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Americans Got Tired of Looking Bad on Zoom

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In the mid-2000s, news anchors found themselves with a problem: They didn’t look so hot anymore. Their real-life visages hadn’t changed, but the technology that beamed them into millions of households had outpaced their faces’ ability to keep up. High-definition cameras proliferated, as did the enormous HDTVs that render blemishes, pancake makeup, and flyaways in larger-than-life detail. Local newscasters with limited budgets fretted over judgment from viewers. CNN’s Anderson Cooper considered plastic surgery. Makeup and lighting crews scrambled to adjust.

When the pandemic hit, the same thing happened to millions of Americans. This was hardly our worst problem in March, but it was a problem nonetheless. While people had been living their in-person life, blissfully unaware of their expression at any given moment, the cameras around them had been multiplying and improving. Once office work and socializing went online, everyone looked terrible. Americans had spent the past decade mastering the momentary muscle movements of a good selfie, but starring in a high-quality live video in front of co-workers or romantic prospects for hours at a time is a different beast entirely. People had no idea how to contend with broadcasting their own face—weird shadows, awkward backdrops, and under-the-chin shots from low-slung laptops abounded.

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A computer monitor has a glowing light on its edges and a blinking face in its middle.Asia Pietrzyk

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/11/ring-lights-for-all/617143/

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