The Dating Naked blur is probably the biggest (and most important!) star of VH1’s hit show, but the effect has become so common that viewers may take it for granted. However, as an experienced visual editor explains, it takes a lot of hard work to make sure everything that needs to be censored gets hidden–and, as a couple of prominent slip-ups reveal, mistakes do happen!
One of those slips resulted in a lawsuit following Dating Naked Season 1, when Long Islander Jessie Nizewitz sued the show after footage of her uncensored vagina made it to the airwaves (and, shortly thereafter, went viral in photo form). However, a judge later tossed her lawsuit, agreeing with Viacom’s contention that Jessie “signed not one but three agreements, in which she expressly and repeatedly agreed (no fewer than twelve times) that…footage could be exhibited and distributed without restriction.” Also “that she waived any right to sue over her appearance on the show.” In other words, the producers had already thought long and hard (snicker) about the possible consequences of a nip slip–or worse–and made it all but impossible for a disgruntled cast member to get the upper hand in court. There hasn’t been a Dating Naked lawsuit since.
But what about the actual nitty gritty of the editorial work itself? How hard is it to insert the Dating Naked blur into all the necessary shots? After all, cast members are rarely just standing around being naked, in which case a large, stationary circle will do the trick. The show’s editors have to maneuver around a great many obstacles and objects, often while people and their naughty bits are frolicking about a house or among ocean waves, in order to ensure total secrecy. According to Erin Gavin, an editor who literally has years of experience blurring naked people, the job can be arduous indeed.
“Let’s say somebody’s building [something],” Gavin explained for the Hollywood Reporter, “working with their hands in front of their boobs or their junk—there’s a frame-by-frame process of cutting out arms and other things from the footage, putting the blur over across the original plate and layering the rest back in. Our job is to make it seamless for viewers so they’re less aware of the blurs. It can be extremely tedious work, so we’ve seen people come and go from here. They just don’t have it in them.
“There are instances where we have to blur more than the actual body parts, like danglers,” Erin continued. “That’s when you see a shadow that makes your mind think you’re looking at a penis. And we’ve got several scenarios with the butt blur. Currently the general stipulation is to show the butt unless someone has a wide gait.”
One final tidbit (ahem): If the numbers on Dating Naked are similar to the editorial process for Discovery’s Naked And Afraid, it takes approximately 50 hours of work to blur one episode.
Dating Naked Season 3 premieres Wednesday, June 29th, at 9 PM on VH1.
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(Photo credits: Dating Naked blur via VH1)