Why do they blur the date stamp of home videos on TV?

While watching one of those “Worst Blah Blah Blah Disasters” kind of shows, I noticed that all the home video in the program had the date and time stamp (typically displayed in the lower left corner) blurred out.

The only reason that comes to mind is that it might distract the viewer from the goings-on…but c’mon, a hurricane ripping the roof off the building someone’s in, and I’ll be more interested in staring at May 15 1999 the whole time? Is there some legal reason I’m not getting here?

Any ideas?

Thank you for asking this, I’ve always wondered myself.

I’ve noticed that too, but I’ve also noticed that sometimes it’s left on. Maybe they just do it when it’s wrong. For example if the hurricane was on May 15 1999 and the guy’s camera said June 12 1984 or Jan 1, 2000.

Maybe they don’t want you to know how old the clips are, i.e. they’re 15 years old and have been seen on 97 different home video shows, and the producers want you to think they’re recent.

i thought about this after watching one of the many World’s Wildest Police Video’s* (yay Fox!). my conclusion is that the blurring is of identifying info, and not dates/times.

like patrol number etc.

however, i dunno about hurricanes. maybe
Joey P is on the money, with 1/1/00.


*- i can’t wait til Fox takes this idea to it’s logical conclusion- “you’ll never believe what these crazy rookie co-eds will do breaking up parties on the streets of New Orleans”

Maybe because the person who owns the video asked them to?

OK…then why would the videotape owners want the date to be blurred out? Riddle me that!!!

Could it be that the TV producers don’t want you to realize that the tapes have been heavily edited? A couple of months ago, I happened to see a video in which the date and time stamps had not been edited out. At first I did not pay any attention to this, but after a while I realized that something funny was going on with the time stamp–long segments of tape had obviously been cut out, but clever editing disguised this fact to the casual viewer. What looked like a short, dramatic fight between a police officer and a suspect was in fact a series of video clips taken over the course of several minutes.

If such cut-and-paste is standard practice, I can easily see why the producers normally choose to blur out the time stamp.

It does make you wonder what you do not get to see.

Boring crap that interrupts the dramatic moment.

Great bunch of ideas. I love it when the board gets rolling.

I’ll add:

  1. Because their lawyer told them to (for no particularly compelling reason, of course.)
  2. Somebody would be less likely to sue if they weren’t sure they were present when an event happened.

Did people notice on the LoTR DVD special features that they blotted out the words and symbols on tee-shirts the crew was wearing? Talk about paranoia.

Hey, I noticed that! Wonder what they blotted out…

I bet they blotted out commercial logos such as the Nike swoosh, or a clothing company name printed on a shirt. They may not want to give free advertising, especially if the makers of LotR have promotional deals with rival companies.

On a related note, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” used to edit some videos by mirror-reversing them in order to make commercial signs and logos illegible. I remember one video in particular that had a “resiewduB” poster in the background.

As far as the OP, I think Neidhart got it right in saying the producers don’t want you to know how old the videos are. They also may be planning ahead for syndication. A video with a date-stamp of, say, 1 May 2002 would impress you now as recent; if the show goes into syndication and airs again in ten years, it won’t look nearly as good.

MTV is also ridiculous in this way. They blot out T-shirts and baseball caps, but weirder, in the Osbournes, which is full of drugs references and profanity, they blot out asscracks. :confused:

I noticed the same thing on “A Passage To Middle-Earth” when it aired on the SciFi channel. Some of the same clips appeared on another special and the symbol on Peter Jackson’s shirt was clearly the red Eye of Sauron. “Passage” also blurred the tee-shirt worn by Orlando Bloom because it was a bloody image from “Taxi Driver”. I can see why they’d not want that shown, but why the controversy over the Eye?

Regarding the OP: I’d wondered that too, and Neidhart et al have my vote.