Berkeley on your TV Screen

May 1, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Posted in Internet Sleuthiness | 2 Comments
Tags: , , ,

So a few weeks ago I was watching Bones on Hulu, and I noticed a scene that looked familiar:

It was UC Berkeley’s Valley Life Sciences Building! (Used as an establishing shot for a university in upstate New York, that is.)

I was pretty sure from the moment I paused the video that this was, in fact, a shot of UC Berkeley, but just to be sure I started Googling for an image of the building from a similar angle to confirm my hunch. It didn’t take long, for on the first page of Google Image hits I saw this image, which looked eerily familiar:

Hmm… same building, same angle, same trees, same water spot on the ground (next to the bicyclist in the second image)… the only difference appeared to be the people. And yet this second image is from the 1994 movie Junior starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The film took place in San Francisco and Berkeley, and used many local buildings and landscapes in its filming.

But the similarity between these two images, one used in a 1994 film and the other in a 2011 television show, is still a mystery to me. Do production companies just have hours of stock “establish-the-scene” footage that editors can include in their films/shows? Did the Bones folks take footage from 1994 and Photoshop new people into the scene? INQUIRING MINDS, etc.

[ screenshot from Hulu; image from Film in America ]

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2 Comments »

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  1. Weird, check out the first scene in this trailer:

    I was at the movies last night and during the trailers I see this—and I’m pointing at the screen telling my friends “that’s Berkeley!” even though the movie takes place in Louisiana.

  2. I too have been puzzled by the repeated appearances of VLSB in films and ads. Last night it was featured in the opening of SNL:

    It looks like most if not all of the clips are coming from here: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/827-24/Universal-Studios
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/827-23/Universal-Studios
    http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/877-25/Universal-Studios

    They cost thousands of dollars to license. Not a bad days work for the Getty folks in 1994.


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