Makeup for Film and Video Production

Even in Vancouver, makeup in video production can be overlooked by production companies or businesses involved in a video project – and it is often incorrectly seen as a similar application to makeup for print or even live theatre. Makeup Artist Kaleigh Harrop, says, “Makeup for film and television is much different than makeup application for fashion shows and beauty magazines.” We recently worked on another series of TV commercials for Duradek, where Harrop told us all about makeup for video production.

"The most important part of my job is to make sure the actors' makeup is unnoticeable — less is more." Harrop explains that her goal is to give each actor a flawless complexion; free of noticeable imperfections that may draw the eye. When shooting a promotional video, she says you want the viewer to notice the product being sold and not just the face selling the product. "A very light application of nude and natural tones is best," she advises.

Lighting is one of the key elements in film; however, some of these lights produce intense heat, which causes makeup to melt and talent to perspire. It’s the makeup artist's job to touch-up and preserve the makeup applied on actors' faces. PPG's sound recordist, Calvin Paulger, noted, "I was surprised at how well the makeup held up: we were working in the hot sun for the better part of a 12 hour day, and yet, the talent did not have to continually have makeup reapplied." The higher quality the makeup, the easier it is to use and maintain. Harrop applies professional airbrush foundations that are only available through film supply stores. These foundations hold up better under film lights and have a very long wear time. According to Harrop, the airbrush sprays a fine mist, in which microscopic dots of foundation hide pores and redness very effectively, without having to waste makeup. And it creates a light, flawless finish appropriate for High Definition (HD) and film.

Regarding HD, Harrop notes that makeup has had to evolve with camera technology. You can see everything under bright lights and in close-ups, and the last thing you want to see is the foundation on an actor, so Harrop says, "A perfect match is essential." Harrop hand-mixes each shade of foundation from a variety of colors to match the skin tone of each actor. Lighting can also wash out facial features, so accenting the browbones, cheekbones and lips can enhance that definition.

Another vital component of doing makeup for film and video production is organization. Artists must keep their makeup and tools clean in order to maintain a superior level of hygiene. Harrop sanitizes all her brushes with professional brush cleaner and alcohol from one actor to the next. She also cleans and organizes her kit after each shoot to ensure she has all the products required for the next shoot and to ensure they aren't expired, dusty or dirty.

Cosmetic product knowledge is crucial as well. You have to know what ingredients each product contains. Cosmetic products can be full of harsh chemicals and can cause allergic reactions. It’s very important to ask the talent in advance if they have any allergies or sensitivities to makeup. "The last thing you want is your actor breaking out in hives on set," she notes.

Finally, set etiquette is not to be forgotten — you have to be sensitive as you work on hiding actors' imperfections. As a makeup artist, you’re working up close and personal with people and you’re invading their personal space, which may make them feel uncomfortable. Harrop says that being friendly, calm and easy to talk to eases a person's nerves. She adds, "Having a professional demeanor and being able to carry a casual conversation can help relieve tension."

Harrop knows best: this is her third shoot with PPG and Duradek's spokesperson, company president, John Ogilvie. PPG’s President, Shawn Serdar, comments, "Kaleigh establishes a very positive rapport with our clients. I have no hesitation in having her work with CEOs of large corporations, celebrities, small business employees or staff members of government institutions. She works really well with all levels of talent."

Makeup for video production involves a lot more knowledge than meets the eye. Create high production value by using professional and knowledgeable crew to properly execute your vision! PPG partners with professionals like Kaleigh Harrop to ensure that the only thing that is shining on set is your production. To find out how our commitment to excellence has helped our clients, read and watch some of our testimonials here.

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