Can 'Jailhouse Heat' save 3-D?

You probably won’t see stars walking the red carpet for the première of “Jailhouse Heat 3D” later this month — if you’ll be watching at all — but the first fully-functional 3-D pornographic movie might just be the tipping point that pushes consumers to embrace personal 3-D.

Don’t laugh, because the adult film industry has been a factor in a lot of technology-based decisions over the years. Remember when VHS and Betamax were competing formats? Sony refused to let pornography onto Beta while the companies behind VHS let their tapes become open season. And we all know what happened: VHS crushed Betamax, even though in many ways it was an inferior technology. Pornography wasn’t the only factor in that outcome, but it was a significant driver.

The road to 3-D has been a really bumpy one in terms of major adoption by consumers. Despite a huge push from companies making 3-D gear, sales have been very slow, to the point where the format is in danger of disappearing.

It seems that although people generally are willing to pay an extra few dollars to see a movie in 3-D at the theater, they aren’t willing to spend hundreds or thousands of extra dollars to bring a 3-D TV into their home.

That could change somewhat with less expensive 3-D products such as the Acer HN274H, which the lab is reviewing for our special December holiday issue. But to get a true install base, you need a killer application, and 3-D pornography, as unlikely as it seems, might be it.

In the lab, we don’t expect to see news releases from the adult film industry, but after we got one about “Jailhouse Heat’s” use of 3-D, I talked with Ali Joone, the vice president of Digital Playground, which is producing the movie.

“We’re using the same rigs and technology that were used in the movie ‘Avatar’,” he said. “You can perform all the zooms and camera movements you want, and the computer controls keep everything in focus, so the result is an amazing and smooth 3-D experience.”

If you want to experience it for yourself, you need to have a 3-D monitor or TV. But Joone said he isn’t worried about the current install base for 3-D, though he expects that part of his job in marketing the film will be educating consumers about what makes for good-quality 3-D, which he says requires the types of camera rigs used in “Avatar.” In fact, he defines the world of 3-D as post-Avatar technology…and then everything else.

Joone’s been in the adult film industry for a long time, and says that high-quality 3-D has an impact. “Here at Digital Playground we’re exposed to adult material every day,” he said. “It’s normally no big deal. But when you see a high-quality adult film in 3-D, it really makes even us take notice.”

I’m not completely convinced that this new type of film will be the savior of a format that seems to be against the ropes this holiday season, even if Joone makes a compelling argument. But if by this time next year everyone has fully embraced 3-D for “other” reasons, well, you and I will know the truth.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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Reader Comments

Wed, Nov 16, 2011 John Breeden II The GCN Lab

Hi Defender. Nice to see you are still out there. To answer your question and Interested Party’s innuendo, yes and no. We are reviewing the Acer 3D monitor as part of our very cool December GCN holiday issue. But we have no plans to review the movie at this time. It’s a little outside our expertise to do that. I don’t even know what kind of scale we would use to grade it. :-)

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 interested party

@Defender Umm, you think it's just coincidence that they're currently reviewing the Acer HN274H 3D monitor?

Tue, Nov 15, 2011 Alan3 Kentucky

Yes the 4 disk set it a little more expencive, but I may not always want to watch the movie in 3D, Sometimes I may just want the 2D version, and truthfuly the digital copy is nice to have when I travel.

Tue, Nov 15, 2011

I think the biggest detractor to home 3D is the way the Blu-rays are marketed. For most movies, especially current ones, the DVD sellers are requiring an interested party to purchase the movie in 4 versions (3D, Blu-ray, DVD and digital) in order to get the 3D version, all with a premium price tag to match (~$35 vs ~$24). If I am looking to buy the 3D movie, I obviously have the technology to view it without all of the other versions so why are the 3D people being forced to buy the 4 version set? It just keeps me from buying the movie at all, I just watch them on pay per view when they are on 3D channels. Why am I not able to buy just the 3D movie? I would not be upset by a premium of a dollar or two over standard Blu-ray after all the equipment and labor to make the movie is a little greater but all that extra money to buy versions that I will never watch anyway? Get off it.


John, it wasn't quite clear in the article, are you guys going to be doing tests in the lab?

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