Problems caused by 4K TV (which, as is known, is four times as sharp as HD) are beginning to show up with a 4K force, affecting actors, casting directors, make-up artists, directors of photography (DPs) and lighting directors. With 4K, every wrinkle, every ounce of make-up and every shadow is clearly visible, more so than with panoramic film. And this means new rules for everyone involved.
Hollywood freelance makeup artist Gina Milano, who’s currently working for an ABC TV network show, is not a fan of HD TV: “Every wrinkle and brush stroke can be seen. We do our best to cover scars and pimples but one can only do so much. Covering colors is easy but not bumps on the skin. HD is especially harsh to women. You can see every flaw. I find myself asking for the help of the director of photography. Their lighting can make all the difference. With the help of filters and shadows, they hide these flaws.”
Also from Hollywood, movie actor Lauren Spartano added: “I remember when HD TV came out and a little murmur ran through the hearts of actors everywhere. We thought youth would become more important than ever in front of the camera, and anyone past the age of 23 would never work again.
“Okay, that may be a bit of a dramatization, but you get the picture. And while we all ran out and bought a plethora of anti-aging face creams, we eventually settled into the fact that technology will never stop progressing and things would eventually work themselves out. And they did: Makeup manufacturers released HD lines to help us hide our pores, personal trainers pushed us to our physical limits, and acting coaches further emphasized the importance of being able to find your light.
“With the release of the 4K TV, the reaction from actors will be the same. We’ll freak out, and then flock to the gym for an extra workout, before spending a bit more time in the makeup chair. We’ll work harder to achieve perfection as technology takes us another step closer to the audience,” she said.
From New York City, stage, film and TV actor Carmine Raspaolo commented: “I’ve never shot in 4K; the last film I did was on 35mm. However, I have been thinking about 4K for a while now and trying to gear up for when a part should come my way.
“Before 4K, they were able to hide imperfections with makeup, but that is no longer the case. I am definitely more conscious about how my face looks now than ever before. If there is a blemish or an imperfection, I try to have it taken care of by my dermatologist. 4K is a new ball game for everyone in this business including me, as an actor,” he said.
Added Los Angeles-based film and TV actor Konstantin Lavysh: “First off, I am not a huge fan of digitizing everything to the crisp, every-pixel-visible standard when it comes to narrative storytelling. I am a fan of the ‘film’ look, and a bit of grain adds to the magic of what now is old-fashioned story-telling,” he said.
“As for the challenging part with the transformation to a yet-higher resolution, it’s easier to see the difficulties it brings rather than the positive aspects. It’s definitely going to make it more difficult for the DP’s and gaffers, makeup departments and even set design. But for us, actors, it will mostly affect those who are working in younger age groups while being older. So casting will have to be adjusted, which is not necessarily bad for the product. It will be tougher for older actors and actresses in particular,” said Lavysh.
“On the positive side, micro reactions will be more visible, so it is actually a good thing for performance. More subtle, deeper reactions are often the juiciest parts of performances. Another aspect — and I am just being an optimist here — actors will look more like real people, less glamorous, maybe, but more interesting. It is human errors and defects that make dramatic nuance, so maybe the writing will be affected as well,” he said.
For cinematographer and the founder of Digital Cinema Society James Mathers all the 4K shortcomings can be solved in post-production, calmly and away from the talent.
In this case, above-the-line people have to work closer with those below the line to correct some of the problems that technology has both created and eliminated. To Mathers, 4K it is not all that different than 35-mm film, which scans as 6K.
Through a spokesperson, Hollywood casting agent Mary Verniue said that “4K will not have any effects on casting.” Similarly, New York City’s casting director Donna DeSeta commented: “I can’t support the argument that casting will become more difficult because of new technology. It is a specious argument. As technology moves forward, we must move forward with it.”
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