There are times when high-definition (HD) can ruin, rather than enhance your TV experience. For instance, if Dr Izzie Stevens was having a bad skin day on Grey’s, you might have been blissfully unaware if you were watching it on your standard-issue TV. In HD, all you would be able to focus on would be the spot on her chin. So to maintain the good reputation of Stevens’ and other significant TV people’s epidermis, there is a simple solution: make-up.
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The boom in HD television and film has caused a corresponding boom of sorts in the beauty industry. As HD cameras capture images six times clearer and more magnified than regular cameras, it can be an unforgiving medium for make-up artists and actors.
So to help their friends in entertainment, the ever-obliging people at beauty came up with specially formulated products for HD. These products mostly focus on foundation, because not only do the sharp cameras pick up every tiny skin imperfection, they also amplify pancake, or a heavily applied base, which has been the norm so far. The new generation of foundations “are more lightweight in texture, so they provide sheer coverage to the skin. You need a minimum amount of product to get the maximum coverage,” says Vimi Joshi, senior make-up artist, MAC.
Brands such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Givenchy offer foundations specifically for HD. At MAC and Estée Lauder, foundations formulated with similar technology are part of the basic make-up line; MAC also teaches make-up artists techniques to create make-up for HD. Most of these bases are priced similar to the brands’ other foundations.
Besides a liquid base, concealer and loose powder, Make Up For Ever, which will launch in India soon, has corrective primers in seven different shades which go before the foundation and help invisibly neutralize skin pigmentation. The green primer corrects redness, the mauve combats sallowness, while the caramel warms golden skin tones.
Cargo Cosmetics, a Canada-based beauty brand (not available in India), has a line of products called blu_ray (named after Blu-ray discs, which store high-definition video). The line includes a primer, base, blush, mascara and lip gloss.
The way the foundations work is by reflecting and diffusing light and making it seem as if the face is being viewed through a soft-focus lens at all times. Learning about the technology that goes into these products is like sitting through a class on the physics behind light refraction. A sampler from a press release for Christian Dior’s Capture Totale High Definition Serum Foundation: “The HD Liquid Crystal™ Pigments are made of fine, highly transparent sheets that behave like selective mini-mirrors, reflecting light by following its constantly varying wavelengths and providing a unique ‘hologram’ effect.”
Chanel’s latest launch is also HD-friendly. Vitalumière Éclat has been inspired by the RGB technology of plasma screens; each of the pigments in the foundation emits its own colour, either red, green or blue, which combine to diffuse a white light. The pigments are coated with “hydrophobic and lipophobic polymers”, which ensure that sweat and oil secreted by the skin do not affect the pigments.
As cutting edge as the technology is, high-definition cameras do make artists’ work harder. Natasha Nischol believes in working the base really well into the skin until it is flawless to the naked eye. “It should always look invisible,” she says. Her company Fat Mu offers make-up services for film and TV, and she has worked on films such as Slumdog Millionaire and Loins of Punjab, both filmed in high-definition.
While shooting, Nischol cleanses make-up off the T-zone and under-eye areas during the lunch break, and reapplies it. “In high-definition, you can’t keep adding on more product to make it look fresh,” she says.
According to Joshi, who often works with HD, every detail is picked up by the camera, much like a still photo shoot, so constant touch-ups are required. “Pancake make-up is a big no-no as its heavy texture looks like a mask on HD,” she says. She also avoids using too much gloss or shine as it looks reflective on camera. Matching the face and body tones exactly, and taking time to blend the make-up well, are her other must-dos.
The results are worth the effort, though. Vivian D’Silva, senior make-up artist at Make Up For Ever, has noticed that these foundations decrease the amount of airbrushing that has to be done post-shooting to erase blemishes. “These bases minimize the need for Photoshop work,” he says.
Make-up artist Clint Fernandes often uses Chanel’s Pro Lumière foundation; he says it makes the skin look like it has no make-up on (that’s a compliment). “It has a natural glow, blends into the skin nicely and reflects light really well,” he says. Earlier, Fernandes used to add a moisturizer, as well as a highlighter, to give iridescence to the foundation he used, but he doesn’t need to do that any more.
Besides models and actors, there’s another group that would really benefit by using these bases—brides, who are routinely made to look like they are wearing Venetian masks on what is arguably the most important day of their lives. Fernandes says HD foundation is a good option at a wedding, or a function where photographs will be taken. Before use, make sure the foundation is waterproof enough to withstand high temperatures under bright lights. Fernandes suggests putting the make-up on in a cool or air-conditioned, room. This gives it a better chance of staying in place.