April 20, 2016 at 09:55 #26893
I wonder if you can help me. I have a bit of a dilemma and I’m not rightly sure what to do about it.
Website economics have changed since I started the site, and especially they have changed a lot since the financial crash in 2008.
Broadly speaking, fewer people are choosing website memberships than before. For a while one wonders if it is something we’re suddenly doing wrong- but from what I can gather from other webmasters, it’s pretty universal.
Casual viewers and those who just want a quick wank and don’t care about the quality go to the pirate sites and tube sites.
Fans are kind enough to still join, but as spending power still hasn’t got back to the pre-crash peak, everyone (including me) is a bit more parsimonious with their porn pound these days.
The thing which has saved websites is the rise of customs, especially custom videos. I was shocked to learn from US webmasters a couple of years ago at Fetishcon that customs were essentially the only thing keeping them in business: essentially all their productions were now customs.
It’s not at that level for us, but customs are becoming increasingly important in funding shoots for us too, especially on the video side. The economics are impossible to ignore: doing a custom shoot means that someone else pays the models and the shoot expenses. If we’re efficient on shoot days we can get some RE ideas of our own, shot effectively for free.
If we need to take our time getting customs right, we do so. That’s what we budget for. So we end up with a very polished and high production value custom video that we hope will really tick all the boxes for the kind customer who commissioned it.
The volume of those customs is currently such that it’s dominating the RE update schedule. Since the end of last year and the ATVOD tap on the shoulder, I’ve been scared off shooting too many self-funded old-school RE videos ourselves. I typically run RE with over a year’s worth of content on disk, to help ensure good variety and make sure we keep our unblemished 15 years never missed an update record intact.
I just couldn’t afford to spend tens of thousands of pounds shooting videos that I might not be able to sell.
So as a double whammy of financial incentive and the chilling effect of censorship, I have quite a lot of videos on disk but they are mostly customs.
And I would have no problem with that except for one thing: the custom video customers do not generally want bare feet.
Who knew? But I have customs with high heels, with ballet slippers, with boots, with stockings, with pantyhose, even one which has just come in with (shudder) socks. (They do get taken off in the end).
I’ve never quite known how many members are here specifically for the barefoot element which runs broad and deep through RE. But I know *I* am here specifically for the BAREFOOT bondage.
My question is- what should I do about this?
I have a few ideas but would be very grateful for your input.
As you’ll see, we have a bit of a “roadblock” of non-barefoot videos coming up in the very short term because we shut down all non-custom video production for a few months when ATVOD tapped us on the shoulder. I don’t want RE to turn into a “barefoot stills, non-barefoot video” site, even if that’s the direction the market forces us via custom commissions.
The first and most obvious thing to do is to go back to shooting more of our own ideas, and make all of those barefoot and play up the barefoot element, so at least the “value factor” of the barefoot videos goes up, even if not every video is barefoot. We are going to do this at our forthcoming shoots. But it is hard to balance this against the “whole shoot paid for” financial incentive of the customs.
Second thing- offer an incentive to people to shoot barefoot customs. So here we are- I’ll give you a 50% discount on any custom commissioned in the next few months which has a strong barefoot element to its storyline, or which offers the chance for plenty of quality barefoot bondage.
Is there anything else you think I should be doing? Do you, personally, care about barefoot vs. stockings vs. shoes? Are you liking the current (custom, not much barefoot) mix of videos better than the old 100% barefoot mix?
(Initially posted on the forum but then I decided it was important enough to put on the main news/blog feed as well)
April 20, 2016 at 12:12 #26909
- This topic was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by Hywel.
Well, *I* am here for the barefoot bondage too. But I’m also here for stills, rather than video.
I’m still on Restrained Elegance, when I let my other paysite subscriptions lapse, because RE is so good a match to what I like, in so many ways. But video is not something I care very much for.
How expensive is it to shoot a stills set, compared to a video?
I’m glad you warned us ahead of time about the big “roadblock” of non-barefoot video coming down the line, and the reason for it.April 20, 2016 at 14:38 #26910
I prefer stills too, Sablesword. I enjoy making videos, for sure, but my heart is in stills and it is also what I consume from other websites, too. If ATVOD had closed us down on video I’d have given it a go running RE just for stills (even if it meant it had to go back to being my hobby). But recent consultations have made inevitable worrying moves towards censoring stills too, of course.
Stills sets are cheaper than video. Maybe as much as a factor of four cheaper, depending on length and complexity.
Stills are generally quicker to shoot. We reckon on one hour to shoot a stills set, one to two hours for short videos, ranging up to all day for some of the longer custom videos (and several days for the Elegance Studios custom videos like Pony Girl 3).
Stills are also quicker to post-process. Stills use CPU time prodigiously but this can be batched whereas video uses a LOT of skilled human time making editing decisions to put the thing together. Ariel can get through four or five short videos in a day of editing. I can get through eight stills sets in day, so long as I’ve done the most CPU intensive stuff the night before. I need to grade videos after the rough cut is done, but on most videos that’s quicker than assembling the rough cut.
Customs are generally more expensive and time consuming to shoot than non-customs.
We can shoot our own ideas faster because we can make snap decisions as to what looks best or how the story should go, without having to second guess the customer or trawl through a long email exchange to find guidance. We also often need to source props, costumes, bondage gear and all manner of other production tasks for customs, not to mention sometimes having to arrange shoots with multiple models (which can lead to a many-month lead time).
But of course someone else is paying for the production expenses when we’re shooting customs 🙂
April 25, 2016 at 00:03 #26913
- This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by Hywel.
Greetings from New Jersey,
Thought I’d throw my cards on the table when it comes to barefoot vs. non-barefoot bondage, stills vs. video. I’ve haven’t been around RE as long as Sablesword or Cavalier Driver but have been member for much of the site’s life. I do like both stills and video. Obviously with photos you can better capture a specific point in time that results in a dramatic photo that loses a bit of its drama when it is only one of a series of frames rolling by your eyes. A model flipping her hair up and over her head is an example of what I’m talking about. So would the moment a drop of droll leaves a models lips around a ball gag or catching a reflection of a roaring fire in her eyes. You will see the whole thing on a video but the drama of the individual frames melds together and some of the impact is lost.
That said, I do tend to find the videos, in general, more interesting that the photos but it is mainly because one of the things I most like to see is how the model deals with her bondage and to see her move to try to either work with the restraints or escape them. Obviously you get a sense of that from stills but, for me at least, I find more of it in video.
As far as there being a backlog of non-barefoot video in the queue at RE, well for me that is not a problem. I get that site is 99+% barefoot bondage because that mainly Hywel’s thing and, of course, that’s fine, but I don’t happen to have a foot fetish so seeing hose, pumps and boots also works for me providing the footwear is realistic for the scenario. Having a model wear a real nurses uniform for a photo set but pairing that with four inch platform pumps that just happen to be white like the uniform loses almost all of its credibility with me. It is just not realistic. Truth be told I actually like the look of pumps or boots being tied or strapped on so they can’t be removed.
But as I have often said in forum comments on various monthly previews, I like a wide cross section of models, attire, location, restraints, gags and scenarios when it comes to my interest in bondage so I have no problem with some shoe and boot videos because I know they will be done to the ever high RE standards. They will certainly not have any negative impact on me maintaining my membership.
Hopefully there will be at least another 15 years of RE continuing to do what you do so well.
JeffMay 12, 2016 at 13:22 #26920
What a bummer. At this point in my life I find unrestrained barefoot ladies more interesting than restrained ladies with shoes (or other covering, I don’t like stockings). But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. Classic painters and composers were beholden to their patrons. And you are beholden to the market. Perhaps you can arrange to have time enough to shoot the custom photo or video, and then pulling the shoes off and shooting what you can.
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