered from stock dialogue. Voltron I (Vehicle Voltron) and Voltron III (Lion Voltron) both used the same combination spiel. But Voltron I's head was a separate piece from the torso and piloted by the main character. It doesn't make sense in Voltron III to say "And I'll form the head!" because the head is part of Black Lion... though the neat close-up on the head makes up for it.
Gundam SEED and its sequel Gundam SEED Destiny were notable offenders, especially in combat scenes. However, in what's too meticulously animated to be unintentional, they animated three separate Gundams blowing up three different grunt Humongous Mecha in the exact same way◊...despite all participants being different every time.
Being digitally animated, SEED and SEED Destiny were able to take stock footage to new levels. The system they used allowed for taking footage from one scene and digitally replacing the mecha in it with different mecha. Thus, stock footage could be created that used the same animation, but depicted different machines. The animators took advantage of this at nearly every opportunity, sometimes resulting in entire battle scenes that are almost frame for frame identical.
And Kira switches between Freedom and Strike Freedom in some scenes.
In a very odd example, the stock footage of Strike Freedom's Alpha Strike shows it firing all its beams in a single direction...which is always followed by a stock shots of enemy machines being struck by beams from several different angles.
In all fairness, this is hardly unique to SEED, and Stock Footage pops up in nearly all Gundam shows.
Mobile Suit Gundam reuses a shot of Dopps swooping in to attack the White Base quite a few times, as well as a shot of a Musai-class ship exploding, and who can forget the classic "Zaku gets shot through the cockpit"?
Not only that, but they constantly reuse the shot of Amuro jolting back and forth in his cockpit whenever he is hit.
The high-budget OVAs are mostly exempt, but even Gundam 0083 reuses some shots of Gato destroying Salamis-class ships with the Neue Ziel.
Gundam ZZ likes to reuse the ZZ's docking sequence whenever Judau decides to dock, although they begin to cut away some parts of the sequence as the show progresses.
Victory Gundam managed to avoid using much stock footage for much of its run. In fact, the only really noticeable stock footage is... a brief one-second explosion that takes up the entire screen when transitioning between scenes.
Gundam Wing reuses two shots of Heero blowing up Leos with the Wing Gundam's BFG quite a lot, as well as a shot of Duo cutting a Leo up with the Deathscythe's...erm...scythe. Wing Zero firing its twin buster rifle (while spinning) is also a sight you'll become familiar with, and they reuse the shit out of footage of Virgo mobile dolls destroying Leos. And, almost every single time Heavyarms is on screen, it's probably one of the same few attack animations. Given that Heavyarms only uses More Dakka, it's expected.
Heck, Heavyarms' most common stock footage even has a Fan Nickname: Disco Gun (since it moves the Gatling in roughly the same fashion as John Travolta's infamous Saturday Night Fever finger-point).
A particularly amusing example is the two Leos that Sandrock bisects in its first appearance. One is a command type with shoulder cannons. The only other time you ever see this variation fighting a Gundam is... every other shot where Sandrock does that specific move.
Gundam 00 managed to avoid using stock footage for almost the entirety of the first season, second season it wasn't so lucky, the 00 and 0-Raiser combining sequence gets used more than a couple of times.
The one time that stock footage was reused in 00's first season was of Virtue's transformation into Naadleh. To be fair, it only transforms twice in the entire first season, so it's fairly minor.
A little more that. Careful eyes spotted during the Moralia battle that Patrick's Enact from episode 1 (thrusting its dagger at Exia), was re-painted as a black Hellion craft. Again no harm done though.
The absence of such transformation sequences and large scale battles is the main reason ∀ Gundam uses virtually no stock footage at all.
In fact, Turn A Gundam DOES reuse old footage... From older Gundam shows, though, but since it's not part of the show itself, and rather helps expose the characters to the Dark History, it doesn't really count.
Of all Gundam shows, G Gundam was the worst possible offender. Several scenes are actually stock footage, with each episode seemingly only 80% new content in many later episodes. Heck, anyone whenever they use their Finishing Moves (Shining Finger, Shining Finger Sword, Bakunetsu God Finger and Sekiha Tenkyoken in Domon's case) are usually reused footage. Hell, the scene where Domon suits up to pilot Shining Gundam was constantly reused, and even later, God Gundam's 'Suit Up'-scene was reused several times.
Gundam AGE has a blatant example in episode 33. A GuncannonExpy is shown outside Rostuloran. A bit later, it's destroyed. And some minutes later, the first shot of the Guncannon is used again, with nary a trace of damage.
The anime Akazukin Chacha had stock footage to transform the titular Chacha into a holy princess with a magic bow, having her two friends activate their powers (Shiine kissed his ring and Riya thrust his bracer into the air). This was normally fine, except these two could do it at any time, including when under water, trapped in glass prisons, and even once when their arms were tied to their sides with rope.
In the earlier seasons, Ash would turn back his cap over a green action blur, following a closeup of his eye, whenever throwing a Poké Ball. Around the time the show began using computer coloring, this footage stopped appearing.
Pokémon still uses Stock Footage, although it's mostly limited to within the episode. If a trainer calls out an attack more than one time in a battle, chances are that it will be the same footage that was used the first time.
Best Wishes in particular is notorious for it's overuse of stock footage for pokemon attacks.
The footage from the "Team Rocket vs. Team Plasma" two-parter - where the Relic Castle's mechanism is activated, revealing the Meteonite - was reused for the scene in BW 2-12, in which the Abyssal Ruins are activated to uncover the Reveal Glass.
Dinosaur King has several attack and transformation sequences used throughout the episodes. The transformation sequences were eventually shortened, since the producers had figured out that the audience didn't need to see the same long transformation sequence a second time.
By contrast, Transformers Cybertron did not realize this. Stock footage of transformations and Cyber Key Powerups were essentially used to fill up chunks of time (to the ridiculous extreme that they'd cut to extremely short transformation sequences, flashing backdrop and everything, and then back to the real world). The dubbers did eventually cotton on to how boring this was, however, and had the characters talk ''while'' the stock footage was happening. Its predecessor, Transformers: Energon, while also using the same type of stock footage, was not that bad about it.
This is subtly parodied in a DVD extra for Transformers Animated, where Optimus Prime dramatically turns into his firetruck form in a sequence that directly parallels the stock footage transformations of earlier series. Starscream does this as well, complete with an anime-esque glint on his teeth just at the end.
However, Cybertron's stock footage,made more interesting by the dub or otherwise, does have a use. Being a Transformers series, it is Merchandise-Driven, existing to sell toys. Being a post G-1, post Beast Wars series, the character models hew far closer to those toys (Hell, Evac's model shows the push-button that makes his toy's rotor spin). The final instruction sheets packaged with those toys, especially for the American releases, are in some cases done by idiots (Particularly Optimus Prime. The US instructions show his Super Mode with the wings upside-down). The stock footage Transformation Sequences, on the other hand, show the transformations correctly. Ergo, by watching the stock footage you can see how to properly transform the toys.
Brilliantly spoofed in The Big O, where, before a Combining Mechapastiche does its thing, the video fades to black as if it were transitioning to stock footage despite the robot only appearing in one episode.
GaoGaiGar has lots: the titular mecha's transformation and attack sequences, along with all the transformations and attacks of various other robot cast members. In fact, later robots' transformations seem to be traced over the originals (as they are newer versions or copies of the same robot). Interestingly, there's slight differences in the footage sometimes: once, during the "Program Drive!" part of Final Fusion, Mikoto pauses to let out a tired sigh right in the middle of her stock footage.
Clips of Leo, Uchiyama, and Hyuuma piloting the GaoMachines are also spliced into the Final Fusion sequence when EI-15 destroys the Program Drive and forces GGG to do it manually. In fact, GaoGaiGar is notable for not only using ridiculous amounts of Stock Footage but also for interrupting it on a routine basis.
Also, all the stock footage was partially recycled, part reanimated for FINAL. Only Volfogg's combination sequence was completely reanimated, due to his subordinates being slightly redesigned.
Any scene where the Dragon Torque comes into play in Noein reuses the same stock shots of it appearing and vanishing. The series does have a nice play on the whole Recap Episode thing though, with the point being trying to work out how the footage differs from its original use.
Azumanga Daioh would frequently use the same animation for different parts of conversations or for different scenes altogether. For example, a scene from episode 22 has Kagura open part of her school uniform to show Osaka how tanned she had gotten. A later scene uses the exact same footage for a completely different conversation. Yes, it's easy to notice... and kinda gives the viewer the wrong idea.
Almost frustratingly averted in Suzumiya Haruhi, the "Endless Eight" series in the second season. They all depict the (almost) exact same sequence of events, down to dialogue, but the entire episode is completely re-animated each time. And yes, there are eight episodes.
Axis Powers Hetalia has a particularly grating example on one of the episodes where they're stuck on a desert island: About 10% of the footage is reused from the previous desert island episode, and then the rest of the episode is literally footage that repeats twice EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. Fandom has named that island 'That F-ing Island', just to poke fun.
Another episode reuses that same sequence but offers a minor punchline change with England having rebuilt Busby's Chair to test on the Axis, only for Russia to sit on it and make it explode. And yet another episode reuses the footage to replace the whole setting of one of the Christmas strips from the manga.
Another piece of stock footage that has been reused is an anime-original sequence of Holy Roman Empire waking up in bed to an alarm clock in the 17th century. It was created presumably for the anime producers to explain away the Chibitalia side stories being adapted after the main story was, with them being HRE's "dreams".
Monster has a stock montage of images from the red light district, but this only occurs three or four times in the entire run. That said, the amount of flashbacks and repeated sequences within each episode can reach drinking game levels (how often is that girl going to jump off those steps?!).
The first few episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh! used stock footage for Yugi's transformation to the Other Yugi. The Japanese version usually showed the shortened version, while 4Kids' dub used the full transformation for the entire first season. Eventually Yugi would start changing his outfit configuration (so to speak) when transforming, and the animators would use a different sequence per episode (or no sequence at all, just the Millenium Puzzle flashing).
Powerpuff Girls Z, being a Magical Girl show used stock footage for transformations and the like. The There were about 3 or 4 as the girls changed outfits (one even had them in their Pjs) and others had minor errors that got fixed in later episodes (outfit pieces being there when they shouldn't and not being there when the should) There was also the episode where they used the animation from their transformations for dancing....
The shifts between each of Haru's swords in Rave Master use this.
Fairy Tail uses this for just about any spell the main characters use. Lucy has one for summoning, Gray has one for creating an ice form, Erza has one for changing into her more notable armors, and Natsu has one for everything from his cool fire-breathing spell to his punch
In Hell Girl, there are very, very few episodes that don't show the "Ai gearing up" sequence.
Mai Hime and Mai Otome are especially good at averting this—Mai Otome especially. Every girl has a unique transformation sequence, but we only see it twice for each girl, tops.
Mahou Tsukai Ni Taisetsu Na Koto Natsu No Sora has some very conspicuous background characters reappearing throughout the series. Of special note are the exact same two groups of people that pass by during the establishing shots of Sora's Tokyo residence.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has stock footage for the Giga Drill Break. A rather egregious offense was in episode 15, after Gurren Lagann got a pair of wings; the old stock footage was used, so the wings vanished for that one move. Also, it is pretty obvious that the stronger Gurren Lagann mechs are vectored over the original footage for their Giga Drill Break attacks.
Though it only happens with one clip, the footage reuse in the first two OVAs of Dominion is both highly obvious and rather strange. The scene involves the Tank Police dropping down ropes from an upper floor of the precinct into the tank hanger so they can get in their tanks and head out into the city to fight crime and cause massive amounts of avoidable property damage. This scene makes sense in the first episode, when they are on an upper floor when they get the order to move out. In the second episode, it seems totally nonsensical, because they were already in the hanger when the deploy order came, meaning that between scenes they left their vehicles and climbed up a flight of stairs just so they could slide down a rope to reach the vehicles they had just left behind.
K uses stock footage both lazily and intelligently. Certain SCEPTER 4 characters have stock sequences of them drawing their swords, used both in the anime's opening sequence and in certain fight scenes. Seri's is the most obvious because it's also gratuitous to the point ofNarm. Two scenes in which HOMRA members chant "No Blood, No Bone, No Ash" are also recycled. However, there is one creative use of stock footage of Shiro, and it actually makes the anime quite beautifully cyclical. The sequence in the opening where he smiles and shuts his eyes while falling is reused for his death scene.
Films — Animation
Avoided out of necessity for the Futurama movies. We see some scenes from past episodes in Bender's Big Score but they had to be re-animated due to production shifting to HD.
A lot of people are kind of ticked at Disney because some bright light has discovered that they reuse animation from one movie to another, such as any scene when characters are dancing (with Robin Hood obviously being the worst offender). Another is a pair of scenes from the 1967 Jungle Book film and the 1963 The Sword in the Stone movie. In Sword in the Stone, the main character comes home and is promptly tackled by a pair of dogs that give his face a good licking. The same animation is used in The Jungle Book, though due to the latter film being produced later (and with a noticeably higher budget), the animation is better. Mowgli comes to visit his wolf family and is promptly tackled by two of them and his face is licked in much the same manner. Another Jungle Book example would be the scene where Baloo and Bagheera are shown escaping with Mowgli from the Bandar-Log, which reused footage from the climax of The Wind in the Willows segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
The story goes that Disney was in financial trouble at the time most of these overlapping films (shown in the video and mentioned above) were made, so they needed to do things cheaper and still make memorable movies. Clearly, it worked, as they're considered classics.
Winnie the Pooh is also a pretty big contender, reusing footage from & The Blustery Day in And Tigger Too!, as well as using some footage from The Jungle Book for the epilogue for Many Adventures, which combined all three short films in one feature-length film.
It was a different world when these films were made - the home market didn't exist, and the odds that someone would watch The Jungle Book and Sword in the Stone back-to-back (or close enough to recognize the similarities) were minuscule.
These films (The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone, The Aristocats and Robin Hood etc) are all directed by Wolfgang (Woolie) Reitherman. Reitherman was one of Disney's Nine Old Men of animation who became chief animation director in 1961 with 101 Dalmations. According to animator Floyd Norman, the reuse of animation sequences had nothing to do with budget constraints and "doing things cheaper" - the reuse of footage was simply one of Reitherman's directorial trademarks.
The two scenes are obviously very similar, but given the time gap in between them, one can make the argument that Beauty's scene was at least partly an homage.
There have also been instances where Bambi's mother can be seen grazing on some grass. And yes, they actually reused the exact same movements of her just moments before her death.
A fridge moment was had with Anastasia. A woman was being interviewed and pretending to be the princess for the money had the exact same body and hair as the main character, but had the face of a gonk. It was a little unnerving as the way she moved was just as light and floaty as they made the 'real' Anastasia move.
Mask of Light: The puzzled crowd shot from the end of the film is used twice, as is the sequence of the Energized Protodermis ball shooting out of the floor with Takanuva and Makuta jumping after it, as well as Makuta walking up to Takanuva before and after their fight. The last one creates a continuity goof, as the first instance shows Takanuva holding his staff before he gets it out of Hammer Space.
Legends of Metru Nui: A group-shot of the Toa standing in the Great Temple with Vakama talking is shown twice, though the second time, it's Nokama who is talking. Many shots of Turaga Dume are likewise reused on the Coliseum's giant projector screens... even if the Mouth Flaps don't line up.
Web of Shadows: The awakening of Makuta is represented by a quick series of shots (some ran backwards) from the previous movie with heavy filters applied. The recap at the beginning, of course, is also reused footage.
Films — Live Action
Tends to happen in many nature documentaries, particularly if the behavior or animal is rarely seen or unusual.
Just about every nuclear detonation on film is stock footage, in large part because it's kinda hard to reproduce in a studio. The Baker test of Operation Crossroads is especially popular.
In the Alien Invasion movie Killers From Space (1954), the climactic underground explosion of the aliens' base is shown via the usual stock nuclear footage — except it's a nuke going off in the ocean.
There is a notable exception in Threads, which was an artificial smoke cloud to simulate a mushroom cloud. Scared a lot of locals. The whole thing still scares those who watched it nearly a quarter of a century later (the film did also use stock shots of US nuclear tests, as well as stock demolition footage to simulate the blast effects).
Another exception is The Day After in which mushroom clouds were simulated by injecting dye into a water tank and filmed upside down and in slow motion.
Though to be fair, the nuclear attack sequence did feature actual stock footage of buildings and objects being demolished in those 1950s nuclear tests in Nevada (most notable is a two-story house being destroyed and several trees being blown over from the blast.)
On a similar note is the use of stock footage of Mount St Helen's 1980 eruption in Dante's Peak, a Hawaiian-looking eruption in You Only Live Twice, and so on. This is reasonable considering that for the most part CGI Lava and Pyroclastic Flows don't look very good. Just watch the 1997 film Volcano, set in Los Angeles. The Lava, while obviously Lava, looks rather different to what you would expect.
Dante's Peak may be an exception, as most of the eruption footage in the film was created by filming explosions and gas pumps at high camera speeds. The end result was so convincing that several vulcanologists thought the filmmakers had gone out and filmed for real.
In the Mystery Science Theater episode featuring Riding With Death, a jet suffers technical problems and the pilot must eject, which is shown using stock footage, prompting Mike to comment, "I'm running a film now of a previous pilot ejection."
The box actually brags about this, with a comment about "special effects from the team that brought you Star Wars!"
The worst MST3K movie in this regard was probably The Starfighters, a horrendous 1964 movie featuring an hour and 20 minutes of fighter plane stock footage, seven minutes of insipid dialogue and three minutes of credits.
Like a lot of Ed Wood movies, Bride of the Monster uses stock footage. First footage of a snake on a branch is used to make it look like a big rubber one in a tree is alive. Later, footage of moving alligators is used to make it appear as though a character is shooting at them; Mike and the robots make comments such as "He's shooting at a different movie!" And of course, stock footage of an octopus underwater is used with scenes of an unmoving obviously fake one.
In Invasion of the Neptune Men, WWII stock footage of explosions is used, including a building with a giant image of Hitler on it. According to Kevin Murphy, their sheer outrage at the use of this footage in "what is ostensibly a children's film" heavily contributed to it being one of the most brutally mocked movies on the show.
In fact, this is the episode with the "Song About Stock Footage."
Servo: "*doo-doo-do-doot-doo-do* EAT IT, MOVIE! Take this stupid little cockroach of a movie, roll it up SOOO tight, and ram it up your—"
Mike: You got your Mole People in my Batwoman! Servo: You got your Batwoman in my Mole People!
The Mole People itself uses stock footage of an avalanche to further its plot, which Mike and the bots also comment on.
Crow: Avalanche footage! Run!
In The Leech Woman, scenes of the characters trekking through African jungle are heavily padded with stock footage, prompting one of the bots to remark: "This isn't stock footage, it's stock mileage at this point!"
What's even worse is that hardly any of the animals shown in this sequence were actually indigenous to the area.
The film also used both Stock Footage and a cheap, mismatched set to represent an African village:
And of course, several of the sci-fi B-movies from The Fifties that appeared on MST3K used stock footage of ballistic missile tests to represent spacecraft taking off — or landing, when they reversed the footage.
Another favorite is the footage from a camera on a missile launched (from White Sands?) into the upper atmosphere.
In Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, stock footage of military planes (some of it used later for the opening credits of Dr. Strangelove) is used several times to represent the government either searching for the Martians or for Santa Claus after the Martians had kidnapped him (missile footage for space takeoffs is also used), prompting this timeless riff:
Crow: (As Martian)Woah, there's a ton of stock footage out there!
Missile to the Moon (1959). When the first men in Bronson Canyon on the Moon take off on their return trip to Earth, superimposed stock footage of a V2 launch is used... including the launch gantry. Guess those Moon girls built it for them.
Similar to Invasion of the Neptune Men (using actual aerial bombardment footage from WWII, to the dismay of the show's writers), Invasion USA 1952. used the real German bombing of London to stand in for a fictional Soviet bombing of New York.
Mike: I'm sure the survivors of the Blitz will be proud to know that ther plight has been immortalized as filler for this movie.
In Star Trek II, all footage of the Enterprise in or leaving spacedock was reused from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The initial shot of the Enterprise going to warp was also reused from The Motion Picture.
All of the Star Trek: The Original Series movies use footage of the first movie's endlessLeave the Camera Running spaceship scenes, and again, Generations does use TOS film Klingon ship footage (as well as the Enterprise-B at warp, taken from the Excelsior. You'll notice the bottom doesn't have the extra ridge the Ent-B has.) First Contact was the first Trek film since The Motion Picture to contain no footage from previous films.
Though not exactly an example of this trope, the film Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid by Steve Martin and Carl Reiner is notable: it was based on the concept of making an entirely new movie out of snippets of old movies, cut up and shuffled around, with some new footage (filmed in black-and-white) to tie it all together. The result is a movie starring Steve Martin, and co-starring Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, James Cagney, Ingrid Bergman, Lana Turner, and just about every other famous film noir actor ever.
A more recent attempt at this was made with Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, where Steve Oedekirk inserted himself into a 1976 kung fu movie called Hu hao shuang xing ("Tiger and Crane Fists"). He also added silly dubbed voices and a new story involving French aliens.
In the film Ed Wood, Johnny Depp's Ed Wood makes a statement about how he could make a whole film from Stock Footage. Ed Wood himself used a lot of stock footage, which led to amusing continuity errors.
An example of absurd Stock Footage comes from the Zucker brothers' classic Airplane!! Ted Stryker has continuous flashbacks to his Vietnam experience, which behind the cockpit, which are shown by old-time World War II footage of airplanes being shot down... then, eventually, by pre-Wright Brothers footage of some of man's unsuccessful attempts to fly an airplane, all with the same "plane being shot down in a dogfight" sound effects.
This is an intentional lampshading; the majority of the movie is taken verbatim from a '50s-era movie in which Stryker did fly in World War II. They also use Stock Footage of a jet plane... with the sound of propeller engines.
Which they did because they weren't allowed to use a propeller plane.
The "good ending" long-shot footage in Blade Runner consisted of unused scenes from The Shining. Executive Meddling forced the ending on Ridley Scott, so he did it without having to shoot any new footage. Notably, the scene is absent in the Director's Cut and the later editions, all of which end with the elevator doors closing (Scott's original ending).
When 1995 film adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion needed a shot of an "Age of Fighting Sail" ship to close the film, they used one from The Bounty, to keep costs down. The film was originally supposed to be a TV movie and didn't have much of a budget.
The movie Midway used a lot of stock footage, as well as footage "borrowed" from other WW 2 films, including Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Battle of Britain.
It's a good example of how over-use of stock footage can cause problems. After you've seen the same clip of an airplane approaching a carrier and bouncing to a halt four or five times, you know something's up when you see a different clip of an airplane starting its approach.
It gets worse, the producers were not very picky about the stock footage they used. No, let me rephrase that, they were not picky at all. One of the ''Tora! Tora! Tora!' shots used has a battleship mast in the background (no US Battleships at Midway, let alone having one MOORED NEXT TO THE ISLAND!) The aircraft shots don't even attempt to get the types of aircraft the same, a pilot takes off in a dive bomber and crash lands in a fighter. No editing for models either as most of the aircraft shown were not even in production at the time of the battle.
Several films from the Showa series of Godzilla made use of stock footage. The footage was frequently used to save money for fairly standard scenes of buildings being destroyed by monsters and military attacks on said monsters. King Ghidorah in particular was a favorite subject of this, seeing as he appeared in several movies. As a result, the creators frequently reused the same footage of King Ghidorah soaring over his victim city, raining destruction from above. Another favorite was reusing footage of the army or navy firing shots at Godzilla or other monsters.
Godzilla vs. Gigan was one of the worst offenders, as much of the scenes of Gigan and King Ghidorah attacking Tokyo, and the battle between the space monsters and Godzilla and Anguirus (up until the Godzilla building is demolished) is lifted from Destroy All Monsters and darkened considerably to make it appear to be happening at night. You can even briefly spot Mothra in one part of the footage! And the less said about All Monsters Attack, the better.
You will always remember those poor three toy tanks that someone took a blowtorch to in Mothra vs. Godzilla. Godzilla melted them again in a later movie, and King Ghidorah and Megalon also had their fun with them.
It's not just Godzilla either. Toho's 1977 "space opera" film, War in Space, uses stock footage from three other movies in a montage depicting an alien invasion of Earth; Battle in Outer Space (Which was released in 1959!), 1963's The Last War, and the banned-film Prophecies of Nostradamus (1973).
In the original Back to the Future, there's a Driving a Desk scene in which Marty says "Okay, McFly, get a grip on yourself. It's all a dream! Just a... very... intense dream..." On the DVD, the filmmakers mention that they think the landscape rolling by outside the window in this shot was pulled from the Universal archives, though they can't remember for sure.
Casablanca uses brief stock clips (probably from newsreels) during the opening "refugee trail" montage, and again during the invasion of France. The latter, especially, are noticeably specklier than the rest of the film.
Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD gives us a car chase scene, which climaxes when a blue sedan strikes another vehicle, flips upside-down 30 feet in the air, lands, and then inexplicably explodes. The same footage has been used in many other films by Troma Entertainment (the same company), including Tromeo & Juliet, Terror Firmer, Poultrygeist, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
Parodied in the climax of Texas Across The River, where the same Indian gets shot and falls of his horse no less than three times (by the same character nonetheless - well the third wasn't even a gunshot, he threw his revolver). Then there's a wounded Indian who gets dragged away from the fight by his comrades at least twice. You got to hand it to him. He's a persistent fellow.
Plan 9 from Outer Space used obvious stock footage of rocket artillery firing in the scenes that are supposed to depict the army fighting the alien invaders.
Australian films set in the 1930s that require shots of a train (such as Rabbit Proof Fence) will often use scenes from the 1974 documentary A Steam Train Passes. This can quickly invoke Just Train Wrong as the locomotive featured in A Steam Train Passes wasn't built until the 1940s.
CGI example in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Peter Jackson realized too late that he needed to show Gollum's reaction to Sam's "because we all fight for something" Aesop, and having no time left to animate it, they took two shots from previous scenes and replaced the background.
Hilariously overused in Steven Seagal's vehicle Flight of Fury, where all the flight scenes (secret military jets being vital to the plot) are stock footage from the Cold War. Seems that the story was written around these scenes (like portraying age old aircrafts as still secret prototypes). Quite jarring in a scene when there's a dogfight between a F-117 and a F-16, where the F-117 was flying over snowy mountains and the F-16 was over a desert.
Diamanda Hagan:Stock Footage, stock footage, stock footage, stock footage, footage of the stock, oh my something original, stock footage, stock footage...
Hitman uses footage from Dark Angel to show 47's childhood. This is an example of Executive Meddling - the near-final script that can be found in the Internet makes no mention of 47's childhood whatsoever.
In Sunset Boulevard, the silent movie footage of Norma Desmond in her prime is from Gloria Swanson's 1929 film Queen Kelly.
Thirteen Days sets the mood by starting off with footage of nuclear tests shots.
Spaceflight and NASA documentaries are another big user of Stock Footage. One unmanned Gemini flight carried a camera that ran during its entire re-entry to capture footage out the window, and it shows up a lot, even when it's Apollo that's being discussed. Another extremely common piece of stock footage is an unmanned Saturn flight that shows the third stage and attachment ring being jettisoned and the Apollo command module later blasting out of the third stage section.
A particular few lunar missions' footage are-used quite a bit likely because they're the best quality that exists-Apollos 15,16 and 17 are usually the ones.
In series/Why We Fight, if it's not an animation, it's probably stock footage. Shots are repeated several times throughout the films.
Disclaimer:...free use has been made of motion pictures that illustrate this historical background. All other film has been obtained from newsreels, United Nations' films and from captured enemy material.
Bonanza: Usually, scenes of the Cartwrights were used in transitional scenes. Most of the footage familiar to viewers was filmed in the summer of 1961 (with most of the updates coming in 1967, when David Canary joined the cast). This footage would be used until 1972, when Dan Blocker passed away; new stock scenes and film of the Cartwrights were filmed for the 14th season.
Most live-action Saturday morning programs produced by Sid and Marty Krofft included stock footage, usually in transition scenes.
Taken to something of an artform by the production staff of Farscape, and by the end of its run something like 10% of the series was recycled footage from previous episodes. It was usually done intelligently to fit in with the episode, and overall turned out incredibly well, especially since the savings allowed them to produce some of the most elaborate season finales ever made for a tv show.
The overhead pan shot of Princeton Plainsboro's exterior in House.
The original Battlestar Galactica was infamous for reusing the same five or six shots of space combat over and over and over again, although they did sometimes flip the negative left-for-right in an attempt to provide some variety.
They also used stock footage this way for Viper launches, exterior shots to establish which ship the plotline was advancing on for scene changes, and so forth.
Additionally, Battlestar Galactica also recycled Stock Footage of ICBM launch tests to represent firings of heavy anti-capital-ship missiles from Battlestar launch tubes, as well as one actual nuclear exchange between less-technologically-advanced nations.
They also used clips from the film Silent Running as their "farm ships".
Shots of the control stick in the Viper fighters were identical to shots of the control sticks in the space fighters in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
Basically, in the original Galactica you probably saw every single space-related effect in the first 10 minutes of the opening pilot movie, except the rag tag fleet of ships at the end.
More recently, a 2008 commercial for fast-food chain Jack in the Box used stock footage from the series to promote spicy popcorn chicken.
The 2003 re-imagining used combat footage from the miniseries for the first regular episode, "33". One interesting fact to note is that after the Galactica is damaged severely in "Exodus, Part II", the stock footage in every episode following reflects the damage on the hull.
There was also another shot of zooming in on battle scarred Galactica with Colonial One in shot that first cropped up in series 3 and was repeated constantly for the rest of the series. This is perhaps the most egregious use of this trope in the reimagining.
Season 3 of Deadliest Warriors used stockfootage from BBC specials (Spike TV can't afford to have scenes containing dozens of Hannibal's elephants). The official producers of the show claimed that they didn't have the budget to continue the series anyways. Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot had alot of reallife stockfootage since they had to make public speeches and propoganda and were also very recent modern warriors (most warriors on the show existed before modern filming and so don't have reallife stockfootage).
Hogan's Heroes uses stock footage for scenes of parachutes dropping, bombing raids, submarines, and so on. However, it appears to actually be WWII-era footage, which fits well with the WWII-set show and probably saves a lot of money on renting fighter planes, anti-aircraft guns, and tanks.
However, this led to multiple occasions where Hogan and his men needed a supply drop, only to show a parachutist jumping out of a plane, before being replaced by a parachuting crate in the next shot.
The stock footage of every parachute drop is from a C-119 Flying Boxcar. While the Boxcar and its predecessor the C-82 Packet were developed during the war, they did not come into service until after the war.
The 1960s show The Time Tunnel relied heavily on Stock Footage from the studio's film vaults for depiction of various historical periods, and also used the same stock footage of the leads returning through the vortex each week. Some Lampshade Hanging was used to explain why they were wearing the same clothes every time.
Irwin Allen was a master of using stock footage. He also made sure that anything he filmed in the first season of Lost in Space, that he might want to reuse, was filmed in colour so he'd still be able to use it when they switched over to doing the whole series in colour.
The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman had a few, short standardized sequences for some of their main characters' bionic powers — the closeup on Steve's eye with a sound effect to indicate he was using its special abilities, for example.
The The Incredible Hulk TV series was also notorious for using stock footage. One episode where Banner had to pilot a 747 when its pilots were incapacitated used footage from Airport 77. And the episode "Never Give a Trucker an Even Break" stole its plot, and much of its footage, from the Steven Spielberg TV-movie Duel.
Similarly, The A-Team had an episode where Murdock, an accomplished military pilot, has to become temporarily sane in order to safely land a 747 into LAX. He succeeds except for running the nose of the plane into the terminal. Since The A-Team didn't have the effects budget to depict that ending, they just borrowed the Airplane! scene where the ground attendant accidentally guided the plane to smash into the terminal.
There seems a shot taken by the actor or the producers of The A-Team at the use of stock footage in unrelated later projects when Dirk "Starbuck" Benedict, as Face-Man, startled and acted as if someone had walked over his grave when a Cylon Centurion walked by in one episode.
The scene of Gomez blowing up the trains in The Addams Family was only filmed once, but was used every time they had Gomez playing with his train set.
Most, if not all of the interstitials for Taxi were filmed in 1978 (the famous Queensboro Bridge "loop" used for the intro was intended as inter-scene footage as well).
One of the most blatant ever uses of Stock Footage was the Doctor Who episode "Revenge of the Cybermen", where a video of a Saturn V taking off was used to represent the launch of a rocket that looked nothing like it.
Done routinely on I Dream of Jeannie, which would show three different rockets during a launch.
The HBO miniseries of Angels In America uses some of this in the opening scene, when Rabbi Isidor Chemelwitz is talking about the turn-of-the-century Jewish immigrants.
The Power Rangers franchise uses footage borrowed from its Japanese counterpart Super Sentai for about 80% of its action sequences. Thanks to the differences in production, for the first eight seasons, the fight scenes looked about twenty years older than the rest of the show (despite the fact that they had only been filmed a year earlier). Such footage often includes Japanese text (or barely-coherent Gratuitous English). To this day it's not rare for a crowd of fleeing civilians to inexplicably become momentarily Asian.
Special mention to the Halloween Episode "Trickster Treat" aired as part of Power Rangers Samurai. Not only did it use footage from the Shinkenger DVD movie Shinkenger returns, it used on Super Sentai stock footage from previous and as yet to be aired episodes of the series. The only original footage was a few shots lasting a total of a few seconds.
Once in Power Rangers Time Force, when Ransik invades Bio Lab to get more of the serum that keeps his illness at bay and Mirai Sentai Timeranger footage of an indoor attack on a civilian facility is used, rather than jarringly switch between an all-Asian staff and a primarily Caucasian staff, even the American footage shows Mr. Collins to be one of the few non-Asians in an American facility that day.
Super Sentai obviously avoids that latter problem, but still suffers from this overall, as 25% of buildings shown exploding use stock footage filmed in the late 80's. It's not uncommon for the "opening chasm" shot US fans will recognize as the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord's entrance reshuffled for earthquakes in later seasons either. Naturally, both shows make heavy use of stock footage for Transformation Sequences, as well as Humongous and Combining Mecha.
It's worse when the villains have an air force. Only recently has it become cost-effective to have them move naturally in several scenes, so there'd be a good three or four shots of fighters moving around, and three or four shots of Ranger mecha shooting at them, with one shot apeice of taking hits. It'd be shown over and over in different combinations. It's worse in VR Troopers (whose Japanese footage most certainly did NOT come from the previous year) than in Power Rangers.
Star Trek: The Original Series used the same few stock shots of the Enterprise in orbit, but they were blue-screen composited over footage of a different planet in each episode.
Planets which were frequently the same planet footage recolored to represent different worlds. If you watch the show in order, you can actually see the degradation of the negative over time.
Several details on the Enterprise were changed from the way the ship originally appeared◊ in the two pilot episodes to its appearance◊ in the series proper. Due to budget problems, the producers often wound up using Stock Footage of the prototype model during the series. Take note of scenes were the familiar white spheres on the ends of the nacelles have disappeared with a pattern of holes in their place, as well as unlit frontends of the nacelles with spikes attached, both of which indicate you're seeing the prototype model.
Also they used such stock footage for things like firing phasers, photon torpedoes (and sometimes even mixing them up!), which is quite reasonable considering the immense costs of the special effects back then — even if they look rather silly compared to today's standards. Consider that their budget was often low, meaning even the best of 1960s special effects couldn't be brought to bear every week.
They also reused establishing shots of the bridge, particularly in the third season when the budgets were stretched very tight. On occasion, the crew in the establishing shot was different from the crew in the episode (the animated series was even worse in this regard).
There's also the Guardian of Forever, which shows you history via stock footage from old films.
Don't forget how the Romulans and Klingons tended to fly around in the same stock footage, though that is explained In-Universe as the result of a temporary alliance where they shared technology and ship designs (hence two very different races using bird-themed starships and cloaking devices)
TNG had Industrial Light and Magic create Visual Effects of Awesome in the first two episodes, and that footage was milked dry throughout the series. Basically, every series can be counted on to reuse "recurring location floating in space" and "ship flying around" scenes.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's last episode re-used the (coolest) battle scenes of the previous two years to demonstrate the incredible super-epic quadran-shattering last battle. It was slightly disappointing. Until the plot twist!
It also used a lot of Defiant stock footage. Really noticeable, because some episodes mix model Defiant and CGI Defiant footage... and the models look significantly different for no discernible reason.
Pretty much every big battle blatantly reused shots from Sacrifice of Angels. One of the most used was the iconic shot of the Defiant barely breaking through the enemy lines while the other ships in its squadron were blown away, despite the original usage being the only time it made sense.
They also had quite a few stock establishing shots of planetary surfaces due to the 'fixed' nature of the show. The shot of the Cardassian capital was used countless times in the final two seasons.
Inverted, however, in the series finale. During the course of the episode, the Dominion bomb Cardassia, killing millions of innocents, to make a point to the rebels on the planet. To any viewer who has regularly seen the series, especially the final story arc, and is familiar to said stock footage of the Cardassian capital, it is a shock when, just after the final battle has been won, we get a view of the capital again, but in complete burning ruins.
MacGyver used stock footage often and egregiously. Keep in mind, though, that making a show with the scope of MacGyver was a lot harder in the pre-CGI days. Notable examples include:
Thanks to the state of international relations at the time, episodes set in the USSR used Stock Footage from a friendlier time in their establishing shots, sometimes in black and white.
The episode "Trumbo's World" liberally lifted footage from The Naked Jungle (1954), as well as its plot. That's right, it was MacGyver vs. the ants instead of Charlton Heston vs. the ants.
The episode "Thief of Budapest" reuses the entire car chase from The Italian Job (1969).
The episode "GX-1" opened with an aerial dogfight which was made of footage from Top Gun (1986).
In the opening of "Deathlock", Mac escapes from East Berlin in what starts off as footage from Funeral in Berlin, but then new footage depicts the coffin being tossed into the river, where it transforms into a jet ski.
On Stargate SG-1 the spectacular stargate opening "kawoosh" effect was filmed by placing a camera in a pool, and then quickly blasting a jet engine down into it. While they initially had to do new takes for every angle, they soon got the visual effects crew to work around that, also creating a digital effect for the later seasons and spinoffs. As this isn't exactly cheap to do, sometimes the gate will open off-screen, with a blue, wavering lighting effect applied to nearby scenery and characters.
In one episode when Sam (Major Samantha Carter) visits the Air Force Academy, a shot of cadets marching is shown. Unfortunately, the drill sergeant can clearly be heard shouting "kiri, kiri, kiri kanan kiri" and there are statues of garudas in the foreground, leading to the conclusion that the clip is from Indonesia.
The establishing shots of Cheyenne Mountain were shot before SG-1 began and were not supplemented with new shots until the season 8. It becomes very noticeable when watching the show on DVD as there were less than a dozen shots, the film was degrading and in one of the most used shots a guard is mysteriously holding his rifle while at the same time having it slung over his back.
In the first 25 or so episodes of Stargate Atlantis, the same shot of a jumper flying over a lake was used three times, to introduce three different planets.
SG-1 also reused parts of the Stargate movie, specifically the footage of Ra's ship docking with the pyramid to show Ha'Tak of several System Lords dock with the Abydos pyramid, and the wormhole travel effect by itself, which was replaced with a modified version of the Atlantis one in season 9. On a similar note, the musical score of the pilot was very obviously spliced together from the movie soundtrack. Unfortunately, the film's bombastic score didn't quite fit the pilot's tone (this was changed in the Re Cut).
The episode "Reckoning" reused some footage from "Menace" for the Replicator invasion of the SGC. You take tell which Replicator footage was new and which was stock due to the fact that the Replicators from "Menace" looked slightly different.
The Legend Of William Tell Kalem looks into a fire. Kreel looks into his cauldren. Close up on Kalem's eyes. Close up on Kreel's eyes. Kalem throws dust into the fire. Kreel makes vaguely magical hand motions. Sun rise, sun set. Alvar whines. Trees blow. Most episodes will have their own bits of stock footage as well.
Airwolf made heavy use of stock footage whenever the helicopter was shown flying or in combat, and a number of air and ground explosions were recycled regularly. Taken to ridiculous heights in the fourth season, when the budget was so badly slashed that the show lost access to the actual flying helicopter used to make new footage.
Andromeda used the same footage each time the Nietzschean fleet came out of Slipstream.
And with the bulk of its space battles, at least through the first couple seasons.
And every single time the Maru ejected anything from its cargo bay.
Early seasons of JAG would take all its material of military operations out of various war films.
One especially blatant example was a sequence where the team was in a car convoy ambushed by insurgents with rocket launchers: not only the footage but the sequence of events were pulled straight from Clear and Present Danger (though the clip in which you could recognize Harrison Ford was cut from latter rebroadcasts). Such sequences were also often inaccurate, with planes inexplicably changing very visibly from one scene to the next (single-engine, single-tail F16s turning into double-engine, double-tail F18s...). More than once helicopters that were supposed to be shooting their machine guns were instead showed to be shooting dumbfire rockets that, somehow, made characteristic tuk-tuk-tuk machinegun noises.
In an episode of The Unit, stock footage of the United Nations appears. However, said footage shows the East German flag.
Monty Python's Flying Circus used a large amount of archival footage, a good portion of it for laughs. One piece of Stock Footage, the "Women's Institute Applause", was used as a Running Gag throughout the series, and lampshaded when Graham Chapman insisted "And no more Stock Footage of women applauding!" One piece of footage shot for the show, the Batley Townswomen's Guild's re-enactment of the battle of Pearl Harbor, was used in a different episode for the same ladies' re-enactment of the first heart transplant.
SWAT commonly used stock footage of the SWAT van responding to a call, among other things. In fact, a couple of episodes even reused the intro scenes from some other episodes.
Knight Rider (both 1982 and 2008) live off of stock footage.
The 1982 series used it for Turbo Boost (takeoff and landing), and Super Pursuit Mode transformation (to revert to Normal Mode, the transformation sequence was literally played backwards) regularly. There were also a few one-time uses, such as KARR's demise in Trust Doesn't Rust (the actual footage used was from a different TV show filmed years before).
The 2008 series uses it for Turbo Boost (the CGI combustion takeoff), as well as when KITT enters and exits the SSC headquarters.
Both old and new series use stock footage of Michael and KITT cruising along highway and canyon roads as they drive across the Earth. In fact, one of the criticisms of the new series from the old series fans is that there isn't enough stock footage cruising.
The 1960s spy series The Man from UNCLE had one favorite clip of stock footage (a clip of a large WWII era bomber, possibly being used after the war as a target drone, being hit by an antiaircraft missile). Whenever the series required an aircraft to be shot down—whether it be a single engined private plane or a multiengined jet aircraft, whether it was shot down by a lucky rifle shot, antiaircraft artillery, or a missile—they would splice in this clip for the inevitable "airplane explodes in midair" scene.
UFO. The Sky One interceptors used a multiple-rocket firing pod similar to those used by RAF aircraft, so they could splice-in stock footage of the pods being fired with the model effects.
Of course almost all the scenes with the "normal" SHADO vehicles was stock: the lunar Interceptors all launched, flew, and fired in the exact same pattern, the launch of Sky One was the exact same, and so on.
Spoofed in the Shaun MiCallef spy series Roger Explosion, which would use stock footage of a jetplane or rocket with close-up studio scenes filmed in an incredibly bad mockup.
Tour of Duty. In one episode, the platoon is forced to attack the same hill again and again (e.g. Hamburger Hill). Spliced in was Vietnam footage of a bomber dropping napalm on a scorched and blackened hill — which seemed jarring as the platoon had spent the entire episode slogging through verdant green jungle.
Considering the very high costs of special effects back then, it's not surprising that Space: 1999 used some footage from the moon parts of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In Conan O'Brien's telenovela spoof Conando (performed on both Late Night and The Tonight Show), a Running Gag is the use incongruous stock footage, usually for the incapacitating of Conando's opponents. Typically, it's the same shot of a guy falling out a window repeated for each opponent.
Kamen Rider, unlike its sister franchise Super Sentai, mostly averts this by having each and every Transformation Sequence and Finishing Attack be done differently each and every time depending on the context. One exception is Kamen Rider Kiva, where Kiva's transformation into his alternate forms and finishing moves are stock footage or at least looked like stock footage, as this is dropped early on.
This is, of course, a more recent thing (as in, the last decade or so). All of the Showa-era Riders (from the original in the early 70s to Black RX in the late 90's) used stock footage transformations, simply because of limited CGI technology available at the time.
Another series that literally lived of stock footage is Baa Baa Black Sheep. Many scenes of the planes flying, landing or taking off are reused (they had only five Corsairs to represent a squadron of a dozen), and about all of the dogfights, bombing and ship operations were reels from WWII.
Babylon 5 was notable for its repeated use of the same CGI establishing shots for the station and for particular cultures' homeworlds. Subverted when the Minbari Civil War and the bombing of Centauri Prime are depicted by showing the usual establishing shots laid to waste.
The Goodies, in the vein of Monty Python, used stock footage all the time for jokes, especially news presentations. For example, footage of shoppers scrambling for bargains was used to show public response to the imminent destruction of Earth.
Saturday Night Live did a series of sketches about the fictional assassination of Buckwheat, played by Eddie Murphy. Stock footage was used to make it look like the world was making a ridiculously large deal out of his death, splicing in shots of state funerals and world leaders tearing up or making emotional speeches. See here for a portion.
Ice Road Truckers uses the same under-ice shot of a passing truck's wheels in nearly every episode, whenever a trucker moves out onto frozen lakes or seas. If they're building suspense, this is followed by the same clip of a big rig breaking through and sinking, which is especially jarring if the vehicle now in danger looks nothing like the stock-footage vehicle. Even more so, if it looks exactly like the one in danger. Justified, as having divers shoot scenes under such frigid circumstances is too darned dangerous, never mind expensive, to do repeatedly.
The Prisoner used establishing shots of the Village. Towards the end of the series, when money was beginning to run out and access to Portmeirion (where the series was filmed) was minimal to non-existent, the Village would be represented entirely by stock footage, all other scenes being shot indoors and often requiring the story to be taken out of the Village setting by various means.
Used for intentional dramatic effect in one of LOSTs final episodes: a stock footage scene at the end of "Across the Sea" shows Jack, Kate, and Locke stumbling across the "Adam and Eve" skeletons (from the season 1 episode "House of the Rising Sun") intermixed with Jacob placing his mother and brother's bodies next to each other, revealing the skeletons' identities.
Used for comedic effect in Australian Comedy Show All Aussie Adventures, in which closeup shots of the main character Russell Coight shaking hands with people never matched the people in the surrounding scene.
The HBO sitcom "Dream On" used stock footage as a running gag. The main character watched excessive TV as a kid and the show would cut to stock footage of classic TV shows to reflect the characters thoughts on a situation.
The Arkansas Governor's Mansion represented the home of Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women. In 2008, 30 Rock used 1990s-era stock footage of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, probably filmed for Designing Women, as the home of a character played by Steve Martin.
"Showing film clips that nobody knows;/what a great way of filling a show..."
Degrassi tends to use stock footage quite a bit. Most of the time it isn't noticeable, however, there was one incident where it just came off truly lazy. In the episode Terri is put into a near-fatal coma by Rick, and they use a far-away shot of Craig walking toward the hospital for location establishment. This would be fine, except for the fact that Craig isn't even in the episode! This turns an otherwise very serious episode temporarily comedic.
On the National Geographic documentary series Taboo, they often use clips from one of their early episodes in the intro to an episode. One clip used often is one about an African tribe where the men paint their faces yellow and cross their eyes in order to impress the women.
As Have I Got News for You has been running for over twenty years some of the short pieces of footage have been reused when in the first round when players have to guess the story. The shot of a man stacking money (seen in the Angus scandal episode) has been used whenever the story involves a lot of money being handled (such as in S44E07). While it is used sparingly, it does happen.
The docu-series Paleoworld in its later seasons abused this to no end. By that time, every dinosaur was represented by the same handful of stock shots, even if the clips showed completely different animals.
The Swamp Fox used stock footage of the horse chases in the pilot and a couple later eps in several other eps.
Advertisements for the Military Channel show Commander in Chief make liberal use of news footage - reasonably so, as the show reconstructs historical events from the point of view of the president. Interestingly, however, one clip shows "satellite imagery" that was made up for and recycled from the movie Patriot Games.
Criminal Minds has its establishing shots of the FBI office in Quantico. In addition, one episode which featured shots of Guantanamo Bay that were, judging by the quality of the footage, several years older than the film produced for the rest of the series.
Stock Footage of an exploding car is worked into "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys. The "Literal Video Version" faithfully pointed this out.
Chopping down a door in the cop montage Tied up and a bomb in the cop montage Kicking down a door in this mock homage Blowing up a car with our STOCK FOOTAGE!
The video for Queen and David Bowie's song "Under Pressure" is composed entirely of Stock Footage, largely from old silent films, newsreels and Stuff Blowing Up.
Some of the playfield art for Gottlieb's Target Alpha was reused for Solar City (and both games were rethemed versions of their earlier El Dorado). Unfortunately, it's a poor fit, as Target Alpha is about smiling future people target-shooting for fun, while Solar City is about a tribe of alien Native American expies.
In September of 1990, the AWA ran out of original footage and could no longer afford to run TV tapings. They filled their shows by airing old matches with new commentary and pretending that they were new. Luckily no one was watching by this time, or it could have been a huge embarrassment.
Sometimes, wrestlers will feud with somebody they've already feuded with before. WWE will often use stock footage of their previous feuds alongside more recent footage in the promo packages. It happened a lot between Triple H and Shawn Michaels who feuded on and off between 2002 and 2004.
A North Korean propaganda video depicts a Korean man dreaming of exploring space while New York City is in flames. The Internet became amused when it was noticed that the footage of New York in flames was taken from the Call of Duty series.
Thunderbirds involved a large amount of stock footage showing the pilots being conveyed into their craft, the craft to their launchpads and finally the launches themselves (as well as stock flight footage). However, rarely would the entire elaborate sequences be shown in any one episode, and the different parts used were not always the same (so, for example, one episode might show Virgil sliding down the ramp into Thunderbird 2 but would not show the equipment pod being loaded). Also some of the stock shots were actually re-filmed from several angles for variety. This provided variation despite the stock nature. The pitfalls of stock footage still occasonally afflicted the show, however, such as a "night" launch in broad daylight.
This meant that every time we saw the extending bridge carrying Scott over to Thunderbird 1 he was wearing the same light-blue jacket. Had he been thinking straight, he might have concluded that every time he put it on, a disaster happened somewhere in the world, and got rid of it.
Assassin's Creed II uses stock footage and photos in "the truth" segments to prove the fact that we've been lied to.
LaserDisc-format arcade games had three options: create a film-length animation, shoot a live-action film, or make use of Stock footage. Dragon's Lair averted this trope by dedicating a significant portion of the development to putting together an animated film (under Don Bluth). Several of the companies that simply wanted to Follow the Leader, however, hacked together scenes from then-obscure anime in the hope that nobody would notice.
Atari's 1984 laserdisc game Firefox, which was based on the motion picture, was drawn from almost thirty hours of first-personal flight footage shot especially for the film (as previously mentioned, some of this also ended up in the second Back to the Future film).
Pom Pom from Homestar Runner speaks entirely in bubbles, which were made from blowing bubbles into a glass of milk. Only one recording for Pom Pom was ever made, and it is still being used to this day.
In the earliest episodes, the same clip of Steve grabbing the notebook from Side Table Drawer ("Blue's Clues! I'm so excited!") plays over and over again, leading to some nitpicking when Steve stands up, and in the next shot, his hairstyle is changed.
The recycled footage of Steve singing the rules of the game at the beginning of each episode. There were a few versions of this that were used in multiple episodes. In later episodes, the theme starts immediately after Steve receives his notebook.
A few Stock Voice Clips were also used of the unseen children, most notably "Notebook!" (at the beginning of each episode) and "No, it's a clue!"
The recycled footage of Steve singing the ending theme in the first season only (which starts with him giving a thumbs-up to the kids).
Space Ghost Coast to Coast is made entirely of Stock Footage from Space Ghost & Dino Boy. The most obvious examples are when Space Ghost points at something, or when the Camera zooms in on his head. Also, the Characters hop around rather than walk, basically making them cardboard cutouts of the originals.
And for one entire episode, "Turner Classic Birdman".
Several episodes of Drawn Together use a piece of stock footage known as "The Monkey Man", which comes from the 1925 film version of The Lost World. It is often inserted into scenes where a character is supposed to be thinking deeply, or during moments of tension. It was mainly used during the first two seasons.
The Proud Family has several episodes that use the same clip of Trudy trying to make a souffle, but then it collapses. As you'd expect, it is often used in scenes where someone (usually Penny and her friends or Oscar) is making a lot of noise and Trudy is supposed to notice or react to the noise, while giving her a reason to also be angry if she's supposed to be in that scene.
Everybody in the show had the same two or three stock footage movements. Man At Arms walking up toward the screen, Orko bouncing up and down like an idiot, etc.
Filmation animated series in general use a lot of stock footage. Flash Gordon is a wonderful series, but you do start to feel bad for those same two Hawkmen who get disintegrated by enemy fire every single time the Hawkmen get in a fight.
Filmation were notorious in their heyday for using the same animation sequences regardless of what show they were making. One particular shot that was in almost everything they made in the mid-60s to mid-70s period was a charge directly at the camera by a main character immediately prior to a scene change. Superman, Superboy, Aquaman, Batman, Captain Kirk, Spock... they all did it (those are only the ones this troper can remember; there were more). Same movement, just different characters.
Another famous bit, Filmation kept a library of scenes from previous productions. One of their later shows was to feature a dinosaur attack. Word came back, "we don't have any dinosaur footage, can you use elephants?" (Presumably from Tarzan)
An especially egregious example comes from the 1970s live-action / animated Saturday morning program Shazam!Filmation, the production company for the animated segments, only made footage of Billy transforminginto Captain Marvel (which, of course, was used once or twice every episode). When they needed to show Captain Marvel changing back into Billy, they just ran the footage backwards. That wouldn't have been so bad, except in both directions the sequence starts with a lightning bolt called by the magic word "Shazam", and they didn't bother to edit out the bolt "un-hitting" Billy at the end of the reversed footage.
Lampshade Hanging: In an episode of Dave the Barbarian, Fang goes on a rampage. As she breaks things, the Narrator comments. "And so Fang destroyed a bunch of rocks! And a bunch of larger rocks!" (the image of her smashing the first ones repeats) "And a bunch of rocks that looked the same as the first bunch, but were not the same!"
In the 1960s Spider-Man animated series, several animated cycles of Spidey swinging were used constantly.
A couple of episodes also used footage from the (now largely forgotten) Space Opera series Rocket Robin Hood. One of these episodes, "Revolt in the Fifth Dimension", a surreal Something Completely Different story revolving around a Cosmic Horror named Infinata, was pretty danged awesome.
The 90's series also used a stock footage of a (poorly-rendered) CGI model of New York's streets whenever Spidey swang around. This was dropped in later seasons.
The 90's series was notorious for its rampant use of stock footage, made even worse by the fact that they didn't even fit at least half of the time.
Clever subversion, in Megas XLR: in classic Humongous Mecha style, the mega-attack of the week is triggered by a Big Red Button on the dashboard of Megas. Coop pressing the button looks like Stock Footage, but the label on the button changes every time he presses it. It even references this internally; on one occasion the button reads "Save the World", and on another it's "That Same Button Coop Always Presses", after using it only a few minutes before to do something totally different.
A military intervention in the Angry Beavers Halloween special was illustrated by stock footage of planes taking off, tanks driving away, navy vessels sailing on the sea, cavalry riding across the screen, sumo warriors struggling, baby turtles running across the beach, and Zulu warriors cheering. In that order.
Muppet Babies used stock footage from old movies and TV shows all the time.
Thomas the Tank Engine uses stock footage for the engines puffing across Sodor's railway lines; like Thunderbirds this often caused small continuity problems (in one episode Percy's trucks changed from coal, to slate, to coal again).
Code Lyoko: Not only are the transfer scenes reused in pretty much every episode, even the first episode, as they were first made for the pilot (admittedly, they were changed a bit in the second season), but quite often, entire battles will be reused with different dialogue.
Season 4 is better about this, showing off the bigger budget by avoiding Stock Footage from the previous seasons during battles (the new outfits of the heroes are making any reuse of scenes from the previous seasons too obvious anyway), although footage from battles earlier in Season 4 is often re-used. There is still plenty of footage reused around the Digital Sea and the Skidbladnir's standard operations, but it is much less jarring.
The first two seasons of The Batman have Stock Footage scenes of Batman suiting up, jumping into the Batmobile and driving off. Probably more of a Shout-Out to the Adam West Batman TV series, which went through a similar sequence. By third season the suit-up scene was reduced and later dropped altogether.
Also Lampshaded with a split-screen shot of Batman and Catwoman dressing up and driving out/hopping on rooftops to the same spot at the same time to confront the same villain.
In the 1990s and 2000s, Kids WB (The WB 's children's block of programming) made notoriously heavy use of recycled stock footage in their promos. Footage of Pinky (from Pinky and the Brain) and the Warners (from Animaniacs) singing and dancing, Yakko pointing at something, stock shots of Superman and Batman, etc. (all sometimes crudely looped looking) would be used in a Warner Bros. studio lot setting, with new dialog dubbed in to promote whatever the show (or Saturday morning marathon event) of the time dictated. Sometimes actual clips of episodes of these shows (with new dialog dubbed over) would also be used.
Used in Freakazoid! to comic effect, including live action shots of bear wrestling, and a man being hit in the belly with a cannon ball. No, it doesn't make much more sense in context.
Used to great effect in Trumpton (and Camberwick Green and Chigley). As well as the extended narrated opening sequence, copious use of establishing shots, and the use of closing bandstand performances and the odd square dance, Trumpton Fire Brigade got called out to an emergency in every single episode. As a result, every Briton born between 1963 and 1990 can recite the Trumpton Fire Brigade roll call by heart, and a whole minute of every 15 minute episode was dealt with — they just needed to dub in Captain Flack's half of the phone conversation.
Charlie Brown Thanksgiving uses the same clip of Snoopy handing out food (toast pile noticeably does not lessen until after he finishes handing it out).
You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown has three interstitial sketches of Woodstock and his fellow birds curb-stomping oversized opponents, ranging from cats and dogs to bison. The exact same footage is used in all three sketches, only with the opponents replaced each time, resulting in bison who are no bigger than cats.
Scooby-Doo Where Are You? often kept reusing animation over and over. You often saw the same animation cycles of the Scooby-Doo gang walking, running, the same poses when the humans are talking, and in one case, even a shot of Scooby-Doo eating something was reused a few times!
House of Mouse, thanks to its premise as a nightclub showing cartoons, frequently reuses crowd shots, and pads out the length of the episode with shots of the band performing.
Robot Boy uses the exact same "super activation" sequence whenever Robot Boy turns into his giant fighting robot version (which is at least once per episode). Many of his shooting, flying and fighting animations are reused between episodes too.
Early episodes of KaBlam!! would sometimes re-use old Henry and June segments for different episodes, however with the lip-syncing re-done to match the episode's lines.
The Super Hero Squad Show reuses the same footage whenever the characters hero up, usually just cutting it to remove any heroes that aren't there.
All of the transformations, from regular fairy form to Enchantix and beyond have their own stock transformation sequences, unique for each girl and transformation.
Winx wasn't so bad about this in regular scenes until the fourth season. The Frutti Music Bar scenes were constantly and inexplicably reused. The strangest example, however, is a shot from the theme song of the Winx flying in their Enchantix forms. It was used at the end of the last episode, implying that the Winx had returned to those forms, but in the fifth season the Winx are still using Believix, implying it was an error.
The scenes in between the actual songs in Disney's "Sing-Along Songs" videos were composed almost entirely of stock footage of mostly-forgotten shorts overdubbed with new voice work, up to and including the iconic opening theme.
The Hot-Dog dance from Mickey Mouse clubhouse. With the exception of special episodes, it does not matter which guest characters were in the episode or which main characters aren't in the episode or even how far they are from the clubhouse. It always shows just the main characters suddenly entering the clubhouse and dancing.
Before The Simpsons switched to HD, the same shot of kids cheering for Krusty was reused in several episodes.
Parodied in a clip show when Bart and Lisa claim that the new Itchy and Scratchy episode is new episode and they explain it's a new one, using footage from reruns. The animation used when Marge comes in the room is obviously from a season one episode.
Played straight in a season three episode Radio Bart where the police notify Homer and Marge of Bart being trapped in the well. The footage is taken from the Thanksgiving episode from the previous season.
You know Looney Tunes absolutely lovesStuff Blowing Up when they reuse the exact same explosion animation in multiple shorts. "Three Little Bops" in particular brings this practice to its natural conclusion.
In fact, "Three Little Bops" does recycle a lot of stock footage within itself, mostly of the Three Pigs playing their instruments and the Wolf playing his trumpet.
Batfink. Seriously, about 80% of the episodes were stock footage!
Aqua Teen Hunger Force uses fire footage recorded by the animators on a camping trip whenever burning is represented on screen.
Used egregiously in The Archies' Funhouse, where the same clips of animation would be used over and over with the only difference being the characters' clothes... and sometimes, not even that!
Despite Phineas and Ferb being one of the more well animated cartoons and thus rarely ever using Stock Footage, in "Rollercoaster: The Musical!" there are scenes when the kids are riding the rollercoaster that clearly shows that the animators just reused scenes from the original Rollercoaster episode. In the original it was background characters riding, while in the musical it's the Fireside Girls, Baljeet, and Buford. They switch between characters at certain parts.
A few of the scenes between Doofenshmirtz and Perry were also reused, but it is slightly justified since they are only remaking the episode as a musical and most of their parts are the same.
The training course in Rollbots, though in 09:F9:11, it was spliced with a scene of Daso chanting to create a chilling effect.
In the music video segments for Beavisand Butthead would often reuse the same footage from different episodes, such as shots of them head banging, dancing, throwing stuff at the tv, fighting,etc.
Spoofed in Futurama, in a segment parodyingAnime, there's a scene where a squad of flying cars are defending Earth from alien ships, the sequence where they are destroyed are played twice, as well as the audio ("Launch all missiles!").
Also spoofed in the episode "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" in a segment parodying Scooby-Doo. A shot showing the Planet Express headquarters pans down to reveal the words "establishing shot, reuse in every episode" written below the drawing.
Jimmy Two-Shoes barely uses stock footage, except for one blatant case in the episode "Heinous vs. Clown" where, early in the episode, Samy fell off the roof of a building as Jimmy and Beezy were walking out of an alley dressed as clowns. Later during a fight scene, a clown gets hit off the screen and the same exact clip of Samy falling off the roof was used. One had to wonder whether it was intentional or not.
Animaniacs reused footage many times, the most common being "Wakko doing drum roll." Also notable in the "Yakko's Universe Song," where they reused footage from his "Planets of the Solar System song" (particularly blatant, since Yakko goes from flying around in a saucer to a rocket during those bits).
South Park does this from time to time, most notably in the earlier episodes. Two of the greatest examples would be:
In "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig", they re-used footage from "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" when they are talking to Pip at the cafeteria.
In "Starvin' Marvin IN SPACE!", when Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Marvin go through the wormhole again, they simply rehashed footage from earlier on in the episode. Notice how Kenny appears with them on the ship, even though we saw him frozen in carbonite on Sally Struthers' ship earlier.
The Rugrats episode "Autumn Leaves" recycles animation of Tommy pulling the red tab from the box of leaves, the babies playing in the leaves afterward, and Stu walking into the yard only to be shocked by the dozens of leaves everywhere.
At the end of the episode, Chuckie jumps in the leaves about 6 times.
Although sometimes it isn't as apparent in the earlier episodes, Superjail! utilizes a lot of stock footage, in part due to being done in Flash, where character models and animations can be easily saved and recycled when needed. Season 3 seemed to rely a little more on recycling, having re-used background and specific animations from previous episodes in the run (or even earlier) for the later portion.
There's one case in "Oedipus Mess" where footage from the pre-credits sequences of two previous episodes get recycled, when showing Jacknife's past crimes that he's committed.