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Skin’s Appearance on HD

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April 29, 2009 by admin

It is only natural to think that when capturing video in high definition everything improves. While such a statement is true, it is also NOT true.

High definition videography is more than just increasing the resolution. It is also about making those appearing in the video movie appear more favorable. At the same time we want to always draw attention to the subject matter of the movie rather than allow the viewer’s attention to migrate away to meaningless details on the footage.  The classic example of this is human skin.

There are times in story-telling movies when we will show a closeup of a woman’s face. In 1920 x 1080 high definition when the subject’s cheeks occupy 75% of the screen we can clearly see the subject’s skin pores. This may seem like no big deal but the problem is that the viewer actually registers seeing the skin pores qualifying it as a distraction. Think about it: Suppose we are capturing a bride’s excitement at the altar. The viewer can see the bride’s imagination in her composure but also sees and registers seeing her skin pores!  This is NOT what story-telling is all about even if there are no blemishes what-so-ever. And may heaven help us if there is some skin anomaly that in real life nobody would otherwise notice.

The astute reader is now posing the question, “So, what can be done?” At W. Cardone Productions we have been capturing video in high definition for several years as of the time of this writing and we have developed some cures for situations such as this.

One solution is to use a special effect filter when capturing the original footage. The Schott-Desag B270 Crown Optical HD Glass Filter is a filter targeted for the HD shooter. This technological breakthrough gives HD shooters the touch of softness they want but with no resulting loss of contrast or detail.

The shortcoming of the optical filter approach is that there is almost never time to be re-configuring equipment and then changing it back again in event videography. Optical filters are, however, an excellent choice for studio videography where we might be capturing a toothpaste commercial, but not weddings.

A better choice is to adjust the image in the edit room. We create what might be called a “dreamy effect.” We do this by superimposing a video over itself such that now we have two copies of the same video playing simultaneously except that we only use one audio track. On the lower video we apply a slight blur and leave the upper video unchanged except for changing its opacity. The result is a stunning capture of all the detail HD has to offer without the distracting skin pores.


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