Deadpool director says HDR is the real killer feature for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

It's not just the language that's colourful

Few comic book characters are as colourful as Deadpool, with his rapier wit, constant swearing, penchant for violent blood-letting, fourth-wall-breaking shenanigans and, of course, that bright red suit. Long considered a tough sell in Hollywood, the 'merc with a mouth' has finally been captured in all his glory by director Tim Miller in the hugely successful movie, Deadpool.

The film is so good, it immediately made it into techradar's (somewhat) prestigious best superhero films of all time list. Take that, Wolverine!

As we head toward Deadpool's 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release, director Tim Miller and colorist Tim Stipan stopped by Fox's Innovation Lab to demonstrate and chat about the disc's visual presentation — in particular, the ways in which high dynamic-range (HDR) has been utilised to make the film even more vibrant and explosive than it was in theatres.

Schawn Belston, EVP of Media and Library Services at 20th Century Fox, also chimed in on what it took to make Deadpool shine for its home release.

"We had to reimagine all our technical workflows behind the scenes to make this actually possible," said Belston, stating that "even the logo, for example, we spent more than two months rendering and re-rendering, trying to figure out the best way to render the logo, in 4K, in [Industrial Light & Magic's HDR file format] OpenEXR, to get the most out of this high dynamic-range experience."

Deadpool

Visual effects veteran Miller, who made his feature-film directing debut with Deadpool, was impressed by what colorist Stipan managed to come up with while producing different outputs of the film for other formats.

"I felt like every time we were going through it, we were seeing more and more and more," said Stipan. "The last pass that we did was the HDR pass, and we were just like 'wow, we wish we had that in the beginning', because you could all of a sudden see so much more detail in the skies, or the flames, or Colossus or Deadpool's suit."

Stipan elaborated, "for me, what I loved about it, is it allowed me to be better at my job, because I could see more colour and could match things better, and if I'd seen all that extra colour information and detail, I just think I'd be doing a better job as a colorist and matching shots and grading that look."

Miller agreed. "The Ultra HD is f***ing amazing in the level of detail, especially because we did it at the end of the process," said Miller, pointing to the film as it played on a curved Samsung SUHD television beside him.

"Especially in the skies is where I noticed it most," said Miller. "Particularly in the freeway fight, there's just so much more detail; it's like suddenly the sky was not a white mass the way it had been in all the other formats."

Deadpool

Having tested the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release extensively, we have to agree – what were once mostly white and grey skies now shine through with streaks of blue peeking through the clouds, themselves now showing much more definition.

Of course, it's Deadpool's costume, so wonderfully faithful to Rob Liefeld's original comic design, that would be the major selling point of this release. While many of the film's action scenes have a steely grey sheen to them, Deadpool's vibrant (but still dirty) red and black costume always manages to steal your attention.

"Deadpool's costume was the other big thing I noticed. It's got a really fine weave to it, and suddenly, all the detail of the costume comes out in a way that turns to mush in all the other formats."