Blipvert

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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.

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 Asplode.

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...".

No real life examples, please; Real Life does not have montages.

Examples of Blipvert include:


Anime and 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.
    • The last half of the opening credits in the main series does this as well, cutting back and forth between scenes from the show, pictures of the major characters and jargon from the show 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.

Commercials

  • A recent 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.

Film

  • 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.
  • The original movie trailer for Doctor 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 film 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.
  • 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...

Live-Action TV

  • Max Headroom, of course: Trope Codifier for Subliminal Advertising Twenty Minutes Into the Future.
  • The new 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.
    • In both cases, highly annoying to those of the Spoiler-averse persuasion.
    • In all fairness, the blipvert sequence is very short and always appears in the same place, so you can know when it's coming up and briefly close your eyes to avoid spoilers.
      • Also, they try to show the scenes out-of-context, and often arrange them to lead the audience in the direction of the mid-episode Red Herring.
  • 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)
    • Therefore not so much a case of inspiration so much as repeating oneself.
    • In any case it's relatively rare for series television. Most series produce a new title sequence once a season at most; these little previews are of course done for every episode and can't be done until after principal photography for the episode is complete. Bruce Geller's insistence on putting these at the head of every episode of M:I was one of the things that "endeared" him to Desilu and CBS.
  • Angel used quick flashes of images in the episode to cut from one scene to another.
  • An episode of Babylon 5 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 (such as the UK) 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 NBC drama Kidnapped used blipverts to enter ad breaks.
  • 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 (I can't remember which). This was likely not intentional.
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer also does this in "The Gift".
  • 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.
  • NCIS always blips the final image of the current scene 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 scene.
  • Bad Influence, a kids' show about videogames, and How2, a factual kids' series, both from The Nineties 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.
  • 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.
  • The title sequence for The Big Bang Theory presents a chronological series of 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.

Music

  • 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.
  • Also not technically a proper blipvert, The XX advertised their eponymous début album with a few seconds of silence accompanied by a still image of the album cover - a large white X on a black background. Fairly jarring during a normally colourful, noisy ad break.
  • 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 Lurex[1]'s cover of "Goin' Back" plays, and then segues into a baby crying:
Cquote1.svg

I think I'm goin' back
To the things I learned so well

in my youth
(baby crying)
Cquote2.svg

Video Games

Web Original

Western Animation

  • An episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, "Bloo's Brothers", features a blipvert of different variations on Bloo that other kids had imagined. One of them apparantly 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.
  • The Venture Brothers has used this trope 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.
  1. a studio project that Freddie Mercury sang on back in 1971 (thus, Lurex is Mercury)