Kyno from Lesspain Software is all-in-one Media Management App. It also has some really powerful features and it’s used by professional filmmakers as: - Media storage browser - File organizer - Universal player - Logging/Metadata editing tool - Multi-purpose production assistant - Converter (transcoding & rewrapping)
I’d say that it’s an App for anything you may need to do before you start editing on the timeline which makes your work in NLE software of your choice so much better.
There are 3 main ways in which Kyno contributes to the workflows of filmmakers of any kind. It does it as
metadata editor and asset management app
as powerful video converter
and with integrations for popular NLEs and other industry-standard apps.
Media Asset Management in Kyno
This is my focus in the first video of the series. Watch it and recap with the paragraphs below.
We can apply and edit metadata in Kyno and what I love about it is that it’s not a messy list of metadata I don't need and use. Instead, we have the most important information for filmmakers like title, description, reel, scene, angle, etc.
We can export, import and merge metadata information and exchange it with people working on another copy of the footage.
We can create Metadata logging presets for appending information to clips. Obviously we can batch assigning these metadata presets and there’s even very cool feature that allows you to pre-assign metadata preset to SD card before the shoot. So after the shooting day, you offload the footage from the card and you have tags and other information already in place.
Drilldown is like a signature mark for Kyno. Feature so simple and so useful at the same time. It will display all clips within the selected location drilling down to every subfolder that it can find.
You can select any disk and activate the drilldown. Imagine how useful it is in case you forgot in which subfolder the clip you need is.
Another use example?
I hate how Sony cameras organize media. There’s a bunch of empty folders there and I always forget which one contains actual clips. With Drilldown you can just select the top-level folder to access all of the files. So useful!
Tags, ratings, metadata.: all of them allow us to filter and search for specific clips.
We can even search for VFR (Variable Frame Rate) clips which are often pretty troublesome. Once we find them we can convert them to a constant frame rate before importing into your NLE. At least that’s the practice I usually recommend.
Professional video player
Kyno can be used as a professional video player. It supports most of the professional formats including RED files in Kyno Premium.
We can choose the speed setting we want to apply to the playback within that player. I can even choose a specific frame rate I want to play the clip in. So it's like footage interpretation on the go.
For example, if I have 100 fps clip and I want to see how it will look like when played back in 24 fps.
And some additional features of this player include adding In and Out points, enabling zebra for overexposed areas, widescreen overlay and playback loop. We can also rotate and flip a clip in a view and we can apply LUTs within a player.
Powerful renaming features
Kyno has infinite possibilities when it comes to renaming. Not only we can create our own naming conventions but we can also use metadata from Kyno for their creation.
As an example, let’s try to use some custom text and some metadata information to generate new, descriptive file names. First I select the clips I want to rename and now I hit F2 on the keyboard or just right-click and choose Rename.
Batch Rename window appears and we start by selecting the directory for renamed files. And the thing we’re most interested in is the Filename pattern. At the bottom of the list, we have a Manage option which gives us endless possibilities.
I will duplicate an existing preset and will modify variables. Let’s create a name pattern that uses the Custom name of a project called Vineyard followed by a dash, followed by title from metadata, another dash and frame rate of a clip.
Now we save these settings for the future and we click on Start Renaming. A moment later we have nice and descriptive names.
Verified Camera Media Backup
Kyno also has an offloading feature which basically means that Kyno will Verify Camera Media while copying to a new location. All files will be copied and verified with the source.
There are programs for offloading like Red Giant’s Shooter Offload or Hedge but they cost almost as much as Kyno and don't offer much more than that. And with Kyno we get it as a part of a package.
RED RAW support
Usually, RED footage is hard to playback smoothly. But Kyno seems to deal with RAW R3D files exceptionally well. We can change the resolution of the playback and use the rest of the player’s features. It even reads the sidecar for R3d file so if you change settings in REDCINE-X Pro it will be shown in Kyno as well.
If you’re a cameraman working for numerous clients you’ll love reports. Probably producers will love it as well for keeping track of assets.
To generate a report select a footage folder you’re interested in and choose to Create Report. In a blink of an eye, you have all data about assets at your hand.
The report contains information like: - total media duration in the folder, - the average duration of a clip, - number of markers and subclips (more on that in a future video), - video codecs and formats, - the total and average size of clips, - a number of items, and more.
Shared Location for Cache Files
As mentioned earlier Kyno works great on shared storage solutions because it lets you define the location for metadata as well as Shared Cache folder. So really, there’s nothing holding you back from creating an ultimate database of your video assets.
Now onto the second powerful set of features.
Converting and Transcoding Beast
Transcoding in Kyno is super simple. I can select any number of clips, right-click and choose an editing codec, distribution codec or audio format to which I want to convert the files.
There are various professional codecs for editing like DNx, Cineform and Kyno 1.7 introduces all flavors of ProRes both on Mac and Windows (previously only on Mac).
I recorded the following video before this new release but ProRes is not officially there as well and I catch up on that in the third episode (keep reading for the third video).
In Encoding Video settings we obviously can change a codec, frame rate, resolution, etc. BTW, if for frame rate setting we choose to conform, it will interpret the footage to a given value. So we don’t lose or duplicate any frames in this case but as a result, we’ll have a clip that has been sped up or slowed down.
We can apply any LUT we want during the converting process. Depending on the situation it can be really handy. Actually we can apply two LUTs at the same time that is a Camera LUT, which is usually used to convert the footage from one color space to the other and Creative LUT which usually just shifts the colors and tonality of the image.
Denoising footage filter
We can denoise the footage during the transcoding process. This is a big deal but it’s different in a Basic and Premium version. In a basic version, we don’t get any control over how much denoising is being applied but in the Premium version we have Luma and Chroma noise separated and we can adjust the parameters to achieve the best results possible.
It’s really designed to get rid of the noise in the footage before we may apply any effects to it. Nowadays very often we have to deal with LOG footage which is usually a bit noisier than REC 709 equivalent. So denoising these files beforehand can be worth the effort, especially if we’re planning to apply any keying effect or secondary color correction down the road.
We can burn in the timecode of the file to the image. It’s a great idea to do it for proxy files. This way you can always say if you’re looking at the proxy or original media.
It may also be very useful for collaborating when someone needs to give you notes about a specific moment in a clip.
Audio channels remapping
If we know which audio channels we want to use, we can apply audio remapping while converting. Then we don’t even have to interpret the footage in our NLE. We choose Custom Mapping, Channel layout we want to have and we remap the channels.
Very cool feature. Unfortunately, only available in a Premium version.
We can also change the sample rate, keep the first track only or split audio to mono tracks.
Import/export transcoding presets
If we click on this gear icon we can save transcoding presets which will automate future jobs for us. It also means that we can easily share these presets with others by exporting and importing which we can do in Preferences.
Presets remember all of the settings we already discussed like denoising, audio channels remapping, LUTs, overlays, frame rate interpretation, etc.
Let's compare the speed of transcoding in Kyno and Adobe Media Encoder.
Many of the things we talked about can be accomplished in Media Encoder as well. And while I think that using Kyno for converting is just simpler and more intuitive, the speed is the single most important aspect we need to compare.
I’ve prepared the same clip for both AME and Kyno and transcoded it both into delivery codec H.264 and intermediary codec Cineform 422 10bit. All of the settings were the same and I exported each file twice to make sure nothing else interfered with the results.
The clip I used for the test was 27 seconds long, 25 fps, UHD. I used the most recent versions of both programs.
When exporting to Cineform Kyno was on average 1,4 times faster. But the real difference was for H.264 transcoding. When I downscaled the file to 1080p, Kyno was on average 2.6 times faster and for UHD H.264 Kyno was on average 2.7 times faster.
Just imagine the difference that it makes for your dailies.
Now onto the last section, that is integrations between Kyno and other applications.
Let's first have a look at subclips and markers because they are what we're most interested in when carrying information over to our NLE.
We create subclips by marking part of a clip with In and Out point and pressing “S” on the keyboard. We can create as many subclips as we want. Adding a descriptive name is a good idea because when we send the files to Premiere Pro this is what we’ll be able to use.
To complement subclips we can also add markers. You add it in the same way as in Premiere Pro, hitting M on the keyboard. And just like in Premiere if you hit “M” twice, you can add marker information right away.
What I like about the player in Kyno and I think would be great to have in Premiere is that it shows you when the playhead is on the marker by lifting it a bit. Small thing but it’s nice to have it.
We can export assets information or marker list as an Excel (XLS) file. Not only will it have all metadata information for markers but there also will be a thumbnail for all of them. If you have a duration marker the thumbnail will be generated only for the first frame.
We can also export all markers as stills. If our marker has a duration then only the first frame will be sported as a still. Unfortunately, you can export only to JPEG or PNG files. I wish we could export to 16 bit TIFF or DPX file.
Premiere Pro Integration
All we need to do to use logged media in Premiere Pro is to select all the clips we want, right-click and choose Send To Premiere Pro.
Export Options appear and we start by specifying if Premiere Pro is supposed to create bins for imported clips based on the original folder structure, a custom bin or no new bin at all.
It used to be that Kyno didn’t send Tags and Rating to Premiere but with a new checkbox to Write all metadata to XMP, we have that information as well. Tags translate as Keywords in this case. And here’s the rest metadata information with how they are translated in Premiere Pro.
Title -> Name Description -> Description Reel -> Tape Name Scene -> Scene Take -> Shot
And there’s also a nice new feature in Kyno 1.7 that lets you migrate metadata logged in Premiere Pro back to Kyno. In Premiere Pro select clips, go to File - Export - Final Cut Pro XML...then select files in Kyno, Import Metadata and choose what to merge into Kyno's metadata set.
Final Cut Pro Integration
We can send information to Final Cut Pro 7 XML or FCPX XML. For the first one, options are practically the same as with Premiere Pro export.
For the latter, we have some Metadata Mapping options specific for this version like Keywords, Favorites or option to copy files to Library. I especially like that you can combine favorites with ratings you applied in Kyno. If I ever edit in Final Cut, I’ll definitely use it.
We can also just drag and drop files between Kyno and Final Cut Pro.
And we can bring the metadata added to clips in FCPX back to Kyno, including tags, makers and favorites. To do it we drag and drop clips from FCPX to a folder in Kyno or export an XML in FCPX and import it back to Kyno.
Frame.io integration (Kyno Premium)
Version 1.7 introduces integration with frame.io. It’s only available in Kyno Premium. To set up integration between Kyno and frame.io you go to Preferences - Integrations, you click Connect log in with your Frame.io credentials.
Now, there needs to be a folder created in frame.io and then you can simply select media you want to deliver, right-click, Send To and choose frame.io.
The beauty of it is that all clips will have all metadata from Kyno so your collaborator will be able to use it. We can even choose to transcode the clips before uploading or even to send subclips only.
Archiware integration (Kyno Premium)
Unfortunately, I don’t have broad experience with using a tool like Archiware. I’ve signed up for a trial account and explored it a little bit and it’s an extremely powerful tool for archiving on and backup.
Once we have connection active we just select clips or folders we want to archive or write on LTO tape. Now we go to Send To - Archiware P5 and we choose an archive plan that we created in Archiware software.
The archive plan basically means where the media is supposed to be archived. To an external disc, LTO tape or to the cloud. There are many options and things we can configure there.
With Standard and Premium versions available as standalone applications and one year of free updates, Kyno is a great addition to any filmmakers toolkit.