Picture Shop completed post-production work on the Pitch International Films produced documentary, which was released on Netflix on 2 August 2023.
Intimate and captivating, Mark Cavendish: Never Enough charts the meteoric rise, tragic downfall and unbelievable comeback of professional cyclist Mark Cavendish. Picture Shop completed post-production work on the Pitch International Films produced documentary, which was released on Netflix on 2 August 2023.
Mark Cavendish: Never Enough is an intimate documentary capturing both the highs and lows throughout Cavendish’s career. The objective was to ensure that the grading perfectly mirrored these aspects. Specific moments were carefully graded to authentically portray a historical record, capturing the essence of its original broadcast. Other times, the aim was to make the archive feel like it had been extracted from Cavendish’s memory. In those cases, the colour was enhanced, and the contrast opened for some of the more positive accomplished moments or desaturate, tighten up contrast and shape around Cavendish to give the picture a more intimate feel during the more challenging times of his career.
In the approach to the footage featuring Cavendish, the priority was to maintain its richness and emphasise his character. By skilfully using the grading technique, attention was strategically drawn to him, effectively fostering a strong and continuous connection with the audience throughout the film.
Supervising Sound Editor/Re-recording Mixer Steve Speed met with Director Alex Kiehl and Producer Cecilia Gomez Blanco twelve months before final audio post began on the film.
The film has a complex and beautiful structure weaving between intimate interview set-ups, to exhilarating archive broadcast footage to reconstruction-type footage shot by Kiehl of Cavendish on his bike or training at home.
Speed and Kiehl wanted to make the archive race footage as exciting and as visceral as possible, to place the viewer in the heart of the action, whether as if on the shoulders of the riders in the melee of the Tour De France race peloton, or as a spectator as the riders fly past.
To achieve this, Speed spent many hours auditioning recent M/E broadcast rushes from the Tour De France, editing down any useful elements of bike sounds as well as rider and spectator vocal sounds. Sound Designer James Spooner went out and captured his own field recordings of local races. These elements were then meticulously collated into a library to be used in the sound design and mix stages. Sound Recordist Tom Jessop also provided some terrific wild recordings of Cavendish on his bike that James would then layer into his work.
Spooner used many individual elements to re-create the various race and action sequences that is seen in the film. The sounds of the rider movements, vocal shouts, bike sounds and passes, spectator sounds and any external visual cues that needed sound were all layered up at the sound design stage.
Speed began his work pre-mixing all of the interview dialogues and the many different sync dialogue sources throughout the film, using careful EQ and dialogue restoration to give the recordings as much clarity and power as possible. On the foundation, Speed then created the FX and Atmos soundscape, panning and balancing each sound design element to produce a mix that was as immersive and as detailed as possible. It was important that the elements used to re-create the sounds of the bikes and spectators, for example, felt glued to the image and sounded as authentic as possible.
The detailed use of panning and the dynamic balance of the dialogue and FX, Atmos and music mix, is designed to push and pull the viewer in and out of the dramatic race sequences. The soundscape and mix work also needed to create breathing space in the film for the incredibly raw and honest interviews given by Cavendish and his wife, Peta.
It was vital to get the feel and balance of the heavily sound designed parts of the film just right to convey the feelings and thoughts of Cavendish as he battled with the external and inner pressures of being an elite athlete and champion of his sport. Those sections are made up of many layers of archive race broadcast clips and field recordings, as well as sound design elements, manipulated and balanced during the mix stage.
Speed also recorded ADR commentary for the film, which was used wherever clearance was not possible for any original broadcast recordings. These were then processed and blended in the mix, to sit side by side with original clearable recordings.
The result is a complex and dynamic soundscape that is intended to make the viewer feel every emotion of the incredible achievements and challenges of Cavendish’s professional and personal life.
The team at Picture Shop has been a key partner in bringing Mark Cavendish’s exciting and compelling story to the screen. They believed in the project from day one and their constant support throughout the process provided us with all the tools we needed to fulfil our vision.Pitch International Films
Picture Shop Online Editor, Mark Redfern completed the UHD online using Autodesk Flame. Mark Cavendish: Never Enough was produced at Picture Shop by Paul Jones, Milena Cave and Oliver Stedman.
Watch the trailer here.