Makeup Artists Continue Battling HD's Merciless Detail

December 27, 2006
Some TV industry observers in Hollywood are predicting that the growing presence of big-screen HD in the home could lead to the end of extreme close-ups, as we know it, both for TV and motion picture entertainment. Others predict keeping up appearances (so to speak) in HD could soon be reflected as requirements in actors' contracts.

"The grain structure of film allows a softness that HD video tends not to have, posing more challenges, especially when it comes to capturing female faces," Stephen McNutt, director of photography for the Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," told the Associated Press.

"We seem not to care about seeing men in a rougher, edgier way," he said, "whereas [with] females, we're used to seeing them in a softer, more appealing way. So there's a little more filtration needed, and you have to approach it from a different standpoint."

While lighting techniques can be used as some basic enhancements to aging skin and subsequent wrinkles, continuing advances in cosmetics also help. More makeup artists are starting to use foundation and makeup that is airbrushed onto the skin, rather than applied by sponges or one's fingers.

Yet, the artists say the key to looking good (both in-person and in HD) beyond cosmetics and lighting is simply maintaining healthy-looking skin. The makeup artists' advice to actors and news anchors: Lots of water, avoiding coffee and smoking, exercise regularly, and a proper diet all contribute to the skin's natural glow (while Botox injections and facelifts, on the other hand, can often be noticeable on large-screen HD monitors).

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