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Timestamps come from this YouTube clip minus a minute of Beatty. Whether It Makes Sense in Context depends on your definitions of sense and context. note 

"It's like they got fifteen hours worth of random clips and couldn't pick the good ones. So they made 'em all really short."

The term "blipvert" comes from Max Headroom and referred to highly time-compressed advertisements. More generally, a blipvert is a brief collection of often-random images cut together very quickly. The Trope Namer made Your Head A-Splode.

Note that blipverts only refer to very high speed montages. If it's a few seconds to pause on each, odds are it's just a normal Previously on…. Since they are also called Parallax Montages, don't confuse them with Motion Parallax, the act of emulating the distance/perception of movement dichotomy (farther=slower) through layers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The End of Evangelion has a Blipvert, featuring fan mail and actual death threats sent to Hideaki Anno after the infamous last two chapters were broadcast all over Japan. One scene features a reel of all the Episode Title Cards.
    • The technique is also used several times throughout the series. Shinji in the bath in the second episode, and most strikingly in the Mindrape sequence, where it's all scribbled words related to Sigmund Freud's theory of Psychoanalysis, as well as terms related to mental disorders, death and disease.
    • The last half of the opening credits in the main series does this as well, cutting back and forth between scenes and major characters from the show, jargon from the show and medical terms written on stark white-on-black title cards.
  • In episode 31 of Fullmetal Alchemist, when it shows Ed's first visit to the "gate", it rapidly shows a series of photographs. One of them is of an Austin-Healey Sprite Mk 1 with the Japanese Hagane no Renkinjutsushi logo in the license plate holder.

    Comic Books 
  • This concept was used in Aliens Outbreak. In the future, the human attention span is so short that one-second-long commercial bursts are used to keep your attention. This is used to transmit an image of a Xenomorph into the viewer, making him or her obsessed with getting impregnated.
  • In Transmetropolitan they're called "Block Consumer Incentive Bursting", better known as "Buy Bombs", and contain compressed information so potent you dream advertisements in your sleep.

  • A Subway ad does this. It says "Spot the non-Subway sub" and it flashes through impossibly perfect subs, with a monkey on a yellow submarine about halfway through.
  • For a while, advertisements for Sprite consisted of exactly this, involving some very surreal, and frequently disturbing, pictures and clips, and all centered around yellow and green colored things. The message "Quench your Thirst" tended to feature prominently. Of course, it was so out there and ridiculous, it may have been a parody (or perhaps a pastiche) of this trope.
  • Some GE advertisements had 'One Second Theater' stories at the end. A quick flash of a number of images, that if slowed down, told some sort of a story. This shows one slowed down.
  • One of the earlier ads for Late Night with Conan O'Brien had Conan saying "Hi, I'm Conan O'Brien and I only have four seconds. So how do I..."
  • Master Lock had a famous one-second commercial. It was just a bullet hitting the titular product, which didn't break, and the company name flashed on the screen.
  • This commercial for Batman Beyond on Toonami includes very quick images from the intro of the show at the very end.
  • For those wondering, the World Record for the shortest commercial ever belongs to MuchMusic in Canada. In January 2002, they started airing what they call "Quickies", twelve different commercials that ran for 1/60th of a second each. 1/60th of a second is also half a frame in Standard Definition. It's a record that is unlikely to ever be broken. You can watch all 10 of them here.
  • The United Kingdom cable channel, simply titled Horror Channel ran some blipverts when they reran classic Doctor Who stories in April of 2014. One featuring a Dalek, one featuring a Cyberman, and one featuring The TARDIS.

  • The signature feature of one of the most famous Russian ZX Spectrum demoscene group, skrju, combined with (unintentional) Very Nice, Very Nice-like slideshow and really Merzbow-inspired soundtrack. Which is especially odd, considering that sq (formerly Screamer) once coded an oldskool-style Jaundice, kq (formerly Kristoph/Kreestaj, now inactive) was a graphical artist with pictures being pretty close to state-of-the-art and nq (more commonly known as n1k-o) is still considered to be the best musician on the platform, as well as bearing his own unique and quirky style... All of whom made this little and literally mind-blowing blipvert.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ur-Example: The 1961 Canadian short film Very Nice, Very Nice. The creator had recorded a montage of audio and, in a response to a suggestion made by a colleague, set it a similar sampling of images. Lipsett Diaries, a film created about Arthur Lipsett, the man behind Very Nice, Very Nice, also employs this technique deliberately to terrifying degree in illustrating Lipsett's psychological turmoil culminating in his eventual suicide.
  • The original movie trailer for Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb, 1964.
  • One of the oldest, longest and most sinister blipverts of all (excerpts pictured) appears in The Parallax View. Its influence from Very Nice Very Nice can be plainly seen (the same image of the audience in 3D glasses is present in the original).
  • In Sunshine, when the crew of the Icarus II boards the Icarus I, we get flashes from the group photo of the crew of Icarus I.
  • In Run Lola Run, the theme is the butterfly effect (sensitive dependence on initial conditions). On Lola's three journeys her effect on other people is shown by blipverts, a series of polaroid photos showing the (widely varying) futures of those people.
  • Used near the end of the trailer for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005).
  • Requiem for a Dream and its trademark "hip hop montages" played every time someone uses a psychotropic substance. These montages have become famous enough to even be parodied — Lucky Star, for example, does one with instant noodles.
  • The end of The 6th Day starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • At the end of the 1964 film The Time Travelers the team returns to their lab in the present day but find that time appears to be frozen around them. Their only option is to escape to the far future, which they do. But their brief presence in the lab has created a Stable Time Loop which is indicated by the entire film being reshown in blipvert mode, repeating over and over and getting faster each time...
  • In The Jacket, when Jack is locked into the isolation chamber, he has visions that are presented as flashing images in quick succession.
  • Don Jon features several sequences of briefly intercut footage from other works.
  • In Enter the Void, Gaspar Noé had to get through the opening credits "as fast" and "as graphic" as possible, since the film was already nearing three hours in length. What resulted from this was an exhilarating 2-minute display of people's names melded into Design Student's Orgasms coming one right after the other at a breakneck pace. The sequence has easily become the most iconic part of the film, heavily influencing the similarly seizure-inducing images in Kanye West's music video for "All of the Lights", and being honored by Quentin Tarantino as the greatest opening credits sequence in film history.
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once: There is a 30-second high-speed montage of frames from all over The Multiverse as Evelyn gains access to all her alternate universe selves.
  • Closet Land: While the Interrogator speaks, images are shown of children greeting Hitler, attending a KKK rally and finally wielding guns rapidly passing, possibly emphasizing how they can be corrupted.

  • In The Divine Comedy, rapid-fire series of visions (involving a murderous nightingale and a crucified anti-semite) assail Dante at the start of Purgatorio Canto 17, constantly shattering to show new examples of wrath that rain down into the poet's mind.

    Live-Action TV 

In General:

  • As noted by the quote above, a few opening credits can combine this with Design Student's Orgasm.
  • Bad Influence, a kids' show about videogames, and How2, a factual kids' series, both from The '90s ITV did "datablasts" during the credits- lots of text recapping the episode, flashed on screen quickly- the idea being that you'd video the program, and flick through the datablast on freeze-frame or slow-motion. In practice it didn't work, because VHS was too low quality. However, this practice has been Vindicated By YouTube- so here is a typical example from an episode of Bad Influence.


  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In "The Auction", Miss Brooks suggests a blipvert to cheaply advertize a charity auction at Madison High School:
    Mr. Conlin: Miss Brooks, do you have any idea how much a thirty second spot announcement costs?
    Miss Brooks: Well, we don't have to buy thirty seconds. We can buy about five, and say something quick, like "Today. Auction. Madison High School."
    Harriet Conklin: But Miss Brooks. That sounds like we're auctioning off the school.
    Miss Brooks: Is that bad?. I mean, if the object is just to lure people over . . . .
    Mr. Conklin: Any feasible suggestions?
  • Angel used quick flashes of images in the episode to cut from one scene to another.
  • Babylon 5:
    • An episode which took the form of a news report on the station had a "commercial" for the Psi Corps. During the commercial, the message "The Corps is your friend, trust Psi Corps" was flashed on the screen. Series creator J Michael Straczinski mentioned that the FCC has a precise definition of "subliminal advertising" and the director of that episode made sure that the Psi Corp blips were one-tenth of a second longer than that definition, to create an effect without "actually" brainwashing people. Other countries have stricter laws, requiring that segment to be cut out entirely for broadcasts in those countries. Ironically, studies have shown that subliminal advertising has no effect at all.
    • The end of the last episode featured a blipvert of pictures of the entire cast and crew, with the intention that people could pause the playback (or, today, rewind their DVR) and put faces to all the names in the credits.
  • The 2000s Battlestar Galactica places a blipvert of scenes from the upcoming episode at the end of the main title sequence, an homage to the same device in Space: 1999 and Mission: Impossible. The blipvert was dropped at the beginning of the second season when the network wanted to make room for more commericals. Fan demand led to it being restored starting with "The Farm".
  • The title sequence for The Big Bang Theory presents a chronological series of together 109 images of the great moments and inventions in human history. Even in the early days, each image appears for a fraction of a second, but the pace really picks up when we get to the Industrial Revolution; progress occurs so quickly that each image appears for only a single frame.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer also does this in "The Gift". Careful frame-by-frame examination shows that every episode received a mention, and the very last frame was a still from the climax of the episode "The Gift" itself. Due to interlacing of frames, this was only viewable if watching one frame at a time in reverse....
  • Chuck does this when something from the spy database in his subconscious bubbles to the surface.
    • Second season slows it down so viewers can make some sense out of it.
    • There's also the "Chuck's Secret" commercial aired before the series premiered, which, when slowed down, tells the premise of the show amongst the random imagery and messages.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Lodger", the Info Dump via "psychic headbutt" the Doctor delivers to Craig appears like this. There are actually two of them, one chronicling the general history of the entire series up to that point, and one summarizing the events of the episode itself. In the first blipvert, Doctors One through Four and Eight through Ten, Rose Tyler, the Cybermen, the Ood and a Weeping Angel all appear briefly.
  • On the final episode of Farscape, the Previously on… segment was a blipvert featuring every episode of the series. Careful frame-by-frame examination actually reveals that one episode from the series isn't represented. This was likely not intentional.
  • The NBC drama Kidnapped used blipverts to enter ad breaks.
  • Max Headroom is the Trope Namer, of course, and the Trope Codifier for Subliminal Advertising 20 Minutes into the Future. Somehow, the transfer of so much information so fast is enough to literally fry viewers' brains.
  • NCIS always blips the final image of the current act just before it starts.
  • NCIS: Los Angeles does a very brief montage of black-and-white images before each commercial break, containing teasers for the upcoming act.
  • In the Smallville episode "Blank", a montage of images from each previous episode represents Clark's memories. This is shown twice, played once when Clark loses his memories and again in reverse when he regains them.
  • Thunderbirds did the same in the title sequence, which may have inspired the Mission: Impossible and Space: 1999 versions. (Both Thunderbirds and Space: 1999 were Gerry Anderson productions.)

  • While technically not actually done in the style of proper blipverts, Radiohead used only a few seconds of footage and music each in an extensive set of advertisements for Kid A. These were officially referred to as blipverts.
  • In the David Bowie video "Underground", as he descends an invisible staircase in an alley, the camera goes to a closeup of his face that is suddenly interrupted by a blipvert of Match Cut closeups of Bowie through the years (including stage personas and movie characters). It switches back to the normal-time closeup, but just as quickly launches into another, lengthier blipvert of still more close-ups that finally slows down to focus on an animated one, and it's this Bowie that the video follows through the first chorus.
  • In the Queen song "Mother Love", there is about 10 seconds of unintelligible noise over the music, which was later revealed to be a few seconds of all the Queen songs recorded before then, sped up, in reverse order. Which is fitting, because at the very end of the song, a clip of Larry Lurexnote 's cover of "Goin' Back" plays, and then segues into a baby crying:
    I think I'm goin' back
    To the things I learned so well
    in my youth
    (baby crying)
  • A floating screen that flashes a rapid montage of images features prominently in the video for Billy Joel's "Pressure".
  • A rather infamous music video for Safety Dance by Men Without Hats had it all: beautiful green countryside shot with a crane, Renaissance fair, synchronized cabbalistic choreography, possessed blonde girl, band frontman doing manic faces, and a dancing midget. But the very last second of the video (probably in line with the era's tendency to work geopolitics into postmodernist MTV fare) suddenly showed a blipvert consisting of black-and-white photographs of cruise missiles, jet fighters, and horses. Which is, like, deep.

  • Get the Vacation Jackpot in White Water and the machine goes dead for a moment, then sounds sirens, displays split-second frames and soundbites from other animations in the game, then awards you the points.
  • Similarly, in Scared Stiff (also by Dennis Nordman), after successfully completing the Stiff-O-Meter, the game starts a Mind Screw sequence that plays split-second animations, quotes, and soundbites at completely random times.
  • In The Shadow, this happens after the player wins the Final Battle and successfully kills Khan.
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not!: The introduction to the hidden mode, Frog Frenzy, is this (downplayed, though). After collecting the 7th Super Jackpot, the game appears to be going on the fritz, with lights going off and random animations on the display. It ends with the machine "rebooting" itself, until the words "JUST KIDDING!" appear in small letters. After that, Frog Frenzy starts.
  • Completing Ringmaster Battle in Cirqus Voltaire causes this to occur. One notable snippet in this specific blipvert includes a boot-up screen from Python Anghelo's infamously cancelled Pinball Circus machine.

  • The opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics featured blipverts projected on very large screens positioned in the center of the arena. The blipverts featured images of different human faces and human emotions (including screams of fear and pain) and were arguably pretty unsettling, forming a jarring contrast with the remainder of the ceremony.

    Video Games 
  • Eternal Darkness had this happen every time a character (from chapter 3 on) picked up the tome of Eternal Darkness.
  • Dying in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots results in a quick montage of images from recent cutscenes to flash before cutting to white noise and the "Continue/Exit" menu.
  • In The Path, there is one for each girl at the end of their scenario. It is used in a very unsettling manner, accompanied with creepy music for added effect.
  • Portal's GLaDOS has several screens flashing random images, most to do with cakes.
  • Super Robot Wars Z example: When Masaki's Asakim's mech, the Cybuster Shurouga uses its Akashic Buster Ley Buster attack, a series of flashing, blurry drawings result. These are the source of many Epileptic Trees regarding Asakim's connection to Masaki (though that was pretty obviously the intention. Dude even has the same voice as Masaki.)
  • Mass Effect
    • Mass Effect: When Commander Shepard accidentally activates the Prothean Beacon on Eden Prime, a nightmarish flash of images is played. It turns out that this was intended to be a warning about The Reapers, but being a stranger entirely to Prothean culture, Shepard had no way to interpret was s/he was seeing at first. It is also possible to see the vision again later in the same game.
    • Mass Effect 2: Let the timer run down to zero in The Arrival, and you get a similar flash of images depicting the Reapers' invasion of the galaxy. Similarly, a sidequest lets you see a slightly extended version of the first game's vision, with a few extra scenes that make the whole thing easier to understand now that Shepard generally knows what's going on.

    Western Animation 
  • The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Bloo's Brothers" features a blipvert of different variations on Bloo that other kids had imagined. One of them apparently resembles Homestar Runner.
  • Done in Finding Nemo when Dory sees the word Sydney on a sewage pipe and suddenly remembers the previous events of the movie, from her first meeting with Marlin up to that point.
  • Chowder pulls one in "The Froggy Apple Crumple Thumpkin" when Mung lists "the following ingredients" for the dish. This leaves Chowder in a daze. For the sake of interest, here's the scene in question.
  • The Venture Brothers: in "Showdown at Cremation Creek, Part 2", the Previously on… is so fast and densely packed with old scenes that is is basically impossible to understand.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast had one near the end of the episode "Joshua", including a card saying "Haven't you anything better to do than to go through this frame by frame?".
  • Vakama's visions from BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui tended to contain a sequence of flashing images. Some of these were actually foreshadowing later events from the movie. The end credits also had these.
  • The finale of Moral Orel, "Honor", opens with the very end of the first episode "The Best Christmas Ever" with Orel believing deeply that God will fix everything, and he still has hope, followed by a rapid fire montage of scenes from the series during the one year between both episodes. The montage ends with Orel getting his cast off his leg after being shot in "Nature." showing the extreme contrast of the once innocently faithful Orel one year prior, to the more depressed Orel who's endured innocence shattering events by the end of the series.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Magical Mystery Cure", during the song, "A True True Friend," Twilight's destiny-swapped friends have images of their adventures from the last three seasons flash in their eyes when they get their cutie marks back.
  • The montage in the The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Burden", where Gumball and Darwin kiss a lump of Principal Brown's hair, several images of live-action hair being shaved are inserted in between each scene, cutting into the music with buzzing sounds.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Parallax Montage


High-Speed Montage

A collage of frames from all over the Multiverse as it collapses.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / Blipvert

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