Freeze-frame shot

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In film and video, a freeze frame is when a single frame of content shows repeatedly on the screen—"freezing" the action. This can be done in the content itself, by printing (on film) or recording (on video) multiple copies of the same source frame. This produces a static shot that resembles a still photograph.

Freeze frame is also a term in live stage performance, for a technique in which actors freeze at a particular point to enhance a scene or show an important moment in production. Spoken word may enhance the effect, with a narrator or one or more characters telling their personal thoughts regarding the situation.




  • The 1970s television series of Wonder Woman had its episodes end with a freeze-frame of Diana Prince smiling.
  • The American TV show NCIS—a spin-off of the series JAG—often uses freeze-frame shots. In the production they were referred to as "phoofs" or "foofs" due to the sound effect that accompanied them, which was created by NCIS's creator and executive producer Donald P. Bellisario hitting a microphone with his hand.[citation needed] These short black and white freeze frames depict an event that will occur later in the episode, and usually last for three seconds. The technique first appeared in the fourth episode of the second season of NCIS, Lt. Jane Doe, and was employed in every episode since, with a typical episode containing four or five freeze frames with main characters or occasionally one-off or recurring characters.
  • Freeze frames were parodied in the 1982 sitcom Police Squad!. Each episode ended — and the credits rolled over — a "freeze frame" shot emulating those of 1970s dramas. However, the scene was not actually frozen. The actors simply stood motionless in position while other activities (pouring coffee, a convict escaping, a chimpanzee throwing paper) continued around them.
  • The freeze-frame cliffhanger to Part Three of the Doctor Who serial The Deadly Assassin (1976) has been described as "notorious in BBC history" and "caused such uproar when it originally aired that it had to be altered for future broadcasts".[3][4][5]


  1. ^ "The Complete Alfred Hitchcock - Harvard Film Archive". Archived from the original on 2016-05-07. Retrieved 2015-12-20.
  2. ^ Ray, Satyajit (2015). Prabhanda Sangraha. Kolkata: Ananda Publishers. pp. 20–22. ISBN 978-93-5040-553-6.
  3. ^ McNally, Neil (14 October 2013). "Top 10: DOCTOR WHO Cliffhangers". Starburst. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  4. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (27 June 2018). "Doctor Who producer reveals story behind the show's most controversial cliffhanger". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  5. ^ Dave Rolinson (2011). Alan Clarke. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0719068317. Retrieved 10 October 2020.