Families with new high-definition camcorders and news anchors being broadcast in HD have already discovered just how revealing the picture quality is. But few professionals bare as much in front of the camera as adult-film stars, and many are nervous abut the new technology.
“We’re all terrified,” said Stefani Morgan, a star at Vivid Entertainment Group, one of the largest adult movie makers. “I want to be a fantasy. I don’t want to show flaws.”
High-definition picture quality is so good that watching sports on HDTV is like being on the field. Adult industry directors compare it to being in the room.
“I think high-definition is good from a fan’s perspective because it puts everything so beautifully,” said Jenna Jameson, founder and the star of Club Jenna. “But from a woman’s perspective, we hate it because you can see every little piece of our body,” she added.
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But television broadcasting and home video are moving forward with high definition, and the adult industry is playing a role by releasing its first films on the HD disc format, HD DVD, which is battling rival Blu-ray Disc to become the successor to DVDs. The adult market is important market for the discs, with DVD sales reaching $3.6 billion last year, according to AVN Publications.
The trouble for the industry is that users are not taking to HD media players of either format as quickly as hoped. The Consumer Electronics Association slashed its sales estimate for stand-alone HD media players, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc combined, to just 250,000 last year, from a previous forecast of 750,000. The figures do not include Blu-ray Disc players on PlayStation 3 game consoles, nor HD DVD players on Xbox 360 game machines.
Jake Richter, an analyst at Jon Peddie Research, said he doesn’t care which format wins, as long as HD media playback takes hold, and fast.
“I am a true believer,” he says. “I have issued an edict in my household that we should no longer purchase any standard DVDs unless we really want the movies or shows right then and there AND they are not yet available in either HD DVD or Blu-ray formats. I will happily pay the $5 to $15 premium for the phenomenal increase in image clarity.”
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Adult directors also love HD technology for the sharp improvement in picture quality over standard TVs.
“In the end, who doesn’t want to see the most beautiful man or beautiful woman with the best image quality possible? It really brings it to life, it’s fantastic,” said Robby D, a director at adult-film maker Digital Playground.
And while actors and actresses may be nervous over the revealing clarity of high definition, directors said they shouldn’t spend too much time fretting. Filters and other techniques can always help clean up blemishes, make-up malfunctions, and other problems that might crop up on screen.
“I do a lot of post-manipulation of the product,” said Jay Grdina, president of Club Jenna. ” When I look at HD I think the last thing I ever want to do is make video look more like video. I want video to look more like film.”
His biggest star agreed, and offered up additional advice to colleagues.
“There’s obviously a lot of things you can do to soften things, filter, post-process,” said Jameson. “But you either feel comfortable enough to be naked in high-definition or you don’t, and that’s why the gym comes in handy.”