Why you need a Makeup Artist on Set

April 15, 2019
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If you have ever visited the set of a video shoot before, you know there are a lot of moving parts. Loading in and getting set up, cameras positioned, perfecting lighting, checking audio, finalizing script and movements all happening at the same time to keep a shoot rolling. With so much happening on tight shooting schedules, adding complexities of the talent not being camera ready can significantly slow things down. This may negatively impact the production as scenes and topics scheduled for the day might not all get covered.

Although our Director can point out when the talent has a shine on their nose, or their hair gets some static, that is not his/her primary job. The Director’s job is visualizing the concept and script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. A dedicated makeup artist (MUA) will allow the talent to look their best without impacting production time. Throughout the day the MUA is also on hand for touch ups between takes, again saving time and keeping the shoot on schedule.

How makeup translates on video is very different than how it appears to the naked eye. Now you might think “we really don’t need a makeup artist, our employees look great every day”. As true as this may be, makeup appears quite differently through a lens and is much more pronounced than what you see in a mirror. High definition optics can do some interesting things to your complexion and pores.

While your own makeup skills may look flawless for daily wear, everyday makeup isn’t generally subject to the harsh criticism of a HD lens – let alone 4K, 6K, or even 8K! The lens captures and emphasizes details your eyes don’t see such as:

  • Shiny skin
  • Perspiration
  • Uneven skin tones
  • Tousled hair and flyaways
  • Chapped/cracked lips

A professional makeup artist is experienced in applying makeup for high-definition video and understands exactly how the application will be translated on screen. It takes an artful and experienced eye to see the structure in each face, and visualize which products to use and where to apply them. Professional MUAs continually study the art of their craft, and live and breathe face shapes, contours, colour theory, skin care, etc. They understand how to emphasize a person’s best facial features while disguising other, less flattering ones.


A MUA does more than makeup, they are essential in helping a production run smoothly and quickly. While gear is being set up and the Director’s going over details with the crew, the MUA is getting the talent camera ready. Once shooting begins, the MUA is simultaneously preparing the next talent keeping the production moving and on time. Furthermore, the MUA is on hand for touch ups between takes ensuring the talent looks as good, and more importantly, looks the SAME from the start till end of day. This continuity significantly helps in post-production for smoother editing and reducing the post-production process for a quicker turnaround.

One of the most underrated roles on a production team (and often one of the first to be cut when trimming a budget), the MUA is just as critical as any other crew member. When creating your shooting budget, take it from the experts – budget for a MUA! It will without a doubt save your company time and money on the overall production. Believe us – this is one role you didn’t know you needed, but will be beyond grateful to have!