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3D porn catches up with technology

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Tommy Gunn and Marcus London from London Gunn Films.
Photo: Allison Duck

The old Field of Dreams quote, "If you build it, he will come" takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the 3D technology seen at the Adult Entertainment Expo and the Consumer Electronics Show, running concurrently in Las Vegas this weekend.

The world of adult entertainment always follows technological advances as it has with the advent of VHS tapes, DVDs and the Internet. With blockbusters like Avatar and new TVs on display at CES increasing the popularity of 3D, this technology for the home is fast approaching, and the world of pornography is right on its heels.

Last October, porn star, director and producer Tommy Gunn introduced the world's first 3D interactive adult film: Tommy Gunn's Cummin' at You, which was nominated for six AVN awards this year. Now the porn pioneer has teamed up with friend and occasional co-star Marcus London to create London Gunn Films, a company targeted at releasing only 3D films.

London said, "We realized that after Avatar and the amount of movies that have come out this past year in 3D, that this is the future."

Their initial venture into 3D porn was a risky one, though, as the technology is not widespread just yet. There are some 3D compatible TVs on the market today though most of the major manufacturers stated at CES this year that they are estimating a mid-year release of their newest 3D compatible devices. Their appeal should be massive if 3D-film ticket sales are any indication, but it is anyone's guess if they will become as popular and prevalent as DVD players and Blu-ray players became in the years following their releases.

"This was a tester to see how the market and the business would take it and welcome this kind of technology," London said. "So far, so good. Obviously it's new technology and people have been scared about how it would work on their TV or how they would play it."

He added, "There are many TVs out there now that are 3D-ready and they're not that expensive. The one we brought to AEE to show our film, we just walked into a Best Buy and bought it for $700. And it's a super thin Samsung flat screen. When you consider that price, that's fairly cheap for a 42" TV that can accommodate 3D. We also picked up an Acer, a 3D capable laptop, for only $800."

The technology does exist and the major companies estimate sales of 3D units in the millions in the coming years. Vizio announced this year at CES that they are going to have a 65" XVT Pro 3D Full HDTV available in the first half of this year. The 72-inch model with wifi access and 3D capability is estimated to run about $3,500.

Once these products are widely available, the other variable is how quickly customers will make the switch to 3D adult films. London explained, "Seeing is believing. If you haven't seen it, you're not sure what it is. It's a new technology and it's going to take time for people to open their arms and say 'I want your 3D.'"

London's business partner Tommy Gunn noted, "Our films can be viewed in 2D as well, but when the time comes, and it's very close, we'll have a 3D library when the 3D content is being sought after because the 3D technology is there. We'll have it."

Gunn explained that the creation of a 3D adult film is a lot more complicated than the traditional format. "It is more knowing the science behind it. A typical DP — not the DP we usually speak of in our business, but the director of photography — has to be a stereoscopic director of photography. It's a different ball game. You can't just tape two cameras together and make it a 3D," Gunn said.

London and Gunn got an early start in the 3D porn industry but newcomers are seeking to make their marks as well. Lance B. Johnson, president of BadGirls in 3D, also attended AEE to promote his new website, BadGirlsIn3D.com, which launched over the weekend.

While London and Gunn plan to corner the market on 3D adult films, Johnson's company is focused on web technology and selling the products to accompany it. Johnson explained, "We're selling a complete in-home, turnkey package which includes a 60" 3D compatible Mitsubishi TV, two pairs of active shutter glasses, a micro PC with a stereo player and all the cables you need to plug it in for $3,999. We're also selling an adult subscription service for our online content."

Johnson plans to branch out into longer films once the technology is readily available for consumers. "Right now we are just shooting scenes but we are toying with the idea of shooting a 3D horror porn because horror is obviously a very popular subject matter for 3D movies. Perhaps science-fiction porn."

That is probably music to the ears of some of the sci-fi loving technophiles down the hall at CES.

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