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Looking good in HD

Looking good in HD

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SALT LAKE CITY -- You may think only TV personalities have to worry about looking good in high-definition, but that could change very soon. Plenty of the camcorders that will be found under the Christmas tree this year shoot in HD.

For now, standard-definition personal camcorders are the norm. Even though high-definition cameras are available, high price tags are keeping them from being widely accepted just yet.

"It's more expensive to buy the camcorder. It's more expensive to burn the disc in high-definition, especially if you want to burn it to a Blu-ray disc," says Best Buy Digital Imaging Specialist Matt Heimueller.

However, Heimueller predicts HD cameras will eventually take over within a few years.

There's one problem with HD though. Have you noticed how people look, well, different? Hiding the flaws and imperfections a person has is a problem even the pros haven't mastered yet.

Heimueller says, "I watch 'The Office' a lot. Watching that in high-def is a lot different because you see all of Michael's scruff and every little detail on their face."

Some people may suggest specialized lighting or makeup to fix this problem. However, this may seem too technical for someone just using the camera to capture family moments. It may seem weird to make the kids wait to open their Christmas presents so you can touch up their foundation first.

There are a few things the average consumer can do that can make people look better in HD. Heimueller says some HD cameras can blur facial images ever so lightly.

"A lot of the camcorders have what's called a 'beauty mode' or some just call it a 'soft mode.' It softens the facial features so [things like] scruff from a beard would go away," he says.

But what if your camera doesn't have this feature?

Jacob Thorup, a TV specialist salesman for Best Buy says, "You can get a diffusion filter. Those range anywhere from $20 over $100 depending on which one you're looking at."

Other than that, there isn't much people can do to hide their imperfections in HD. The real problem is light. Thorup says if you don't have control of the light, you're basically at the mercy of nature.

"A can light that comes directly down on somebody is going to cast a lot of really heavy, harsh shadows and that's what's creating the detail is shadow," he says.

Using softer or dimmer light could make people look better, but lowering the lights is risky. Thorup says, "The problem with that is you get into low-light situations and the video gets muddy."

Thorup says light bounced off a surface may look better than direct light.


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Paul Nelson


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