A couple weeks ago we were approached by a company intending to create a Pilot for a Netflix Series which presented several challenges, the series was going to be shot in 4k DCI 60p in XAVC-I in S-log3 using a pair of PXW-FS7 cameras in several locations around Mexico, the Caribbean and the US, all the media had to be reviewed and qualified by the series director on site, basic editing was going to be done in one city using Adobe Premiere with low res media, and finishing, audio mastering and color grading was going to be done on another city across the country, and as in most productions, budget was extremely limited, so most of the regular tools used on major productions were completely out of reach, so we needed to develop a workflow that would allow:
- Secure ingest of media on location with checksum verification and multiple copies to several portable drives.
- The ability to generate proxy files on site viewable on any computer with a LUT applied and burnt in timecode and 1080p MP4 files that would work as dailies.
- The ability for the director to review and qualify the media, add metadata, rate it and send the information to the editor with limited knowledge of NLE´s, etc.
- The ability for the editor at a different location to import all the metadata and be able to see exactly what the director decided in order to generate a rough cut in Premiere using the proxies.
- The ability for the post-house across the country to be able to see all the metadata, rating, etc. generated by the director, and the ability to get the Premiere Project, relink it to the original media, send it to Resolve and do all the finishing, color grading and final delivery according to Netflix specs.
- It had to be available for Windows and Mac computers.
A little bit about myself to set some context, I’m an Adobe Master Consultant, Sony Professional Brand Ambassador, Dell Ambassador, etc. and have trained hundreds of people at Mexico’s biggest broadcasters like Televisa, TV Azteca, HBO, Cinemax, Telehit, Ritmoson, Bandamax, etc. and have helped design and develop workflows for productions of different scopes and sizes, from small productions all the way to the first Telenovela produced in 4k in Mexico. I also run CineDigital.tv, the leading site for everything related to professional video in Spanish since 2010.
So, the research began, and there was no easy way to achieve everything I needed to do, it either was too complicated, too expensive, required a steep learning curve, the different software components did not work with each other, etc. But the solution to my problems was right in front of me, it just took me a couple days to figure it out.
I have been a Kyno user since the first version a couple years ago, first on Mac and after we switched to Windows, the Windows version was launched, so we have been using it ever since, and it ticked a lot of the boxes we needed:
- It recognized all the file formats needed for production
- Fast transcoding with the ability to add lookup tables
- Metadata logging and reviewing
- Cross platform
- Worked with Adobe Premiere
But 2 major features I needed were missing, the first one media ingest with checksum verification and the most important of them, was the ability to export/import the metadata to be able to send it across the country to other team players.
So I reached Lesspain Software and told them about my needs and the launch of version 1.6 was imminent and it had both features, so they kindly sent me a beta version that included both features and we put it to the test for the past weeks, and it works just fine, no issues whatsoever and the workflow works exactly as planned.
Last week we were on location shooting the pilot, I installed Kyno on a Dell Precision 5530 with a Core i9 processor, 16gb of ram and a Quadro Graphics card and did all the ingest of the XQD cards to 2 drives directly using it, once copied selected all the media, added a LUT and created the dailies with burnt in timecode with a preset we set up for that purpose, the mp4 dailies were handed off to the director who I trained to use Kyno (the features we needed for him to use: view and preview files, qualify them using the star system or reject it, set in and out points, add metadata and comments). He later exported the metadata files and sent it via email to the editor, who had another copy of the dailies, imported the metadata, sent the files to Adobe Premiere and assembled the rough cut. Later the editor sent the metadata files from Kyno and the Adobe Premiere Project to the post house (who had a copy of the high res media) via email and are currently working on the pilot.
So far so good, not a single issue and the workflow just works, I cannot wait for the release of the final version and cannot wait to see what the future holds for Kyno, it has become an essential part of this workflow.