FOR THOSE WHO CARE--A NOTE ABOUT LIGHTING:
In the interest of further espousing my belief that production sensibilities and choices can contribute in subtle and artistic ways to the overall impact of adult entertainment (just as with any other form of entertainment), I thought I might touch a little bit on lighting. Many people make the incorrect assumption that the lighting behind your average well produced porn video is no more than turning on wall switches and opening some curtains. In most cases, this is simply not true. Lighting can be an extraordinarily complex and subtle artistic medium, contributing just as much as good camera work, the right outfits, and good locations. After all, in the most basic sense, where there is no light, there is no vision, and if we can't see what's happening, there's no reason for us to watch it. Moreover, careful control over and understanding of highlight and shadow and accentuation of form can make an otherwise beautiful woman even more beautiful, while lack of attention to these elements can result in performers who don't look their best. Unfortunately, VERY few producers in the adult industry understand how to take full advantage of lighting as a means of a clear, unfettered, yet flattering and even artistic presentation of the action they are recording. The result of this lack of full understanding is one of three methods of production: 1.) Bright, and functional lighting from all angles. This is a cheap, easy, and excellent way to go as it at least allows us to see the action. This type of lighting is most predominant and can be seen in most gonzo porn of today, including movies from Red Light District, Ana/Diabolic, Elegant Angel, etc. 2.) Poor, bare bones lighting. This type of lighting is, unfortunately pretty predominant as well. All but the best and most expensive broadcast quality video cameras require much more lighting than can be provided by your average ceiling mounted light fixture at home. An attempt to go with less than is required results in grainy picture quality, undesirable shadows and throngs of frustrated porn fans who can't see their favorite stars. 3.) Attempts at good and artistic lighting that fail miserably. One of the worst offenders in this arena is Jim Powers--but he is by no means the only one. This often involves the over-use of deep color, poorly executed attempts at accentuating form and establishing mood through highlight and shadow, and inadvertently asking too much of too little equipment. These scenes tend to be the worst not only for the lack of an acceptable AMOUNT of light, but also for upsetting the natural skin color of the performers in an amateurish attempt to use color. Clearly, for those who really don't understand what they are doing, my choice would be for them to always err toward option #1. HOWEVER, lighting, when well executed, can contribute to a scene in fantastic and subconscious ways. Although lighting is principally handled by the videographer (or in the case of film, the cinematographer) of a shoot, some directors are worth mention for their consistent and exceptional use of the medium for adult entertainment: Michael Raven has produced movies with exquisite lighting. John Stagliano has proven good understanding of how to make use of the medium--especially in his films. Antonio Adamo clearly spends a large amount of time on lighting, and uses it beautifully. Even principally gonzo director Rocco Siffredi has effectively used light as more than just illumination. While a full discussion of the intricacies of lighting design for entertainment is well beyond the scope of this review, it is my belief that like any other form of entertainment, production elements (both good and bad) can contribute in both profound and subtle ways to the overall impression of the product. For me, when someone does it really well--it's a joy to watch and worthy of praise and attention.
Pandora Bazaar is a new kid on the block in the landscape of porn producers. They formed in September of 2001 and over the last year or so have brought a welcome sense of vitality and fresh ideas to the porn world, due in no small part to co-owner Anders Manga--a very accessible, intelligent, and young-at-heart fellow who has shown that he deeply respects the porn consumer. Anders seems to run his company without pretension and the result is an image of a free-spirited and creative group with ideas that attempt to explore human eroticism in less than conventional ways. Of late, they have produced some highly critically acclaimed videos, including Going Down, Girl Show, and Pandora's Box. Even if I come in with a bit of a bias against female masturbation (the theme of Girl Show #2), this was enough to make me sit up and take notice.
Girl Show #2 is the latest of Pandora's offerings. Its tagline is "The Art of Female Masturbation", and while I have to admit to being quite bored with most female masturbation scenes, I decided to give this one a whirl anyway out of curiosity for the different slant that Anders Manga might take on the topic. Both YogaGrrl and Astroknight have written excellent and very complimentary reviews of this title, and as always, I encourage you all to read as many perspectives as possible. What I might hate, they might love, and vice versa, and only you can decide who is most representative of your tastes. The cover certainly looks interesting enough with some nice flirty photos of Kylie Kurves and Pandora contract girl, Victoria Givens. I'm anxious to see if this one (as YogaGrrl has said) can both appeal to my libido and my intellect. I figure even if it only manages to appeal to one of them, the time spent writing this review will not be wasted.