Adult actresses Celeste Star, Selena Rose, Ash Hollywood and the studios talk 3D porn

Like it or not porn has always been associated with adopting technology ahead of the curve. Secure browsing, online payments, high-definition video, DVD and VHS, but how is the industry reacting to the latest tech in home cinema; 3D?

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should", Farley Cahen, chief operating officer at Digital Playground tells Pocket-lint at this year’s Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

Digital Playground, one of the biggest porn movie studios in the world is most famous for its high budget movies like Pirates 1 and 2, and new releases Top Guns and Body Heat.

“At the moment 3D porn isn’t Avatar. It’s great for mainstream audiences, but it’s not for porn just yet”, says Cahen who describes Digital Playground as an entertainment company that does porn rather than a porn company that does entertainment.  

Cahen’s main issue with 3D at the moment is the technology, a concern that seems to run through the industry.

“Are you going to wear 3D glasses when you’re naked with your wife?” he asks before questioning whether people even have 3D televisions in their bedrooms yet. Cahen believes that rather than single men watching porn in the living room, it's a wholesome experience to be shared with your partner, but either way his argument stands true that there aren't enough TV's out there to make the return on investment worthwhile. 

It’s a similar view that’s held by director and producer Matt Morningwood at Pink Visual, another of the leading porn studio. His concern is about the size of the technology and the limitations it brings when filming.

As the in-house producer for Pink Visual, Matt has produced and/or directed well over 1,000 sex scenes, including Adult Video News award-winning series such as MilfSeeker, WifeSwitch, Couples Seduce Teens and Her First Lesbian Sex.

“To film in 3D you have to be about 12ft away to get the best effect, and that’s not good for porn”, says Morningwood talking about the issues of filming 3D. “At the moment it’s too much headache for not much payoff”.

Of course that isn't stopping the company filming in 3D completely. Pink Visual has been shooting 3D porn for around 3 years with exclusive content for both the iPhone (with a dedicated 3D case), and mini-episodes for the web, but so far it’s all been very niche.

“We are waiting for 3D penetration in the home”, says Morningwood perhaps not realising the pun. “When they ditch the glasses that’s when it will get interesting”.

Matt’s also looking forward to getting smaller cameras that allow him to get closer to the action:

“We want cameras like the new Panasonic to get closer to the action”, Morningwood tells us, clearly getting excited about some of the announcements from CES.

Panasonic, and others have launched a bevy of new professional and consumer 3D cameras at CES in Las Vegas this year that go towards fulfilling Morningwood’s dreams of a smaller, single device for shooting 3D rather than two cameras and a large, complicated rig.

But this idea of a lot of work for not much return is still in the way and is also a view shared by Marc Twain and Nicholas Steele, studio execs at Bluebird films.

“It’s exhausting getting through the problems with new tech”, says Twain. “The only reason to do it is to be a pioneer”.

Steele was one of the first directors to shoot in HD and knows only too well the problems of embracing a new technology can have.

The move from SD to HD was met with apprehension from many of the stars worried that the new technology would show off every little detail to their detriment. Today those fears have mostly gone with the industry excepting the high-def footage for what it is.

“The girls love it and are more excited about 3D than they were HD”, says Morningwood.

And he’s right.

“I love 3D, I look pretty”, Selena Rose, star of Top Guns from Digital Playground told Pocket-lint when we asked her about filming in the added depth format.

Other porn stars are even more excited about filming in 3D.

“My ass looks fucking awesome in 3D”, said Ash Hollywood, a model with Vsex.com, when we asked her and Dani Jensen what they thought - Jensen loves it too saying just that: “We love it. We’re happy to film in 3D”.

But just like Morningwood, Twain, and Cahen, some stars aren’t so happy with the experience believing that it goes against some of the intimacy of the scene.

“I enjoyed it, but it feels too forced at the moment”, porn actress Celeste Star explained to Pocket-lint. “We need to find a way to make it more realistic”.

Star, who has been nominated multiple times for an AVN award, worries that at the moment it’s all about making things come out of the screen at the audience rather than making sure the scene looks sexy and is enjoyable.

“When I was eating out Sammie Rhodes I had to force it for the 3D camera”, Star tells us complaining about a recent 3D shoot she had done and the difficulties of thinking and acting in 3D - many 3D movies (we've had to watch a few just for this article and it was hard) involve the actresses and actors exaggerating their movement to make the most of the new third dimension - but not everyone is so downbeat.

Ron Goldberg is a producer at Funky Monkey Movies, a porn studio that is so excited about 3D porn that they shot 12 3D movies in 2010 with two 3D movies slated each month for 2011.

Its movies are a combination of original stories and remakes like their Bond spoof Octopussy 3-D. 3D is already working well for them with three nominations in the 3D category of the 2011 AVN porn awards (the award eventually went to This Ain’t Avatar XXX 3D from Hustler Video, however).

“We innovate technology”, Goldberg tells us explaining how the porn industry is always at the cutting edge of new technology. “3D isn’t the future, it’s the now”.

Goldberg tells us that 3D movies are already making the studio money and FMM is even launching a 3D webcam called iTalk 3D so people can make their own 3D porn movies at home. The iTalk 3D, which incidentally is a re-badged Novo Minoru 3D, will let you experience 3D on your computer without having to have a 3D screen - you’ll just have to wear red and blue anaglyph glasses.

“What do 2D movies have?” questions Goldberg. “They're just flat”.

It’s an opinion that isn’t convincing others in the market though. While Matt Morningwood, Marc Twain, and Farley Cahen all believe that 3D movies will be, as Morningwood puts it, “everywhere for sure within 5 years”, for now all three of them aren’t ready to make the move.

“It’s off our list for the moment”, says Cahen of Digital Playground’s 3D plans. Morningwood at Pink Visual has a similar view: “It’s always on the slate, but not yet”, while for Twain at Bluebird Films it’s “a niche that will stay a niche”.

It’s clear from talking to directors, producers, and the stars that 3D is coming and coming quickly, but like HD before there is resistance to the new technology and the challenges it brings; something that technology in the guise of glasses free television screens, and smaller 3D cameras should eventually fix.

Of course the overriding success of 3D porn will come down to the viewers. If there is an appetite for 3D porn from the porn watching public, then studios will be keen to make it. At the moment that urge just doesn’t seem to be there with many fans at the show we talked to not really fussed either way, seeing it still as a gimmick rather than a must have.

The main concern is that, until the 3D television makes it out of your living room and into your bedroom, it’s unlikely to appeal to those keen to watch porn to spruce up their sex life with their partner.

As Farley Cahen kept on asking: “Are you going to wear 3D glasses when you’re naked with your wife?”

For now, according to the industry, the answer looks to be no.