And our own Russell Hammond posted the weekly update of the Release Dates & Artwork section with all the latest Blu-ray and DVD cover artwork and Amazon.com pre-order links. As always, a portion of anything you order from Amazon after clicking through our links goes to help support our work here at The Bits and we really do appreciate it.
Now then, we’ve got a look for you at Warner’s French/Canadian cover artwork for their next batch of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases, due on 6/7, which include Point Break, Creed, and In the Heart of the Sea. They’re not up for pre-order yet on Amazon.com, but we’ll link these covers to the US pre-order pages there when they go live. And we’ll post the final US artwork as soon as Warner releases it.
Speaking of Warner, the Warner Archive has just revealed the upcoming release of The Unsinkable Molly Brown on Blu-ray, mastered from a new HD scan. Street date is TBA, but the disc will include the Story of a Dress featurette and the film’s theatrical trailer in HD. They’ve also revealed the forthcoming Blu-ray release of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), as recently restored and shown at the TCM Festival. Extras will include John Ford Home Movies and a trailer. Look also for Victor/Victoria (1982) on Blu-ray from the Archive, set to include audio commentary with Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews, the DVD Easter egg, and the theatrical trailer in HD. Here’s a look at the cover artwork for all three...
Meanwhile, Kino Lorber has revealed that it’s working on the TBA Blu-ray release of the deep catalog films I Wake Up Screaming (1941), The Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend (1949), I, the Jury (1982), Finders Keepers (1984), and The Neptune Factor (1973).
Finally today, a few words about that Deadpool 4K event on Tuesday up at the 20th Century Fox lot. In an effort to promote the new 4K Ultra HD release of Deadpool, a handful of press were invited to the Fox Innovation Lab to talk with the film’s director, Tim Miller, and colorist, Tim Stipan. Both were clearly excited by the possibilities that 4K and High Dynamic Range present them as filmmakers. One of the interesting things that even many Blu-ray and 4K fans may not realize is that, on many films, there aren’t simply two Digital Intermediate color timing passes done – one for theatrical and one for home video release. For a film like Deadpool, there are no less than six color timing passes completed. Though the filmmakers try to make the coloring consistent across all of them, there are inevitably different choices made due to the unique color and contrast characteristics of each presentation format. There’s a DCI-P3 Color Space pass done for wide-release theatrical digital projection, there’s a pass for IMAX xenon digital projection (using xenon bulbs), there’s a pass done for IMAX laser projection, and there’s one for Dolby Vision too. All of that is completed prior to any consideration of home video release. Then there’s another pass done for Rec.709 HD release on Blu-ray, and finally there’s the Rec.2020 pass done for 4K with High Dynamic Range.
Miller and Stipan were quick to say that this final 4K pass is the one they consider the best of all versions of Deadpool. Stipan, in particular, noted how surprised he was by how much more detail he saw in the image during the 4K pass – detail he hadn’t seen in any other color timing session of the same material despite many repeated viewings – and much of this was due to the fact that HDR simply reveals much more detail in the brightest and darkest areas of the picture. So, for example, during the film’s overpass fight scene, there’s now much more cloud detail in the 4K/HDR image that you see on Blu-ray or even in the theatrical presentations. The same is true of flame detail in explosions, and subtle textures in the darkest areas of Deadpool’s costume. Miller too was surprised: “The camera captured all this detail on set, but we just didn’t see it until now.”
When asked if the experience of preparing their first 4K HDR master would change the way they worked going forward, Miller suggested that it probably wouldn’t alter the way he shoots on set, where the only monitors used are HD. But he loves the fact that it opens up more possibilities in post-production to bring out the best in his work. He also understands now that HDR can both help and hurt CG imagery, and the way such images blend with live action – if you have good CG, the HDR helps sell it. But with bad CG, it’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Stipan, however, wonders if he might not like to do the 4K/HDR color timing pass first, because the decisions he makes there might better inform the choices he makes in preparing the other DIs. He also noted that’s a question (whether to do the 4K/HDR pass first or not) that the whole industry is grappling with at the moment. But both Miller and Stipan look forward to a day when many more theaters can show the level of quality you get in the 4K/HDR DI – right now, some laser projection systems are capable of it, but that’s all. I have to say though, it was fun to watch them both talking about the image as we watched a looped clip of about 10 minutes of footage from Deadpool, and listen to them marvel at the quality of what they were seeing. When you have a format that impress even the filmmakers, that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Thanks to everyone at Fox and the Innovation Lab, especially (but not limited to) Danny Kaye and Shawn Belston, for hosting the event. Rest assured, we’ll be working with them closely as the rollout of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format continues this year.
We’ll leave you with a look at some images from the event. [Editor’s Note: The image on the left was regular Blu-ray without HDR, while the image on the right is 4K Blu-ray with HDR, both shown side by side on the same model of Samsung display (the UN65JS9500). However, I caution you: DO NOT to try to compare the two images you see here as photographed and make critical judgments about them. My cell phone camera simply can’t fully and fairly present them for analysis, especially as the camera is attempting to photograph the rest of the room.] Enjoy!
Back tomorrow. Stay tuned...
- Bill Hunt (@BillHuntBits)