Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Makeup Show LA

The third annual Makeup Show LA, if you haven't heard, was held at the downtown California Market Center, just this past weekend. Pro makeup artists, working artists, up and coming, to wannabe artists, came from near and far to catch a glimpse of the latest in cosmetic and supply trends within the industry. There were several booths catering to special effects and film makeup such as Make Up Forever, Graftobian, Mehron, and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics to name a few. A perpetual query throughout this venue and among the cosmetic booths seemed to be the concern about HD(high definition/digital) ready makeup. "Is this makeup HD approved, certified, ready, appropriate, etc?"
High definition makeup has made its way to the forefront of the cosmetic world not only catering to the film industry but for the everyday makeup wearing woman(and man, Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme Touche Eclat). Within the past ten years makeup artists have been well aware of the need for this "finer", more perfected coverage. Since the introduction of HD and the quality imagery it provides the viewer, it was inevitable this would force the cosmetic industry to change the quality of how and what is applied to the skin and hair. High definition means we as the viewers see our actors six times as sharp as the previous, softer grained images, exposing more details, such as lines, wrinkles, skin imperfections, where basically makeup mistakes are more easily seen!
Pro makeup artists spoke on panels explaining their personal adaptations to this higher expectation for the flawless, unreadable makeup. For the everyday makeup wearer this has been the sought after dream product for decades!
Pro artists such as Ve Neill currently working on The Amazing Spiderman, Eryn Krueger Mekash of Glee, and Debbie Zollar from Mad Men, continued to explain whether how much more they carefully need to apply to actors and then there were some explaining how much less to apply. What was also expressed was the honest understanding that a makeup should be applied accordingly to what the situation demands. For example actor A who let's say has perfect skin, needs a natural makeup for a 40's era piece; give her the appropriate, flawless, undetectable finish with the accurate period styling of liner, rouging, and lip shaping. Then we have actor B who has level one acne, maybe an unwanted blemish square in the center of their forehead, requires special effects for an alien character where in "Quadrant 9", acneic skin doesn't exist. Now, the special effects pro can either use the blemishes to their advantage, or if smooth skin is a must, apply color and effects accordingly, then look to CGI(computer generated imagery) for the texture fix-ups. This is a given across the board, CGI is there to save the day when HD gets in the way!
Now just because we have CGI doesn't allow the artistry to relax just yet. The experienced artist knows the importance of accurate detail to the face and hair of their actor, along with the help of quality product, checking and double checking how it all looks on camera, and with the DP's approval, they then, maybe, can sit back and finally "take five".
High Definition may have taken away the subtleties, smoke screens, the veils that otherwise film provided the makeup artist with to hide imperfections, but todays experienced makeup artist must prove they actually can match the actors skin tone to the foundation, blend away the lines, and contours, and concentrate on those details in the looks they were hired to create, as this is also true for bridal, print, and video because across the board, the HD camera truly doesn't lie.

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