Plug In to Magic Visual Effects Makeup!

Funny how one technology entering the video producing realm can trigger other inventions to counter-balance the newest technology's mission. We've all heard the horror stories about television and movie stars who look terrible in high definition. HD video makes everything so clear crisp and 'real' that an industry of face-softening programs has come about to counter-balance that horrid "real TV" look.

These 'virtual make-up' programs are designed to remove flaws from a person's complexion and soften their features, while still keeping key points on the face crisp – like eyes and eyelashes. One such plug-in we discovered a few years back at one of the many trade-shows we attend was Beauty Box from Digital Anarchy.

Beauty Box is a nifty little plug-in designed to give your subject a natural look while also keeping details sharp. For years still photographers have been using skin-softening tools for photographs, but video is difficult because, well, of course, it's video – your subject moves, the camera moves. Besides reducing or eliminating skin flaws, Beauty Box is also good for fixing hot spots due to shine or poor lighting. You find the points on a frame that needs to be smoothed out, and keypoints follow those for the duration of the video clip. One nice feature is control – you decide how much or how little you want to adjust the level of your retouching magic.

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Beauty Box works with Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, and Sony Vegas, among applications it supports, and more are being added soon. You can purchase it for $200 on the Digital Anarchy website. [image:blog_post:14745] Lest you think that this product is geared to make only women look flawless and less "natural", think again. In television and the movies, stage makeup is worn by talent of all ages, every skin color and ethnicity and by both genders. It's a necessary evil if you're going to do on-camera work.

(Confession: One of the reasons I appear so seldom on the Videomaker training videos is a major allergy to every type of makeup, from the "all natural ingredients" to the most expensive products made specifically for movie production. Within an hour after an on-screen moment while wearing makeup, my face starts to get puffy, and by the next day my face is a red blotchy mess, with eyes swollen and vision impaired. NOT a pretty sight!) For someone like me, a product like Beauty Box might be my salvation.

As for using traditional makeup on your on-camera talent: most women already know how to apply their own, and you should probably let them, but most men are very uncomfortable around the makeup counter so watch our Make up for Men video tips and check out our great stories on makeup and wardrobe tips for on camera talent that will help you on your next shoot. Unlike the old low-rez footage of yesteryear, high definition is unforgiving, and if you want the audience to notice your talent's performance instead of pimples, give Beauty Box a look.

New in Version 2.0.1 of Beauty Box from Digital Anarchy:

  • Faster Rendering: A complete rewrite of the skin-smoothing algorithm means Beauty Box is up to 300% faster on ATI and Nvidia cards.
  • Shine Removal: Get rid of hot spots caused by shiny skin and bright lights! This feature dramatically reduces the effect of poor lighting conditions.
  • Better Masking: The skin tone mask algorithm has been improved for a better automatic mask.
  • Support for Final Cut Pro X: Beauty Box now fully supports Final Cut Pro X, along with earlier versions of FCP.
  • Better Performance in Premiere Pro: The new algorithm brings improved stability and speed in Premiere Pro
  • Assimiate Scratch and Sony Vegas: Beauty Box Video for OpenFX host apps like Sony Vegas Pro, Sony Movie Studio, and Assimilate Scratch
  • Other OpenFX apps will be officially supported soon.

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Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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