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<nettime> strange collisiion of porn and tech
Kimberly De Vries on Tue, 23 Jan 2007 02:57:32 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> strange collisiion of porn and tech


Some of you might find this NY Times article interesting; apparently
porn manufacturers feels HD will let viewers feel even closer to the
action, closer to reality, but it turns out that reality is not what
it's cracked up to be.

Many of us were onto that idea already; I think that while on the one
hand people say they want "reality" the notion of reality is slipping.
 Since most commercial videos and still images are digitally enhanced
to make all the people more attractive (at least in the US), I'm not
sure most viewers actually know what real people look like.  Or even
consider what is meant when something is labeled "real" or "reality."

Cheers,

Kim

January 22, 2007

In Raw World of Sex Movies, High Definition Could Be a View Too Real
By MATT RICHTEL

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 21 =97 The XXX industry has gotten too graphic, even
for its own tastes.

Pornography has long helped drive the adoption of new technology, from
the printing press to the videocassette. Now pornographic movie
studios are staying ahead of the curve by releasing high-definition
DVDs.

They have discovered that the technology is sometimes not so sexy. The
high-definition format is accentuating imperfections in the actors =97
from a little extra cellulite on a leg to wrinkles around the eyes.

Hollywood is dealing with similar problems, but they are more
pronounced for pornographers, who rely on close-ups and who, because
of their quick adoption of the new format, are facing the issue more
immediately than mainstream entertainment companies.

Producers are taking steps to hide the imperfections. Some shots are
lit differently, while some actors simply are not shot at certain
angles, or are getting cosmetic surgery, or seeking expert grooming.

"The biggest problem is razor burn," said Stormy Daniels, an actress,
writer and director.

Ms. Daniels is also a skeptic. "I'm not 100 percent sure why anyone
would want to see their porn in HD," she said.

The technology's advocates counter that high definition, by making
things clearer and crisper, lets viewers feel as close to the action
as possible.

"It puts you in the room," said the director known as Robby D., whose
films include "Sexual Freak."

The pornographers' progress with HD may also be somewhat slowed by
Sony, one of the main backers of the Blu-ray high-definition disc
format. Sony said last week that, in keeping with a longstanding
policy, it would not mass-produce pornographic videos on behalf of the
movie makers.

The decision has forced pornographers to use the competing HD-DVD
format or, in some cases, to find companies other than Sony that can
manufacture copies of Blu-ray movies.

The movie makers assert that it is shortsighted of Sony to snub them,
given how pornography helps technologies spread.

"When you're introducing a new format, it would seem like the adult
guys can help," said Steven Hirsch, co-chief executive officer of
Vivid Entertainment Group, a big player in the industry. Mr. Hirsch
added that high definition, regardless of format, "is the future."

Despite the challenges, pornographers =97 who distributed some 7,000 new
movies on DVD last year and sold discs worth $3.6 billion in the
United States =97 are rapidly moving to high-definition.

One major company, Digital Playground, plans to release its first four
HD-DVD titles this month, and plans four new ones each month. In
March, Vivid plans to release "Debbie Does Dallas ... Again," its
first feature for both HD-DVD and Blu-ray.

Vivid, like Digital Playground, has been shooting with high-definition
cameras for two years to build up a catalog of high-definition movies.
Both studios have released the movies in standard definition but plan
to make the high-definition versions available as compatible disc
players and televisions become more popular.

The studios said their experience using the technology gives them an
advantage in understanding how to cope with the mixed blessing of
hypercrisp images. Their techniques include using postproduction tools
that let them digitally soften the actors' skin tone.

"It takes away the blemishes and the pits and harshness and makes it
look like they have baby skin," said the director known as Joone, who
made "Pirates," one of the industry's top-selling videos. It will be
available this month in high-definition.

Joone does not use a last name, but he does use a number of techniques
to keep his films blemish-free. They include giving out lifestyle
tips.

"I tell the girls to work out more, cut down on the carbs, hit the
treadmill," he said.

Within the industry, the issue seems to have created a difference in
perspective that cuts roughly along gender lines. Some male actors
have begun using makeup to mitigate wrinkles or facial flaws, but
generally they, and the male directors, are less worried about
high-definition's glare and more enamored of the technology.

Ms. Daniels said that attitude was just so typical of men.

"Men are all about outdoing each other, being up with the times, being
cool, having the latest technology," she said. "They're willing to
sacrifice our vanity and imperfections to beat each other" to
high-definition, she said.

Other female actors say they generally like working with
high-definition =97 except for the cosmetic-surgery part.

Jesse Jane, one of the industry's biggest stars, plans to go under the
knife next month to deal with one side effect of high-definition. The
images are so clear that Ms. Jane's breast implants, from an operation
six years ago, can be seen bulging oddly on screen.

"I'm having my breasts redone because of HD," she said.

The stretch marks on Ms. Jane from seven years ago when she gave birth
to her son are also more apparent. But she deals with those blemishes
in a simpler way: by liberal use of tanning spray.

Still, Ms. Jane likes the technology, as does her close friend Kirsten
Price, 25, who appeared in "Manhunters" and "Just Like That."

"HD is great because people want to see how people really look," Ms.
Price said. "People just want to see what's real."

Ms. Price is allowing them to do so, mostly. She had laser treatments
to diminish tiny purple veins on her thighs that weren't visible to
viewers before.

"You can see things you cannot see with the naked eye. You see skin
blemishes; you see cottage cheese," said Robbie D. "But some cellulite
is not necessarily a bad thing. It's kind of sexy."

The technology makes the experience more intimate, he said. "People
look to adult movies for personal contact, and yet they're still not
getting it. HD lets them see a little bit more of the girl."

That's not necessarily good, said Savanna Samson, an actress who last
December directed her first movie, "Any Way You Want Me." During a
scene in which she played a desperate housewife, she ran into a
problem: the high-definition camera revealed she had a tiny ill-placed
pimple.

"We kept stopping and trying to hide it. We put on makeup and powder,
but there was no way," Ms. Samson said. Finally, they tried another
approach: "We just changed positions," she said.


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