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Tuesday, 19 August 2014


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My wife tells me that after the gaffe was discovered the entire cast did a shot holding plastic water bottles.

Congratulations on the new house, Mike! Are you documenting the move? That would be at least as interesting as street paving. Rodger

Yeah, but they had a good comeback for the water bottle gaffe:


In trouble? More like a reason to create a photo-op with the entire cast, for a good cause…


This gaffe has now generated publicity on TV, in national newspapers, magazines and on social media. It's a new world.

Did you see the follow-up story? - here it is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28825576

It is the responsibility of the set dressing and props department. Props department deals with everything the actors actually handle in the scene. But the reality is that in this instance nobody probably had any access to a monitor, as a matter of fact, the set photographer probably jumped in with the publicist for about one minute and took the picture between set ups. Most of the time, the set photographer is expected to be so unobtrusive that he or she wouldn't give any direction to anybody on set.

From the overall look of this photo and from previous experience on movie sets, my guess is that this was a "quick and dirty" shot on a set that had already been lit for video. The stylist or continuity/script supervisor might not even have known about it. More likely than not, it's the photographer who screwed up. If you were alert enough to notice flyaway strands of hair, you'd notice a stray water bottle, don't you think? Even then, it would have been easy enough for someone to digitally subtract the water bottle after the fact if they really wanted to.

By the look on their faces, I'd guess the bottle was filled with vinegar.

And the cast had a little fun with it, making a follow up photo:




Did the butler do it on purpose or did social media turn it around for the good of the stylist?

"After seeing the reaction the picture caused earlier this week, the cast and crew came up with the idea of turning some of this attention towards an issue around water that really matters. They hope that by posing for this picture they will be able to raise awareness and amplify the work of international charity - WaterAid."

"The UK government also announced plans to match every pound donated to the charity."

photo: WaterAid

Downton Abbey Devises Perfect Comeback for Water Bottle Gaffe
WaterBottlegate comes to its natural resolution

For full article: http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2014/08/downton-abbey-water-bottle-recovery

Oh, boy. Nothing like an errant object to stifle an otherwise perfect photo.

This reminds me of an advertising photo several years ago (70s or early 80s?) that appeared in sporting goods and shooting magazines for the German firearms company Heckler & Koch. It was an ad for one of their semi-automatic handguns. The ad showed the pistol on a table with a second loaded magazine lying beside it. The problem was that the magazine obviously had the ammunition loaded backwards. A very embarrassing moment for H&K, advertising agency, photographer, etc. I suspect a lot of people lost their jobs over that one.

The picture pops up every now and then on the Internet when someone mentions advertising bloopers.

Absolutely priceless, Mike. I studied at the photograph for several minutes before reading to the punch line and I didn't notice the water bottle. I think I was under the same impression as the photographer: Everything looks just right. Thanks for posting.

In my experience working on movie & TV sets, no matter how many hours of "down time" actors spend waiting in their dressing rooms, you can usually bet that they will bring some morsel of food or drinks to the set. And yes, on a big ad shot, someone with the responsibility to watch over such things...(not always the photographer) should be reprimanded.

Is it possible that the bottle was placed there or purposefully left in place as a practical joke?

It's much easier, I find, to check the actual subject of the photo for things like flyaway hair strands, than it is to check the background. No doubt a "perfect" photographer would find them equally easy and automatic, but there it is.

Good Night,and Good Luck anachronisms:


The best photographers never lose their bottle

I'll get my coat

This is what the content-aware tool is for in Photoshop!

We motorsports shooter-types use it to remove plastic orange cones from the apexes of corners (like the driver or rider doesn't know where the apex is...sheesh).

Given the amount of comment and publicity this shot generated, the sylist -or whoever was responsible- at least got an "attaboy" or maybe even a small bonus.

Topic possibility?
How do you design a modern photographic office/processing room? I guess this is one of your current tasks.
Many of us will be familiar with the layout of a darkroom but for digital work the requirements change. Just a simple thing like where do I keep all the battery chargers that I need, whee and how do I store the many more prints that I make with inkjet. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of equipment, which includes my old 'analogue' cameras, with which I still like to play from time to time. My equipment is dotted all over the house where we have spare cupboards and I have also made a small set-up in the loft but this is far from the perfect solution. If one day, we are able, like you, to have a dedicated office I often think about just how I would store equipment and lay it out. Apologies for typos but I did this in my mini ipad.

In Oz/NZ film industry the job title is "stand-by props" Might be "stood down props" for this worker

Speaks volumes about the general inanity of this lamestream series assembled from the wreckage of British and American public broadcasting.

Water Bottle or Shoe: Stuff happens.

There were plenty of opportunities for someone to spot the water bottle, so obviously it was not any one persons fault. It took me quite a while to figure out the problem as well, but that's not saying much.

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