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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:25 PM   #1
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10 lbs on video ?

Hi,

I've been wondering about the statement that subjects look fatter on video and TV. I've made my own videos and others (notably females) tell me that I look fatter on video than in real
life. Has anyone written an article on this? Is it due to the fuzzy edges in NTSC, the reduced dynamic range of video, the loss of stereo vision when viewing a flat source or ...
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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:35 PM   #2
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i have no definite answer, but i am guessing it has to do with shadows, more specifically contour shadows on a subject. i think a subject that is well lit may look fatter due to the lack of contour shadows that are seen under normally lighted (read: un-staged) conditions.

i am a pretty thin guy and if i am in normal, un-staged lighting, i actually look thinner on camera, not fatter.

just an idea (my $0.02), possibly incorrect.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:37 PM   #3
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Good question. I do not know the answer and cannot honestly say that I've observed this phenomenon. (I think I tend to hear this more from women than men.) But I have a theory: it's the frame. Much as a rising moon can look so huge when it's near the horizon (it's actually an optical illusion caused by your eye's frame of reference) people may look larger when framed on a small screen.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 10:55 PM   #4
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It also depends which country and type of people you speak too. Like in Australia and America, i have heard these comments, because to be honest a lot of people are overweight to start with. But then when i speak to actors from Spain and England, I get comments like "I looked boney", which makes me think that yes there is some truth to the fact you look 'different' on camera, but it is the mindset that decides which way you look different.

Also 2d vs 3d perspective is always going to be different.

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Old March 14th, 2004, 11:07 PM   #5
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i honestly never thought about it other than "they say the camera adds 10lb's, but just how many cameras was she wearing?"

but maybe it is the depth, in person the dimension of the torso plus the distance between you, person and background

aka depth of field?

matthew
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Old March 14th, 2004, 11:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
"they say the camera adds 10lb's, but just how many cameras was she wearing?"
Oh jeez, that's the best laugh I had all day!
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Old March 14th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #7
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> But I have a theory: it's the frame. Much as a rising
> moon can look so huge when it's near the horizon
> (it's actually an optical illusion caused by your eye's
> frame of reference) people may look larger when
> framed on a small screen.

Yep. I think that's it. This is why the effect seems to be less in 16:9 mode.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 11:41 PM   #8
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Also remember that they pick scrawny supermodels because on camera they fill out just enough to usually look very shapely. Of course, that's all based on taste. (Insert sound bit from Sir Mix-a-lot here).

Seriously though, I'm pretty much convinced it does add some weight to be on camera. And I have noticed this effect to be pronounced more in women than men. I have no idea why - my theory has to do with the fact that women are generally more curvy, and somehow this gets enhanced by both the framing and the lenses.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 02:49 AM   #9
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esh.. are we really talking about our weight here?

I like the theory about the illustion of the moon, but i also think it could be the type/ quality of the film and camera. I have a thin friend girl (about 5'10", 110 lbs) who has had her picture taken and it added, no joke, about 30 lbs. I had never seen this before, but there it was... puffy cheeks and all.

Maybe we're like vampires and our true self is shown on film/ video. Maybe what we see is just an illusion and that is on tape is real... CUE: Twilight Zone Theme
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Old March 15th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #10
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id guess this has more to do with th psycology of women than the technology of cameras....


also, i happen to agree: we dont get enough SirMixAlot in our day-to-day lives.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 02:41 PM   #11
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This comes from the fact that the image is now a flat, not true 3d image. This, along with the lens flattening the image creates the illusion of an additional ten pounds added.

You don't hear much about it anymore except, I think, in fashion photography. Motion pictures nowadays use more realistic people instead of insisting on everyone being a glamour star so I guess no one notices as much.

However, all the top screen stars are thin as a rail.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 05:37 PM   #12
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>This comes from the fact that the image is now a flat, not true >3d image.

If you close one eye in real life, the image is converted from 3D to 2D, and the "weight-gain" effect is not the same.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 05:43 PM   #13
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I agree with Bob.

I regularly tape 20-30 students in an acting class twice a week. Not only do they sometimes have an extremely different look on-screen as compared to real-life, they sometimes look heavier (mostly) and rarely thinner unless they are really thin to begin with.

The most obvious weight-gainers are the 'girl-next-door' types that look very good weight-wise in real-life but a little chunky on-screen. The ole double chin makes its appearance if the under-chin area isn't illuminated just right.

It's the 2D-3D and lighting thing. One can light someone to look thinner or fatter and the choice of lens can also make a difference. It is no mistake that portrait lenses for 35 mm are at least 2X longer than the 'normal' lens. Not only does this give the nose a more normal appearance, it also keeps the rest in better perspective.

(hint 1 - want to make a speaker at a podium look thinner? Place a white cover on the top of the podium so it reflects light up under the chin (and the eye-sockets too)).

Some women and men, who wouldn't gather a second glance on the street are stunningly good looking (or stunningly arresting) on-screen.
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Old March 15th, 2004, 05:48 PM   #14
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If I had to make a guess as to why this is, I would say it is because of the pixel aspect ratio... fatter than it is tall, thus you look wider... just a guess..

Incidentally in Photoshop if you want to shave a few pounds off of a still portrait, you size it to around 96% horizontally, but leave the vertical alone

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Old March 16th, 2004, 10:48 AM   #15
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Its interesting you say that... i took a still image of my now ex girlfiend :( vertically with a DV camera and i was surprised how long her face looked.
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