The Cliche of Enhancing Images in Movies

Here’s a fun video that compiles quite a few clips from movies where “experts” look for clues to mysteries in videos and photographs, often “enhancing” them in ridiculous ways before suddenly discovering something earth-shattering.

As you know, scriptwriters often try to make their characters sound like experts by having them drop random technical terms, whether or not the things they say actually make sense. This is usually seen in science fiction movies where the scientists are forced to somehow explain how non-existant technology works in layman’s terms, but here’s a funny example for all you photogs to enjoy.

Enhance it!

  • Daniel

    (Off Topic) To the person in charge of the Twitter account: You should seriously reconsider your tactics. Following thousands of ppl, waiting for them to follow you back and then unfollow them is plain rude. Just an FYI, it does more harm than good to you, it's your reputation, you decide.

  • Mel Haynes Jr

    The best part is how everyone can enhance video/photos with nothing but keyboards…no one uses a mouse or tablet

  • Kathy Darling

    lol. i've always wondered about that. i mean when i blow things up in Photoshop they just get more pixelated, so i've always thought that if the data isn't there it isn't there. but obviously Photoshop isn't using the same state-of-the-art enhancement algorithms that they have on tv. :)

  • Eric

    Well…my enhancer can bitmap. I don't know what MacGyver is so shocked about…

  • Mikemoncrief

    As a video editor, you have no idea how much pain this myth has caused over the years… People really think that this mumbo jumbo myth is a reality !!

    I love the part where they can rotate in 3d to a different viewpoint completely..Yeah no problem.. Let me just hit the “rotate angle” key on the keyboard..

    Mike M

  • seegullmedia

    This is incredible. Enhance it! I My favorite is when they rotate the already enhanced picture to reveal details not even in the original photograph. Ridiculous!

  • Charlie Hankers

    It reminds me of when I used to work in darkrooms and haughty clients would sometimes tell me to sharpen blurry bits of negative. If I could have all the hours back I've spent explaining … One actually volunteered to come into my room and show me how to adjust the head … happy days.

  • ScottM

    A little miffed they left out the part from Super Troopers with the Bunty Soap photo (especially the dot matrix printer sound with the laser jet printout).

  • Richard

    I agree mel, no one uses a mouse in the Bourne movies or almost any other. Somehow producers think audiences need a keyboard clicking sound to represent computer work being done.

    I think the use of computers (MacBook Pros) in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is pretty realistic: plenty of keyboarding but also plenty use use of the trackpad. There's even a bit where a scanned image of an old photograph is messed with in what looks like iPhoto and a sign is given a bit more contrast so it can be read.

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  • tleeds

    Some day, this might actually be possible..

  • tleeds

    Some day, this might actually be possible..

  • tleeds

    Some day, this might actually be possible..

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  • Andre Friedmann

    Beginning in 1956, screenwriters defaulted to an all-purpose exhortation and explanation:
    “Reverse the polarity!”
    Some things never change. Sigh.

  • Zarli Win

    To be fair to a few of the shows in the video.. some of them involved flying cars, fully self aware robots and faster than light travel.. at least in those cases fake image enhancement isn’t that bad.

  • Rickmcslick

    The best part is how everyone who uses a computer needs a mouse to do so…. wait…