So how was this video made? Rogue sent me the original outline on June
23, 2013 that
described each scene, following some discussions we
had had in person about collaborating on a music video. We weren't
really sure who would star in or direct it, but it was a way to see what
was possible to best show off the new mask. The original plan had been
do the entire production in
front of a green screen and composite it over real-life images. I had done
that with "Good
Morning Joan" in 2008 to great effect but I also thought it
would also be possible to realize most of the scenes with real
particularly those set in the house.
Related: Interview with Rogue
Around this same time I sent my Jessica
silicone mask to someone out of state to have hair punched
it, which could
then be used in the video. This was supposed to only take two weeks but
unforeseen circumstances caused it to be delayed and I didn't get back
until just before heading out of town in late August for the Montreal
Fetish Weekend. So summer came and went, and finally in September we
were able to have series of production meetings to work out exactly who
would be doing what and where and start production. We would only be
able to shoot on Tuesday afternoons throughout October 2013, so we
broke it up into different
sequences: the first week being the shots around the house, the second
week all the green screen work, the third doing the costume changes in
front of the mirror inside the shop, and the fourth week all the
All the opening shots (waking up, the shower, dressing) were all done
in my house, more or less in order. There was no "shemping"
employed here, Rogue played her own arm in all the shots. That's her
coffee pot by the way, now a valuable eBay prop.
As she leaves the house, that is the actual exterior of my house and
Rogue's Saturn. The late afternoon sunlight doubles for what should be
morning. I physically took off the back license plate as she drives
away (again, doing all her own stunts) even though it appears to have
been done digitally. The walking scene above was part of the location
shoot on the 4th week. It was the last sunny day of the autumn, and you
can clearly see a lot of leaves on the ground.
The elevator shots are both green screen. I had originally intended for
us to do these on location but we had the green screen set up anyway
for the restaurant scenes and decided to just grab these as well. I
shot the background plates a few days later as I was going to a
business meeting in an office building. It's harder than you think to get a
particular elevator to arrive empty when you have an entire bank of
them. Eventually I got what I needed.
The office scene is a great example of getting amazing results while
even in a huge hurry. While I had spent over an hour
up the restaurant scene (which I'm not entirely happy with), I rigged
up the green screen for the office scene in about five minutes as Rogue
was waiting around. On the left you can see this is a real office set up (where I'm typing this right now) in a corner in
basement. But using the magic of green screen, Rogue appears to be in a
much larger room that extends far behind her (courtesy a still I found
on the internet). The clock on the wall behind her is an actual
functioning clock inserted into the background, note the time change
from when she arrives to when she leaves.
The restaurant scene was done entirely and rather obviously with green
screen. On the left you can see a production still without color
correction, on the right the finished composited shot. You'll note
Rogue was sitting on the right side when we shot it but I flipped the
entire scene because when I was editing it made more sense for her to
arrive from the left side and exit that way rather than how we shot it.
She is flipping the bird as a joke because for that shot I only needed
my half of the frame, the bit with her half had already been recorded
with myself also playing the waiter standing behind her. A little bit
of split-screen magic and all three of us could appear together in one
frame. The Jessica mask with the punched hair that I had been waiting
for all summer finally made its debut here in this scene, worn of
course by me. Rogue originally imagined a room full of people behind us
but that would have meant getting the footage somehow (again, I used a
still I found on the internet), plus permission from everybody to use
it, etc. I decided instead to borrow a page from the old British TV series "The
Avengers" where they
never used extras
even in places where you would expect to see crowds. It made shooting
easier but also less distracting as I wanted people focused on the
mask, not what was going on in the background.
This nice, crisp October day was perfect for shooting although I had to
carefully plan all the locations to make sure the sun would be the
right position. This looks like a straight-forward shot, just walking
into the building, but it took nearly 10 minutes due to people hanging
around in the shot and having to wait for them to move out of the way.
Meanwhile I'm standing there with my large video camera mounted on a
tripod on the corner sidewalk of a very major intersection in Seattle
trying to look inconspicuous. Dave (our goon) was positioned just
inside with the shopping back ready to hand Rogue as she walked in and
then immediately came out again.
All the scenes in the shop mirror were shot on the 3rd week with the
tri-fold mirror set up in my garage between two green screens, one
behind it, and the other behind the camera. The trick was to find the
sweet spot where you couldn't see the camera but you would get a clear
shot of Rogue in all three mirrors. The background is a still I took myself in a
Rogue drives her Saturn back to the house but something is wrong, the
steering wheel on the right side! I have flipped the shot to maintain
the left-to-right movement of the scenes before and after. The
placement of the house doesn't really make sense in relation to the
morning scene when she left, but most people won't notice that. If you
live in the UK or Australia, there is of course nothing wrong with this
This is a good example of what is known as "day for night" filming.
This was shot late in the afternoon on our sunny day with half the
building in shadow (inset). By darkening it and adding some blue, it
looks like nighttime. While we were shooting this (two days before Halloween), the
owner of the bar came out and asked what we were doing. I told him the
truth, more or less ("a promotion film"), and promised I would cover up
the sign outside the building that identified the business (that odd rectangle in the upper-center
of the frame).
The nightclub scenes were part of our massive second week of shooting
(along with the green screen work). The "set" was a piece of black
cloth hung on the wall with some Christmas lights hanging along the
top. I always planned for this to be a dolly shot but the dolly I
planned to borrow was ironically already being used that day for
another music video (one that paid!). So I mounted my camera on a low
TV stand with wheels and rolled it past Rogue. I had pre-recorded
someone singing the lyrics and played them back as we shot so Rogue could
lipsynch to them. Rogue owns that microphone, but today it was just a
non-functioning prop. The previous dancing shot includes my third and final appearance
in the movie in a black wig and my back to the camera.
Rogue hears a woman yelling "Help! Help! Help!" (taken from an old
"Underdog" cartoon show) and runs into the Ladies room, actually a back
storage room in my house with a sign stuck to the door. The interior of
the rest room is a real bathroom in my house. I had to use a wide-angle
lens on the camera which caused a bit of spatial distortion. It was
difficult to synch up the transition between Rogue in her nightclub outfit
and the superheroine outfit with the camera move. It could have been
better, but the fire effect hides a lot of the flaws.
Rogue's most challenging scene was running in the outdoor scenes
because just before she arrived on the set, the heel on her boot broke
off! With no time to fix it we just went ahead and shot and she
attempted to compensate for it when moving. In addition, because I was
using such a long lens for this shot, I had to rack the focus as she
got closer. Amazingly, we did this in one take. This location, done the
evening of the final day of shooting, was the one place I had
permission to film at: behind the place where I rent a shop for mask
making. Although it was a bit chilly, at least it was dry outside; the
next day it began raining and never really stopped, so we really got
lucky with the weather.
Rogue plays the woman being mugged, this time wearing the same Susan mask that I wore in
video last year, along with a black wig. The goon mugging her
was our friend Dave.
As you can read in my interview
the script did not specify what kind of superheroine it would be and it
was assumed she would just fight the mugger physically. When we came up
with a fire-based heroine, it was a simple matter of digitally adding
some fire (a stock effect) and having her hurl a fireball instead.
The puff of air as Rogue exhales is not a special effect. It really was
that cold outside. But it was a nice touch, as if her hand had been
This looks straight-forward enough, but in fact it was shot in the
middle of the afternoon with sun streaming in from the outside. I set up
the green screen outside the door and then keyed everything black to
simulate night outside as she returns home after a long day.