Great suggestions pal! i will certainly keep those in mind.
And yes, we went up on a real rooftop (the one of my own home) here in Brooklyn, NY.
The shoot required about a month's worth of coordination to establish safety parameters and procedures. Originally, Robin The Boy Wonder
was supposed to have been part of this shoot as well, but at the last minute, he and his mother were ill and could not attend.
A funny story:
My wife and I own a 3-stroy brownstone in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Access to my roof is only possible through a steel ACCESS LADDER from the 3rd floor hallway of the building up to the roof hatch. It's not a bad climb, but if you're not used to climbing ladders, it can be a bit... intimidating.
The night before the shoot, I gathered my three former students (now in college) who would be serving as my production assistants, and I took them up to the roof to brief them as to the next evening's details. We discussed all of the equipment that would need to be brought up for the shoot (Re: the two cameras, tripod, lighting equipment, fog machine, slide projector for the Bat-signal, etc.)
At the end of the evening, My Production Assistants and I speculated that NONE of the attending parents would likely want to make the climb on that ladder.
As a result, my wife and I planned the evening so that she would entertain and serve refreshments to the waiting parents in our air conditioned first floor living space while the students and I would be doing the grunt work of the shooting up on the creepy, grimy night time roof.
For the three students who portrayed these characters for the shoot, five (5) PARENTS and two younger siblings attended.
At 5PM, my Production Assistants began carrying the shooting and SPFX equipment up to the roof . At 6:30 the students all began changing into their costume tights, sweat pants and sneakers for their climb up the ladder to the rooftop. The rest of their costume items (masks, capes, belts, gloves, boots) would be waiting for them up on the roof.
For safety reasons, I was NOT allowing any fully costumed students to climb the ladder.
Knowing that the ONLY chance to see their kids live in FULL costume would be up on the roof, EVERY SINGLE parent and sibling braved the ladder climb, and stayed up on the rooftop for the ENTIRE shoot
just so they could check out their kid and the full costumes!
I was so amused. Naturally, they all "oohed" and "ahhed" when each character was fully dressed in costume.
At nearly 8PM on the button, when the sky was fully dark, I began to light my first shot. The entire operation ran like a well-oiled machine, and we wrapped at about 10PM.
It was a really awesome night for me, but MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY for those kids.
We had an audience of spectators from a bunch of the surrounding rooftops, and those kids felt like celebrities!! I was so happy for them!!
THE DUO SHOT
This was the last shot of the night. Very difficult, but a LOT of fun to capture. I wanted to create the look of a "floating" camera, looking up at our heroes who are (supposedly) perched on the edge of a rooftop. In actuality, they were standing on one of the 18 inch tall dividers that separate my rooftop from the adjoining rooftop of my next door neighbor! The kids were actually perfectly safe, leaning out over the adjacent rooftop that was only 18 inches or so below them. I laid on my side, shooting up at the stone divider and the two kids perched on it, with my hand-held camera. I was able to create the illusion that this was the top-edge face of a tall building, when in fact it was not!
I knew I wanted to have the "moon" in the shot. I figured the moon is basically a glowing orb in the night sky, so I positioned the rim-light lighting fixture directly in the frame on the right side to double as the full moon. Later, using Photoshop, I super-imposed an image of the actual moon over the lighting fixture in the shot.
Like the other shots we took that night, the wind was NOT cooperating the way we wanted it to regarding our atmospheric steam / fog effects. In each instance, I had to wait veeeeeeeery
patiently for the steam to rise to the position I wanted behind my actors... and then very quickly snap the photo. I am VERY proud of the fact that there is not a single bit of Photoshop trickery in ANY of these shots to create the steam. What you see here is actual, photographed steam / fog... positioned naturally by random wind, and lit by my colored lights!