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Ouch, now That's Gotta Hurt.

"Ed, did you Eat the Camera?"

How does one show that the on-screen action is getting out of control? By having it hit the camera! The entire screen will shake, or be obscured by gunk or debris. If the impact is really bad, it will crack the lens or even break the camera, treating the audience to a screenful of static.

Normally, when a camera shakes during filming, it's considered a mistake, and it's edited out or the scene is reshot. After all, the shake ruins Willing Suspension of Disbelief by drawing attention to the camera — "why the hell is there a camera in the setting?" An actual crack in the camera lens would also guarantee a new shot, since the crack would be in every shot and the lens would ultimately need to be replaced. All the same, some filmmakers and showrunners will use camera shaking or other abuse intentionally. The phenomenon has proliferated to the point where it's being used in computer-generated Special Effects shots, animation, and video games — Camera Abuse without the camera.

Of course, Camera Abuse can be justified when it's explicitly presented as the view from an In-Universe Camera—such as an Insecurity Camera, the protagonist's handheld camera, or just the naked eyes of a character.

As a use of the medium as something more than the medium, this is a subtrope of Painting the Medium. Compare Jittercam, False Camera Effects, Lens Flare, and Snowy Screen of Death. Frequently overlaps with Interface Screw when used in videogames. Not to be confused with Camera Screw.

(You can stop shaking your monitor now. No, really. You're going to break it or something.)

Examples of Camera Abuse include:


  • A station identification-cum-promo for House showed Dr. House peering straight out at the audience, then tapping the camera lens with his cane. There's even a soft thunk of cane-on-glass when he does it.
  • An ad for Scalpicin scalp treatment showed the screen getting scratched up while a man scratched his scalp.
  • At one point in the Dr. Strange trailer for Batman: Arkham City, the mook he's torturing for info on Batman coughs up blood (or something) onto the camera lens.

Anime and Manga

  • The opening credits of Detroit Metal City end with Krauser II seizing the camera and spinning it violently around to face... the show's logo.
  • Unusually for animation, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex often mimics the look of a hand-held camera by having the picture shake slightly.
  • In his Lucky Channel appearance in Lucky Star, Anime Tenchou violently shakes the camera while claiming the show is too slow-paced. See it for yourself.
    • And in a different Lucky Channel, when Minoru finally snaps, he ends up toppling the camera and cracking the lens.
  • The opening sequence of Initial D Second Stage has Kyouchi's Evo III and Ryousuke's RX-7 drift by the camera, causing it to topple over after the RX-7 passes.
  • During Nanoha and Fate's final battle in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, when Nanoha deflects Fate's Photon Lancer into the sea, the splashes leave water droplets on the camera lens.
  • During the off-shore fights in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha the Movie First, the camera lens gets rained on.
  • As shown in this page's illustration, each episode of the official Haruhi-chan self-parody anime on YouTube begins by having the camera crash into Haruhi, shattering the screen. (And her regular self made a Dynamic Entry once in the regular series.)
    • The Brigade production features this as well. When Asahina uses the Mikuru Beam (aimed at the camera) it goes blurry for a few seconds with Kyon sounding like he got hit with something...followed immediately by Nagato tackling her and the camera dropping to the ground as everyone tries to pull her off Asahina.
    • Which is rather fortunate, as a real laser focused through the camera lens would have been...rather painful.
  • Blood splatters the camera during a Benizakura storyline fight sequence in Gintama.
  • The Stinger in the Spring OVA of Mahou Sensei Negima has the Chupacabra some students were looking for throwing a rock at the camera and smashing it.
  • In the series Flag, which is seen entirely through the "eyes" of photo, video, surveillance, web, and automated cameras, this happens nearly every time the protagonists tag along with the military or other armed groups.
  • Episode 11 of Fireball ends with Gedächtnis finally finding the "spies" who had infiltrated the mansion and were providing the Laugh Track for this episode, punching out the operator and shattering the screen.
  • In Le Portrait de Petite Cosette, whenever there's a lot of blood flying around (which is pretty much twice an episode), the camera will get splattered.
  • Blood splatters on the camera whenever someone gets scythed in Ookamikakushi.
  • In an early episode of Birdy the Mighty Decode, after losing the criminal she was chasing, Birdy kicks a bit of debris in frustration, which hits the camera and sends it tumbling before the view turns to static. Especially strange considering this was part of a flashback supposedly shown directly from her memory.
  • Director Naoto Hosoda employed the same effect in both Koe de Oshigoto! and Kiddy Girl-AND where the virtual "camera" is placed at floor-level and the vibration of someone running past jolts makes the picture.
  • Heroic Age: Episode 12 begins with showing the Silver and Bronze Tribe rolling out and one of the space insects apparently proceeds to eat the camera (and probably the camera team as well).
  • Mostly in battle scenes, Kara no Kyoukai often uses shaky camera effect. But hell, it's just awesome.
  • THE iDOLM@STER - The Futami twins literally hold the camera demanding to be filmed.


  • Be Kind, Rewind: When the magnetized Jack Black goes into the video rental store, the camera warps and lines periodically to show that he's magnetized.
  • A literal example: for a scene in Tommy Lee Jones' directoral debut, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, he wanted a shot of a horse falling off of a cliff onto the camera. Due to budget restrictions, the only way he was able to do it was to literally place the camera at the bottom of the cliff and drop a fake horse onto it. He ended up destroying the camera and ruining some of the film, but hey, he got the shot!.
  • Saving Private Ryan had a lot of bloodsplatter get onto the camera.
    • Having said that, Braveheart, which preceded it by three years, made use of it during the Battle of Stirling scene.
  • Planet Terror used loads of fake blood in the Helicopter Blender scene, although most of it was removed for the tv ads.
  • Happens unintentionally in Children of Men during an extended shot of a gunbattle, when a drop of blood from a squib happens to spatter onto the lens. Because the continuous shot is actually a number of shots stitched together with CGI, the blood discreetly disappears when the camera goes through fog.
  • Disney's Aladdin: "Please, please, come closer!" (Thunk!) "Too close, a little too close!"
  • Drag Me to Hell" features a fly that lands on the camera for a moment.
  • Mel Brooks loves this joke:
    • Happens twice in the Mel Brooks comedy High Anxiety, when the camera dollies though a window, which breaks. In this film, it's a parody of the Hitchcock's famous move of dollying through a window without breaking it using clever editing and effects.
    • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, While Maid Marian is singing in the bathtub, the camera smashes through the window, interrupting the song. It then cuts to a shot of the camera, which moves back outside. Later on in Men In Tights, we see the Abbot called to marry Maid Marian to the Sheriff walking down the aisle towards the camera until he ends up loudly hitting the lens with his staff.
    • Spaceballs has a similar joke, where the camera zooms in too close and hits Dark Helmet in the helmet. During Dark Helmet and Lone Star's schwartz duel, Helmet accidentally kills a camera operator on the set.

Helmet: Um... He did it.
Lone Star: What?!

  • In Space Jam, Daffy Duck spatters spit on the lens.
  • Twice in the animated Mockumentary Surf's Up, the cameraman is attacked by natives.
  • In one of the Hilarious Outtakes from A Bugs Life, a character accidentally backs into the camera and knocks it over. The film crew are briefly visible before someone turns the camera off.
    • In another, PT Flea gives a frenetic speech and leaps into the air, hitting the (non-existent) camera, and LEAVING A SMEAR on the (non-existent) lens.
  • This happens frequently in Cloverfield—in some cases, the jostling is so violent that the camera image becomes pixelated or the video skips (revealing the original contents of the camera's memory card).
    • Also, in the subway tunnel escape scene, blood splashes on the lens and Hud has to wipe it off.
  • In the ending of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a policeman covers the camera with his hand, shutting it off. It's the last thing ever seen in the movie; there are no end titles or credits.
    • He put his hand over the lens as the cameraman came towards him. It still "broke" the camera.
    • In the DVD commentary, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam remarked how in one of the initial screenings they saw of the film the audience assumed that the film had broken and simply sat and waited (probably waiting for the projectionist to fix it), not realizing that the film was, in fact, over.
  • In Alfred Hitchcock's The Wrong Man, after the title character has been incarcerated for the murder he did not commit, his disorientation is symbolized by having the camera slowly move in ever-increasing circles.
  • An early scene in Scary Movie has Cindy being attacked by Ghostface. At one point, the camera zooms in on her screaming face... only to conk her in the noggin.
  • In The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, the camera lens gets cracked by an avalanche and a large diamond.
  • In The Incredibles, the "camera" aboard Mrs. Parr's jet quavers very slightly to mimic the small turbulence bumps encountered in flight.
  • Fight Club features not so much "camera" as "film" abuse, from the subliminal message insertions of Tyler Durden and artificial 'cigarette burn' marks, to when the film appears to jitter right off the spokes during Durden's "you're not your fuckin' khakis" monologue.
  • Quarantine takes this to a literal extreme when a character uses the in-story camera to beat a zombie to death.
    • Inversely, 28 Weeks Later has a zombie use a rifle with a nightsight attached to it to beat a character to death, seen from the scope's POV.
  • In Cars, one of the little VW Bug bugs flies into the camera and smudges it with dirt.
  • Subverted in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where it appears that Willy Wonka has walked into the camera, but it was actually the doors to the glass elevator.
  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Whomping Willow shakes snow off its branches during the transition from winter to springtime scene, and some splashes onto the screen.
  • The movie remake of SWAT contains a couple of examples, showing the action from the perspective of an overhead TV news helicopter camera during the opening sequence and then later from a passing tourist's Handycam during a shoot-out on an LA street.
  • During the climax of Transformers, the fight between the Autobots and Decepticons abuses the camera to the point where it is sometimes nearly impossible to tell what is going on.
  • In District 9, nearly every time one of the alien weapons is fired, we end up with bits of... things better left unidentified on the camera.
  • The Nutty Professor (1963) ends with the principal cast members walking up to the camera one by one to take a bow, theater-style. Jerry Lewis walks up last, stumbles wildly, and falls onto the camera.
  • A spoiler reveals that Paranormal Activity would have ended with the possessed heroine beating her husband to death with his beloved camera Quarantine-style, but they didn't have the time or money to figure out a way to do this without sacrificing their only camera.
  • Hellboy 2: The Golden Army. The first monster battle has monster blood splashing on the camera. It might have 'worked' if the redshirts who had been filming earlier hadn't already been eaten.
  • Several scenes in Once Upon a Time In Mexico have droplets of (bad) CG blood landing on the camera lens.
  • Played surprisingly straight in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.
  • Bruno Mattei's Robowar (a shot-by-shot clone of Predator) includes a scene where the titular war machine kills a man who, in close-up, spews blood into the lens of the camera from his mouth.
  • Inverted at the end of 9, where blood-on-lens violence is averted in favor of a gentle-raindrops-on-lens upbeat ending. Contributes to the concluding Crowning Moment of Heartwarming because the raindrops are shown to be teeming with microscopic life, reborn on a once-dead world, in the final fade-out.
  • An in-universe example occurs in Happy Gilmore, the viewer is shown home videos from the protagonist's childhood, and footage is shown of his father being struck by a hockey puck while operating the camera, complete with a broken lens.
  • Crank: High Voltage shot the tricky/dangerous parts of the action scenes with $1000 High Definition camcorders because if they were damaged during the shoot, it wouldn't cost too much to replace them. They went through 15 of them.
  • In Fletch Lives, a camera gets knocked askew during a car chase scene.
  • In Iron Man 2, the cameras that recorded the ill-fated North Korean and Iranian attempts at Iron Man knockoffs get the errant dakka/blood on the lens treatment.
  • Apollo 13 has Fred Haise slightly puking on the lens after launching. Yummy.
  • In the first Lord of the Rings movie, when the (first) bridge they cross collapses and falls, the camera shakes subtly to mimic the seismic effects of a giant rock striking another giant rock.
  • In Earthquake blood spatters the camera lens when the overloaded elevator plunges down the shaft.
  • In Twilight: New Moon, CGI werewolves knock over the camera as they charge past it.
  • The 1901 short film The Big Swallow, which depicts the protagonist eating the camera and its operator, may be the Ur Example
  • In There Will Be Blood, the lens gets splattered with oil early on.
    • And again at the end; during his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Eli, Plainview kicks over a bucket of water, some of which gets on the camera.
  • Nazareno Cruz y el Lobo, the highest grossing argentine film ever. In Nazareno's father's death scene, the camera gets hit by water and mud.
  • The girl scout fight in Airplane!.
  • The entirety of The Troll Hunter, given that it is shot entirely using a handheld DV In-Universe Camera carried by one of the main characters. Several shots devolve into meaningless shaking, shots take time to focus, and the lens of the first camera cracks its lens when it falls to the ground when a troll eats the cameraman. Several of the next shots are done with a cracked lens until a new camera (and camerawoman) is brought in.
  • The camera in Chronicle, among other things, is kicked around by bullies, has a drink spilled on its lens, and gets exposed to some mysterious phlebotinum that causes all kinds of interference.

Live Action TV

  • The Walking With... series of mockumentaries by the Discovery Channel and the BBC love this bit. Something strikes at or splashes mud into on or snarls into and steams the camera every episode. Perhaps the most alarming was in Walking With Monsters, where the three-foot scorpion jumped out of nowhere and cracked the lens with its sting in the Silurian period.
    • Used even more in the documentary-esque Chased by Dinosaurs, usually when Nigel Marvin and the camera crew are doing Exactly What It Says on the Tin. In one scene, an unseen crew member is shown using the boom mic to encourage a Protoceratops to back off. In another, the cameraman is eaten by a Deinosuchus.
    • In Space Odyssey: Voyage to The Planets, by the same crew, the cameras on Venus quickly fail under the hellish conditions; one is shown, half-melted and smoking, from the astronaut's POV. On Io, the high level of radiation (from Jupiter) shows up as random bright spots in the picture.
  • In the Doctor Who Ninth Doctor story "The End of the World", one of the (CGI-animated) spiders "accidentally" collides with the camera.
  • In the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, Pee-Wee's yo-yo hits the camera lens, putting a very large crack (not unlike safety-glass) into it. His response: "Better add a 'new camera lens' to the Christmas list, Conky!"
  • The new Battlestar Galactica Reimagined practices the "camera abuse with a camera" technique—in the miniseries pilot, debris from the destroyed Armistice Station hits the spacebound camera and sends it reeling. Then at the end of the second season, debris from a nuclear explosion hits the camera, breaks its lens, and sets it spinning out of control. These are both CGI sequences.
  • The X-Files episode, "War of the Coprophages", has Scully and Mulder dealing with mysterious cockroach-related deaths. At one point, a cockroach scuttles across the TV screen. Your TV screen. This was a real cockroach, unscripted; some of the little critters they were using had escaped from their cages and gotten everywhere. It wasn't noticed until after shooting had ended, so they decided to Throw It In.
    • According to Kim Manners on the DVD commentary the bug was added in post, which is why it is unaffected by a cut.
  • Similarly, an ad for a pesticide company featured bugs that crawled on the screen. They were quite pleased when so many people admitted to swatting the screen to get rid of the "pests".
  • In a December episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, the first third of the show was filmed in "nog cam": They held a flat glass in front of the camera and filled it with eggnog as the show progressed.
  • The Rutles uses a variation of this. In the beginning of the film, Eric Idle (playing the trenchcoated reporter) walks along the sidewalk, talking about the Rutles. Suddenly, the camera pulls back a little bit faster, causing Idle to quicken his pace. Rinse and repeat until he has to break into a full-on run in order to keep pace with the camera. The payoff, cut at the last minute, showed Idle running off the end of a pier, causing him to take a dive into the river Mersey.
  • Subverted in an episode of That's So Raven. Someone appears to break the camera, but it turns out it was just a shot from the perspective of a television screen.
  • In an episode of The Kenny Everett Television Show, Kenny tells the handheld camera operator to "c'mere". The operator obligingly rushes toward Kenny, and we see his face getting bigger and bigger - until it suddenly drops out of sight as the camera apparently hits it.
  • Truth in Television in MythBusters, where more than one experiment has taken out the high-speed cameras, resulting in footage of something actually smashing through the camera.
    • One time they were testing a myth that a loud stereo can cause guns to go off. Nothing happened to the guns, but the camera was killed by all the vibration from the stereo.
      • Played for laughs on some of the myth-intro animations, when falling items or explosions leave broken-glass patterns drawn onto the screen.
    • Also Truth in Television on Dirty Jobs, where the host and crew are up-front about occasionally setting up a camera in a spot where they're nearly certain it'll be destroyed.
      • Lampshaded on the episode where Mike sorts baby chickens by sex. Mike himself proclaims that they've hit a new low when he squeezes excrement from a chick directly onto the camera lens.
      • Mike also did this intentionally when he decided to start throwing dirty re-usable diapers at the camera.
      • In the episode where Mike visits a salt mine, they rig a cave wall with explosives, leaving a camera within a few yards of the blast zone with a sheet of plexiglass over the lens. After the blast, they go back to check the damage to the camera. Here's the thing: the camera still worked, with the plexiglass taking the brunt of the blast. Mike and crew are dumbfounded at the fact that the camera actually survived.
    • It's sometimes used on Deadliest Catch... with the problem being that nearly every camera is destroyed while filming (by the water, ice, salt or irate crew members), and it's often tricky to recover the footage.
      • The sheer scale of camera destruction is displayed in the making-of episode. The filming starts with a ridiculous amount of gear—about five cameras for each main boat (four in total), plus cameras for the Coast Guard chopper and boat and a few others. All of them were unusable at the end of the season.
  • Both Firefly and Serenity occasionally used camera abuse in certain scenes. In one scene at the end of the movie, water droplets are even shown collecting on the CG camera during a rainstorm.
  • It's become pretty much a standard shot in almost any wildlife show. Snakes strike at the camera, cute little furry creatures sniff it, predators tap or push at it.
    • Not always limited to wildlife: on It's Me Or The Dog, a Weimaraner with a history of snapping at houseguests lunged at the cameraman unexpectedly, nearly biting the lens.
    • The "players" on Animal Planet's annual Puppy Bowl have been known to slobber or teethe on the camera.
  • Ryan Stiles was really fond of doing things to the camera on the American Version Of Whose Line Is It Anyway. Usually with his face.
    • Inverted in one "Weird Newscasters" segment where he was playing a matador in a bullfight. He gets into a bullfight with the camera, and the camera operator plays along and wins the bullfight.
    • Also, Drew also knocked over one of the cameras when he did his usual "throw the Scenes from a Hat" hat near the camera.
  • In the first episode of Season 13 on Top Gear, The Stig ("revealed" to be Michael Schumacher) accidentally drives off-course and smashes into one of the cameras.
    • In the series 12, episode 5 race, "Ferrari Daytona vs. Powerboat," the camera mounted above James May's head in said powerboat kept jostling about thanks to the choppy waters and the boat's bouncing on the waves. It wasn't long before it malfunctioned and kept a green tint through the rest of the race.
    • Also, in the Polar Special, May was jostled by Clarkson's driving and fell against the in-vehicle camera in their modified Toyota Hilux.
  • In one episode of Crocodile Hunter, a cobra spits venom at the camera and it visibly splats on the screen.
    • In another, a croc destroys the camera, and ruins the jib arm suspending it.
  • In CSI, the episode opens with a first-person view from a camera on a skydiver's helmet. We get to see him board the plane, jump off... his parachute malfunctioning and him crashing through a shed. The camera continued to record, even though the crash shattered the lens in half, until it was picked up by Nick for his Quip to Black.
  • The camera gets splattered by zombie blood in episode 5.12 of Supernatural.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys used stylized camera abuse. When Herc put the beat down on foes, they'd hit the ground and the camera would shake as if their falling caused it to do so.
  • An unintentional example; Craig Ferguson usually ends his opening monologue by playfully smacking the side of the camera. One time he slapped it a bit too playfully and actually broke the camera.
  • In The Wire, some gang members are seen from the point of view of a security camera, throwing rocks at it. They hit and break the camera and the resulting shot (presumably because it took all day to get) appears in the opening credits of every episode.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode Phantoms had the team find a camcorder dropped by a missing SG team and review the last few moments of footage. In the commentary, Peter DeLuise says that the set's cameramen couldn't stop keeping the camera steady, so the footage was unrealistically smooth for something that was supposedly taped by an amateur fleeing in terror. DeLuise ended up having to be the cameraman for that shot.
  • Deliberately incorporated into a fake news broadcast which the Leverage crew staged as part of their scheme to discredit a corrupt African official. "Reporting" in front of a green screen, Eliot ducked on cue as Hardison shook the camera, and a thrown bottle that struck the "lens" a glancing blow was later inserted into the shot.
  • In every episode of Drop the Dead Donkey, Damien's outside broadcast footage would end with sudden lurches in focus and positon, as something horrible happened to Jerry the cameraman. Usually while Damien berated him for ruining the shot.
  • In an unscripted Truth in Television example shown on Untamed And Uncut, a zoo elephant with a grudge against a news reporter started tossing rocks at him and his cameraman, when he attempted to go back a year after their first (unfriendly) encounter and make peace with her. No one had taught the elephant, a mature female named Kenya, how to throw rocks, yet she managed to score a glancing hit on the camera.
  • Super Sentai, and by extension Power Rangers, began using this in the 2000's. Older seasons would just do quick cuts where it's obvious the hero or mecha twitched or slightly moved between when the monster fell down, ran off-camera, and a subsequent explosion was set off to simulate the monster's death. Now, however, enemy explosions just cause the battlefield camera to shake violently for a second, hiding such cuts.
  • The second opening for Kamen Rider Blade had the titular character inexplicably punch a camera, shattering the lens. This is shown from the viewpoint of the camera.
  • In The Walking Dead, blood and/or brains are often splattered onto the camera, usually resulting from a gunshot, blunt object, or axe to the head.
  • Truth in Television: In New Zealand in 1985, TVNZ reporter Rod Vaughan attempted to interview property tycoon and then-New Zealand Party leader Bob Jones about putting the party in hiatus, while he was out fishing in the central North Island. Jones, who also happened to be a trained boxer, felt his privacy was being infringed, and responded with a knuckle sandwich on Vaughan and his cameraman. In the subsequent court case, Jones was fined NZ$1,000 for assault, to which Jones asked, "if I pay $2,000, can I hit him again?"
  • This happened during a fight scene on Na'Toth's first appearance on Babylon 5. This was because Na'Toth's actress accidentally kicked the camera during the shoot of the take they kept.
  • In Canada's Worst Driver, it's not unheard of for a camera to be sent flying. You can bet footage from that camera will be shown.
  • As part of the title character's initial training in episode 7 of Strong Girl Bong-soon, Min-hyeok has Bong-soon try to gently flick Go pieces across the game board. After the first one whizzes past him like a bullet and embeds itself into a piece of furniture, he has her change position such that she's facing the viewer instead of him—and her second try appears to embed itself in the viewer's now-cracked TV screen. (A quick change of camera angle reveals that it is indeed embedded in a damaged TV screen—but it's Min-hyeok's TV, not the viewer's.)


  • Unintentionally invoked by melodeath band In This Moment during the filming of their Prayers music video, where a camera moving in for a close up broke lead singer Maria Brink's nose (must have been headbanging too hard...). Not to be deterred, Maria just let them superglue her nose back together and finished the shoot. You will notice that in some of the shots of the final video she has her hair pulled over her face to hide the cut.
  • Also shown in the music video of "Genie", by Korean group SNSD, where the group smashes a cake onto the camera, which is intended to be the viewer of this music video.
  • In the music video for "Mr. Simple," Super Junior's Eunhyuk "kicks the camera" during his dance break, causing cracks to cover the screen for a moment.
  • In the music video for Bad Religion's "Broken", the camera is hit plenty of times. The lens cracks and is replaced mid-song, while both video and audio keep running, albeit the former completely blurred for the lack of a lens.

Professional Wrestling

  • Numerous botches come from the cameramen getting too close to the action, which can result in any number of scenarios:
    • A simple bump by the wrestlers by simply not seeing them there
    • Cameramen tripping over fallen/ing wrestlers
    • Getting knocked off of the ring apron
    • Or just some wrestlers (such as Shawn Michaels) simply attacking the cameramen for no real reason.


  • The first year that broadcasters mounted a camera on front end of the barrier separating the main track from the pits at the Indianapolis 500, a car went out of control and hit it head-on.
  • At the Beijing Olympics, one female archer hit a near-impossible perfect bull's eye—straight into the tiny camera in the center of the target.
  • Happened accidentally on the original American Gladiators. One contestant was to run the Gauntlet. When the event started, the Gladiator fired his cannon, missed the contestant, and hit the camera, breaking the lens.
  • One behind-the-net camera got nailed by a deflected shot during an NHL game in October 2010. Play had to be delayed to clean up the pieces.
    • To reiterate: the goal of hockey is to strike a small puck into a net, often at speeds exceeding 100 kph. When broadcasters began putting cameras in the back of the goal nets, this was the obvious result.
  • Broken bat takes out a camera at an MLB baseball game.
  • As with Professional Wrestling, a lot of Camera Abuse in football comes from players accidentally running into the cameramen after being forced out-of-bounds. Here's one example.


  • Some Killer Instinct finishing moves involve smacking the opponent into the camera.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Arcade Game and Turtles in Time, you can throw foot soldiers into the camera. The Super Nintendo version of the latter game uses this as part of a boss fight: when you encounter Shredder in the fourth level, he's manning a giant gun. After he taunts you, the camera spins around so that he's in the foreground. The only way to hurt him is to throw enemies into the screen... and thus into Shredder's gun.
  • In the old Apogee kart-racer Wacky Wheels, a head-on collision would result in your car being smashed into the screen, leaving several cracks as your chosen cartoon animal slides down the glass.
    • Another Apogee screen smash occurs in Monster Bash. If you leave Johnny idle for long enough he'll turn his slingshot towards your screen and fire a rock at it, cracking it.
  • In Escape from Monkey Island, you can ask the dart players in the Scumm Bar to throw one at 'that guy over there'. They throw the dart at the screen, which appears to crack where it's hit, literally Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Similarly, in Quest for Glory II, throwing a dagger at Julanar will cause it to bounce off and crack the screen, killing you.
  • Global Conquest has an HQ unit. When it takes damage, the screen shakes and fizzles.
  • Similarily, in the 2007 game World in Conflict, moving the viewpoint too close to ground zero of a nuclear blast causes interference.
  • The 3D Metal Gear games are good at this. In First Person View, the camera gets splashed with water droplets if someone dives in the water near you, and when getting out of the water the film of water coating the lens slides off. Underwater, of course, the camera is grainy and poor quality. Killing a man with the sword or knife can paint your camera in blood, and staring upwards when seagulls are drifting above rewards you with a nice, wet bird dropping on your camera. Most ominously, when you die in First Person View, the camera lens smashes inwards, giving a spider-web distortion as your character slides to his knees...
  • In the Metroid Prime series, the game is played from behind Samus's visor. Thus, long falls or other heavy hits shake the screen, raindrops bead up on the "camera", condensed steam obscures the view, ice attacks frost the screen, electric attacks and shockwaves cause Interface Screws and so on. Bright lights even allow you to see the protagonist's face reflected from the visor.
    • The most dramatic example is the bots in the fortress in Metroid Prime 2. If you don't kill them quickly, they will remotely 'hack' Samus's visor, forcing her to reboot her entire suit for one whopper of an Interface Screw.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, characters thrown off the top of the screen could bump into the camera on their way back down.
    • Brawl introduces an item that might cause a cute Nintendogs puppy jump up on the camera for a few seconds.
    • Smash for Wii U introduced a longer and more detailed version that matches the normal Star Ko in length where the defeated victim will splat into the screen before sliding down. The beetle item will force this kind of KO on a defeated fighter on Ultimate.
  • In Brain Challenge the Authority games in the Stress category feature men from the slopes of the Uncanny Valley who deliver the twist on the games' usual objects (instead of writing the answer to an arithmetic question, for example, you'll have to write it in the box he tells you), and if you get it wrong or take too long, berates you and headbutts the screen, "cracking" it. It's swiftly and unobtrusively repaired, however.
  • The boss introduction cutscene for the Golem in Video Game/Mabinogi takes this particularly far. Near the start of the introduction, the flying camera crashes into the Golem, knocking them both over and causing the camera to malfunction, with periodic audio and video distortion. As if this weren't enough, your character then further interrupts the action by wandering into the shot and giving the broken camera an awkward look.
  • In Super Mario Strikers: Charged for the Wii, several characters have animations involving Camera Abuse, such as DK knocking over the tripod and Waluigi roughing up the cameraman.
  • Mario Kart Wii has the Blooper item, which squirts ink all over the screen and makes it hard to see the track.
  • Some of Age of Conan's fatalities will leave blood splatters on the lens of the 'Camera'.
  • The 3D Mortal Kombat games have had some fun with this, including severed heads ricocheting off the camera, Scorpion spearing the camera and dragging it toward him for a closeup (then kicking it away again), and, of course, omnipresent blood smears.
  • Even Battletoads busted this one out, after a fashion: the boss of the first level is a giant robotic walker, and the battle is viewed entirely from the perspective of its red-tinted camera. To defeat the boss, you need to grab the spheres it occasionally shoots and toss them back at the camera, cracking its screen.
  • In one scene in the original Command & Conquer, resident Big Bad Kane goes to an extreme end with camera abuse, destroying one that was filming him.
    • "Is that camera still running?" *BANG*
  • Kane And Lynch 2: Dog Days looks as if it was entirely shot from a DV Hand Camera. Blood and other liquids hit the screen (and stay on for quite a while), lights give streaks of pixel mis-colors, and various other digital artifacts are clearly seen. Not to mention that if you die, the camera drops.
  • When fighting Yunalesca's final form in Final Fantasy X, she uses an attack where her eyes flash, and three cracked holes appear in your TV screen.
  • In the PlayStation 2 game Primal, you see the raindrops hitting the screen when you look up or into the wind in rainy areas. You also see trails of water running down the screen when surfacing from diving.
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, an FPS, killing an enemy at close range always resulted in some pattern of oil, ichor, or blood spattering over the screen and being wiped away by what could be called an electric windshield wiper. In this case, though, it's the visor of your character's helmet, not the camera itself.
    • Also, one type of enemy grabs your character's face and drills into your screen/visor. The windshield wiper fixes this, too.
    • Getting too close to a jamming device will fill the visor with static and make your HUD elements flicker.
  • In Halo: Reach, the HUD will flicker and fill with static when you get near a Covenant jamming device.
    • In the final mission, whenever you take health damage, the visor becomes cracked and the HUD fades. Take enough damage, and you lose your entire HUD except for your shield and health display. When Noble Six is finally taken down, the coup de grace is shown from the now-discarded helmet's point of view.
  • Dante kicks over the camera during the intro movie of Devil May Cry 3.
  • In the obscure PlayStation video game based on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, one of the super moves of the character Hol Horse involves him shooting the camera lens. It allows him to use his Stand's power, as it uses the reflection from the shattered glass from the camera lens to attack the other character. The camera repairs itself immediately afterward.
  • After the credits of The Maw finish rolling, Maw eats the camera.
  • In Left 4 Dead, the camera reflects certain statuses. If you've been vomited on by a zombie, the view turns green, and distorts and blurs chronically. Seeing as the character puked on literally can't see anything more than indistinct blurs in front of them, shooting is a very bad idea. Camera turns red when you've been hit hard. Being on fire ignites the bottom of your screen. Being incapacitated will drop the camera to ground level (complete with tilt and bob) and the more you bleed, the darker your view gets until you bleed to death. If you've been incapped and revived so many times, your view turns monochrome (and with a steadily accelerating heartbeat) to show that you really need medical attention. Conversely, having your character realise they're about to be mobbed by a Crecendo or Panic Horde will make everything turn slightly sharper and brighter (resembling an adrenaline spike), and chugging a tub of ibuprofen makes everything superbright for a second (resembling getting slightly high).
  • In Rock Band, sometimes the vocalist (player character or not) will kick the camera or otherwise abuse it.
    • Everyone kicks the camera in Rock Band. Well, not the drummer, but everyone with their legs free.
      • Who says they need legs? I've watched guitarists whack the shit outta the camera with the heads of their guitars. I play guitar like Ringo Starr plays drums, and even I know that's not right...
      • Sometimes the drummer will just up and punch the camera.
    • At least this falls under the "in-universe camera" proviso, as you are playing a concert with cameras all over the place.
  • Wayne Gretzky Hockey ,a 90's hockey game, opened with a slapshot hitting the camera and "breaking" the player's monitor. (The final shot of the intro revealed the contents of a smashed CRT.)
  • It is possible, when posing your avatar for your gamer picture in the XBox 360 Avatar Creator, for your avatar to bang his/her head on the camera.
  • Golden Sun's final boss (in both games) cracks the screen because of how big it is.
  • In the Resident Evil games, particularly the ones on the PS 1, and particularly the Director's Cut of Resident Evil 1, lining up a shot perfectly with the camera and shooting right at it will cause a bullet hole to appear briefly on the screen. This may be doable in RE2 and 3 but memory is fuzzy. The hardest part is finding a room or hall where the camera is positioned perfectly for the shot.
    • It can be done in 2. The corridor with the first Licker contains such a camera positioning. And the turntable elevator during the battles with G's second and third forms.
    • And if you die a certain way in RE 2 and up, blood gets splattered on the camera.
    • At one point, you turn on a security monitor to find that Trenchcoat Man Tyrant is in the hall behind you, then he smashes the camera.
  • In Okami, Hasugami, the god who gives you the Water Lily Brush Technique, will belly-flop into the camera, cracking the "lens" of the "camera" in his intro (skip to 2:23).
  • In Street Fighter 4, Seth's Ultra Combo sucks the enemy into the yin-yang sphere in his chest, then shoots them out at high speeds, bouncing off the camera in the process. If the attack knocks out the opponent, they instead splat against the screen and slowly slide down to the floor.
  • In Prototype, some of the consumptions are brutal - like beating them to death with such vigor that blood spatters on the "camera".
  • In Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, after his Ominous Floating Castle explodes and falls into the ocean, Bowser gets sent flying into the fourth wall, cracking it and sliding down the screen.
  • Silent Hill Homecoming rewards certain actions, such as tearing through the occasional fleshy wall or executing a Finishing Move with a bladed weapon, by spattering the screen with droplets of blood.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day uses this, with water droplets sliding down the camera after swimming, or errant bullets causing cracks.
    • Also one of the cutscenes has cave men knock over the camera running by it.
  • It's tricky to notice; but at one point in the Team Fortress 2's "Meet the Scout" video, the Scout taps the camera lens with his finger, knocking it back slightly and leaving a fingerprint on the lens for the rest of the video (except for the scenes where he's beating up the Heavy).
  • In the 6th-gen fighting game X-Men: Next Dimension, there are several ways to do this. One of Toad's throws has him fling the opponent into the camera (with his tongue), cracking it. Sentinel Alpha outright punches the camera after a win.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom 2 has a few victory poses doing this. Marrow, for example, throws the camera a bone.
    • Marvel vs Capcom 3 continues this, Deadpool grabs the camera and, in his usual fourth-wall breaking self, begins berating the player about their performance, Wesker has a more sinister version, grabbing the defeated opponent (who you're seeing through the eyes of), and lifting him off the ground by the throat, holding his hand up and channeling darkness through it as though about to deliver a killing blow. Super Skrull knocks the camera over and stomps on it, shattering the lens.
  • One Must Fall features some camera shake when either player slams the other into a wall or the Nova does its Earthquake Smash special move.
  • Earth Defense Force 2017: Has a camera shake option you can toggle. If it's on, then things such as huge explosions, UFOs crashing into the ground or buildings crumbling will make the camera rattle around, contributing a bit to the campy sci-fi motif, but potentially ruining your aim when the shaking gets too severe. And believe me, it will.
  • Canabalt has the camera shake when... bad things happen.
  • When you die in Iji, the title character screams as the display "cracks" before it goes black.
  • Punch-Out!!: If Aran Ryan wins, he'll shake the camera and smash the "screen" with his head.
  • When the player kills an enemy with the chainsaw bayonet in Gears of War the screen is positvely drenched in blood which quickly fades.
  • Also when the player is hurt in Fallout 3 a slight blood spatter apears on the screen and does not quickly fade.
  • In F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, if Beckett is killed, the game over screen shows cracks running down the screen - indicative of his Cool Shades being destroyed.
  • God of War III goes all the way to Cameral Murder by showing Poseidon being beaten to death by Kratos from Poseidon's point of view.
  • In The Lost Crown, when Nigel is navigating a catacomb with his night-vision video camera, malignant ghosts start tossing rocks at the lens. They don't actually score a direct hit on the lens, but you hear the clack of stones bouncing off the camera.
  • Happens all the time in Split Second with the camera constantly being covered in muck and gunk.
  • In Samurai Warriors 3, the Ultimate Musou of some, if not all, of the characters feature some form of camera abuse (for example, Magoichi Saika will riddle the lens/screen with bullets).
  • In Die Hard Trilogy: Die Hard With A Vengeance, running over pedestrians in first-person view splatters blood on the camera/windshield.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, the touch screen appears to shatter when Primal Dialga reveals Celebi and the others' attempt to reach the Time Tunnel under cover of her powers.
  • In Red Dead Redemption: Skinning an animal will splatter blood all over the camera.
  • In Metal Marines, whenever one of your attacks (or occasionally counter attacks) sufficiently upset the enemy's only female commander, she would stand up and kick the camera screen in anger, with cracks showing on her end of the transmission screen...of course, since each of these mini-cutscenes uses the same intact starting screen for its animation, this implies they go through a lot of cameras with her around...
  • In the ending of Tomb Raider II, Lara shoots the camera with a shotgun.
  • Rather than having your view blur as in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim depict your character taking damage by spattering the camera lens with blood.
  • On the main menu of LEGO Racers, the LEGO character on it will eventually bang his/her hand on the inside of the monitor if you leave the menu sitting long enough.

Web Animation

  • All the Homestar Runner videos that can be downloaded to an iPod end with Strong Bad popping up on a black screen, looking at the iPod around him and wondering, "What am I doing in this tiny box?" He tries to get out, which cracks the "screen," prompting him to look at the viewer and say, "Oops! I hope you got the extended warranty."
    • Also, the new ones have him popping up at the end and saying "Uh oh! Faceprint!", pressing his face up to the screen and leaving just that. Then he says "Eugh, you're gonna need one a' those... shimmy cloths..."
  • Happy Tree Friends: Choosing "Sprinkle" in "Petunia's Summertime Smoochie" leads to Petunia getting crushed between a blocked water hose and the camera glass. Not a pretty sight.
  • During the warthog chase in Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction, some mud splashes onto the camera. Also during explosion effects, since that what Halo does, and Red vs. Blue is made using the Halo engine. Also used if to show something heavy falling, even when the engine wouldn't force them to do so. Such as when Casboose's Berserk Button is pushed in the original series.
  • The Team Fortress 2 fan video "Yeah Toast!" features this when one of the characters dies.
  • Kaito's hugging attempts may be hazardous to your lens.
  • In Smile HD, blood gets on the camera lens for a few seconds. Its gone when the camera changes perspective.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • An episode of Chowder has the main character scribbling on things in an effort to "improve his handwriting." After he scribbles on the camera lens, Gaspacho tells him not to draw there, after which the camera adjusts during Chowder's response to show the effect of the scene. Gazpacho then requests for the camera to come closer so he can clean it off. After cleaning it, Chowder points to the opposite corner of the camera, where the "Cartoon Network" logo is placed on broadcast shows. Gazpacho explains that he has tried to remove it, but that it won't come off.
    • Something similar happens in an episode of Scrubs. After Scrubs had switched networks to ABC, J.D. points the lower-right corner of the screen to the new logo, saying "That's new!"... until the camera pans around and reveals he's pointing at something else.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "No Free Rides" opens with Spongebob taking his driving test and driving right at the camera, knocking down the cameraman and startling the Narrator.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures movie, Babs tests out her squirt gun on the camera. The cameraman than rubs his hand on the screen to dry it.
  • Used at least twice on The Simpsons: 1) In "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment" where Homer gets cable illegally, at the end, when Homer disconnects his illegal cable connection from the phone lines and ends with a static screen. 2) At the end of "Bye, Bye, Nerdie" where Lisa is menaced by a girl bully, when she goes on a punching spree in an auditorium full of scientists, ending with her jumping towards the camera with the screen turning black.
  • An episode of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy, "An Ed Is Born", goes to town with this one, with the majority of the episodes taking place from a video camera's perspective, which Eddy is using to create a movie showing how much he's grown up to send to his older brother. Events include Ed's sister hitting the camera out of Edd's hands, Ed eating the camera (Complete with a view of his stomach) and the battery meter indicating that the power is about to run out.

Ed: I can't want to watch that part!
Edd: Well, let's not and say we did.

    • Also used in the program's opening credits, when the Eds are posing for a photo and have to adjust the camera because their shenanigans have made it tip over.
  • This happens once in Teen Titans, where Speedy is wielding a nail gun, or similar device...and fires it like a machine gun by accident, leaving holes in the camera.
  • Henry and June on KaBlam!! do this many times, along with Prometheus and Bob.
  • In an episode of Popples, an errant baseball apparently fractures the glass on the viewer's TV set, almost literally Breaking the Fourth Wall.
    • Also, in "Moving Day" , a pizza hits the screen.
    • A famous example happens in Tree House Capers. After the song "Row Your Boat", Party drops an anchor. Then, the baby Popples sit on the anchor and it goes very fast. Then, it breaks the screen. Then, PC blames Party for breaking the screen and she has to fix it. Clearly, she did not do it, the babies did it because they may be so chubby.
  • During W.I.T.C.H.'s first practice session with their new powers Hay Lin face-plants into the screen while flying around.
  • In one episode of Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures, during a food fight, a piece of bread is flung toward the camera, completely covering the screen for a brief moment.
    • In another episode, a load of oranges overflow, covering the entire screen for a brief moment.
  • Pegasi at high speed sometimes cause this in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, especially during 'Sonic Rainboom' as the Wonderbolts pass by the camera while diving at high speed. And then Rainbow Dash at even higher speed after catching them.
  • In The Smurfs episode "Reckless Smurfs", Snappy Smurfling throws a pie into the camera, covering the screen before it transitions to Gargamel chasing the Smurfs in his castle.
  • In Cranberry Christmas, the camera zooms in on the villain and gets a little too close, as the lens bumps into him, cracking it.
  • In an episode of Wakfu, the camera is hit by gunfire and cracked.

(We told you to stop shaking your monitor! Now look what happened. Hope you're happy.)