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Film the Hand

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"All right, sonny, that's enough. Just pack that in."note 

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

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

When someone accidentally blocks the lens with their own hand, that's Camera Obscurer. Compare Turn Off the Camera and Talk to the Hand.


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

    Comic Strips 
  • In one strip of the Finnish comic Jurpo, Jurpo is working as an investigative reporter and attempts to get an interview from a Banana Republic dictator; after the dictator's bodyguard blocks his camera lens with his hand he announces that the man will become the country's new president. When his boss asks Jurpo what he based this claim on he says he read the bodyguard's fate from his palm lines.

    Film Animation 
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Forgotten Friendship: In the picture illustrating the "Biggest Meanie" vote on the old yearbook, Sunset Shimmer is reaching for the camera.
  • Verne does this twice in the bonus short "Hammy's Boomerang" on the DVD of Over the Hedge, both times involving RJ and his lackeys attempting to make fun of someone (either Hammy or him) on camera.
  • In the first Shrek movie, just before Shrek and Fiona can have their wedding kiss, Shrek covers the camera.
  • Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars. The Elite Mooks of Sky Marshal Snapp do this when her Evil Plan is exposed to the public. The camera shot just freezes at that point to show Snapp visible between the outstretched fingers.

    Film Live-Action 
  • Edward Nygma does this to a security camera in Batman Forever. "Why hasn't anybody... put you in your place?"
  • At the start of Billion Dollar Brain, Harry Palmer has left British Intelligence and is working as a private eye. A pile of photos on his desk show a couple caught in bed in a hotel room, and the last photo just shows a large fist flying at the camera.
  • The 2011 adaptation of Coriolanus has Tullus Aufidius doing this to a news camera, though it freezes on his image before his hand covers the lens to introduce his character to the audience.
  • Done by Prince Charles to the documentary cam after his disastrous defeat at Culloden. In 1745.
  • In The Dark Knight, Lao is telecommuting to the meeting of Gotham's crime bosses. The Joker interrupts the meeting and verbally tears into Lao, at which point he puts a hand over the lens and the connection cuts off.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004) At the end of the movie, Kenneth angrily says to one of the few remaining survivors filming to get the damn camera out of his face and shoves his hand at it.
  • In The Dead Pool Inspector Callahan does more than this; he actually grabs the camera and tosses it away. However the footage of this event has already been recorded on video, as the reporter points out. Fortunately she's more interested in getting an exclusive interview from Callahan in exchange for not pursuing the matter.
  • Occurs in Die Hard 2, when an overzealous reporter tries to question Colonel Stewart, his crony covers the camera and says "No pictures, you pinko bitch."
  • In Live Free or Die Hard, McClane puts his hand over Warlock's webcam when the Big Bad hijacks it to talk to them, and asks Warlock if he can trace it. The Big Bad has to point out that covering up the camera does not shut off the microphone.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The movie ends like this, as a police officer covers up the camera as King Arthur and his army are arrested for the murder of a historian earlier in the movie.
  • In at least two of Michael Moore's movies, several people he's trying to interview- up to and including senators- don't even let his camera get close enough to put their hand over it. Some of them actually break into dead runs upon seeing him on the opposite side of the street.
  • In the 1920 Buster Keaton short film One Week there's a scene with Sybil Seely (who plays his wife) taking a bath. When she leans out of the tub to retrieve the soap, a hand is placed over the lens.
  • In The Pirate Movie, one of the police spots the camera and pushes it down when it is trying to film a group of police beating up a single pirate.
  • In A Serbian Film, while Milos tries reviewing footage from the In-Universe Camera one of them ends with Vukmir realizing he's being filmed without permission, and quickly using his hand to block the lens while telling the cameraman to cut it out.
  • Happens repeatedly in the documentary Street Fight. Whenever Marshall Curry tries to film a campaign event of Mayor James, either cops or James campaign workers interfere with him. Hands are placed over the camera on multiple occasions. This culminates with a cop grabbing the camera and shoving Curry, ripping off the microphone.
  • In an HDTV demo filmed in New York City in 1993, a random man puts his hand in front of the camera when he gets near it.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Every "fraud against consumers" style TV show tries to have those as often as possible, it gives a visual "proof" that whoever has just been explained to be a con artist is not even bothering to claim innocence. Smarter scammers set up rendezvous and don't show up which robs the show of the intensity this visual trope provides; thus fooling most consumers on how which fraud artists are skilled career criminals and which are amateurs.

  • Banacek: In "No Stone Unturned", the crane operator does this as the documentary film maker tries to film inside the crane cab as he is loading the sculpture. Banacek later wonders exactly what it was he didn't want the camera to see.
  • The Coroner: In "That's the Way to Do It", the mayor of Lighthaven does this after she is photographed attacking a Punch and Judy booth.
  • Death in Paradise: In "Dishing Up Murder", a restaurant hostess does this when a guest attempts to film the temperamental celebrity chef (because the footage might have revealed that the chef was an impostor).
  • Doctor Who: In "Boom Town", Blon Slitheen, aka Margaret Blaine, tries to tries to block a camera pointing at her face with her hand during a press conference and scolds the photographer "No photographs! What did I say? Take pictures of the project, by all means, but not me thank you," the implication being she's been avoiding the cameras so her enemies don't know she's still alive. The newspaper photographers still catch her face, which is then published on the front of a newspaper the Doctor sees, allowing him to thwart her plans.
  • Life on Mars (2006): Detective Chief Inspector Gene Hunt does this to a newspaper photographer. This becomes a (very) minor plot point later on, when the fact that Gene's face is hidden by his hand protects his undercover identity when the picture makes the front page of the local paper.
  • Major Crimes: In "Wish You Were Here", the murderer suffers a Villainous Breakdown when confronted with her crimes and shoves her hand into front of Buzz's camera as he is filming her confession.
  • Wendy does this when Ben tries to film their breakup in the pilot of The Middleman.
  • Variant on MythBusters after a day's worth of full-scale testing wrapped up as a day's worth of failed full-scale testing, Adam walked up to the cameraman and put his hat over the lens.
  • Smallville. In the episode "Crossfire", Chloe attempts to hack into Tess Mercer's computer files, only to deal with someone trying hack into into her own systems. At one point the other hacker sends a video of himself taunting Chloe, holding up his hand to the camera and saying, "Talk to the Hand!" Chloe answers, "Hello, hand," and identifies the hacker by analyzing his fingerprints.
  • Without a Trace, where the person being filmed ends up knocking the camera to the ground.
  • Scully puts her hand on the camera at least once in The X-Files episode "X-Cops" (she really hates the camera guys and is very direct about informing them about it).

    Video Games 
  • During the blooper reel in Mario Power Tennis, Waluigi puts his hand over the camera after Wario gets one of his scenes interrupted by his mom calling.
  • Kanji does this in the opening movie of Persona 4, after beating the shit out of two goons. That's just who he is.
  • In The Sims 2, when a romantic couple are in a photobooth together and have their picture taken, the last picture in the sequence is of one of them holding their hand in front of the camera.

    Web Comics 
  • Grrl Power: On Arianna's phone, when Maxima is calling the picture is of her angrily reaching for the camera.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the special Fireman Sam: Alien Alert, Buck Douglas films his show "Alien Quest" in Pontypandy. While he's still filming, Bella Lasagna interrupts the show, welcoming aliens that arrived in Pontypandy. Buck Douglas gets angry, approaches the camera, and almost blocks it with his hand to stop the embarrassment.
  • The ending to The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Runaway Pants" ends with the cast about to beat up the narrator with Mandy covering the camera.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Man Who Came to Be Dinner", Homer gets patted by a Diz-Nee-Land security guard wearing a chipmunk mascot suit. When Homer claims he planted an acorn on him, the guard has him beaten by other chipmunks, one of whom covers the camera with his hand.
  • Total Drama: When a cameraman sneaks up behind Gwen to see what she's drawing (A picture of Trent without his shirt) she annoyingly covers the camera lens with her hand, and later in the TDA special Noah does the 'Talk-to-the-hand' variation of this to Sierra when she tries to interview him on the Red Carpet, though this was most probably because he was on a call with someone at the time.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In "Roller Ghoster Ride", Chris smacks the camera out of out Harry Harrison's hand for obnoxiously and provocatively pestering her about a monster scaring people on the rides.

    Real Life 
  • Truth in Television: Appears a lot on news broadcasts. This is usually accompanied by the cameraman or journalist shouting, "Do not touch the camera!" Chinese officials do it a lot. This also tends to happen quite a lot in documentaries, especially those focusing on police; often someone being arrested attempts this, only for the cameraman to discretely step back and film from a different angle.
  • The Church of Happyology is also known for this. They go beyond just using hand on a camera, but also physically attack the camera man, then send a policeman to accuse the cameraman for unlawfully recording a conversation.
  • Michael Jackson did this frequently.
  • Late 19th century and early 20th century Wall Street finance mogul J. P. Morgan was sensitive about his swollen, purple nose caused by rosacea in his later life. He absolutely despised being photographed in public, and was known to do this and even to physically try to knock photographers' cameras (which in that era were quite fragile) to the ground in hopes of breaking them. He only wanted retouched photographs of himself to be seen by the public.
  • The cover of Photojournalism: The Professional's Approach (the 2nd edition) has a police officer attempting this on a photojournalist, but unfortunately for him the cover shot was taken by another nearby journalist.


Video Example(s):


Breaking the Camera in the End

The movie ends like this, as a police officer covers up the camera as King Arthur and his army are arrested for the murder of a historian earlier in the movie.

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