Theatrical make-up is the art of enhancing or altering the visage, hair and body of an actor through cosmetics, plastic materials such as latex and molding, and casting silicones and plaster-based prosthetics. These techniques create advanced cosmetic effects, and some truly remarkable transformations can be achieved. This practise is used down the ages, and is famously used in films such as Frankenstein (1931), Planet of the Apes (1968), The Thing (1982), HowThe Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Iron Man (2008) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) where the actors have full, often surreal makeovers that leave them completely unrecognisable.
Time-lapse is the perfect media to show these transformations taking place, highlighted in the examples below.
Becoming Nebula: Using Time-Lapse to show Costume and Make-Up Transformations
Karen Gillan underwent a complete transformation for her role as Nebula in The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), her look was achieved using prosthetics and make-up to help channel the Marvel character. Karen Gillan shaved her head for the role and the final look took nearly five hours to achieve. The blue-hued villain assassin Nebula was created using a five-piece prosthetic with butt joins and blend-offs which allowed for naturalistic movement.
Shrek Costume and Make-Up Time-lapse
That’s a Rapp’s time-lapse YouTube video shows the complete transformation of an actor into the character of Shrek, for their role in Shrek The Musical . Using a range of prosthetics and clever make-up techniques the video shows the incremental metamorphosis of the actor as they begin to look like the famous green ogre.
Cats: Costume and Make-Up Time-Lapse
YouTube user Misha’s Cosplay shows how to re-create Munkustrap’s look with careful make-up applications and the use of a wig. This recognisable and striking Broadway character’s image shows the capabilities of make-up to completely alter the visage of an actor.
Marvel Studios: Yondu Time-Lapse Transformation
TuDesordenTV released on YouTube a time-lapse video showing the extensive makeover of actor Michael Rooker into Yondu, in the film The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). This film became the third highest grossing film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and for the 87th Academy Awards was nominated for ‘Best Make-Up and Hairstyling’ and ‘Best Visual Effects’. We love how time-lapse perfectly articulates the difficult journey of bringing the character to life on screen.
Art The Clown: Transformation Time-Lapse
The imposing and terrifying quality of characters in film is often achieved through their visual appearance. This can be said in the film, The Terrifier (2016) where the character Art the Clown looks unnerving and intimidating. The transformation of David Howard Thornton into the wide-mouthed blood-soaked clown is particularly poignant. At the start of the video we see a happy smiling David and we watch as he slowly changes into the disturbing clown.
Marilyn Monroe Time-Lapse
In recent Netflix drama, Blonde (2022) Cuban actress Ana de Armas played the role of Marilyn Monroe. Her make-over into one of the world’s most recognisable icons is startling as she looks incredibly similar to the late actor when her final look is revealed. Ana’s long dark locks are hidden under a wig and the techniques of make-up artists completely alter her appearance.
It is clear that advances in prosthetics and make-up artistry have helped to create some of the striking visual appearances of actors as shown in these videos. The story of how these looks are achieved is perfectly articulated through time-lapse, as they clearly show each phase of activity. As the leading provider of time-lapse solutions in the UK we are proud that this media is being recognised as an art form that can beautifully capture change.
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