Documentary | Post Production


Klitschko: More Than A Fight

Sky Original Klitschko: More Than a Fight offers audiences unprecedented access to former heavyweight boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir, who together dominated the sport for more than a decade. Now the longest serving Mayor of Kyiv, this feature-length documentary charts Vitali’s journey from the ring to political office, leading the defence of the capital when it was attacked by Russian forces in February 2022 to the present day. This incredible story is opening Sheffield Documentary Festival 2024. Read on to find out how our team approached the Final Post. 


Oliver Bramley – Post Producer 


I’ve Post Produced many documentaries, but I was really excited about collaborating with Kevin MacDonald (Director) and Edgar Dubrovskiy (Co-Director/ DOP) as they are a real force in the documentary world. I knew that whatever story they were working on, it was going to be a good one. The fact that Klitschko: More Than A Fight was set to open Sheffield Doc/Fest only served to build the buzz around it internally. That said, we still set out to treat it as we would any other feature doc – giving everything to the project, elevating the story through the Grade and the Sound Design and helping Docsville to achieve the best possible telling of their story. 

Kevin was keen to engage with our creative talent as soon as possible in Grade, Online, Audio and GFX. It was absolutely key that, as early as possible, we had our team experimenting to come up with agreed looks, sounds and styles with Kevin and Edgar so that the production team could hit the ground running upon arrival. Delivering for Sheffield Doc/Fest meant that the pressure was on to get through final post a bit quicker than expected but everyone, including production, pulled together to ensure we hit every sign off and every deadline. I’m incredibly excited to see it on the big screen in Sheffield, and to then get back into Edit to get the Sky version finished. 

Mark Mulcaster – Colourist 


As soon as the project was greenlit, I jumped on a call with Co-Director/DOP, Edgar Dubrovskiy, to start discussing the overarching look of the film and our strategy for working with the archive, of which there was a large amount and of varying quality. The deadline for the opening piece at Sheffield Doc/Fest meant that we had to get to work quickly, which added some extra pressure, but having spoken at length to Edgar in the lead up, it was very relaxed from the moment he and Kevin arrived in the suite.  


For the majority of the grade, I had Edgar in the room with his DOP eye, and we worked through the film. The main look of the film was based on a LUT that Edgar developed in-camera and was applied to the offline rushes. This was low in contrast and had a bleach bypass feel to the highlights, based around the Kodak 2083 film stock. We utilised that during much of the grade but felt extra contrast was needed at points. The environment and season would inform each scene and so we wanted a stylised yet honest look to the grade. I think Edgar’s main motivation was to not draw attention to the look, keeping it low-key to let the story and situation speak for itself. With that in mind we were conscious not to overdo vignettes and other shaping that would start to look like things had been constructed. As the grade developed, we brought Kevin in for viewings and, following his feedback, added some windows and isolation, but all the while tried to maintain that very subtle feel.


The biggest challenge was dealing with the varying quality to the archive footage which tended to have much stronger contrast than the specifically shot content. We spent time softening the archive so that it didn’t jump out when cutting back and forth to the present day. There was such an incredible range of sources that we decided to embrace the varying quality in terms of both image resolution and colour fidelity and to just try and help the cut where it was needed. 

Finn Curry – Re-Recording Mixer 


On a job of this scale, I like to talk with the Director before I start Sound Editing and I watch the Offline cut (at whatever stage it is) a few times to get a feel for the piece. After that I discussed more specific ideas with my colleague, Tom Nursey, who was working on this film as the SFX Editor.

As with any documentary, a large part of the work was cleaning up and mixing dialogue that was recorded in a wide range of scenarios. This was achieved with some common Audio Post tools - most notably iZotope RX10 and Supertone Clear. Away from the Dialogue, we also had some sections that dealt with Vitaly Klitschko's boxing matches and these had to be made to sound relatively smooth without too many bumps/cuts in the crowd where comms came in and out. So, Tom Nursey worked especially hard to match any crowd SFX he put in to the comms that came from the Edit which helped these sections to flow. Once it has screened at Sheffield, we will be finalising the UK version and then also completing the NBCU version too. I feel really positive about this documentary and very much enjoyed working on it. I think that it’s an excellent film and can’t wait to see it get the treatment it deserves on the big screen at Doc/Fest. 

The balance between success in his flashy boxing career, with his rather heavy, bleak, and tiring commitment to Kyiv is fascinating and Kevin certainly did this justice
Tom Nursey

SFX Editor

Tom Nursey – SFX Editor

Each project requires a unique approach, as every show is different. I was aware of Kevin’s other works, and therefore I tried to take inspiration from these in my preparation for Klitschko. With unprecedented access to Vitali Klitschko and his team, it follows him as the Mayor of Kyiv as he tried to hold it together throughout the ongoing Russian onslaught. It reflects on his childhood, integrates his brother Wladimir and their Mum, and celebrates his incredible heavy-weight boxing career. The balance between success in his flashy boxing career, with his rather heavy, bleak, and tiring commitment to Kyiv is fascinating and Kevin certainly did this justice. Given this even handedness, it was important to mix it with “rawness” in mind for the Kyiv and war sections, and “over-the-top’ness” for the amazing boxing sections.  

It was vital to get a solid Pro Tools desk template in place ahead of starting, one we knew we could rely on, and that would allow us to be as creative as needed. Time wasted adding tracks, plugins and routing to a template is time lost in actually mixing the show. We integrated folder tracks with our usual rock-solid processing chains, Supertone Clear denoising, and our Sky Post Production “super-back-end” that allows us to print all deliverables in one pass. This freed us up to be as creative as possible in the suite, and not have to worry too much about the technical aspects of Pro Tools and the desk template.  

I’m incredibly proud of our work on Klitschko. It’s by far the most I’ve been pushed as a Mixer! I’m lucky enough to be heading up to Sheffield to watch it open the Sheffield Documentary Festival, something, again – I couldn’t be prouder of.  

Trev Hart – Graphics 

At first sight, the Klitschko brief seemed quite straightforward.. However, I knew from experience just how involved the Graphics work would be, and how much of a challenge it would be to make it fit into the Post pipeline.  I was able to hit the ground running by covering 80% of the graphics work in the week prior to the team coming in to Sky Post. The real pressure came from getting the subtitles sorted – they were the biggest challenge for sure - and they required a huge amount of input over two and a half very intense days. They needed heavy reformatting and a fair amount of re-translating to ensure that we could condense particularly long passages without sacrificing context, all of which took us right up to the day before delivery for Sheffield Doc/Fest.  

Next up, the graphics themselves needed to be visible against the graded background. Working on pre-graded sequences with low-res material that was still arriving in the online proved tricky - but having Jon Slade (Online Editor) next door to me meant I could just pop in and see how things were looking. Working side by side with Jon paid real dividends as he was able to ensure that my graphics stood out and were perfectly embedded into the final film. Having a firm grasp of the 83 on screen graphics, captions and name-supers required a lot of administrative zeal!

It was honestly such a great experience, made better by everyone at Docsville, including Kevin, Edgar and Sophie, who were great to work with despite how incredibly busy they all seemed. And of course there was Jon Slade, Mark Mulcaster and Finn Curry all knuckling down with an incredible amount of Onlining, Grading and Audio work. We all pulled together and I'm definitely proud to have been involved with it. 

Jon Slade – Online Editor 

The most pressing aspect for me was that the project had two delivery deadlines. Before transmission for Sky, the documentary was set to be screened as part of the opening night at Sheffield Doc/Fest in a prime spot. This necessitated a much more streamlined online process which would achieve the quality required at pace, whilst still achieving a QC pass of the DCP, or digital cinema package, for projection. Given the era in which the brothers were at the height of their boxing powers, there were considerable amounts of SD archive material that needed to be replaced with edges re-masked and deinterlaced. There were also the various framerate errors and quality issues that you would commonly associate with any ageing archive which needed to be dealt with to my satisfaction. The main concern was getting it in a place where it looked as good as possible, in as short space of time, ready to be viewed on a large screen. 

Once the documentary has been shown at the festival, the second deadline and the more intricate work commences - I'll be looking to use some Machine Learning tools to enhance and sharpen some boxing archive and do further corrections throughout to raise the quality even further. 


Klitschko: More Than A Fight premieres at Sheffield Documentary Festival on 12th June and is coming soon to Sky Documentaries.


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