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"If there's any more stock film of old ladies applauding, I shall clear the court!"
Monty Python's Flying Circus, "Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook" sketch

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 108 backups 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 slip that up?!

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.

Examples of Stock Footage Failure include:

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.
  • Lampshaded in Puni Puni Poemi.

 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.

Films -- Live Action

  • Godzilla's Revenge is basically just one big "stock film".
  • Godzilla VS Gigan was quite infamous for its over-use of stock footage. Particularly grating is the fact that the fight scenes would randomly shift from day-to-night due to the film using footage from Destroy All Monsters.
    • Likewise, there's Mothra's accidental cameo within said stock footage of DAM...even though she wasn't even supposed to be in the film Godzilla VS Gigan at all.
  • Like Godzilla's Revenge, Gamera: Super Monster re-uses fight scenes like mad.
  • 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.
  • Invasion of the Neptune Men uses footage from World War II bombings. Umm. Err. Ghhh.
  • 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 FH-1 Phantom, which was one of the first jet fighters on aircraft carriers. 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.
  • As a necessary inclusion to this list: the So Bad It's Good Plan 9 from Outer Space features stock footage of Bela Lugosi walking. It is, sadly, an appropriate metaphor for both the actor himself and the movie he was to appear in.
  • 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.
  • In Mortal Kombat Annihilation, when Baraka is thrown into a fire-pit in the shape of the MK logo, it shows an earlier scene of Rain falling in before being consumed in flames.
  • 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 founded InGen...
  • In Gokaiger Goseiger Super Sentai 199 Great Hero Battle (a 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.


  • 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 fifty years, and somehow the background is always burning.

Live Action TV

  • In the pilot The Adventures of Superpup, the Jimmy Olson mouse actually lampshades one at around 7:35.
  • 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.
    • 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. Unfortunately... Eric wasn't wearing his hat and Naoto was in that scene, so he suddenly goes from hatless to hatted. So close to awesome, yet so far...
    • In the very first episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Rangers are transported from the desert to a city the first time they morph. Linkara points it out in his review. This isn't the last time this sort of thing happens either, though, admittedly, they did get better with it over time.
    • Linkara notes in his commentary for the end of the Mechakara arc in Atop the Fourth Wall that it's OK that his glasses reappear during the morphing sequence, as that is what happens in the show.
    • 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 the current season, 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Time Tunnel mixed shots of a real Mercury-Atlas rocket with scenes lifted from Destination Moon. It didn't even fool a seven-year-old in 1966.
  • How I Met Your Mother: A brief Establishing Shot in the Season 6 episode "Baby Talk" ostensibly shows Marshall's old high school in Minnesota, but the flag flying outside is clearly Quebec's.
  • Conan O'Brien parodies and lampshades this frequently, especially in the Conando segments.
  • An episode of Knight Rider featured KITT's Evil 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.

Video Games

  • The animated cutscenes of the CDI game ~Mutant Rampage: Body Slam~ frequently reuse the same animations of the host character and the champion he interview. 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.

Western Animation

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Superfriends (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.
  • The "hero up!" sequence of The Superhero Squad Show uses Green Hulk even when Hulk is in Grey Hulk mode.
  • 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.
  • 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?


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.