Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope. Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.
Stock Footage Failure
The U.F.O. flew contemptuously through the ack-ack bursts of a destroyer. A beam of energy stabbed down, and the hapless vessel was instantly transmuted into an exploding WW2 battleship.
— Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space
Stock Footage is a Necessary Weasel in most broadcast productions. Your average studio just can't afford to have 42 cars on hand to be blown up on camera (along with 108backups for when the take goes bad). So they have 13 scenes using 4 models of cars. These are supposed to represent all of those 42 cars the show will be going through this season. In all of the various settings the show will go to.
The cars and settings are usually similar enough that it takes a while (and perhaps multiple viewings) for the viewer to notice a discrepancy.
This Trope is for when the viewer notices it right off. Without having to leave the couch. It's also for when the error is so obvious, it has the viewer screaming How did they slipthatup?!
Often, using the wrong car, setting, clothing, person, hairclip etc., will call the series' continuity (or at least the writer's grasp thereof) into question.
Compare Special Effects Failure, where the pretty lights and sounds added to a scene filmed for the production are not up to par, and Obvious Stunt Double, when it's obvious that a stunt double is being used instead of the actor.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
While Sailor Moon was usually very good with the stock footage for the transformations, attacks and pre-battle speeches, there were a couple background errors with the Inner Senshi's "Star Power" sequences in the R season. The first happened in the very first sequence; although the colorful whooshing background shouldn't fade in until after Sailor Mercury's nails are colored, the sequence didn't start with a black background the first time. There was also a group transformation a few episodes later where Sailor Mars was given the wrong background for part of her transformation. Ordinarily it would look something like this, but she got Venus's background for the first part.
It doesn't flow very well visually, but this is the bath time version!
THE iDOLM@STER - The last episode uses several footages from the first and second openings, but when Azusa and Takane are dancing they appear to be in front of a set of stairs, just for in the next take they be shown to be still descending the same stairs.
In the third and fourth Pretty Cure All Stars movies, they constantly show Yuri's transformation sequence with her Pretty Cure Seed being rebuilt... despite the fact that, at the end of her series, the seed was fully repaired after she retrieved the other half of it.
Akazukin Chacha - has stock footage of the Power Trio using their artifacts to transform Chacha into "Magical Princess." Normally these are fine, but they use the same stock footage even when Shiine and Riiya are chained to a wall and shouldn't be able to move.
The octopus in Ed Wood's Bride of the Monster is a classic example. The stock footage shows a real life octopus swimming around underwater, but in scenes when actors tangle with it, it's a limp, unmoving and obviously fake one made of rubber sitting in a puddle of water.
In one of the Batman movie serials there's a scene where a black car goes over the edge of a cliff. But the stock footage used for the car actually going over is a black van.
In the 1966 Batman: The Movie, stock footage of a Polaris missile is used twice. Unfortunately, the second time it appears, it's been horizontally flipped, meaning that the letters on the missle labelling it a Polaris all appear backwards.
It's been suggested that that particular shot was not an example of stock footage failure. Apparently, this may have been a reproduction of the giant billboards for 1960 Swedish documentary "Mein Kampf" about Hitler which were scattered through downtown Tokyo.
Kevin Murphy has said that not only did they cut every scene of the stock footage they could out of the movie for its MST3K riffing on moral grounds, but that the stock footage was so abhorrent to them that they riffed the film a new one with a vehemence that made merely bad films like "Manos" The Hands of Fate, Monster A-Go Go and The Castle Of Fu Manchu pale in comparison.
"Manos" The Hands of Fate itself has a notable one near the end, where the family is trying to escape into the desert at night and the father shoots his gun at a snake—which is shown in close-ups shot in broad daylight.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan reused several scenes from the previous film. Averted slightly in the sense that the Klingon ships were in a simulation using footage recorded during the V'Ger Incident. What definitely isn't inverted is how in the 12 years since the previous film that guy in the spacesuit is still standing on spacedock doing flips.
It's not just Wrath of Khan. A lot of Star Trek: The Motion Picture's many many many Leave the Camera Running sequences were used to depict the Enterprise from then to the very end of the TOS movies. Even Star Trek: Generations uses Klingon Bird of Prey footage, and at one point the Enterprise-B is the Excelsior. That's the one that really doesn't work, as some tweaks were made to the model, and the scene of the Excelsior at warp is very recognizable.
In The Hunt for Red October, a damaged aircraft crashing on the deck of the carrier changes from what should be a modern (for the time) jet to an F9F Panther, an aircraft 30 years older than the one it is supposed to depict. The look of both the footage and the plane is obvious.
Also, a Soviet torpedo launched from a turboprop splashes down looking precisely the same as the American torpedo later dropped from a helicopter.
In the James Bond movie You Only Live Twice, for an American rocket launch they used stock footage of a Soviet Soyuz rocket, and for a Soviet rocket launch they used stock footage of an American Gemini rocket.
Birdemic: Shock And Terror uses chunks of stock footage from Getty Images during the in-universe news broadcasts. Fair enough, right? Except they did not actually shell out the money for the footage, and some of it as a result has a great big Getty Images watermark plastered over it.
Proving no film is above this, at least in the pre-CGI era, Citizen Kane has a jungle picnic scene in which the background footage is lifted from Son of Kong. You can plainly see pterodactyls flying around. Maybe Charles Foster Kane foundedInGen...
In Gokaiger Goseiger Super Sentai 199 Hero Great Battle (an HD movie), during the battle against the Black Cross King's evil Ranger clones, the clones of the Changemen, Flashmen, Turborangers, Livemen and Maskmen attack the Gokaigers and Goseigers with their BFGs...and by "their BFGs", we mean unremastered stock footage from their original series in The Eighties of them firing their BFGs. Considering how amazingly gorgeous the rest of the movie was, the jump to mid-80's quality stock footage was jarring. This happens again later, in the battle against the Black Cross Colossus, with every mecha joining the fight. Nearly all of the finishers used by the mecha are the stock footage of the finishers from their respective series. It can be jarring when it goes from a finisher used in a 2000's series to one used in the early 1990's. Adding insult to injury, the non-mecha vehicles from Goranger and JAKQ, Variblune and Sky Ace, respectively, get shiny new CGI models (and Variblune even gets a combo with Gokai-Oh), yet none of the mecha (that didn't already have CGI models) do. On the other hand, at some points it's subverted within the same scene, with certain finishers being seamlessly edited together (such as Battle Fever Robo and Dai Bouken).
The Day After lifts tons of footage from First Strike (a documentary speculating about nuclear war). At one point, a character mentions that Beale Air Force Base has been nuked. Later, in First Strike stock footage, Beale Air Force Base is reporting that Soviet missiles are incoming.
All over the place in Midway. Mitigated somewhat in that casual audiences might miss them, but stick out blatantly to anyone with even a little knowledge of WWII aviation:
A crashing SBD Dauntless dive bomber at the end of the film uses what may be the same footage of an FH-1 as in The Hunt For Red October, as listed above.
When Ens. George Gay is forced to ditch his crippled TBD Devastator the clip is of an F 6 F Hellcat.
Speaking of the F 6 F, stock footage of Hellcats is used for pretty much every scene intended to depict the F 4 F Wildcat. The Hellcat wasn't deployed in combat until September of 1943 (the Battle of Midway was in June of 1942) and though sharing a family resemblance, there's really no mistaking a Hellcat for a Wildcat. This includes takeoff, landing and dogfighting scenes, and the famous scene of Tom Garth crash-landing his damaged fighter and splitting it in half after striking the tower.
Most combat scenes of the Devastator torpedo bombers instead uses the TBM Avenger. While there were Avengers involved at Midway, there were only six, all of them from a squadron on the island.
For that matter, the American dive bomber attack tends to replace the two-seater SBD Dauntlesses with single-seat F 4 U Corsairs. The Dauntless looks pretty much nothing like the Corsair. Other times SB 2 C Helldivers were used. Much like the Hellcats-for-Wildcats example above, the Helldiver appeared much later in the war. Unlike that example, it bore no resemblance to the Dauntless whatsoever.
A B-17 crash-landing at Midway was stock footage also used in Tora! Tora! Tora!. Doubly egregious because the aircraft not only is flying an earlier-war paint scheme, but because the runway it was utilizing was at a large and fully-paved airbase. Midway was...not.
The same B-17 crash-landing stock footage was also used in the 1990 film Memphis Belle. While closer to actual (the runways looked correct), the early-war paint scheme and the poor CGI slide, in the opposite direction to the spin in the stock footage, afterward makes this one stand out also.
Generally averted, surprisingly enough, with the Japanese aircraft. Most footage of Zeros, D 3 A Dive Bombers and B 5 N Torpedo Bombers utilizes the modified T-6 Texan Aircraft Understudies rather than stock footage, and what footage is used tends to depict the correct aircraft.
A Hard Day's Night: When The Beatles get into the cab to their hotel, they're all wearing suits and ties, but when we cut to them driving off, John Lennon is inexplicably wearing a turtleneck and jacket, in footage taken from one of their tours.
The Hunger Games has an in-universe example of this. The stock footage of District 13 has the same mockingjay in it it ends up being one of the factors in the revolution movement
Also that same clip is shown every year for seventy-five years, and somehow the background is always burning.
Frequent on Power Rangers. Outfits regularly change during the transformation sequences, since they were usually not wearing the same civilian outfit as they were in the stock footage, with shirt colors suddenly changing, skirts becoming pants, accessories vanishing, hairstyles changing, and in at least one case, a shirt appearing. Later seasons handwaved it by having the stock footage of them be of them in a uniform, and make sure that the character was wearing the uniform in the new footage before morphing.
In the original "Green With Evil" storyline from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, footage of Burai from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger was used to represent Tommy being transformed into the Green Ranger by Rita. The audience was apparently supposed to ignore that "Tommy" is clearly Asian when he first appears in Rita's fortress.
Particularly bad in Power Rangers Time Force, where Mirai Sentai Timeranger stock footage is used in several scenes important to the plot. It doesn't cause plot holes because of their similarities, except several critical scenes have Wes suddenly turn Japanese.
Or the entire staff of Bio-Lab the time the building was invaded. In fact, there are several times when there's suddenly a disproportionate amount of black hair in crowd scenes.
Eric looks very much like his Timeranger counterpart Naoto, so much that one dramatic, non-stock-footage morph was kept, during the multi-parter that introduced the Quantum Ranger. Unfortunately... Eric wasn't wearing his hat and Naoto was in that scene, so as we switch angles whilst he and Wes are charging at each other for their second battle, he suddenly goes from hatless to hatted. So close to awesome, yet so far...
In the early seasons, you could tell when it was stock footage because the camera quality was grainier. Later seasons were perfectly clear, to the point of some people being unable to tell when the show is using stock footage, and when it is not, particularly when a ranger morphs and does not go through the usual Transformation Sequence.
Still, though, sometimes tweaks are visible. Nadira's outfit covers less than Lira's, Marah's hair is black while Furabijou's is brown, and in Power Rangers Samurai, it's very distracting to see Octoroo go from having his tentacles completely covering his face to being parted to reveal his mouth.
Power Rangers Operation Overdrive has a pretty obvious case during the roll calls, said case being Ronny. They changed her roll call pose from Natsuki's such that the motion is a little more "serious" and stays upright. This is probably due to her personality, which is almost nothing like her Super Sentaicounterpart. However, Ronny still finds a way to appear already arched 45 degrees to her left near the end of the roll calls.
In nearly every episode of Power Rangers S.P.D., when the Rangers morph, there will be an extreme close-up of a hand holding the morpher, which would be fine except for the fact that the Rangers never hold the morpher properly (if the finger isn't on the button on top, the morpher shouldn't open!) They're holding it correctly in the morph sequence, so that means the focus Ranger's fingers appear to magically move as we switch to stock footage. This occurs constantly and is probably due to Real Life Writes the Plot: The morpher props are the Japanese morpher toys, so if the actor held the morpher properly, it would open for real. Naturally, non-stock-footage morphs always have the button-push, opening the morpher before the Ranger does a sparkly in-scene change.
In Masked Rider, the title hero was based on Kamen Rider Black RX, but some scenes taken from Kamen Rider ZO and Kamen Rider J had the suit noticeably change. How? Well, Black RX's suit was mostly green, but had lots of black too. ZO and J's are both entirely green. Noticeably barely begins to cover this.
Also, due to some crossed wires when editing out Riderman, when the former Riders (Masked Rider Warriors here) introduced themselves, all but ZX gave the wrong names, leading to the fandom's "I AM AMAZON" meme, where "Amazon" was actually Skyrider.
Even Kamen Rider Dragon Knight isn't completely immune. The differences between Kamen Rider Ryuki's Alternative and Alternative Zero are extremely minor, but they're there. The Advent Master has been known to switch back and forth.
On The Brady Bunch the parents drove Bobby to an ice cream eating contest. They left in a blue convertible and came back in a brown station wagon. Must've been a slow news week because this managed to get into the National Enquirer.
Stock Starfury launch footage on Babylon 5 continued to show Sinclair's fighter launching well after he had left the show.
Possibly justified in that the fighter was one assigned to the station, and would have been left behind when Sinclair transferred out, although its next pilot would presumably have had the chance to paint different nose art on it.
In the same spirit, a stock CGI model once slipped past them. A shot from the fourth season episode "No Surrender, No Retreat" showed an Earth Alliance warship firing on civilian transports. Since the scene was originally not going to include a closeup of the destroyer, it was given the first set of markings available — those of the "good guy" Agamemnon. Unfortunately, the shot was reframed and the ship's ID was clearly visible in the final version. (This was fixed in later showings; the ship was re-marked as the Pollux.)
Retroactive example on Red Dwarf. When the ship returns in Series VIII, it has a different design which is alluded to by the characters. The brief appearance at the end of Series VII (a few seconds of ship footage from which were repeated in Series VIII) used stock footage of the model ship that was filmed during series 1 and 2.
In Meltdown, footage from Gappa, The Colossal Beast is used to represent waxwork dinosaurs, which prompts:
Kryten: I can't tell you how feeble and improbable those creatures were, sir. I've seen more convincing dinosaurs given away free with a packet of Wheaty Flakes.
In "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", an alligator menacing Susan is represented by stock footage of a rather small and ineffectual-looking gavial.
In "The Romans", Ian is taken to fight in the arena, and peers out of the bars of his cell to see what it is he's going to fight. What follows is a poorly-edited sequence of lots of different lions in clearly very different zoos, none of which look remotely Roman.
Happens in-universe in "The Space Museum", when the Doctor is hooked up to a mind-reading machine so his captor can find out where his companions are using pictures extracted from his memory. The footage extracted this way is useless because it shows where the companions were when he left them a long while ago, not where they are now. By this time, he's figured out a Psychic Block Defense and so, when pressed harder, the screen starts producing deliberately ridiculous stock footage of sea lions, etcetera.
In "The War Machines", WOTAN orders his slaves to make a machine. Splice in stock footage of welders, in completely different lighting, and who (even with the masks on) look absolutely nothing like the slaves.
In the 1970s Doctor Who serial "Revenge of the Cybermen", the launch of a missile on an alien planet is represented by stock footage of a NASA rocket launch, with the rocket's official markings in English clearly visible.
"Name of the Doctor" cuts between stock footage of the Second Doctor and scenes of him recorded with a double from behind. The double doesn't even try to match his movement to the stock footage, especially with the distinctive running style of the character in the footage.
The Fifth Doctor's hair changes completely in colour, texture and style from the behind shot and the face shot (which had his face pasted onto the body of a double, covering up the ridiculously unconvincing wig).
Parodied on The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot in which Tom Baker is portrayed entirely with stock footage from the unfinished serial "Shada" (the exact same clips used to Fake Shemp him into "The Five Doctors"). Since he's in-character as the Doctor in the footage, which shows him at about half his current age, the result is hilariously nonsensical.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine uses this on occasion during the Dominion War arc, being cheaper to reuse old battle footage than produce new footage for each battle. However, after the USS Defiant is destroyed and replaced near the end of the series, the new Defiant sports the previous ship's registry number.
Similarly, Star Trek: The Original Series uses the same shuttlecraft footage every time. This is most egregious in "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield", when the shuttlecraft stolen from a Starbase bears the ID number "1701/7". That is, rather than coming from a Starbase, it is a shuttlecraft of NCC 1701, the Enterprise itself! Either that, or 'every' Federation shuttlecraft is the Galileo.
A common situation on I Dream of Jeannie, where the rocket shown on the pad would be different from the rocket later shown lifting off, which was not the same as the rocket seen in the sky. None of the three would match the capsule shown in orbit.
An episode of Knight Rider featured KITT'sEvil Twin KARR being forced off a cliff; the footage used for this was lifted from the 1977 Horror film The Car featuring a vehicle which does not even begin to resemble a Trans Am. At least it was black...
The show also tended to reuse footage from previous episodes in places that didn't make much sense. In the same episode with KARR, a shot that was supposed to show KARR breaking into some building is obviously KITT with silver star decals from a previous episode stuck on him.
In the episode of Dark Matters: Twisted But True about Dr. James Van Allen, the Stock Footage shot of a rocket launch used to represent the Starfish Prime exoatmospheric nuclear test is accompanied by audio (overlapped by the narrator's dialogue, yet still quite coherent) that mentions the International Space Station. Starfish Prime took place in 1962; the first component of the ISS went into orbit in 1998.
Serenity is classified as a 03-K64-Firefly in the first aired episode (The Train Job), but some shots in the original pilot episode ("Serenity") of the ship in the black are of the newer 03-KC11-Firefly. It is not known how Joss Whedon obtained those shots.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century has a particularly noticeable example whenever fighter craft are shown coming into the landing bays on Earth. The series only has two stock-footage shots; one of a single fighter landing, and one of two fighters side-by-side escorting Buck's 20th-century space shuttle (from the pilot episode). Whenever more than one fighter craft is supposed to be landing, they try to cut away from the latter shot before Buck's shuttle is clearly recognizeable on-screen, but don't always succeed.
Battlestar Galactica (Classic) (the original) was bad about this as well. There are 4 shots of Galactica's guns destroying Cylons, about 6 shots of Vipers destroying Cylons, and about 4 shots of Cylons destroying Vipers. This includes the mirror image shots. No wonder Cylons die so easily. They always attack the exact same way. It is blatantly noticeable in same fight scenes in the same episodes.
The Swamp Fox had a huge problem with this. It was often very obvious they were re-using horseback chase scenes from earlier episodes.
A Running Gag in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has Jazz getting thrown out of the house. The footage of the act in question is always the same, but they've avoided this trope by having Jazz wear the same shirt in scenes where he's about to get thrown out.
Jon Stewart once called out The Sean Hannity Show on a story they did about an anti-healthcare-reform rally in Washington. The rally took place in the fall, when the surrounding trees were full of orange and red leaves, but some of the footage showed that the trees were fully green. What had actually happened was that they mixed in footage from a much larger, totally unrelated rally from months before to make the present rally look bigger (it was even reported that there were four times as many attendees than there actually were). This actually prompted an apology from Hannity for falsifying the story.
Many a space documentary uses the footage shot during an unmanned early Gemini mission when talking about re-entry, however, when they're using it while talking about something like the Apollo missions, it's extremely noticeable.
The animated cutscenes of the Philips CD-i game Mutant Rampage Body Slam frequently reuse the same animations of the host character and the champion he interviews. This results in bad lip-synch and odd moments, such as the host saying "All right!" in a enthusiastic voice while facepalming.
If you use the Satellite Cannon attack on the scenarios where Tifa is kidnapped in Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden, her picture and voice still appears.
Just about any Filmation production, due to their over dependence on stock footage.
The scanner sequence on Code Lyoko always uses the characters' normal outfits, even when they're wearing something else.
An episode from Season 4 has Ulrich and Odd heading for the scanners in the factory; they enter with the Season 1-3 outfits and shots of them in the scanners are the Season 4 outfits. This is more egregious as the latter outfits weren't introduced until the next episode. Whoops.
There is an episode of Danger Mouse in which Penfold is kidnapped, but they still used the stock footage of DM pulling his car out of the garage with Penfold in the passenger seat.
Super Friends (1973) episode "The Androids". Superman has been kidnapped and replaced by an android. After the rest of the Super Friends figures it out the android Superman takes off, but seconds later the Stock Footage shows him still sitting at the table. Watch it here, starting at 4:00, and watch until around 5:00.
Taken Up to Eleven in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. At first it was reused webswinging footage, or it was applicable as a flashback. In the later seasons, everytime Spidey faced Doc Ock or the Lizard, the same footage from the villains' first appearances would be thrown in.
Also, there'd be the times the Green Goblin would switch between his first glider and his second (much bigger, very different) one from one shot to the next. (Yes, the gliders can separate and link up. No, this is not that.)
Even worse in the 1990s Iron Man cartoon. During its first season, Tony Stark would change into his Iron Man suit once per episode and we were treated to a crudely done CGI sequence of this. Problem, they only made one animation of this sequence, and Tony would suddenly be in a lab (when he had previously been in space, the desert, in a forest, etc.) and in the same clothes he wore in the first ep.
There is an episode of The Magic School Bus where the kids travel inside of Arnold to learn about the human digestive system. In one of the scenes during the episode, Arnold can seen sitting in the bus with the rest of the kids.
Mind you, Arnold could have been intentionally placed in the bus during the episode and it wouldn't have been all that much more of a Violation of Common Sense than usual.
Parodied in The Simpsons: In an attempt to save the production of the Radioactive Man movie, an editor provides a clip where Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy are stuck in a cave with Road Warrior types. Shots of Fallout Boy in a grassy field and on a couch were inserted into the scene, then they end up fighting aliens.
Editor: Seamless, huh? (beat) Assistant: You're fired. Editor: And with good cause!
In the episode where Homer plays Every Man, the movie's producers were forced to reuse some clips from earlier in the movie in the final fight. Problem was, in half of them Homer was fit and muscular, and in the other half he was his normal overweight self. This lead to a scene where he was jumping off a beam to attack a villain where he was fit one moment, fat the next, and at one point, while he was eating a sandwich. Lenny walks out of the theatre saying that the inconsistencies took him out of the moment and ruined the experience.
Team America: World Police features the song "Freedom isn't Free" accompanied by footage of Gary visiting American memorials. Except there are normal people walking in background - in a puppet film.
Considering the film is full of Stylistic Suck this may've been intentional.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s a TV cartoon series was made in Flanders, based on the popular comic strip Suske en Wiske. While the designs of the character resembled those in the comics the cartoons themselves were so cheaply made that almost every scene was stock footage. For instance, whenever a specific character was walking from one point to another, they always played the same clip. The animators also animated only one expression of a certain emotion for each main cast member. If for instance a specific character became angry, it was always the same scene without any sort of variation. As one can imagine, watching these cartoons can become rather tedious after a while, especially since they follow the stories of the comic book albums almost frame-by-frame in extremely slow pacing.