The Making of the Deadpool Parkour Video
The Deadpool parkour and freerunning in real life video was by far the most creative and unique video to date by Symbol Syndication. The Deadpool idea was born in January, 2015. I (Jonathan Hafichuk) was spending some time in Laguna with Johnny Korthuis when we started talking about how other videographers had gotten their careers. One, in particular, has always stood out to me, Devin Graham, (known as Devin Supertramp on YouTube). Devin had a few early breakthrough videos which went viral on YouTube and these managed to kick start his career of traveling the world and getting paid to film cool and exciting adventures. The one that sparked the Deadpool idea was his first Assassins Creed Meets Parkour in Real Life video. This video featured the talented parkour athlete Ronnie Shalvis and has amassed over 54 million views on YouTube. Johnny and I got talking about what had potential at the time to go viral. Shortly after, we saw the teaser for Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool movie. We figured if we could film an epic Deadpool parkour video and release it around the same time as the movie, the internet hype could potentially provide a great number of views for us.
The filming date for the Deadpool video was set for September 2015 in Vancouver. We put together a team of people to pull it off but realized due to everyone’s schedule and the fact we had no funding it would be a lot more feasible to shoot in Calgary, Ab. The amazing team of people is what really made this possible. Johnny and I did the stunts in the Deadpool costume and when we weren’t doing stunts we were chasing each other with a motorized gimbal made by Came-TV. Symbol Syndication purchased this gimbal so we could get amazing steady running shots of Deadpool while he traversed the terrain. The gimbal later paid off for shooting real estate videos.
Maurice Needham was the assassin in the video. He has a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and experience in both acting and parkour. He made an excellent hitman and the video wouldn’t have been possible without him.
Early on we decided we needed something amazing to happen and it had to utilize the fact that Deadpool is invincible. This is where Blake Evernden came in. He is an amazing professional artist specializing in film makeup and special effects. His expertise allowed us to pull of the decapitation of Deadpool. He also helped advise on cinematography, camera angles, fight choreography and I’m confident he knows everything about every Hollywood movie ever made.
Deanna Stull shot behind the scenes and took pictures of all the shenanigans going on which helped enormously in the promotion of the video.
Shay Riggin, Gord Warkentin and Greg Bjorn helped get the video live and in front of the masses. Riley Miller assisted in finding music.
The video was shot over the course of two days in Calgary, Ab. We spent most of the time wandering downtown looking for places to shoot and filming random things while sweating to death in the incredibly hot costume. We had hoped to shoot more or come back to Calgary and shoot again but we never had a chance to get the team together again and make the trip from Lethbridge before the winter hit.
I was slightly disappointed with what I had for footage when it came time for post-production of the Deadpool video. I would have liked to have more parkour in it. That being said, I spent a couple months making sound effects, finding music and trying to cut everything I had together in an interesting and captivating way. The fight scene was the hardest part because it was filmed multiple times from multiple angles and piecing it together to be relatively believable was a challenge. Most of the ideas for choreography came from the Matrix movies, Ip Man and a couple other asian kung fu films. By the end with sound effects and music, it was definitely my favourite part of the Deadpool parkour video.
We released the Deadpool video the same day the Ryan Reynold’s movie came out in Canada. Due to the explicit nature of the Ryan Reynolds Deadpool, we were happy we could produce something with no vulgar content, profane language and only minimal violence so children and sensitive adults could watch it. To this day is is over 55,000 views, Not quite 54 million but its on its way!
I want to say thank you again to the amazing team and I can’t wait to start another creative video project like this.