Mystery of the orange actress

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It came up in a Facebook group I belong to how another person was watching 2011's A Christmas Kiss and how orange the makeup on the lead actress looked on her tv screen. She took a photo of the actress as seen on her screen using her phone and she was right - the actress was very orange! The person in question wanted to know what caused this, could it be lighting or something else? I decided to look into why this could have possibly happened and wanted to share that with you folks.

I looked at the movie both on my Samsung 4K UHD JU6400 Series Smart TV and on my older HP Pavilion 23xi with a NVIDIA GeForce 9500 GT video card. Both the monitor and video card are fairly new - within the last couple of years - but with technology ever changing even these are not up to par with my new tv set. The tv set I just got as a late birthday present/early Christmas gift since my husband always buys me one big ticket item every year and the Samsung was it this year. The colors seen on the two screens are different with the ultra high definition tv set picking up everything and I do mean everything - even the fine facial hair on someone's face during a close up. The monitor... not so much despite it too being a high definition monitor.

So what does have to do with the orange actress? Everything. Four years is a long time in terms of technology which partially comes into play with the orange faced actress. On what screen the person is watching a tv show or movie also comes into play in how the colors are read on the screen. Older tv sets the colors maybe more muted or the skin may look smoother where as on a newer high definition tv or even ultra high definition the colors are more vivid and true to light and what was once looking smooth can look rough.

My guess is that this movie, which was a made-for-tv movie, was probably low budget so it's possible that the makeup artists on set did not have a fancy trailer with proper lights. I don't know I wasn't there but in 2011 when this movie was made the primary company that was around, as far as my knowledge and again I don't work in the movie industry to know for sure, was Cases for Visual Arts. Glamcor was a brand new company at the time having launched in 2010 and The Makeup Light wasn't even around then so it's highly possible that the makeup artists on set did not have proper portable lights to use or their light source was too yellow/orange.

Taken with an iPhone 6 Plus.
On my monitor her face and neck look relatively the same. Since my monitor is newer compared to what was used on the set in 2011 it's possible that the monitor that the director of photography (DP) and the makeup artists were looking at didn't pick up any issues. The makeup reading on my ultra high definition tv set on the other hand... awful. It looks awful because you can see the variation between her face and neck. The entire cast through out the whole movie the makeup looks radically different between my tv screen and computer monitor with the monitor looking fine but on the UHD TV it doesn't. An acquaintance of mine who does work on sets stated this in regards to the orange actress, "There are less blood vessels in the neck. And if your painting the face and you do not consider the color of the neck then you can have a potential problem. It may not show up in person or even on most of the monitors on set. But the color information has been gathered and whether the color is done on set (DIT) or in post, the lack of considering all the color in your actor and the pigments your using, can create a problem. Just like this."

So why does this mean? The bottom line is this: Technology is ever changing be it electronics or cosmetics and as such it's a makeup artist job to be on top of their game and anticipate those changes. Makeup artists today do just that - they are anticipating what the makeup will look down the road which is why more and more artists are investing in portable lights that use as close to true daylight as possible. Does this mean you should as well? Well, to be honest, you should invest in true daylight light bulbs in your bathroom and/or vanity. True daylight bulbs are sold at hardware stores and even stores like Target and Walmart (for those in the US). You want to look for light bulbs in the 5000 kelvin range since 5000 is true direct natural sunlight. Light bulbs above that cast blue colors and light bulbs below that cast yellow/orange.

Want more info on The Makeup Light vs Glamcor? Check out Sonia Roselli's article on it.

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