belamiclub.com - Bel Ami Club Online

 
 

Bel Ami is renowned for its stable of phenomenally beautiful and well-hung young men from the Czech Republic and beyond; Bel Ami is an attractive and comprehensive showcase of the studio’s technically brilliant output. Recently the Prague-based site has addressed some of our prvevious concerns: the tiered memberships are gone, and there are many full-length scenes available. Unfortunately the site remains excruciatingly slow, so great patience is required. While the streams still play is a small window the downloads are very high quality.


Tour

The first page of the tour (”Club Preview”) is a mirror of the Bel Ami Online members’ home page. In one beautifully designed page it shows you the various types of content you get inside the site; click on a section and a new window will open; on the left side is a list of content available inside Bel Ami Online ; on the right, upsell content available through the Bel Ami “Silver Screen” VOD service.

As of late 2007,  Bel Ami Online has discontinued its tiered membership levels. If you buy a one month membership you now get 180 days worth of archived updates. This is a big improvement, in anticipation of the site overhaul to be completed by spring, 2008.


Navigation

Bel Ami Online is a gorgeous site designed in a rainbow of pastel colors. On the members’ home page (”Entrance Page”) it’s easy to see what’s on the site and in each of the main sections: First check out “What’s New” for the latest updates, then look for a favorite model and his content in “Bel Ami Models & Portfolios”. “Exclusive Website Videos,” “Casting JukeBox”, and “Photo Galleries” all provide further access to the many auditions, photo shoots, and interviews of present and future Bel Ami boys, but there are perhaps too many entrances to the same content.

Navigation throughout the site is heavily cross-referenced and nested. You can easily navigate within particular areas of the site, and on most pages there are buttons to move you from one major content area to another. However, the fact that many pages unnecessarily open up in new windows adds a level of complexity to the navigation.

New pages sometimes took up to 30 seconds to open up, and there are still some complex restrictions of members access to content, and to the ability to download videos in some sections (ie having to provide your password every time you want to download a video.)


Content

Bel Ami Online devotes itself to finding the most beautiful, hung young men in Central Europe, and spares no effort in presenting them to us in various colorful theme situations and in settings varying from their home studio in Prague to the beach in Cape Town. By the time they’re finished, these models look like young gods.

Bel Ami models don’t just walk in, shoot, and leave. They participate in an extensive grooming and training process before making a feature movie, which is the peak of success in the Bel Ami universe. Our only reservation: these often gay-for-pay studlets operate within the cute “personality guidelines” set for every Bel Ami model. After they’ve been tanned, shaved, and made-up, (you’ll enjoy behind-the-scenes footage of make-up being applied to a model’s butthole!) the Bel Ami Boys deliver a somewhat sanitized version of true heat and passion.

The “Movie Theater” showcases 56 DVDs from the Bel Ami Online catalogue. These aren’t full-length scenes but they do catch the hottest 5 to 10 minutes in each scene. You get an average of 9 clips from each movie, for a total of over 500 clips. There are 3 Movie Theater video updates per week.

With the “Movie Theater” your video choices vary quite a bit; sometimes you can stream(pd) or download a smaller Windows Media file at 218 kbps for play in a 300×225 window; more rarely you can stream or download a larger Windows Media file at 825 kbps for a much, much better quality playback in a 500×375 window; sometimes you can do both; we could not see any logic as to why the higher speed video was only available for some scenes.

Web Exclusive Video (180 day archive)
This section of the site offers some very tantalizing video content that is only available at Bel Ami Online ”Photo Sessions” are solo videos of guys as they pose and jerk off for — well — a photo session; “singles” are solo jerk-off scenes, “Training Sessions” are two guys jerking off together; “In Bed With …” and “The Private Life of …” turn up the heat with hardcore scenes.

There are almost 100 Web exclusive videos that usually run from 10 to 20 minutes and are updated twice a week. All of the “Web Exclusives” videos can be streamed(pd) in the lower quality or downloaded in the much higher quality.


Casting
The “Casting Juke Box” area consists of almost 750 real jerk-off videos of Euro-boys with Bel Ami ambitions. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how many gorgeous young men stream through this studio. The “Casting Juke Box” is updated every day. These videos can be streamed or downloaded in higher or lower quality.

The video on Bel Ami Online is DRM protected and can only be viewed as long as you are a member of the site; Mac users will automatically get their video in Quicktime format.

Video quality varies immensely at Bel Ami Online due to the fact that, as mentioned, sometimes a clip or scene is only available to stream at a lower speed and other times is available at the much higher speed download. There’s really no comparison between the two, and, after watching some higher speed downloads, the streams are disappointing.

In every other respect these videos, whether clips or scenes, display the tremendous technical expertise of the Bel Ami team. We mean: almost perfect light levels, combined with fluid and sensuous videography that gives us all the long-shots, close-ups and poses we could want, and, best of all, cumshots are caught almost every time.

In the “Photo Galleries” section you’ll find more than 390 models’ photo layouts, averaging 35 digital photos per set. The thumbnails open to medium sized pictures averaging 650×425 pixels. These digital pics are of excellent quality. Some sets are available in a large format size.

The “Screen Shots” area of the site provides video capture galleries from 56 full length Bel Ami videos. There are anywhere from 100-500 good quality images for each title, a total of more than 22,000 vidcap images. For both the “Model Photo Galleries” and the “Screen Shots” there are slideshows but no zip files.


Summing Up

If you were hoping to find a site that showcases some of the most beautiful young men in the world, look no further. Bel Ami Online fans will find plenty of video (both Web-exclusive and not), photos, model info and more here. But the site has got to upgrade its server technology in order to present its high quality content faster.

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