In Fifty Shades of Grey, there's not much of actress Dakota Johnson that isn't exposed. She has numerous nude scenes in the film, and it's not exactly a feature where the camerawork is creatively trying to cover her up. But while everything on screen looks rather real, it turns out that the movie had a few digital tricks up its sleeve that allowed Johnson to be a bit more comfortable on set.
The New York Times has published a lengthy piece that features conversations with actors and filmmakers about what sex scenes are like to shoot on set, and it's in this piece that Seamus McGarvey, the cinematographer of Fifty Shades of Grey, reveals that not every part of Dakota Johnson in the film was entirely real. Asked if there were ever instances where nudity was asked for but then concealed later, McGarvey revealed not only that Jamie Dornan has a "cover over his penis," but that his co-star had a specially designed piece over her nether region. He explained,
Dakota [Johnson] had kind of a patch that went over her pubic area, and right round her whole body. We were in the curious situation, in post-production, of adding [pubic hair]. I wouldn’t say it was one of the highlights of my career, but it certainly was one of the most surreal scenarios.
It's at this point that I'll mention that that many members of the VFX team also worked on movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla and Maleficent. Surely their time on Fifty Shades of Grey must have been quite different than their time on pretty much any other project.
But that apparently wasn't the end of the cinematic trickery that wound up being used to help Dakota Johnson be a little less exposed. Evidently there were also scenes in the movie featuring her posterior that the filmmakers wound up getting a stand-in for. McGarvey further explained,
We did have a butt double for Dakota. I had the pleasure of casting a nontattooed bottom — Surreal Scenario No. 2.
Of course, even nudity covers and butt doubles only go so far in making a sex scene less uncomfortable on set, and McGarvey explained to the New York Times that those weren't the only ways that Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan were made to be more comfortable on set. They did rehearsals to give the actors and idea of how things would play out, and sometimes McGarvey would use a "a remotely operated camerahead" that would allow the camera operators to shoot from a distance.
At the end of the day, all this really reenforces is the fact that you really can't believe everything that you see in a movie.