To handle this very important set and costume color contact, the Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation has available the services of a color control department to advise on the color design of the sets, the evaluation of costume colors, and allied problems. This department has a background of experience from all productions, and its experience and highly developed judgment are available, through the normal functioning of the department, to each new production as it comes along. This department is the spearhead of the Technicolor photographic activity.
The make-up problem is handled, as in black-and-white pictures, by the studio make-up departments, although the color cameraman does have the responsibility of requesting the "touching up" of the make-up as it may be necessary, and he very often has special problems that require close collaboration with the make-up man. For instance, on exteriors with the actors working in sunshine, they usually begin to sunburn, and make-up changes must be made in many cases to handle these gradually tanning complexions. Frequently this means a new make-up problem in order to keep the camera appearance of the flesh tones the same. It can readily be seen that this can become a difficult job. The reverse is also true. As the troupe begins stage work after returning from the exteriors, their tanned skins will slowly fade and the problem of compensating by make-up continues. Occasionally we have had difficulty due to physical exertion on the part of the principals, causing faces to flush beneath the make-up, which effects the camera appearance.
The color camera is very discerning of flesh quality, and we find it necessary to include in the make-up area the neck and throat, and the hands and arms if they show. On rare occasions no make-up at all is used, and it is frequently omitted when photographing babies, as their clear smooth skin generally needs no correction.
It should be kept in mind that, generally speaking, the primary function of make-up is to correct extremes in colors, cover blemishes, and generally reduce the tone range observed in any average group of persons. If one will note the varying complexions of people, he will readily appreciate that if three or four persons were lined up side by side to be photographed, it would be highly desirable and probably very necessary to correct the flesh tones and greatly reduce the tone spread. This must not be interpreted as meaning that all flesh tones should appear alike. Variations of tone are very desirable. It is the extremes that are undesirable. Obviously a white man with a heavy tan who photographs like an Indian is not a very convincing white man. The most critical care is given to the close-ups, especially of the principals. The care and attention given to the problem are, of course, directly proportional to the screen importance of the skin tones.