ClearPlay Streaming: The Reason My Film Editing Days Are Over

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When my kids were growing up, my wife and I were not only intentional about what movies they watched, I found myself going to some bizarre extremes to follow through on that intentionality. For instance, my daughter asked about seeing the movie Titanic when she was in middle school. With its nudity and two sex scenes, there was no way this DiCaprio/Winslet film was going to play on our boxy television set. Or at least not without some editing. So, I set about a rather primitive process of doctoring the VHS (remember those?!) copy we owned.

Here’s what I did. First I put a piece of tape over that back-of-the cassette square hole. That allowed me to be able to record. Then, I found each offensive scene, pressed “record” and essentially taped “nothingness” for as long as I needed. Eventually I had a version of Titanic that was family-friendly.

In fact, somewhere in my house I still have it if you’d like to borrow it sometime!

Soon thereafter, thankfully, I discovered I no longer had to pretend I was a film editor. I became acquainted with a service called CleanFlicks that did the actual editing for concerned parents like me in a much more professional way. All I had to do was go out and buy the film, mail it to them, and they would edit it and mail it back. Suddenly (and with less hassle and lot less static), our family film world opened up significantly.

Doing what I do here at Plugged In, I ran across dozens of films over the years that I found encouraging and inspiring, the types of movies I wanted my kids to see … except there were frequently content issues. For instance, I liked Cinderella Man and Sea Biscuit, but a number of misuses of our Savior’s Name in each spoiled them for me. I admit it was a bit difficult for this penny pincher to “buy” the film twice (once at the store and again to have it edited), but to protect my kids (and myself), my wife and I felt it was worth it!

Well, CleanFlicks has been gone for years now due to a lawsuit and court decision revolving around copyright and resale issues. But taking over the job is a terrific film-editing service called ClearPlay. I’ve been a fan for years, and now that you know my illustrious “film-editing” background, you know why.

ClearPlay doesn’t create a new copy of your movie. Instead, it orchestrates a series of digital “edit cues” that either skip over the carefully selected scenes that are offensive, or mutes foul language while you’re watching the original movie. Now, up until recently, to utilize ClearPlay, a family needed to purchase a ClearPlay DVD player and download those cues to a memory stick. While the players weren’t (and still aren’t) all that expensive and the downloading isn’t that difficult, it’s still a bit of a hurdle for some families.

So, I’m happy to announce that ClearPlay has made it even easier to watch edited films with some new technological advances. Families can now stream edited films with no need to purchase a ClearPlay player. The quick version of how it works is this: You go to ClearPlay and choose a film to watch. You’re then directed to Google Play to pay a rental fee (or you can buy the movie, too, in some cases), and then back to ClearPlay to control the level of editing desired. With this method, watching an edited version of a film has reached a new level of convenience.

And in collaboration with ClearPlay, Focus on the Family has seen fit to let you link directly to all that techie safeness right from the Plugged In website. On every video review page, you’ll now see ClearPlay’s “Stream Here” link. Just follow the instructions once you’re on ClearPlay’s site. Sure, there’s more involved in the process than simply streaming something in its raw form. But the extra couple of steps will be so worth it when it comes to protecting your family and teaching discernment. And it’s sure a lot easier than the Titanic steps I used to take!

Who wrote this?

Bob Waliszewski is the director of the Plugged In department. His syndicated "Plugged In Movie Review" feature is heard by approximately 9 million people each week on more than 1,500 radio stations and other outlets and has been nominated for a National Religious Broadcaster's award. Waliszewski is the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids With Love, Not War. You can follow him on Twitter @PluggedInBob.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Alida van Ginkel 12 days ago
We still watch DVD's with clear play. Can you make clear play available for the DVD "thirteen days" with Kevin Costner. Very good movie accept some of the used language. 
Don Beringer 15 days ago
This tech is so far behind who rents dvd's any more?? when is this filter going to be accessible to Netflix or to top box devices like Roku etc
Cody Taylor More than 1 year ago
Wow, a lot of over thinking is going on in the comments here.  Just enjoy the fact that you can skip what is inappropriate and embrace it.  No need for the philosophical thoughts on the ramifications on your eternal soul if you watch a movie that has all the content taken out of it that makes it PG-13 or R.

ClearPlay now has a Blu-Ray player and streaming filtered movies!  They are having a sale on their Blu-Ray players for the next week or so.  I got mine not too long ago and love filtered Blu-Ray movies and filtered streaming movies!!!

I'm watching Jaws (the naked swimmer gets skipped), Back to the Future (the debate in George McFly's back yard on if he should swear is skipped), The Dark Knight.  A lot was skipped without making my kids feel like they missed anything!  Yes, my 10, 11 and 13 year old KIDS are watching these with me!!! :D

I'm about ready to see how ClearPlay handles DeadPool and see if it will be appropriate for my 13 year old! YAY BABY!

Hurry and go get signed up with ClearPlay!!! 866-788-6992
Greg Smith More than 1 year ago
Please consider what I recently wrote to a man who believed he was ok because his wife fast forwarded or he hid eyes during "those parts".
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My main argument against viewing nudity and sexual content in movies is the sin of the producers and actors. Not whether I am induced to sin or not.

Here’s the litmus test. Is there ANYthing in which these producers or actors sinned in creating this film? The parts that you’re closing your eyes though or having your wife cover them or fast forwarding? Are they nude? Are they handling each other sexually? Is it sin that they’re doing that? Being filmed in a room full of strangers so others strangers LIKE you can watch, even if YOU don’t because your eyes are covered?


Would your wife be ok if YOU were that man with that woman as long as other men’s wives covered their husbands eyes too? What if it were your wife with that man? Daughter? Or son for that matter? Would they be sinning any less if people fast forwarded or covered their eyes? Why is it ok for other men and women as long as you hide your eyes and fast forward?


And if it’s not ok, then why are you promoting and financing their sin? (Unless you’re stealing the movies or TV shows?) Is this loving your neighbor as yourself? Paying them to sin and heighten their judgement before God?


This is today’s even otherwise conservative American church. It’s all about me me me. What about them? If you were to bump into one of these actors somewhere, could you tell them they need Jesus after you ask for their autograph and talk about how great their movie was, but assure them that you closed your eyes through “those” scenes? Should they take you seriously?


Listen friends, if it would be sin for you, it’s sin for them and therefore sin for you to participate in any way, on any level. “I closed my eyes” ain’t cuttin it with God. Unless you think Jesus or Paul would watch, but close their eyes too?

I am genuinely grieved how it is almost NEVER considered that we are paying people to damn themselves to whom we are commanded to portray Christ and be to them salt and light.

Also, how is your paying people to blaspheme our Lord lessened just because YOU don't actually hear them do it?

What if all this is just as much about them as about you to God?


Kal El More than 1 year ago
I'm glad to see this sort of resource continuing to push forward. Even though I have no personal use for it, it is a great asset for some Christians (especially if they have wee ones).
I think the snag I see here, technically speaking, is that it appears to remain very isolated in terms of how accessible it is. You say it directs the user to Google Play (snag #1: what if I am not comfortable with Google? Can I go through Amazon Prime or Vudu instead, for example?), and that the movie can then be rented "and in some cases bought" (Snag #2: What if I want to buy every movie I run through this thing? Maybe I rent the normal un-edited releases of movies through Netflix and screen them to know which ones I like enough to buy and which ones need editing for me or not?). Finally, all of this sounds like its geared for Intel computer owners (capable of streaming from services like that), but what if I want to watch on my TV? Is there a Blu-ray app coming? That's snag #3.

Again, for me its all hypothetical as I prefer watching things uncut and uncensored, and if, theoretically, something small bothers me I can fast forward or mute, and if there's too much that bothers me I either won't rent it or, if I do, I won't like it enough to buy it.
I really like that these types of services exist for families that have use for them, and I hope they continue to revolutionize and become more diversely accessible. It's just not something I personally want or need to use.
Charity Bishop More than 1 year ago
I'm STILL in the editing business. I do it on my computer, with editing software. That way if a subscription to CP runs out, I can still watch the things I like. My friends like to drop in and watch Game of Thrones with me once I'm finished with the purchased set -- because my copies are PG-13 and the plot is intact. All the bad words are missing. The sex and nudity is gone. The gore is downplayed. Most of the time, no one notices the cuts.

There are times I wonder whether I should own edited movies or not. It's not the editing that bothers me -- but the fact that regardless, my rental or purchase money is still going to support something that is filthy in its original form. I'm still supporting it, even if I own a sanitized version. Is that much different than me watching "Titanic" and skipping a certain scene each time? No, not really. But my affection for entertainment sometimes overwhelms my desire for purity.

ClearPlay does a great job. I was "with them" for several years but let my subscription expire after the DVD player quit, because I wanted to wait for a BluRay player. I now see they have one, which is cool.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My own parents took the much simpler approach of simply not letting me watch anything with certain content until I was of the right age, unless it was just one or two very specifically skippable scenes (like the violence in Last of the Mohicans). Although ClearPlay takes the hassle out of an approach like Greg's, I'm still inclined to the same simplifying philosophy. If you buy a film where ClearPlay still has its work cut out for it, then I think I would rather wait until the kids are old enough to appreciate the whole thing or decide not to see it at all. Also, if one of the main problems is constant language, then that could be a distracting movie experience, not to mention one that could raise awkward questions. "Daddy, what's that word this character keeps saying that I can't hear? It looks like his lips are saying..." I wouldn't want to pique my kids' curiosity unintentionally!
Kal El More than 1 year ago
I agree. I've dabbled lightly in making 'edited cuts' of things but more and more I feel like its generally not worth it, For me I am fine with watching the uncut versions of things I like, and if I were parenting small children I would just make sure they weren't able to watch anything not 'age appropriate'. I've had plenty of experience doing that as a childcare provider, but as the parent it would be even easier because I'd be 'the boss', not having to deal with any potentially dishonest claims from the kids about what mom and dad let them watch.

I respect the dedication and conviction that folks like Bob feel on this subject, but for me personally its not worth the effort, expense, and in some cases, potentially copyright violating practices (not that you'd be likely to have some movie studio find out and sue you for buying and making an edited cut of some movie for private use, but I just assume avoid the whole thing).
Scott Jamison More than 1 year ago
How's the comprehensibility?  Sometimes taking out "negative" content might make hash of the plot or characterization.
Greg Johnson More than 1 year ago
I've thoroughly appreciated ClearPlay in the past, using their dedicated DVD player. This sounds like an even more convenient option. I, too, have self-edited many movies for my kids, usually with the help of a lengthy pre-made list of edit points and one nervous finger hovering over the mute and skip buttons of a remote control. Was it worth all the trouble? I think so, and as my kids have gotten older they've shown great maturity by starting to make their own wise, informed choices about their media consumption.