[UPDATED] Sean Cody Admits That Their New Scenes Are “Awful,” Promises To “Revert To Previous Cameras”

Posted February 17, 2017 by with 48 comments

545d2109cc0eb.preview-1024[Note: This post has been updated down below.]

I wrote the headline “R.I.P. Sean Cody” two years ago, when the real-life Sean Cody sold his iconic gay porn studio to porn conglomerate MindGeek (owner of Men, Bromo, RealityDudes, tons of straight porn studios, massive tube sites, etc.), and while I was being melodramatic at the time, now, two years later, it looks like Sean Cody might really be over?

It’s been an inconsistent two years under the new ownership, with a mix of great scenes and terrible scenes, but after this last month, the terrible scenes have devolved to become literally unwatchable scenes, thanks to new filming/editing equipment and post-production work, and/or an entirely new crew.

While there have been rumors that multiple Sean Cody staffers were let go last year, I’ve not been able to confirm those reports. We do know for sure that the studio left their old filming location and moved into a new house, and all of the scenes are filmed in the same bedroom and living room. We also know that Sean Cody is filming in the same house as Dick Dorm, so it’s reasonable to assume that crew members work on productions for both studios.

239b6fa0d1e43befc63bf0fbdda8dd1c40b3c8f08613c09e247aa91c139525b6As mentioned, the last two years have been hit-or-miss, but there were still great new Sean Cody models being introduced and good scenes being released every few weeks. But, as we first saw earlier this month with the Randy/Joey disaster, the studio has changed its filming style or equipment, and the scenes are no longer viewable. It wasn’t clear if the Randy/Joey catastrophe was just a fluke, but earlier this week, the same issues appeared in the Brandon/Joe scene (seen above), meaning this corpse-like, blurry appearance was the new normal for Sean Cody. Tonight, it’s confirmed that this “style” is here to stay and it represents the new Sean Cody, with a Jess and Shaw scene.

jessshw1Trailer:

Like the previous two scenes, the playback is once again grainy, choppy, and jittery, with washed-out colors and tints that change every few seconds.

Other than the obvious questions of WHY they would do this to themselves and WHO at the studio thought this looked remotely decent, I’m still not clear as to WHAT the problem actually is. Is it an issue with the camera and filming, or is it happening in post production and editing? A comment left on the Brandon/Joe post offers some theories:

SC’s problems have to do with production and postproduction. To answer your color question, SC has definitely fired whoever used to color their scenes. That change in skin tone is a dead giveaway. Either they’re using a crappy filter on their editing software (that’s free) or they’re hiring someone cheap who doesn’t know what they’re doing. My guess is they’ve cut down on their production team, or hired cheaper people, but definitely stopped using a colorist.

brjo

Another tip I’ve received was in response to the gif above from the Brandon/Joe scene, and this theory comes from a highly knowledgeable source who works in gay porn production:

It looks like the camera was set to auto white balance. In the beginning of the gif you posted the blue sheet is in the background and the camera is balancing it to white, which would make the color temperature warmer. Then when the shot pulls back and we see the white walls, the balance shifts again to the cooler side. You could fix that in Final Cut Pro.

If these are technical problems that aren’t the result of people being fired, there’s always a chance that Sean Cody could simply revert back to the normal, crystal clear, vibrant style that made them the #1 gay porn studio.

Sean Cody has been a favorite studio of mine (quite obviously), years before I started blogging and covering the industry. That’s why I spend so much time blathering on and analyzing these drastic changes. As an actual fan, this actually sucks, and I’m genuinely disappointed. They were still able to release extremely good scenes long after being sold, as seen below with the best scene of 2016, “Sean Fucks Jess Bareback.” Can they just go back to filming scenes that are clear with regular color like this?

[Sean Cody: Jess Fucks Sean Bareback]

UPDATE: A Sean Cody rep finally responded to questions from a reader on GayDailyHot, and while the response doesn’t make any sense (“equipment not adapted to our filming needs”), it does offer some relief:

C455uX3UkAIoFplAssuming they do keep their word and revert to previous cameras, this is great news. At the same time, why is Sean Cody releasing these unwatchable scenes, if even Sean Cody is admitting that they are “poor quality,” not to mention “awful”!? And they expect customers to pay for them? The hell?!

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57J_AyfEM24 Abaca
  • Ceecee

    A ruined Jess scene is unforgivable.

    • skye3245

      right…they should know better then to come for him like that…and with Shaw nonetheless ugh #disgusted

      • Edward

        Amen

  • erexshawn

    I know it is two guys fucking but some of those changing tints look so horrible that they suck every bit of gay out of these scenes. and that broke looking lamp? don’t even get me started on the wall curtains – just don’t

    • KryX

      Made me laugh, thanks.

  • Xzamilloh
  • FieldMedic

    IMO constantly using tops who refuse to bottom then they deserve to die (but that also applies to most of the porn studios out there).

  • Scrapple
  • OverKill
  • Jace

    Sean Cody is blaming it on the move to 4K cameras. Hey really should have tested them out before throwing themselves into filming scenes, though.

    • Pascal

      More than likely they updated the filming equipment but not the PCs where they do post-production. So the computers choke on rendering such large files and voila: they put out garbage!

      Happened to Chaosmen too but Bryan Ockert explained on his YT channel he was wise enough to do tests beforehand.

      • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57J_AyfEM24 Abaca

        I think you know what you’re talking about…

    • GCHQ

      Gayhoopla and Timtales have better image quality.
      GH : natural colors
      TT: crystal clear videos

      • WhimsyCotton

        BelAmi: better filters

        • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57J_AyfEM24 Abaca

          I detect shade.

  • moondoggy
  • Zealot
  • sxg

    Well the good thing is at SC you don’t pay for individual scenes, just a membership. So even though these scenes are a flop, there is still a back catalog full of grade A quality porn.

    It does suck for those who have been paying a monthly membership, but fuck that lol just come back a few months, download what you’ve missed, then cancel your membership, and repeat.

    But back to the scene, holy hell Shaw is quickly becoming one of my favorite bottoms at the site! Never would have thought he’d go for someone as hung as Jess. More of Shaw as a bottom please!

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57J_AyfEM24 Abaca

    I smell bullshit. William Higgins, a Czech studio with a fraction of the MG production budget has been releasing high quality 4K scenes for about two years. And the transition from HD to UHD or 4K was seamless. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single studio – not one – whose video quality GOT WORSE after upgrading to 4K. At least they acknowledge the issue and will work to resolve the issue but isn’t there some sort of Quality Control dept. at Mindgeek? How did those scenes ever get cleared for release in the first place l? I hate to speculate but I wonder if it has anything to do with a straight owned company not caring about its gay consumer base. I bet every penny I have in the bank (all 26 of them) that this issue has never not will ever happen at Brazzers or Reality Kings.

  • NG212

    As someone who has done a fair amount of video production, this stuff isn’t easy.

    But it seems pretty clear that the Sean Cody crew started using these new 4K cameras before fully understanding how they worked. Some people might not understand how a camera meant to improve image quality can so dramatically do the opposite, but the more capabilities a camera has, the more settings and options it has — meaning the more can go wrong.

    I agree with the quoted porn production guy who says the videographers had the camera on auto white balance. That’s why the colors are constantly changing. It can be mitigated in post, but it can be tedious to fully eliminate since the color isn’t static, but going between too cool and too warm.

    I also suspect that Sean Cody may not have been using memory cards high-quality enough for the new camera. 4K cameras, which are frequently capable of slow-motion recording, require some of the best SD cards available. Usually grade 10 minimum. The blurred shots and shitty playback would line up with a bad memory card.

    These are the sorts of things that likely went wrong. If the crew noticed the image quality while shooting, they may have thought it could be corrected in post. When you shoot in log, or in flat color, the image looks desaturated and gray until you edit it and add a Color Look Up Table or LUT.

    This is embarrassing for Sean Cody and frustrating for its fans. While I’m understanding and sympathetic of what happened to them, it’s unacceptable to not make it up to us. They should comp these affected scenes and launch them on off days, so the customers don’t have to pay for them but have the option of watching if they please.

    • Scrapple

      The funny thing is, the camera work was pretty much the only thing SC got consistently right. Instead of focusing on the areas that needed attention, they tried to tamper with something they were already good at without having the necessary technical skills to pull it off. Taking the “easy” route never works.

      • NG212

        Idiots, all.

        They need to widen and improve their recruitment efforts, so there’s a better pipeline of performers. Men of color, men from Canada, etc. I remember back in the day all the big porn producers would say they met a guy from seeing him on the street and passing a business card.

        Whatever, this industry is a mess.

        • Scrapple

          I will say, they have been doing better on the moc front in the last few months. I wonder if models still get referrals for bringing in other models. That’s how Jess found Ethan.

          • NG212

            Yasss, Sean Cody do be looking like the Source Awards some weeks. ✊🏾

            They have a lot of Latinos and cablanasians in particular. They could give me more black guys. Does Chaosmen’s Alonso have a brother with a big dick and an open mind?

            I forgot Jess is the one who blessed us with Ethan. Wow, that takes me back to my college days, when Sean Cody’s porn was always worth my time. I felt for years (and still feel) that SC should have a condom carve-out for Ethan. He’s fucking epic. His safe-sex scenes were hotter than 90-95% of the bareback performances.

          • Scrapple

            If Alonso does have a brother Bryan needs to get on that. Figuratively and literally. Alonso is too fine for words. He really brought it in that scene with Vander. He’ll be bottoming in no time. If Gerard does the deed I won’t know how to contain my glee.

            I’ve said many times how I still can’t believe those two were never paired in a scene. It’s seemed like an obvious choice. I still think Jess and his girlfriend tested the good before they brought him on. They seemed kinky like that. Ethan never showed up anywhere else, but he remained porn adjacent for a while. I’ve always wondered if the condom issue allowed him an easy out. What’s really interesting about the condom thing is for years people kept saying condoms were keeping the models from turning in good performance, because of worrying about erections and stuff like that. But as we’ve seen, the industry going mostly bareback didn’t make all these studios start turning in killer scenes.

          • NG212

            From your lips…

            I would love to see Alonso bottom. That ass is spectacular and his dick is so hard when he’s being rimmed. Even harder than it is when he’s swallowing dick down his threat like a sword. He’s a blessing. If Gerard fucked him in a scene, it would be a miracle. But honestly, the scene would be incomplete if Gerard didn’t sit on Alonso’s dick as well. Gerard’s ass don’t quit, and despite his less-than-optimal personal bottoming experiences, I’m itching to see him furiously jerk his dick and crying ‘Harder!’ as someone rocks in and out of that hole like a boat being walloped at high tide.

            Sad Ethan didn’t stay long enough to bottom for Jess on-screen. Wouldn’t be surprised if he had some threeway fun with Ethan. Who wouldn’t?

            And it’s so true. Bareback has not been the solution to all of porn’s problems. But when it’s done well, it’s like Beyoncé performing at the Super Bowl.

          • Scrapple

            I think they’ll both be throwing those asses out in no time. If Troi ever comes back I’d love to see him flip with Gerard. They would eat each other alive.

            Ethan was bottoming in his first vid, and he was at the studio when Jess was still active. So I don’t know why they didn’t make that happen. Lost opportunity for sure. If that girlfriend was the same one Jess watched get banged on in a hostel and who was eager to see her man dick down other guys, I’m betting they definitely took Ethan for a spin around the block to see what he was working with. Maybe that accounts for why he jumped in full steam ahead.

            So you’re saying when the bareback porn is done well, it deserves a repeat performance?

          • NG212

            Oh my god, a flip with Troi and Gerard would blow my mind. The kissing alone would be too much for me. They’re so sexy and sensual and dirty and erect. Oh my god. Stahp giving me false hope.

            Even tho Bryan’s studio is more top-heavy than the other bareback amateur sites, he’s very heteronormative about some tops and bottoms. I emailed him and said I wanted to see Amador bottom and he said Amador is a great top. I don’t think he needs to bottom or some bullshit. 👀🙄 It’s like, we tell you who need to get fucked, not the other way around. Ugh…

            I’m personally of the opinion that I want to see Jess get fucked before he leaves porn for good. I do like a big-dick bottom.

          • Scrapple

            Yes! They both excel at being dirty and sexy at the same time. I love a man that can talk greasy and sell the fuck out of it. And now I’m thinking about how hot it would be if Rupert came back and fucked Alonso.

            Bryan is so rigid in his mess. He gets stuck on these ideas about what roles he wants his models to play, without considering their actual potential. I honestly think the big reason why some of his models don’t progress is because he doesn’t ask them to. Like Adam Cub. Bryan can say all this stuff about Adam not being ready to kiss or whatever, but I’m over here clocking how grabby and affectionate he was with Sean and thinking “Bryan be telling straight up lies.” When the guys don’t progress it helps feed into his fantasy about straight guys. It’s stupid.

            I don’t know about Jess. Maybe I’d feel differently if he got rimmed a few times. I have no expectation about what he’d be like as a bottom.

          • NG212

            Idk what Jess will be like as a bottom either. It’s a mystery I want uncovered. It can’t be worse than some of the shit they release on the regular 😳 It’s not like it would take the place of a Stu or Jamie return.

            OMG I forgot all about Rupert! Yaaasssss he should come back. He was so hot when Griffin ate his ass and he melted. That all black pairing would keep me happy as hell.

            Yeah, I agree about Bryan. He doesn’t push his models enough. He says he’s asked Adam to do more, but he needs to be more assertive and back it up with a higher scene rate and an ultimatum.

            He always talking about money, but his vlog just showed him shopping and redecorating all the time and he has a Mustang and a Ford F-150. Motherfucker living good.

          • Scrapple

            Yeah, and keeping his models sustained with vitamin water. I can’t.

    • OneOfTheManyChris

      What’s weird about this to me is that Men.com obviously has a crapton of resources (on the straight side) and while they usually churn out dreck, they also have the resources to make high-end straight porn. I assumed that the whole point of the acquisition was so that they could spend the money on the models and borrow the tech talent and high-end equipment from the girls.

      Obviously I’m an optimist.

  • DaveAtom

    Sucks. You have a great pair like Jess & Shaw. Don’t waste that.

  • Dale Bergman

    “But a couple scene will unfortunately display those awful light/color balance issues.”

    These botched scenes should have never seen the light of day. Sean Cody should have re-shot them (regardless of the coast). It’s obvious that Sean Cody doesn’t care about their reputation anymore. The paying customers are left with these unwatchable “couple of scenes” now.

    http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0dp00vYlt1rqfhi2o1_400.gif

  • Mokojojo

    In b4, SC shoots a Coen, Brysen, and Deacon and the quality is pure shit.

  • GCHQ

    “grainy, choppy, and jittery, with washed-out colors and tints”
    You can fix the scene with the original footage

    Jess and Shaw <3

  • Tim

    if they fix it, and they redo any pairings I actually want to see (like tonight’s jess and shaw) fine.

  • WhimsyCotton

    Fortunately, I’ve had no interest in any of the affected scenes. Now if this affects a Lane/Blake DP scene or a Nixon bottoming scene… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4870ed832125412f8500936879b83cdf4accc6790be6ee990bc1f5fda58b3f60.gif

    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57J_AyfEM24 Abaca

      No! Not Bianca!!!

  • Vee

    A lot of people are talking out their ass like they know how production works. Realistically, the color issues have to deal with the camera’s settings. They’re, indeed, using auto white balance. A nono. What they should be doing is turning off ANY type of color balance or correction settings/tools, using a color calibration table (Google ColorChecker Classic by x-rite SeanCody!) and adjust in post. That would fix most of the color issues.

    Another issue I suspect is happening: now that they’re using 4K cameras, they should really read a manual. It’s probably shooting in a different color space. Most likely REC709 or LOG. Can be changed but using these color spaces is fine. They just have to use basic color curves to get a good contrast of color. People talking about using lookup tables when they’re hardly a need to use. A basic contrast curve is all that’s needed; we don’t want extra greens for it to look like a horror movie or blues for the hollywood effect.

    Additionally with lack of knowledge, they either don’t know what settings do what or they forgot to change settings. The past movies they were using a 23.976 framerate; the standard with any type of televised broadcast or movies. I mean… it’s O.K., not the best, but you can hardly tell a different between that and the standard 29.97 frames per second that they normally shoot. The issue is that they’re setting the camera to shoot interlaced. This “COULD” be okay to do if they, themselves, deinterlace the footage CORRECTLY. Hell, they could even effectively make it DOUBLE the framerate using the right deinterlacing and interpolating tool (YADIF x2).

    Finally, the choppiness looks like it’s due to post as well. The “image ghosting” you see in the screenshot is due to frame rate resampling. For example: the raw footage is shot at ~24 frames per second. After editing the footage, you need to re-render the project into a new movie file. Typically SeanCody uses ~30 frames per second. Because the movie project doesn’t HAVE those extra 6 frames (30 frames -24 frames = 6), the program automatically “fills in” those extra frames with blurred images from the previous frames to “make up” for the lack of 30 frames.

    It’s hard to imagine that the film crew didn’t even BOTHER to TEST their equipment before PAYING money to the models for their work and filming them…

    • Dale Bergman

      Great post, Vee.

    • Igloo Australia

      I was wondering if they downgraded their equipment to save the cost. The whole interlacing issue is bugging the fuck out of me.

  • Alias74PornReviews

    NG212 is right….in my reviews in the past I’ve pointed out that they either haven’t balanced the color right in post or they either have the camera set to auto balance the white OR they haven’t opened the shutter enough to prevent the blurring when there is a lot of motion in high def capture. Also NG212’s advice works if they are reviewing the footage as they shoot…..but I doubt they are, otherwise they would have caught what was happeneing.

  • nick

    Do people really want 4K everything ?

  • Jean-François Martel

    anyone got a before/after screencaps of what it used to look like and what it looks like now? I mean even without the comparison it’s awful but i’m mostly curious about the coloring

  • fluffi3

    and what happened to the service videos? where a str8 or bi dude would be sucked & rimmed; they seemed to have cut those out, i used to love those. Not much rimming in many of the scenes I’ve previewed; nor much ass or hole in the solos either. I miss the old Sean Cody!!