Wicked Pictures has become the first adult video company to penetrate the HD-DVD market with its release of Jonathan Morgan’s slasher-movie spoof, Camp Cuddly Pines Power Tool Massacre. The title is tentatively slated to ship on Friday.
Representatives from Wicked and authoring house Dimension DVD brought a check disc of the finished product to AVN’s offices for a demonstration Monday afternoon. Boasting vivid color and detail, the anamorphic widescreen presentation showcases the unprecedented quality and interactivity of the HD format.
“We started doing the preliminary work on this in March,” said Jackie Ramos, vice president of DVD production for Wicked Pictures. “We really started conceptualizing it before that point; we've been talking about going over to HD-DVD for over a year now. As soon as we heard that great strides were being made in the mainstream world with this format, we’ve always had our ear to the ground. There were a lot of hurdles…it was a lot more work than we thought. I’ve heard through the grapevine that other companies have been ready to do this, but that when it came down to it, they weren’t ready for the technical problems that go along with it.”
Wicked selected Camp Cuddly Pines as its first HD-DVD release based on the title’s popularity. Morgan's feature won the AVN's Best Sex Comedy Award in 2006. “We looked in our vault to see what we had as far as hi-definition, and Camp Cuddly Pines seemed like an obvious choice,” Ramos said. “It’s been a very popular bestseller for us, and a lot of our newer stuff was still being edited when we started testing the new format. We asked Dimension for their opinion, and they agreed on Camp Cuddly -- when they had the encoding ready, we said, okay, let’s roll with it.”
One of the major hurdles that Wicked and Dimension encountered was the scripting of advanced content menus, which allow viewers to navigate options without interrupting the feature.
“The functionality of the disc is the same quality as any mainstream product out there,” said Dimension DVD President Daniel Milstein, who has worked closely with Ramos from the project’s inception. “We used the same exact encoder that the major mainstream studios use…it took about two weeks to encode the feature, frame-by-frame. It takes a lot of processing power.”
“The first one is always the hardest,” added Dimension VP Robert Brickman. “Now that we know the procedure, we’ll be able to do it faster the next time out.”
According to Ramos, Wicked already has additional titles in the HD queue, including the AVN-nominated Curse Eternal. “We’re going to follow up with our other new releases after that,” he said. “It’s been a long, hard road doing this; at times, it got tense. The leading edge of technology is a dangerous place to be sometimes. But we’re really happy with the outcome. When I took the check disc home and watched it on my plasma TV, I was amazed by the color and the definition. It’s incredible.”
Camp Cuddly Pines Power Tool Massacre will be available at this January’s AVN Adult Entertainment Expo. The HD-DVD package will also contain a standard-def DVD sampler with five sex scenes from Wicked releases including the aforementioned Curse Eternal, Sleeping Around, Brad Armstrong’s FUCK and Manhunters and Julia Ann Hardcore.
"While getting to the market first certainly is very exciting for us, it was more important to us that we put out a properly functioning disc,” said Wicked Pictures President Steve Orenstein. “Jackie has spent countless hours with Dimension DVD to make sure we release a quality product, and I think we have definitely succeeded."