Is High Definition Good For Hollywood?

Those of us with high definition-compatible TV sets love what HD has done for our TV and movie-watching experiences. We now enjoy sharp, stunning images that are two to four times clearer than the standard images we were used to only a few years ago. Our movie nights and weekly prime-time viewings of our favorite TV shows all benefit from the excellent color resolution and sound quality afforded by high definition satellite TV. Sports entertainment has been changed forever, as it is far easier now to follow small movements, make out facial expressions, and keep up with the action from the comfort of your own living room. This is an advance that has transformed television and movies, and most of us couldn’t be happier.

But not everyone is singing the praises of the HD revolution. Hollywood’s stars are bemoaning the new technology’s ability to showcase every minor blemish and wrinkle-and so are their makeup artists. Naturally, stars whose faces are regularly blown up on the big screen for the world to see would rather the world not see each and every scar, crease, bead of sweat, and grey hair. They are understandably much more comfortable with their faces beaming from every television screen when those faces are perfectly touched up and airbrushed-but unfortunately, even the makeup typically used to hide these imperfections is picked up by the new cameras. Behind the scenes, makeup artists have to work extra hard to cover little (and not so little) imperfections without using think layers of makeup that call even more attention to an actor’s face in HD than the original blemish might have.

That our favorite Hollywood icons and heartthrobs have to deal with breakouts and bags under their eyes just like everyone else may be a bit of a letdown for some. Devoted fans and followers of celebrity gossip may find it a mild disappointment to learn that, beneath the glamorous lifestyle of fame, enormous mansions, expensive cars, and endless parties, many celebrities are just regular people. Those who like to live vicariously through the so-called “perfect” lives of their favorite superstars and pop idols can now see through their high definition screens that much of what they see on the red carpet and in celebrity magazines is merely a façade.

For the rest of us, however, it’s somewhat refreshing to see that those actors and actresses staring back at us from magazine covers and highway billboards aren’t in fact as flawless as they might appear-even though they may not want you to know it. Our favorite TV shows and movies have a new air of authenticity now. Watching an actor’s performance onscreen is now more absorbing than ever. An actor’s blemished face and wrinkling forehead may detract from our perfect image of celebrities, but it adds to the authenticity of his role. Just as watching sports in HD allows us to follow a player’s every move and feel the excitement of each game as we never could in the past, watching a movie with the same digital imaging allows us to detect the slightest changes in facial expressions and tone. It allows us appreciate a strong performance as we never have before.

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