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Porn industry is heavyweight in movie format battle

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Skin flicks seem set to back HD-DVD



SKIN TONES: The format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray is costing the industry millions of dollars, as all but the most ardent early adopters are holding back on jumping on board the new digital standard, and new owners of flat-panel HD TVs are content to play lower-quality DVDs on their fancy new screens until the smoke clears.


Last week, news broke that the porn industry – who played a deciding role in ending the format war between higher-quality Beta tapes and the ultimately triumphant VHS – were set to throw their weight behind HD-DVD. It was big enough news that the New York Times gave the story lengthy play in their business section yesterday.


Sony, who made a similar decision years ago when they stuck by their Beta tape format, have told the porn business that they won’t manufacture Blu-ray discs for them, which will likely force the considerable weight of porn movie distributors behind HD-DVD. It’s the wave of the future, and porn movie makers have been shooting in HD for two years to build up a backlog of releasable titles, according to the Times.


Not everyone in the business is enthusiastic about the switch to HD which – just as with its legitimate Hollywood counterpart – has caused its stars anguish at the prospect of every wrinkle, blemish and acne scar being recorded in unflinching high definition. “I’m not 100 per cent sure why anyone would want to see their porn in HD,” said Stormy Daniels, star of some films such as The Witches Of Breastwick, Tit Happens and Bless Their Little Holes.


There are a lot of unintentional giggles in the Times article – or there are if, like me, you have a juvenile sense of humour. We learn, for instance, that Hollywood filmmakers are wrestling with problems caused by the new high-definition formats, “but they are more pronounced for pornographers,” according to the Times, “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.”


Porn producers are advising their stars to spend more time at the gym, while others are taking the initiative to have more cosmetic surgery done. Technology is responding to the crisis, and a porn director named Joone Lewis (Island Fever 2) describes post-production software that “takes away the blemishes and the pits and harshness and makes it look like they have baby skin.”


The Times piece is funniest – and most perceptive – when it discusses the differing reactions to HD in the industry, where “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.” Ain’t it the truth.



rick.mcginnis@metronews.ca