Virtual Taboo Developer Q&A with Marcos Lopez
Marcos Lopez Virtual Taboo Q & A
Spanish Indie VR Porn studio Virtual Taboo have been quietly putting out some great Virtual Reality porn releases over the last 7 months or so, and I have been a fan since I first subbed up on their supporter rates to check out what must have been around 3 or 4 movies at the time. What I liked about the studio from the first movies that I watched was a style that was a bit outside of the norm, yet still aesthetically pleasing and I liked that I was getting a different flavor of VR porn over there.
Virtual Taboo is a Spanish production company so many of the women they have shot have also been filmed by BaDoinkVR and VirtualRealPorn, and it was nice seeing some of these women presented in a different light, such as Blondie Fesser. What Virtual Taboo lacks in production budget, they make up for in honest feeling movies, that have a bit more passion and rawness to them, and their product has been consistent in quality since launching, with very few major changes made to their tech. I can name studios right now that are much better funded, that have yet to resolve some of the fundamental things Virtual Taboo have been able to largely successfully navigate around in VR such as FPS, scale and distortion. Hell, even WankzVR launched with 26 BROKEN movies @ 30fps! :)
While the earliest scenes featured action that was a bit far from the camera, compared to what we are now seeing being done in Summer 2016 by VR porn studios, there was a quality that I quite enjoyed with the first releases and around the time Lesbian Taboo was put out, I was sold that Virtual Taboo had some serious promise in the unfolding VR porn landscape. They have since went on to adapt and refine their techniques, responding to ongoing feedback from consumers, and their last several releases have seen an even closer focus on intimacy and VR presence. All in all, pretty impressive for a humble indie porn operation!
Marcos Lopez, developer at Virtual Taboo took some time to answer a few questions for us this week which we present for you now.
Q) When was Virtual Taboo founded?
A) VirtualTaboo was officially created on December 2015, but we did our first 3 videos in October 2015, and the idea originated maybe on April 2015.
Q) What was your background prior to getting into VR Porn and what inspired you to get involved with this unfolding technology?
A) As a synopsis, it makes no rational sense VirtualTaboo exists. We started producing and after some months we were making movies in my personal opinion good enough to compare to what strong, well founded studios were producing. Myself nor any or my partners have any background on porn nor even video at any level. My real work, is IT System administrator, a work I keep having, I just film VirtualTaboo’s productions, on my free time, since my main job, is a full-time job.
The day all this started to move is when a friend showed me his DK1, and well, I tested it. Cool, but… not so impressive. It’s when he told me porn existed in VR, and I managed to load a movie, when all this started taking shape in my head. The video was VRP’s Convention Day, I remember that. I also watched Jacuzzi Fun with Marta Lacroft.
All of this blew my mind, and I thought: oh man this is huge, there is a lot of potential here, lots of things to create, this is something to explore, something new. I thought I can maybe do this, can’t be so hard. But it was. Then two partners decided to give this adventure a try, with me and we joined up.
We started making some tests with cameras we rented, took some time to get it working but… we managed. Then we decided to film our first 3 videos. We started with Noemi Jolie and Alberto Blanco, it was my first time ever being in front of a porn actor. I explained them my plan. They were great, really professional, and nice to us. All worked as expected, it was kind of a miracle, now that I think on it, since now I know, there were many many things that could have gone wrong. But it worked.
On January 2016, we opened our website, and started adding videos. And here we are, 8 months later, still alive.
Q) You personally maintian a very active presence on Reddit, and are always encouraging feedback from your viewers and subscribers. It seems to be the studios that are taking advantage of consumer feedback are perhaps a little more on the pulse right now. How has Reddit feedback been valuable to you so far in developing content for Virtual Taboo?
A) It completely guided me. I think reddit feedback is crucial in the early stages of VR porn. Why? Because basically right now everything is unexplored. VR porn, is a completely new LANGUAGE, a language all porn producers are creating each day, and learning how to speak. And how can you understand something that is unexplored? Listening to the people that actually view the content, knowing what worked for them and what didn't, what are their ideas, what they want to see and what not, and then try to add that to your creations. I got lots of ideas on Reddit, and have put many of them in my productions. As long as my budget allowed me.
Q) What Virtual Taboo releases have you been most pleased with up to this point and why?
A) My personal favourites are:
- Lesbian Taboo: Because I think I’ve watched this clip like 20 times fully myself, and I feel even if I wanted, I wouldn't be able to really film something similar again. It’s a unique video. It has soul. I don’t know how to explain this, really.
- Kira Queen solo: Because I love Kira, and we did some experiments using fingers on camera, that worked extremely well.
- Blondie Fesser JOI: Because after some feedback on Reddit where many people were every day telling me action was not close enough, I told Blondie to just put her vagina just on top of the camera. And it worked. And because I love Blondie too.
- Macy solo: My first exploration of intimacy with kissing and face focusing. Macy was spectacular too. It feels personal, and I like that.
Q) The earlier scenes with Macy this past month were perhaps the most intimate Virtual Taboo has filmed thusfar and they explored some kissing sequences as well as featuring some great close up sections, such as the cowgirl fucking where Macy's hair is hanging above you. The close ups on Macy during her solo scene were unexpectedly effective for me in VR, and I was a bit surprised how much I enjoyed just focuing on Macy's face. Did you learn anything on those shoots when viewing the results back and is this closer approach something that people can expect more of from Virtual Taboo in the coming months?
A) It was something you could tell reading Reddit, ...intimacy is something many users wished. There were many references to the same video clips, where people expressed they felt like the actress was really being with them. On a previous roundup of suggestions, a Reddit user pointed me to beautifulagony videos. And well, it’s… incredibly powerful. Feels personal, and intimate. I was completely sure that if I focused her face, and made her look at you so close, nobody would actually care about anything else.
Of course I will use this more in the future, it works extremely good, it’s a very powerful tool.
Q) Lesbian Taboo is one of my favorite titles at Virtual Taboo, can you tell us a bit about that shoot and what was it like working with VR veteran Silvia Rubi and newcommer Ally Breelsen?
A) Something happened that day, something I don’t really understand fully, but all aligned on that filming. Both Silvia and Ally were stunning, the sensuality, the mood, the action. Everything worked perfect that day, and you can tell watching the clip, there is something there, incredibly powerful, on that video.
Ally Breelsen is a beautiful natural, great professional. And you can tell, she enjoyed the scene. She was very nice with us, made things really easy. And Silvia Rubi, really understands porn, and has a deep knowledge of how desire and sensuality can be captured, on a video. She understood perfectly what was my idea, and made it true. She did things I really didn’t asked her to do like keeping Ally aligned to camera, control the spaces, making sure the angles were good and action would show up on camera and making sure Ally’s hair didn’t hide any details.
I really felt like I was there, inside scene, because as something needed a correction on scene, Silvia immediately solved herself, like reading my mind. It was amazing. And while all this happened, they did that being incredibly hot. They were both, amazing. Really. I was just there, looking, with open mouth. I didn’t need to say anything, just look. It was a great day ;)
Q) What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing as an independent VR studio competing in this space?
A) Budget, no doubt, and time. Our budget is very tight, we try to save on EVERYTHING, except on paying the performers. We are investing our pocket money into this. And since I have a job to attend, I can only work for Virtual Taboo on my free time.
Q) The shoot with Penelope Cum and Juan Lucho in the laundromat was interesting in that you released 2 versions of it, one from either sex's perspective, and offering the female POV up as a free movie for download. I am not aware of any other studios having done this yet, do you think you will be further exploring this type of thing in the future with both male and female POV offerings from the same shoot?
A) Yes, more studios have done women’s POV, but it’s not common. It’s certainly a small niche I think. I think many people want to see women’s POV, and not only as a lesbian scene, but having a man in front also. But Lesbian scenes are really the only ones that makes sense seeing the expected sales so we shoot female POV for ethical reasons rather than financial. As spectators I’m thinking mainly on women, but not limited to that, there are heterosexual men liking that kind of content, and gay, or transgender, whatever.
So yes, my plan is filming a women’s POV to every single male actor we have worked with in the future and see how it goes. I made some investigations with women and I think I know what they do want to see, let’s see if I’m right.
Q) Who have been some of your favorite performers to work with so far and any teases as to who might be popping up at Virtual Taboo in the near future?
All of them were great, really. But if I had to make a list of (female) performers I’ve been more comfortable with would be maybe Blondie Fesser, NoeMilk, Silvia Rubi, Penelope Cum, Noemi Jolie and Kira Queen. All the male performers are great too, but Nick Moreno is a great guy, a bull, it’s hard to restrain him after the camera. As for the future, we just filmed Julia Roca, a natural beauty, athletic, flexible, an acrobat, and she did great! And Ena Sweet, that was great too!
Q) What technical improvements would you like to implement first, as Virtual Taboo is able to expand and allow for more upgrades?
A) Certainly we could use cameras with more resolution, but we can’t afford them yet! Anyway I’m happy with our camera rig, resolution is good, and things look natural in them, they hold close-ups very easy. If we improve something maybe it is experimenting with more light sources.
Q) You currently offer a pay per clip model. I have been a big fan of this model myself in Porn, and love webistes that have this feature. How has pay per clip been for Virtual Taboo thus far, given that you have a smaller catalog at the moment?
A) It works extremely well. More than we expected. Originally we planned to offer a reason to the user to buy, having a small catalog of videos. To my surprise, it keeps working, and it does very good. I think many users are scared of recurring payments on their CC, and they prefer paying single videos, even if in the mid term, it’s more expensive for them. But if they are happy hand-picking videos, let it be so. We’ll keep pay per video model, I don’t plan changing the video price, it’s ok as it is.