Danglers, Nip Slips and Side Boob: 'Naked and Afraid' Blur Editor Tells All
"We've had some guys ask for a bigger blur," says Erin Gavin as he gets candid on why "the crotch is the easiest" and butts are OK to show.
A version of this story first appeared in the April 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
"Do you have a problem with nudity?" That's the first question I was asked during my interview.
Obviously not, because it's naked bits all day long here. Let's say somebody's building a fish basket, 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.
We like to think the fake boobs are easier to pixelate because they don't move around as much — one of our guys, Shaun O'Steen, says he never really appreciated fake breasts until he started at this job — but, realistically, the crotch is easiest. There's only one, and arms rarely get in the way.
We just did an episode that was predominantly male. That's a little easier, but we've had guys ask for a bigger blur. We won't necessarily accommodate that. We strive to make them as plain as a Barbie doll.
There are instances where we have to blur more than the actual body parts, like danglers. 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.
We have a lot of in-house terms. There's the weenie waggler — that's the stuff moving around. There's the nip slip, of course. Side boob is popular. Our mandate is to cover the side boobs as much as possible. We've got boob shad — you have to be aware of their shadows as well — and, if they're in water, we call them floaters. There's also spillage, peen, naughty bits, the chinchilla … I'd explain that one, but you probably don't want to know.
The nudity itself isn't gross. But we first see these people fresh out of their hotels. As the days go on, 21 of them for those who last, they become more deteriorated and you start seeing things. Things like ticks in places they shouldn't be. That can be a little gross.
It's a glamorous job.