BluCaps: Coco

  • Label: Disney
  • Disc Locality: USA
  • Region: A/B/C
  • Codec: AVC
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
  • Source Format: Digital/partial 2K & 4K DI

This is quite an interesting one, and I wish I had the means to take captures of 4K Ultra HD discs to illustrate what I’m talking about. One of the long-standing issues with CGI is just how long it takes to render, and the higher the resolution, the longer it takes. As a result, it’s common for CGI-heavy movies to continue to be finished in 2K only, and even on titles finished in 4K, any effects shots will typically still be rendered at 2K (notable exceptions being GONE GIRL and BLADE RUNNER 2049).

To date, all Pixar’s films have been finished in 2K — and this was very clear to me with last year’s release of their previous film, CARS 3. At first glance, COCO looks to be much the same… apart from a small number of shots, typically hyper-detailed wide angle ones, which I’m 99.99% certain are genuine 4K. The uptick in detail during these shots is immediately noticeable and undeniable. It strikes me as a pragmatic and sensible approach: clearly rendering all 105 minutes of a film of COCO’s visual complexity at this resolution just wasn’t going to be feasible, and so instead Pixar made the decision to select, on a case-by-case basis, those shots that would benefit most from the increased detail of 4K. This is essentially an inversion of the received wisdom (i.e. finishing the complex effects shots at a higher rather than a lower resolution), and I wonder if this is the first instance of this approach being employed.

Of course, on the standard Blu-ray Disc (captured here), the whole film is “flattened” to 1080p, making these discrepancies a non-issue.