I will just cut to the chase and say that I think Eric at Futile Struggles is one of the best in the business. It is certainly an instance of truth in advertising; the women aren’t able to escape. I usually strongly dislike rope bondage because it seems easier to get out of (since so many riggers suck) and if the victim can find a knife or some scissors they will get out. At Futile Struggles (FT), even if you put a knife right in the model’s hand she couldn’t get out, and that is why this studio is one of the few rope bondage ones that I can enjoy.
The video quality is excellent. Hogtied is the gold standard of video quality in bondage video production today, but I think FT is right up there. I think the scenes would benefit from darker lighting to create a grittier atmosphere, and with his lens quality I bet the quality of the recording wouldn’t suffer. His camera angles are great too, they focus right on where I the viewer would be looking if I was there myself, with a good combination of wide angles, medium and closeup shots, and extreme close-ups. They are mostly fixed camera shots with no zoom or panning or handheld shots as it seems to be a one-man operation, but he has good camera placement and frankly, there is no need to be artsy – make the bondage good, make the recording of it accessible to viewers. handheld shots in porn are usually shaky and not planned out and make for shitty videos, so the fixed cameras are a benefit, not a shortcoming.
The rigging in the videos is sometimes great. I’m not a fan of zip ties or plastic wrap mummification or outdoor bondage but I don’t knock variety in bondage video production, I’m all in favor of variety and experimentation and accommodating diverse consumer preferences. He often uses panty gags which I like, but they aren’t the same ones the model is wearing. The best way to panty gag a model is to take off the pair she is wearing, otherwise it’s just a clean piece of cloth in her mouth. I am very surprised Eric doesn’t do this given his commitment to quality and authenticity. The models are OK, there are a lot of middle-aged ones, I’m not sure why unless that is Eric’s preference. But he also has young hotties like Sahrye and Summer Peters and others like Crystal Frost who I like. I liked Merry a lot in her one appearance but she tapped out before the hogtie which is unfortunate.
Eric has a ton of video production sensibility. Everything is well-thought out; he stages, films, and edits his videos properly. He doesn’t appear in the videos too much, he does the rigging and then gets out of the way for the viewer to enjoy instead of constantly returning and hogging up the screen. This is an amazing accomplishment given that since the ties are fully recorded he must be on the screen a great deal. It is a stark contrast to other producers who really don’t need to be on screen at all and yet keep bring their fat, middle-aged selves in between the lens and the model, usually for no fucking reason at all, as if viewers want to see them in the shot.
There are usually no element of “damsels” in the videos, no fantasy theater, even when they begin with a set up at the beginning, as when he pretends to be a security guard. The set-ups don’t contribute or detract from the videos. They are very straightforward and filmed as if they were a documentary. The key to the videos is realism. This is a girl who Eric can render helpless through hundreds of feet of rope until she is completely immobilized by it. No need to pretend it is anything more than that. There are times when the videos adopt a theatrical element, such as when Sahrye “escapes” and is running through the building looking for a door that will open, one of the few uses of a handheld cam where Eric demonstrates that he can use it without shaking it all around unlike other producers. Speaking of the building, I can’t imagine how he has that huge place to himself, but it definitely makes the videos better than if he was just doing this in his apartment. Setting really does matter in these videos, they lose something when it is just a girl tied up in a hotel room.
I think he would be excellent at making a realistic kidnapping and bondage movie with a plot if he felt inclined to make one. i sense that he would be better than most at eliciting realistic emotions of fear from his actresses, with realistic-looking struggle in their bondage and their cages, screaming for help. But he has not expanded into this yet and I suspect that he may not in the future either, as what he does now is real, whereas that would embrace an element of fiction into his videos that he may not find palatable.
In closing, FT is a site that offers a “real” cinematographic look of better than average looking models getting tied the fuck up like they never have been before, a motif that has value and which I enjoy. FT is the best bang for your buck if you find his style arousing.