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Why cover up logos on TV shows?
September 11, 2008 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Why do tv shows blur or cover up logos on clothes instead of just changing clothes?

I'm watching Mythbusters and Tory is wearing a hat with a piece of duct tape over the logo on it. It's not as though they have no control over what he wears on camera. Why don't they just have him wear another hat or something? This seems to happen frequently on this show in particular.
posted by Thrillhouse to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Because placing a piece of tape over a logo is easier and more convenient than changing shirts/hats/whatever. What if it's his favorite hat and it fits perfectly? Seriously, there's no right answer here.
posted by nitsuj at 8:27 AM on September 11, 2008


Well, I assume in the case of most blurring, they assumed they could get rights or whatever, by the very nature it's been covered up in post.

As for Tory and the duct tape, thinking about it now, I have no idea... I mean, I guess 'cause it's as easy tostick a piece of tape over it, but at the same time, I can't see why the preferable option wouldn't be to not wear the hat.
posted by opsin at 8:27 AM on September 11, 2008


In some cases it's probably because they are paid for product placement by other companies and have to guarantee that other brands are not shown. I don't think this would be the case on Mythbusters.
posted by robofunk at 8:31 AM on September 11, 2008


but at the same time, I can't see why the preferable option wouldn't be to not wear the hat.

Because she didn't think about it in the morning when she put it on, and now he has hat head and no other product-free hats.
posted by inigo2 at 8:36 AM on September 11, 2008


she = he. Long day.
posted by inigo2 at 8:36 AM on September 11, 2008


It's "Mythbusters". They like to be quirky.

Usually when they pixel a logo out, it's because they didn't notice it during the filming.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:39 AM on September 11, 2008


Maybe I'm wrong but I'd bet, though, that they have a wardrobe staff that dresses them. it may not LOOK like it but in my understanding thats how TV works- especially shows with a budget, like this one.
posted by Thrillhouse at 8:39 AM on September 11, 2008


Maybe I'm wrong but I'd bet, though, that they have a wardrobe staff that dresses them. it may not LOOK like it but in my understanding thats how TV works- especially shows with a budget, like this one.

I'd say that for something that's quasi-reality, like this, that they don't. My sole experience with television was when I was PA for a sport fishing/outdoors show on ESPN, and our "wardrobe person" was the host's wife - as in, he got dressed to go out to filming, and maybe she'd say, "....there's a stain on that shirt, sweetie, lemme get you the blue one." I don't think that whether or not you have a "dresser" is a matter of budget, I think it's more an image thing -- do you want to look uber-polished, or not?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:44 AM on September 11, 2008


Aye, most people don't think about clearance when choosing their wardrobe in the morning. It's likely he didn't even think about it until some PA noticed and said duct tape would be easier than blurring in post (since I think shows like MythBusters try to have as little post as possible).

Maybe the folks on MythBusters think the rules about clearance are stupid (IMHO, reasonable) and are only complying with Discovery's rules in the most obvious and minimal way possible.

You can always try writing them an email or post on the message boards and ask about it.
posted by Nelsormensch at 8:44 AM on September 11, 2008


It's Mythbusters, you'd expect them to have tons of tape lying around! Taping over the logo is a simple, immediate, easy and 100% effective fix to the problem. Pixelling in post-production takes care of anything they didn't see while filming or for large logos that duct taping over is not a desirable option.

Compare it to: telling Tory to go home and get another hat. This takes time and effort, and if they are in the middle of a day of filming, it will throw the entire filming schedule off. Plus the cost of time/gas/lost productivity.

Or compare to: purchasing a totally blank hat for Tory for filming. He'd have to wear it around for a week or so to make it fit right, and then he'd have to find a spot in the Mythbusters studio to put it when he's not using it, hoping it wouldn't get damaged or anything.

You don't see taped-over logos on ER or Heroes because of a) product placement contracts, b) they have pre-designed costumes only used for filming (I get the feeling that the Mythbusters crew simply wear whatever they own), and c) they have people who's only job is to spot logos and discrepancies. So it depends on the style of the program as well.

On preview: you have a point, but I get the impression that most of the Mythbusters funding goes towards parts and equipment, as well as the CG graphics. Due to the nature of the show I would highly doubt that they have a wardrobe staff, but only one person can verify this for sure!
posted by Meagan at 8:45 AM on September 11, 2008


When this is done in music videos, I assume it's because the director wants to show "realism" but not actually display a logo for financial or artistic reasons.
posted by skallagrim at 10:11 AM on September 11, 2008


i don't watch mythbusters, but i notice this a lot in rap videos. i've never seen, say, a britney video with stuff blurred out, but quite a few rap videos have guys in hats/shirts/whatever with blurred out logos. bugs the hell out of me.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 10:11 AM on September 11, 2008


It's a lot cheaper to put a piece of duct tape over it than it is to fix it in post. I mean, the reason there are so many reality shows now is because they cost so little to produce and don't need any fancy editing, lighting, post work, etc.
posted by bradbane at 10:21 AM on September 11, 2008


I agree with the "don't want to show that logo on your own clothing" camp.

I'd be enormously surprised if Mythbusters had a wardrobe department of any sort beyond the company buying safety gear. After all, if someone else was suggesting that Jamie wear those stupid berets, I reckon he'd quit. Clearly he is wearing that by choice (oddly enough) so it suggests they decide their own clothing.
posted by Brockles at 10:42 AM on September 11, 2008


According to mathowie, who visited the set when he was down here in December, "As you can see in some of the shots here, the entire team is 5 or 6 people. 2 talent (Adam and Jamie), 1 camera person, 1 sound person, 1 director, and one extra person to setup second cameras on a tripod. That was it!"

So I really doubt they have wardrobe staff. But maybe asavage himself will turn up to answer.
posted by rtha at 10:50 AM on September 11, 2008


According to mathowie, who visited the set when he was down here in December, "As you can see in some of the shots here, the entire team is 5 or 6 people. 2 talent (Adam and Jamie), 1 camera person, 1 sound person, 1 director, and one extra person to setup second cameras on a tripod. That was it!"

Yep, that sounds like the fishing show I worked on -- 1 camera guy, 1 sound guy, the host, and his weekly guest. Sometimes the budget goes to other stuff (travel and fishing licenses in our case; in Mi-5's case, I'm sure it's black powder, Simulaids and a couple cases of Bactine).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:52 AM on September 11, 2008


Generally, if the show is new, it has to do with subtracting free advertising from the footage. There are any number of reasons why a person on camera could have a logo-bearing item of clothing on during shooting that later had to be scrubbed out of the image. Given the omnipresence of logo-bearing clothes in today's society, it's not hard to believe many of the "whoops, they're not a sponsor - we'll need to blur that" scenarios.

If a show is in re-runs, it can have to do with the fact that the logo _was_ paid advertising the first time the show aired, but that contract has lapsed/expired and the logo is removed to stop advertising the product after the contractual obligation has been met.
posted by Crosius at 11:59 AM on September 11, 2008


On shows like Trailer Park Boys it is a way of maintaining the home grown / garage feel of the show.
posted by Mitheral at 1:12 PM on September 11, 2008


One point that I know at least one show uses is that they don't want to advertise products for these companies. It's against their "ethics" (yes, people in television do have them) and they will just cover them up. I suspect that if the rights holder wanted to pay them, they'd find that rather acceptable.
posted by Magnakai at 3:02 PM on September 11, 2008


you can't show trademarks (names, logos) on TV without permission. obviously, if the same company is advertising or providing product placement, they can. i imagine this rule is sometimes used to the advantage of the networks while bargaining for advertising, but they didn't create it.

it's the same thing with bands on tv (rare, i know). tape will cover the 'KORG' on a keyboard or partially/completely obscure 'Marshall' on an amp. you'll see soft drinks/beer bottles on tv, if they're not made-up 'brands,' will have some sort of concealing tape/paper.

there's an episode of 90210 where the camera pans across a room and you can clearly see the marlboro logo on the back of a magazine. oops.

why he doesn't just change the hat... couldn't tell you.
posted by tremspeed at 5:11 PM on September 11, 2008


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