Behold: The Off-Brand Beauty Of Stock Footage Movie Trailers

Kuleshov Effect: Origins.
Behold: The Off-Brand Beauty Of Stock Footage Movie Trailers

When something gets famous enough, it's only a matter of time before cheap knockoffs start flooding the market. This even extends to movies, with black market DVD-sellers hoping you won't tell the difference between the Hollywood and Turkywood version of Spider-Man until they've packed up their table. But with modern internet resources, all it takes is one clever editor and some stock footage to make a fake so indistinguishable from the real that it puts famous art forgers to shame. Just see for yourself:

I know what you're thinking: Why did someone splice identical Pokemon intros side-by-side? But if you look closely, you might spot that one of these intros is a fake. (It's the right one, I think?). In less than a day, Video editor and comedian Matthew Highton managed to use stock footage to cheaply stitch together a knockoff Pokemon intro, replacing Squirtle with a bald baby, Rapidash with a flaming unicorn, and rock-type Onyx with … just a rock.

Matthew Highton via YouTube

Matthew used royalty-free Mimic. It’s super effective!

And Pokemon isn't the only '90s show Highton has recreated into a for-legal-reasons trademark-free fake. We all fondly remember the popular teen monster hunter show, Bufy The Teeth Monster Remover ...

Everyone's favorite bingeable sitcom, Codependent White People …

Or The Crisp Count of Rich American Land, starring a generic teen and the original Alfonso Ribeira.

Mocking up mock trailers out of stock footage isn't exactly new. Since the early 2010s, bored video editors armed a Vimeo account and their company password to Pexels would show off their skills by splicing together fake movie trailers out of stock footage and public domain images -- the filmmakers equivalent of your mom saying: "We have McDonald's at home." 

Soon after, stock footage websites themselves got in on the action as a clever advertisement for their databases. Instead of fake trailers, websites like Shutterstock and Dissolve capitalized on the SEO draw of famous movies by recreating scenes to prove they can be your one-stop shop for such iconically generic shots like "hand of dying guy caressing wheat" ...

Or "psychic teen getting nosebleed."

Eventually, the intentionally sub-par subgenre even spawned its own satires. Specifically, by making fun of marketing departments flooding the internet with generically aspirational videos that turn every brand launch trailer into the same smiling-people-and-nature ad like they're trying to sell you off-brand antidepressants.

If spending days looking for the exact right Hide The Pain Harold stock footage for your John Hammond in Theme Park Lizard Attack sounds like fun, getting started has never been easier. Many stock footage libraries now have 'generic movie rip-off' tags that pool together all of their stock footage loosely related to every movie and TV show. Just type in Godzilla in the search bar, and you too can browse through pages of CGI dinosaurs, fleeing Asian folk, and close-ups of iguanas to turn into a Godzilla trailer that will feel less of a rip-off than the Roland Emmerich one.

For more stock tangents, do follow Cedric on Twitter.

Top Image: Matthew Highton via YouTube

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?