The first technical study of film make-up was pub-
lished in the Journal of the Society of Motion Picture En-
gineers under the title of the “Standardization of Motion
Picture Make-up,” by Max Factor, in January 1937.
It discussed in detail the tests and results of designing
make-up bases or foundations for black-and-white film
rather than using the old theater make-up shades. A
basic series of shades, ranging from a light pink to a
deep orange-tan and numbered from Panchromatic 21
to 31, became the standard for many years for all black-
and-white screen use. This report discussed the history
of the use of make-up on the stage and the evolution
of film from the orthochromatic to the panchromatic
Some attempt was made in manufacuring the make-
up shades so that psychologically the performers were
not faced with highly unnatural colors; nevertheless, panchromatic make-up did appear rather yellowish to
orange-tan in skin tone, and even though a cheek rouge
of a very pale shade (Light Technicolor) was employed
later to remove the flat look from the cheeks of women,
the overall effect still had a made-up look offscreen.
Incidentally, the cheek rouge was so light that it did
not register on the black-and-white screen with any
tonal difference and was solely for performer psychol-
ogy. Unfortunately, for some years performers became
so accustomed to seeing themselves in panchromatic
shade make-up for films or television that they often
attempted to employ it on stage—where they looked
as if an advanced stage of jaundice had set in, especially
in the men’s shades, rather than the pink-ruddy-tan
shades correct stage make-up required.
In the Max Factor tests, Lovibond tintometer de-
termination was employed to carefully design the shades
of make-up that would translate into comparative nat-
ural skin tones for performers in a black-and-white
medium. Pan 25 and 26 became the women’s shades,
and Pan 28 and 29 were used for men, with a shade
that was three numbers below the base shade (say, Pan
22 for women) employed to create highlights that would
photograph three shades lighter on the gray scale, while
one that was three numbers above (such as Pan 28)
appeared as a shading that photographed three shades
darker on the gray scale. All this information worked
out perfectly well for black-and-white television too,
but when film and television went to color, these prin-
ciples became ineffective and basically incorrect.
The first technical paper on make-up for color me-
diums was published in the Journal of the Society of
Motion ‘Picture and Television Engineers under the title
of “New Make-up Materials and Procedures for Color
Mediums,” by Vincent J-R Kehoe in November 1966,
with a revision in the April 1970 issue and an entirely
new set of recommendations in the November 1979
issue of this same journal. Here were set up the newest
principles and methods, as well as new products, for
color—all of which could be employed compatibly
when a black-and-white print was made from a color
film or a television colorcast was to be viewed on a
black-and-white receiver. As such, a complete change
of what the professional make-up artist should carry
in his or her kit was made, and it became no longer
necessary to carry any black-and-white or panchromatic
Over the years, with the improvement in film types
as well as the technological advances in color television,
newer foundation shades were devised so that now,
only one basic series of pink-beige to ruddy, natural
tan that is very natural looking even offscreen or offs-
tage is necessary for most professional use for Cauca-
soids. The design of this new series was made by the
author after exhaustive comparative tests on stage and
screen, with some of the leading film manufacturers
and television stations acting as test areas.