We spend hours, days, weeks and sometimes months, shooting all kinds of projects, in all kinds of locations. Some of us travel the world to capture events and images only to face the overwhelming task of keeping it all organized. Keeping neat directory structures and naming conventions helps but isn’t enough to find one shot out of hundreds, or thousands, six months later.
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What is Media Asset Management?
A Media Asset Management system provides a comprehensive toolset to effectively find exactly what you’re looking for, quickly, and tell you exactly where it is. A MAM usually comprises a suite of software services running on a dedicated server with access to your shared storage. These services provide the means to scan folders and files, extract metadata, and catalogue information about your media to a database. It also lets you define custom metadata fields and provides an interface to preview, tag, and mark up clips with whatever information your particular workflow requires. All of this metadata then becomes searchable.
It doesn’t stop at search. Most MAM solutions offer the means to automate any number of tasks, such as transcoding media, creating proxies, copying to other destinations, uploading, renaming, sending notifications, just to name a few. These automations can become quite complex, and can be triggered in a variety of ways to make tedious manual workflow processes hassle free, reliable and repeatable.
Many MAM solutions are aimed at larger production and post facilities with enterprise class storage. They require dedicated servers, and if they offer offline preview of video files, they need separate storage for proxies. A MAM may be integrated with specific storage, or storage agnostic. They also tend to be expensive.
Kyno is Media Management for Everyone
Kyno is a lightweight media management solution for small to medium sized teams and individuals. It’s not expensive, and is exceptionally easy to set up. Kyno is a lightweight application, compatible with direct attached and networked storage that runs client side instead of on a server. It may not offer all of the automation of a fully fledged MAM, and doesn’t offer offline search or preview but it is a lightweight workflow swiss army knife that you can easily take with you everywhere you go.
What Kyno Does
Kyno helps you keep track of your media directly from within your own hard drives and folder structures. It doesn’t impose its own organizational system or requirements. It’s entirely up to you how you want to work. The best thing about Kyno is its portability. Metadata is stored in hidden sidecar files right alongside the media files. So if you’ve tagged a whole bunch of media, and then copy it to another drive, all the metadata gets copied too.
Here’s a rundown of the highlights.
The Kyno media browser lets you browse and playback media directly from storage. It also gives you the option to drill down into folder structures to effectively flatten the results. You can filter results based on metadata extracted from the files, such as frame rate, resolution, format and more.
Media Tagging and Markers
As well as extracting technical metadata from media files, you can add as many custom tags as you like. Because my footage is shot all over the world, I add tags for country, city, specific locations, time of day (sunrise, sunset, day, night), if it’s a timelapse, plus what gear I was using at the time. So I add tags for lenses, gimbals, even ND filters so that later on, I can quickly find specific shots for product reviews and write-ups.
You can use Kyno to return search results for media that matches any combination of custom tags or other metadata that you are looking for. Search is only possible with mounted drives and locations.
The Kyno media player handles just about any video type, codec and format including R3D and Blackmagic RAW. You can apply a LUT to preview log footage.
Kyno supports making verified backups of camera media to up to four destinations. So it’s a great tool to use on set to tag clips, and then make multiple backups.
Transcode your camera media to create proxies for editing, or for upload. You can transcode any source media to a wide variety of target formats including H.264, ProRes, Cineform and more. You can also burn in timecode and apply LUTs to your transcodes.
If your workflow requires renaming a lot of media files. Kyno’s batch renaming feature makes this easy.
Media files can be sent directly to Avid, FCPX, Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve from Kyno along with metadata and markers.
How Kyno Works
By storing metadata in hidden sidecar files alongside the media itself, Kyno doesn’t use a centralized metadata database. This comes with pros and cons. The biggest pro is portability, as the metadata can be read by any machine connected to the drive or storage that has Kyno installed. It also means the metadata is copied along with the media files whenever those files are copied anywhere else. It also means you aren’t tied to a database server in order to search and use all the functionality.
The biggest downside is there is no offline search. You can’t search for media on a drive or in a location that is not mounted.
So, I see Kyno as a “thin” MAM, and by the very way it functions, some features that might be very useful, are not possible. Offline media search is one of those features, along with tracking a file’s location, across any storage volumes it may be copied or moved to, and further into archive. This kind of tracking is not possible without a centralised metadata database, and the associated server overheads that come with a “fat” MAM system.
However, for all of my needs as an individual creator, collecting video from around the world, over years, Kyno does everything I could wish for and more.
The biggest reason I want to tell you about Kyno, is because of the difference it has made to my workflow. I can find any video clip that I’ve shot anywhere in the world, over the past four years within a few seconds.
Kyno comes in two versions, and is licensed annually for support and updates. However, even if you don’t renew your license after your purchase, you can still continue to use the last version available to you when your license expires.
Kyno Standard is €159 including the first year of support and updates, and renewal is €79 per year afterwards.
Kyno Premium is €349 including the first year of support and updates, and renewal is €169 per year afterwards.
You can see a comparison of the features of Kyno Standard and Kyno Premium here. To purchase, you can visit the Kyno website here (This is an affiliate link).
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