Forget film crews rolling cameras in a velvet-draped cabana. The future of pornography could one day be a terrifying VR-camera-spider-helmet.
Los Angeles-based VR Bangers, which produces and distributes VR adult entertainment, on Tuesday released a concept design for its new VR capture camera rig, and it offers a surreal insight into the potential future of VR porn.
The company says the rig, which is shaped like a futuristic crash helmet, is fitted with seven cameras that shoot in up to 8K resolution, all positioned around the front and sides to capture a 300-degree field of view. There are two built-in binaural microphones, as well as a camera-stabilisation system.
But the company says the biggest selling point is the screens on the interior of the helmet, which stream footage to the adult performer wearing it in "real time".
That feature becomes more of a selling point when you consider the previous iteration of VR Bangers' camera tech: a bald mannequin head with cameras for eyes that looks like it's about to get ferried across the river of the dead in the underworld.
This is very much a proof of concept — the company says it's created a working prototype (with a 3D-printed helmet) that it's currently testing, but there are no plans to sell the "proprietary tech" to other companies.
"As VR is becoming more commonplace, it is very much a competitive field with a few main players," VR Bangers marketing director Igor Zhivago said via email. "So far we are choosing to maintain our competitive edge and using these rigs for our productions exclusively."
But while the Head Rig 2.0 has been used in filming, its big success could well be as a marketing gimmick to sell prospective audiences on the possibilities of immersive and interactive adult entertainment in the 21st century.
And as an industry, VR porn is on the rise. According to 2017 statistics from adult website Pornhub, reported by The New York Times, daily VR porn viewership numbers on the site rose a massive 250 percent within the first year of Pornhub hosting VR videos.
Other companies are also trying to get in on the cutting edge of adult entertainment. Firms like Naughty America are promising a future of sex toys with haptic feedback and experiments in augmented reality, while California-based Abyss Creations is working on RealDolls sex dolls that incorporate artificial intelligence so they can chat with their owners.
But while the Head Rig 2.0 shows the possibility of the adult entertainment industry, it also reveals a central truth of the business: filming sex isn't always sexy.
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