Filming Nude Scenes II: The PatchBy Monique Parent
Oh sure. Everyone has heard of "The Patch" but nobody really knows what it is. Or how it's used. Or....why.
Today, I am going to give you the basics on The Patch.
There are lots of different reasons (some valid, some silly) for the patch, but it really comes down to this: The main purpose of the patch is to reassure your actors AND your crew that you are not making porn.
The patch basically makes a Barbie Doll out of your actress. As in rendering her anatomically incorrect, if you know what I mean.
There are a few different methods of patching:
- If your film is only going to show topless nudity, the simplest way to patch is a flesh colored thong or g-string panty. This clearly covers up the entire genital area, allowing your actress full range of motion while giving the illusion of full nudity. Uhhhh....kinda. The straps or strings on the side will show. If you aren't planning on shooting below the waist, it's not a problem. Nude or flesh tone thongs are easy to find and come in a wide variety of shades to match most any skintone.
- Another option, is to modify a thong/g-string by cutting off the sides and using toupee tape to adhere the fabric to the skin. Once again, this allows your actress to move freely, knowing that her pubic hair and genitals are completely covered, yet when viewed from the side, she appears fully nude.
- The most difficult way to patch is for full frontal nudity. The goal is to have your actress appear nude from the side, back and front. This means that the patch can really only cover the genitals. While this may seem ideal from a filmmakers perspective, it can be a bit tricky for your actress and your wardrobe department!
I have two words for you: Adhesive Bandage (Yeah, I could have used that one well known brand, but they aren't giving me any money.)
Look for an Extra Large bandage - at least 2 inches by 4 inches. Also, look for an "island" design (sticky on all four edges, not just two). There are many different ones out there, fabric, plastic, latex (some people are allergic to latex), tan, clear, beige it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference for the most part. Waterproof seems to be a popular choice (though they still come unstuck at the merest drop of perspiration) The important thing isn't what it looks like, hopefully it won't be noticed at all.
Now, your basic 2" x 4" bandage is not going to completely cover your actresses genitals. But hopefully, it will allow her to be freer and more expressive while acting nude, because she knows you won't be showing those parts of her on film.
Since the only people who are going to be wearing The Patch are female, anybody reading this should not be in possession of a penis. You know, like on their... um... person. All men stop reading now.
Yeah. Right. Like thatís gonna happen.
Okay. You can keep reading. But we are all going to pretend you are not here. And if you get confused because you don't understand female anatomy, too bad.
Letís start out with some of the basic things youíll need to know about the patch...
Ever stuck a bandaid on your arm, then when you go to remove it...Yeee-owww??!! Itís stuck to the hair! Now you have to decide - remove it slowly - and hopefully minimize the pain, or rip it off fast and get it over with? This is not a decision you are going to want to make with your private parts. Trust me, I know this....
So you have to get rid of the hair. How you decide to do that is up to you. Shaving is great, but such a sensitive area may be prone to razor burn for some. Sicking an adhesive bandage on an area that is already irritated can be mighty uncomfortable! Personally, I prefer to wax - most salons now offer bikini waxing services, so itís easy enough to find a place to have it done. What I like about waxing is that I can do it a few days (or even a week or two) before shooting and then not have to think about it again - skin stays smooth for about a month. Waxing isnít perfect... yeah, it can smart - (ironically, almost exactly duplicating the unpleasant experience of the bandaid on the arm incident) itís pricey (approximately $50) and itís freaking embarrassing the first couple of times you do it.
There are a number of "styling" options to consider, as well, regardless of your method of hair removal. Iím going to give you the specifics on the two most common, the "Playboy" and "Brazilian."
- PLAYBOY: Your panty line sides waxed into a "V" or straight line. Labia is waxed. "In the butt" waxed.
- BRAZILIAN: The full removal of all bikini hair. "In the butt" waxed also. Sometimes a "landing strip" or "thumbprint" is left in front.
I generally go for the Playboy because it has a very natural, though well groomed look. (And I personally think the landing strip can make the hips looks wider than they actually are) For purposes of filming, I will often keep a bit more hair in the front than I do for...... um...... personal use. Iíve found that it helps hide the existence of the patch a bit more.
This is the brand and size that Iíve used most recently. Iíve found that the tapered ends make for a better fit, and the flexible fabric allows for a bit more mobility.
The Patch, when placed properly, should not be seen. But where is that exactly? Everybody is different, so youíre gonna have to figure that out for yourself. Stand naked with your legs together and look in a mirror. Thatís exactly how you should look with the patch on! Look down and identify the apex, place the patch just behind that. (It goes on lengthwise, not sideways) Practice (if you get the chance) before filming. Because trust me, on the day, youíre going to be nervous. And itís not something that comes naturally. Sticking a bandaid on your genitals is not natural. But you are going to feel a whole lot better on the day if youíve practiced at home a couple of times!
ON THE DAY
The Sticky Factor:
Weíve all learned this lesson before... Remember getting that nasty paper cut on your finger, smearing it liberally with antibacterial ointment and then unsuccessfully trying to stick a bandaid on it? Adhesive bandages stick best when applied to a ďclean, dry, surfaceĒ so keep the lotion away from the kitty!
BTW-Since youíll probably be doing all of this in a bathroom, might as well go for a precautionary pee before beginning the application. Youíre also going to have to repeat this process every time youíre 10-100. Sigh...
Baby Wipes are plentiful on set (Make-up should have them and Wardrobe should as well) and are just about the most convenient way to freshen up on set. Clean the area well with a baby wipe and then, just to be sure, do it again. The baby wipes are very moist, so dry off with a paper towel when youíre ready to apply the patch.
Hopefully, youíve already figured out your personal placement of the patch, because you practiced at home. If not, well... youíre going to have to figure it out now, arenít you? Re-read the above regarding placement.
I usually do this standing and then going into a deep pliť in second position. Your basic sumo wrestler pose, if you prefer.
The reason I do a deep squat or pliť as I apply the bandage is so that I get full range of motion when Iím moving in the scene. But I was a ballet dancer for years and God knows I have a tendency to fling my legs about, so most girls arenít going to care about range of motion as much as I do.
- Identify starting point for bandage.
- Peel off the paper covering the sticky part of the first half of the bandage.
- Press the sticky part of the bandage to the starting point... but just enough to let it hang there.
- Optional- (but I really recommend doing this!) pull the outer labial lips around the more sensitive parts and kind of.... tuck everything in... Does that make sense? That way the really sensitive portions of your anatomy are in the part of the bandage with no sticky stuff on it, and the portions with the sticky stuff on it are less sensitive.
- Smooth the bandage toward the back as you sink into a deep pliť or squat.
- Remove the second half of the paper covering and continue smoothing the bandage toward the back and outward.
- Stand back up, and use you hands to keep pressing out any gaps in the bandage. You might also try to sort of mold it into a pleasant, Barbie doll, anatomical incorrectness.
The Patch is not a chastity belt. If is was, your mother would have been slapping them on you before your first high school dance. The only thing the patch prevents is the camera from seeing your private parts, so you can concentrate on whatís important - your acting.
This article originally appeared on Monique Parent's blog and was reprinted with permission.
Monique Parent has appeared in films ranging from "Playtime" to "The Truth About Cats and Dogs." You can find a full list of credits on IMDb. You can learn more about Monique, and interact with other fans, through her website, www.UniqueMonique.com.