More jobs, extra care needed as high-definition technology reveals the naked truth The advent of high-definition television is a boon to makeup artists and cosmetic companies specialising in subtle makeup techniques and products as actors and presenters ditch their old-fashioned pan-stick. Makeup for television programmes has traditionally been applied heavily, but the quality of high-definition cameras means dark or heavy makeup now stands out. The new service has brought job opportunities to hundreds of makeup artists in the city. 'It's not only the makeup,' said Why Chan Choi-yuk, chief artiste image supervisor at TVB. 'Since every mistake will become very obvious on high-definition broadcasts, we spend a lot of time checking whether the colour tone on the artiste's ears and neck echoes the one on the face.' Ms Chan said the team was growing bigger. 'Last year we had 22 makeup artists, but we have hired another eight in the last two months and we will be taking in more,' she said. 'Especially in big productions like TVB's anniversary show, we need a lot of part-time artists.' More care also has to be taken with extras and minor characters. Ms Chan said the team started preparing for high-definition broadcasting last March. 'We gave training for makeup artists and also provided short tutorials for artistes who need to take part in outdoor, non-drama programmes,' she said. Cosmetics for high-definition broadcasts are usually manufactured in Japan and Europe, according to Karen Tse Yuk-chun, of local professional makeup supplier May's Company. They cost up to double the price of conventional ones, depending on the brand and volume. 'We can't tolerate pancake makeup anymore. Everyone is turning to natural and lightweight makeup,' said May Cheung Suk-mei, an artist who worked at TVB and ATV for 23 years and is now a makeup trainer. 'We have to make artistes look as if they aren't wearing any makeup.' Another veteran, Tommy Chan, who has been handling makeup for cinema and television for 20 years, agreed. 'Cosmetics such as loose powder and lightweight foundations with natural tones are common.' But unlike customers who are spending lots of money replacing their old televisions with new, high-definition ones, makeup artists are making a saving from digital broadcasting. 'The technique is all about getting the makeup as thin as possible,' Ms Cheung said. 'It helps to save us a lot, such as skin foundation, which we consume 50 per cent less than before.' High-definition technology is also forcing actors to change their ways. Wong Cho-lam, who appears as computer technician Lau Wah in TVB's sitcom Best Selling Secrets, the channel's first drama broadcast in the high-definition format, said the service had changed his habits. 'I now go to the beauty salon for facials three times a month,' he said. 'I used to go only when I was on holiday. And now I use more skincare products to prevent acne.' He said he no longer stayed up late so as to avoid looking tired on camera. The high-definition camera never lies, so male actors have to show up clean - without their stubble. Wong said: 'We shave every day because we can't hide it with foundation any more.'