With new high-definition technology on the rise, clearer, more defined images are filling our television screens. Consequently, along with these crystal clear, high-resolution shots come flaws that were once nearly invisible.
“Makeup is more important than ever, thanks to HD,” said Sherri June, a freelance make-up artist who came to Quinnipiac University on Oct. 18 to present “Makeup for HDTV.”
June started her career as an actress, but other roles were never far from her mind. She recalled always being ” curious with what the people behind the scenes were doing.”
As an actress in her early days, she carried a makeup kit everywhere. When she discovered her love for the fast-paced, exciting life behind the curtain, she realized she could make a career out of her knowledge of makeup.
June told her audience that it is not always easy finding work. With a “can-do” attitude and a true flair for technique, June, however, seems to be doing well for herself. Over the course of her career, she has worked with celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Robert Redford, Whoopi Goldberg, Natalie Portman, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld.
“I get excited just thinking about it,” June said of her typical work day, which is usually about 18 hours long. “I’m the last person to touch that entertainer before they go out. It gives me chills just thinking about it.”
Every single time any one is put in front of a camera, makeup is needed. That fact alone translates into many hours of work. “The face on the camera represents whatever you’re trying to get across to the viewer,” June said.
Back in the days of standard television, blemishes, wrinkles and other flaws could be covered with a few slicks of grease paint, and no one at home would know the difference. Now, with high-definition television, all makeup must be light and subtle.
HD makeup is very similar to everyday street makeup. June explained how she uses a cream foundation on all of her clients – one shade darker, so the lights do not wash them out. However, with at least 60 different skin tones in the world, it is impossible to carry a foundation for each.
“I have to bring 16 and mix and match. That’s the creative part,” she said of finding a client’s ideal color.
June described a round container of sheer white powder as “my best friend in the world as a makeup artist.”
After the correct color is selected, she applies powder to set the makeup and reduce shine. Powder is applied more than once before a person is sent out in front of the camera.
According to June, without makeup, the person on camera gives off a nervous, sweaty vibe, which will make viewers uneasy about buying the product being advertised.
The Richard Nixon/John F. Kennedy debate, for example, was an instance where lack of makeup may have had a large impact on a man’s career. During the debate, Kennedy was wearing makeup, and therefore looked calm, cool and collected. Nixon, on the other hand, refused makeup. As a result, he appeared on camera sweating, looking tired and looking stressed. Those who tuned into the debate via radio believed that Nixon had won. Those who had watched the television broadcast, however, knew otherwise.
For a technique that seems so vastly important, it is often the first to go when budget cuts are made. June said her mission is to shed light on the importance of makeup.
June’s tricks for applying HD makeup do not only apply to the rich and famous – the can be used in everyday life as well.
“Your eyes are the windows to your soul,” she said. “That’s what your audience is looking at. So your eyes need to look rested. That’s why we spend more time on them.”
She blends foundation under and above the eyes to hide dark circles and puffiness. She then uses shading and highlighting to accent the eyes. “When it comes to makeup – less is more,” she said.
For getting ahead in the media industry, June gave four pieces of advice: “A – Keep your mouth shut, eyes open, ears open. B – Ask appropriate questions at the appropriate times. C – Don’t burn bridges, network. Lastly, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”