Frame.io: Why DaVinci Resolve May Be the Single Most Powerful Tool in Post

https://blog.frame.io/2017/09/06/davinci-resolve-may-be-most-powerful

“You may have heard of DaVinci Resolve as a color grading tool—it has a strong pedigree in color, and about a decade ago, you only would have seen it inside high-end post-production houses and finishing facilities, replacing the color timing workflows for film with cutting-edge digital intermediate workflows.

However, it’s also great for syncing audio, preparing dailies, conforming, and in the past few years, has even started to offer tools for editing and sound mixing. The sound mixing tools are brand new, so the industry hasn’t adopted them widely yet, and the editing tools aren’t yet as robust as what you’d see from Apple, Adobe, or Avid, but they’ll suffice in a pinch. This whole collection of tools, together, makes Resolve one of, if not the most powerful tool in post-production. It’s the glue that holds the entire post-production workflow together….”

Røde Microphones Releases VideoMicro Pro+, New Top Rank On-Camera Directional aka Shotgun Microphone – UPDATED

Australian recording studio and video production mic company Røde Microphones announced the imminent release of its new self-powered on-camera directional mic the VideoMic Pro+ on July 25 and yesterday a review sample arrived on our doorstep, and what a microphone it is with a list of hardware and software improvements advancing well beyond its immediate predecessor the VideoMic Pro. Røde’s VideoMic Pro+ aka VMP+ is likely to quickly become the go-to top-end video hotshoe-mounted production shotgun microphone. 

I took the VideoMic Pro+ out for a quick spin attached to my Panasonic Lumix GX8, a wonderful stills camera and a sadly underestimated 4K UHD video camera now somewhat eclipsed by the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5.

I threw a third-party TRS 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adapter sourced from the local Jaycar store into my bag as the GX8, like many smaller hybrid mirrorless cameras made today, is equipped with a 2.5mm audio jack in order to save space.

The two 2.5mm-to-3.5mm adapters here are the only ones I have been able to source in local stores and they are not the ideal solution. I am still looking for better-designed, better-made alternatives such as short 2.5mm-to-3.5mm TRS cables or smaller adapters so they do not get in the way or disconnect as these two do all the time.

I can’t help but wonder if there might be a better solution than adding a non-professional adapter into the audio equation, and whether Røde might be persuaded to make their own 3.5mm-to-2.5mm TRS patch cables in order to eliminate this one particular weakest link.

I often experience problems caused by these third-party 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adapters and have yet to find a more professional alternative. I like Røde’s red coiled cables for their quality, convenience and visibility.

I congratulate Røde Microphones for listening to its users and acting on that by replacing permanently attached cables with detachable cables on its newer products including the VideoMic Pro+, and hope that this is now the standard.

Røde Microphones VideoMic Pro+

My partner and I are both enduring one of the worst influenza seasons ever despite having been vaccinated so avoided street crowds and headed off for a coffee at the local high street, set up camera and microphone and pointed the rig in the general direction of our fellow caffeine addicts lined up at the front of the café.

Our test was quick and dirty to say the least as we want to spend time doing a more in-depth one over the coming days, but the results were impressive.

The first new feature

First feature put to the test was the new hinged battery door.

The VideoMic Pro’s battery door often presented a challenge to new users until time and practice taught them how to push it on and off without frustration and battery popping out onto the floor.

The VideoMic Pro+ is a much easier to use proposition and it takes little time to get the hang of two finger on the latches to release its hinged battery door.

Instead of relying on the locally hard-to-find rectangular 9v Lithium batteries required by the VMP and SVMX, the VMP+ allows the choice of two rechargeable AA batteries or Røde’s own LB-1 Lithium-Ion rechargeable.

If using third party AA-size lithium batteries, make sure that the current rating of the batteries will deliver the same or better than the Røde proprietary battery which is rated at 1600mAh (at 3.8 volts).

Røde’s VideoMic Pro+ product page implies that the VMP+ can also be powered by the detachable Micro USB cable so we will give that option a go soon. Meanwhile we chose the LB-1 lithium battery.

Auto on-off

The second standout feature we encountered is the VMP+’s automatic on-off power function. We plugged the detachable 3.5mm TRS cable into the VMP+ and then the GX8’s audio jack, switched the camera on and the VMP+ immediately powered up.

Then we powered the GX8 down and watched the VMP+ do the same. Yay! Great way to help save on battery power especially if toting just the one LB-1 battery about with you.

I wonder though if Røde will be making spare LB-1 batteries available in future? I always feel safer carrying at least one spare even if the batteries have well-earned reputations for longevity.

An easier interface

The next standout feature was the ease-of-use of the VideoMic Pro+’s electronic interface via push buttons instead of the VideoMic Pro’s sliders. I have always found sliders less sure than buttons in other devices and often wondered if I had inadvertently slid off-setting when in the field with the VMP.

The VMP+’s buttons makes that less of a concern, especially its power-on/off button which needs a slightly sustained push to to be activated. That is good, thoughtful design.

Also thoughtful and effective is the circular layout of the VMP+’s buttons and indicator LEDs. Although they are similar in functionality to those on the Røde Stereo VideoMic X, the latter’s controls are in a vertical straight line and have always felt just a little counterintuitive in use given their contradiction to the SVMX’s circular design.

My fingers leapt easily over the VideoMic Pro+’s button and LED arrangement and it was a doddle changing the settings while watching the GX8 audio indicators change in response.

The safety channel

Another new feature I am really looking forward to putting into practice soon is the VMP+’s Safety Channel, activated by pushing the Output Gain Control button and Power Button at the same time, lower right and upper middle.

The Safety Channel lowers the output of the dual-mono signal’s right channel by 10dB to account for sudden audio spikes and reduce the likelihood of fatal audio clipping. If the left channel is compromised then the right channel will most likely be okay.

The other major new hardware feature in the Røde VideoMic Pro+ is its optimized windshield, now larger and more rounded than the one in the VideoMic Pro. My BFF was very interested in that aspect of the VMP+ as she spent some time working on similar features for a US-based audio hardware and software corporation.

The curvy bits

Making windshields curvier apparently helps persuade wind to better deflect around the microphone’s sensitive bits with the benefit of less noise. My wording, not hers! Cue animation of wind represented by arrows approaching windshield and sliding off.

Røde Microphones has had an agreement with famous UK audio accessories makers Rycote in place for some time now whereby Røde manufactures its own Rycote Lyre shockmounts and is permitted to integrate them into its microphone designs.

I have been a Rycote customer for some years having observed various Rycote products in heavy use by audio professionals onset so it is pleasing that the Røde team seems to see Rycote in a similar light.

Which DeadCat?

The folks at Røde Microphones tell me that a new DeadCat optional windshield accessory specially tailored to the VideoMic Pro+ is being made and will be available soon. The DeadCat windshield for the VideoMic Pro is unsuitable for use with the VMP+.

Forget adapters, get a Beachtek 3.5mm-to-2.5mm coiled cable

Beachtek SC25 3.5mm-to-2.5mm coiled cable, suitable for connecting the Røde VideoMic Pro+ to the 2.5mm audio mini-jack of the Panasonic Lumix GX8 and other cameras.

I finally located a suitable 3.5mm-to-2.5mm cable and (almost) hit the jackpot with it being short, coiled, with gold-plated contacts and, an unexpected bonus, a different look to the 2.5mm end’s plastic moulding for fast and easy identification.

My order for several Beachtek SC25 3.5mm to 2.5mm Stereo Output Cables is now on its way.

It appears that Beachtek came up with this cable back in the Lumix GH1 days when Panasonic’s flagship DSLM had a 2.5mm audio minijack. Given it is likely that fewer cameras will be equipped with such jacks in future, I thought it best to get exercise my Rule of Three, two for location and one for the studio in case either or both are lost or damaged.

Coping with the VideoMic Pro+’s rear extension

The new Røde VideoMic Pro+ mounted on the Panasonic Lumix GH4’s hotshoe, showing how the rear of the microphone juts backwards.

Early users of the Røde VideoMic Pro+ have reported problems with the way mic with cable attached juts backwards into one’s face when mounting the VMP+ on the camera’s hotshoe.

I compared the way the VMP+ sits on my GX8’s hotshoe with how it works on my GH4’s hotshoe and can confirm these reports. The VideoMic Pro+ is fine with the rangefinder-style GX8 but the back of the microphone gets in the way when placing one’s eye up close to the DSLR-style GH4’s EVF.

I had a similar problem with the very first Røde microphone I bought, the original VideoMic, now replaced with the current red Rycote Lyre shockmount-equipped VideoMic.

The mic came with its hotshoe mount screw-attached to the centre of its rubber-band shockmount so all I had to do was unscrew the hotshoe mount, move it to the back of the shockmount and problem solved.

The VideoMic Pro+ cannot be modified in this way but there are other solutions. Camera cages are becoming increasingly popular and some of the latest have one or two off-centre coldshoe mounts built-in. All allow you to screw coldshoes onto any 1/4″/20 threaded that you wish.

Another possible solution is to attach a threaded or coldshoe-equipped handle or rail onto the camera’s hotshoe and place the VMP+ where it works best. The choice is yours, and there is a fair amount of choice in how you do it and where you find your ideal solution.

Adapting 3.5mm minijack microphones to XLR devices

Røde’s VXLR+ 3.5mm female TRS socket to male XLR adaptor converts 12 volt to 48 volt phantom power into 5 volt to 5 volt plug-in power. It is necessary if you wish to plug the Røde VideoMicro, VideoMic GO or HS2 microphones into XLR devices. The VXLR+ will replace the VXLR in due course, when the latter will be discontinued.

While researching the Røde VideoMic Pro+, I came across a new XLR adaptor on the company’s website, the VXLR+.

I added four Røde VXLR 3.5mm-to-XLR adaptors when I ordered my Tascam DR-70D four-channel audio recorder some time ago. This recorder has four XLR/TRS combo jacks and I feel safer adapting 3.5mm TRS to XLR when connecting microphones to all my XLR devices.

The data sheet PDF for the VXLR+ lists these compatible microphones for the VXLR+:

  • VideoMic
  • VideoMicro
  • VideoMic Pro
  • VideoMic Pro+
  • VideoMic GO
  • HS2
  • RØDELink Filmmaker Kit
  • smartLav+ (when used with SC3 adapter)

I have been informed that the VXLR+ will replace the VXLR in due course, when the VXLR will be discontinued. In the meantime the VXLR works fine with all the above microphones except for the VideoMicro, VideoMic GO and smartlav+. These three mics require plug-in power, which the VXLR+ can provide when they are plugged into XLR phantom power devices.

Links:

Image Credits:

Header image composite made from Røde Microphones product photographs in Adobe Photoshop then styled with Alien Skin Exposure X2. Gallery photographs made as 3-bracket HDRs on Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 camera with Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 Aspheric prime lens then processed in Macphun Aurora HDR 2017 and Macphun Luminar for a Polaroid look.

Blackmagic Design Releases DaVinci Resolve 14, Most Massive Update Yet, Adds Fairlight Audio Page, Radically Drops Studio Price

The words “gamechanging” and “revolutionary” are well overused in the realm of digital media production and writers are always warned to avoid them. But what other words best describe Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 in its free and paid-for Studio versions?

The Fairlight audio page of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 non-linear editing, colour grading and audio production software suite.

Signs were Blackmagic was up to something radical when it bought pioneering computer musical and video instruments maker Fairlight and the fruits of that move are now here in Resolve 14’s Fairlight audio page.

The first beta of DaVinci Resolve 14 and DaVinci Resolve Studio 14 is now available to download in your choice of three computer platforms, macOS, Windows and two flavours of Linux, Red Hat and CentOS.

The latter option is particularly exciting, as Blackmagic Design’s press release says, “Customers running Red Hat or CentOS Linux can even build their own workstations using low cost motherboards, extremely fast processors, massive amounts of RAM and up to 8 GPUs for incredible real time performance.”

Looks like I will have a good use for the Mac Pro tower sitting next to my workstation when it finally gives up the ghost. Strip it, build a Linux workstation into the case and run DaVinci Resolve 14 in it along with other open source production software.

Blackmagic Design Press DaVinci Resolve 14 Images

From the Blackmagic Design press release for DaVinci Resolve 14 public beta:

The free version of DaVinci Resolve is also available with the same powerful new editing and audio post production features. The $299 DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio version adds the new collaborative multi user tools, over 20 new Resolve FX including the advanced face enhancement tools, 4K and 120fps project support, stereoscopic 3D, optical quality blur and mist effects, film grain, de-noise tools and much more. Best of all, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio does not require a connection to the internet or a cloud subscription to work.

Free or Studio version?

That is your decision but it is made easier by looking at the features for each of the current five different versions of DaVinci Resolve 14 in the Compare page. If you have a dongle for a previous version of DaVinci Resolve Studio than you can download the version 14 beta. If you don’t then choose the appropriate free version of DaVinci Resolve.

For the most part each version has feature parity with the exception of the more sophisticated creative and production tools and effects. If you are a proud new owner of a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera and will be working in 10-bit 4:2:2 high bitrate modes, or DCI 4K rather than UHD 4K, shoot video in 6K Photo mode using H.265 HEVC (though Divergent Media’s EditReady transcoder can help there), will be recording to HDR or value Camera LUTs in colour grading nodes, then you will need to consider purchasing a Studio license.

Screenshot from the Compare page, still missing from the linked pages line-up at Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 webpages. I am informed that HEVC decoding and High 10 Profile H.264 decoding are required to work with some types of footage from Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 camera.

Given that DaVinci Resolve Studio 14’s price has dropped to less than a third of version 12.5’s, comparing it to the combined price of another brand non-linear editing software plus third party colour grading plug-ins plus an audio editing suite, whether paid-for on a monthly subscription or once-off basis, DaVinci Resolve Studio 14’s once-only USD299.00 is starting to look like a bargain.

Don’t forget that we are only seeing the first beta version. Blackmagic Design may make radical changes to each version’s feature set by the time the release versions appear some months hence.

The one thing that DaVinci Resolve 14 in all its versions is currently missing is motion graphics and VFX capabilities, but your needs may be taken care of with Blackmagic Design’s Fusion 8 or Fusion 8 Studio software.

I have not had the time to try DaVinci Resolve 14 out yet so the best thing I can do is link below to an overview of some of its most exciting new features and improvements, written by colourist Joey D’Anna for colour grading website and online training providers Mixing Light.

Consider Time in Pixels’s False Color Plug-in for use in DaVinci Resolve

Cinematographer/photographer Tomasz Huczek makes what is, to my knowledge, the only false colour plug-in for any editing or colour grading platform. False Color Plugin by Time in Pixels is available in two versions, the free evaluation version without time limit, and the full professional version.

Time in Pixels' False Color Plug-in includes industry standard presets and presets for skin tones, highlights and shadows.
Time in Pixels’ False Color Plug-in includes industry standard presets and presets for skin tones, highlights and shadows.

Both come in macOS or Windows versions, and both work in Adobe’s After Effects CC and Premiere Pro as well as OpenFX plug-in hosts such as DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro and more.

Time in Pixels' False Color Plugin appears in the Scopes section of DaVinci Resolve's Color page, at upper right.
Time in Pixels’ False Color Plugin appears in the Scopes section of DaVinci Resolve’s Color page, at upper right.

If you are familiar with false colour in monitors/recorders such as those made by Atomos, then using False Color Plugin within DaVinci Resolve, After Effects or Premiere Pro should be a doddle, as it were. A Final Cut Pro X version of False Colour Plugin is on its way, according to Tomasz Huczek who informed me that “I am planning to start working on the FCPX version once v3.0 of the plugin is out”.

Links:

On the Røde Again with the New VideoMic Pro+ & VideoMic SoundField Microphones

Australian audio brand Røde Microphones, part of the Freedman Electronics Group along with Aphex, Event Electronics and SoundField, celebrated its 50th year at the group’s RØDEShow 2017 event in Las Vegas earlier this year. Six new products were announced during RØDEShow 2017 with two specifically of interest to filmmakers, the VideoMic Pro+ and the VideoMic SoundField.

videomic_pro_hero_shot_1458px
The Røde VideoMic Pro+ with similar circuitry to the Røde Stereo VideoMic X (SVMX), Rycote Lyre shock mounts, hinged battery door and provision for two AA batteries or the Røde LB1 rechargeable lithium ion battery.

Røde Microphones made a major contribution in turning the then dirt track of audio recording for independent video production into a sealed super highway with its very first on-camera video microphone, the VideoMic, released in 2004.

Since that first innovation the market-leading company has released a series of new and updated video-centric recording products along with top-end microphones for audio studios and live music recording on-location.

It wasn’t so long ago that Røde revised its VideoMic and VideoMic Pro hotshoe-mounted shotgun mic lines with the addition of Rycote Lyre shock mounts, reportedly the best such mounts in the business.

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Rycote Lyre shock mounts made by Røde Microphones rolling out of the new assembly line at Røde’s Silverwater, New South Wales, factory complex.

Since then Rycote shock mounts have found their way into all new Røde video microphones with Røde investing in a computer-controlled manufacturing machine to turn out its own Rycote Lyre mounts under licence.

I had the pleasure of a guided tour of the Røde factory over a year ago and it was an impressive facility back then. With its ongoing R&D, recent new Freedman Electronics Group acquisitions, new products, new staff and new computer-controlled manufacturing machinery, the Røde factory is no doubt even more impressive now.

The Røde VideoMic Pro+ Microphone

The new Røde VideoMic Pro+ flagship monaural on-camera directional mic is heir to a tradition begun almost thirteen years ago, before the DSLR moviemaking revolution sparked off by Canon adding Live View video capability to its Canon EOS 5D Mark II at the special request of the Reuters news agency.

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The new Røde VideoMic Pro+ has a redesigned, hinged door and accepts two AA batteries as well as the coming new rechargeable LB1 lithium ion battery. This battery can be recharged via USB cable whilst remaining inside the VideoMic Pro+’s battery enclosure.

The original Røde VideoMic was a child of its time, when camcorders were king and the Sony PMW-EX1 Full HD camcorder was the weapon of choice of independent documentary moviemakers along with Sony wireless lavalier and shotgun microphones.

The EX1 and its stablemates were far too costly to own. You had to rent them day-by-day or on a weekly basis, and indie documentarians could only do that if they succeeded in running the gauntlet of funding bodies, broadcasters and any other organization, or politician, with an interest in the story you were proposing to tell.

The directional microphones of the era matched the size and cost of the cameras they were created to work with. The arrival of Røde’s VideoMic turned all that on its head. At about 25cm in length, the original VideoMic suited the length of the camcorders of its time but it was affordable enough for moviemakers like me to buy, not rent.

The current Rycote-equipped VideoMic Pro is a more compact proposition at 17cm in length and a better fit for the 4K mirrorless stills/video hybrid cameras starting to make a real dent in independent filmmaking.

The Røde VideoMic Pro+ may be same size or a little larger, but its innovations are big, with flocked microfibre replacing former models’ detachable windshields and the same sophisticated circuitry and switches of Røde’s high-end Stereo VideoMic X aka SVMX.

The hinged battery door – no more dropping or fumbling on location especially when in extreme conditions – is so welcome as is the coming lithium ion rechargeable LB1 battery.

I am a fan of removable screwed-in audio cables – I am sure there is a better name for them – from when I owned my own Sony wireless lavaliers. I am looking forward to trying the VideoMic Pro+ out – there is little doubt it will be as popular as the very first VideoMic.

The Røde VideoMic SoundField Microphone

Røde’s VideoMic SoundField may be something of a sleeper amongst those unfamiliar with the world of ambisonics but it is something my research into alternative recording methods touched on several years ago.

Back then the most achievable combination of surround with directional audio miking was the mid/side method which required encoding/decoding with audio plug-ins like Voxengo‘s free Mid-Side Encoder-Decoder aka MSED.

I ruled out mid-side recording due to it being too unwieldy for one-person crew field use, without investing in a whole new M/S-miked field recorder. Røde’s all-in-one VideoMic SoundField microphone is a whole other proposition that could conceivably replace two or three different types of microphones with the common pick-up patterns illustrated below with just one mic that has all three patterns built-in.

Common Microphone Patterns

Or in effect, far more than three audio output patterns. I am still at the start of learning about the ins and outs of ambisonics recording and processing so the best I can do is point you to some online resources, below.

VideoMic SoundField Patterns

My hope is that Røde will write their own book, as it were, on ambisonics so that the applications and processing methods of the VideoMic SoundField microphone and its output will be well-known on its arrival. Clearly Røde has the in-house expertise to do so with the Freedman Electronics Groups recent company purchases.

Processing SoundField Audio Files

So far though the book has yet to be written about how to to get the best out of the hardware and how to best process ambisonic audio files. I have begun the research process early, before the microphone is expected to be released, in order to be ready.

The free Harpex Player, with a free .AMB ambisonics audio file playing. Harpex also makes a paid-for plug-in for processing ambisonics files in DAWs.

It is an ongoing process, but so far I have found two free items of software, the standalone Harpex Player, above, and the SoundField SurroundZone 2 plug-in. Harpex also makes a premium-priced plug-in available for a 30-day free trial or for purchase at €498.00 ex VAT.

The free SoundField SurroundZone 2 plug-in for digital audio workstations (DAWs), in this illustration Pro Tools.

Search in any search engine for ambisonics plug-ins or free ambisonics sample audio files with the suffix .amb and you can get a head start on understanding this fascinating audio format and how to process it.

There are also some good learning resources available, including Welcome to the Wonderful World of Ambisonics, A Primer, by John Leonard, at the A Sound Effect website. A Sound Effect has a number of ambisonics sound effects libraries available for purchase.

At the moment I am trying to work out how to use these plug-ins in my DAW of choice, Apple’s Logic Pro X as companion to Final Cut Pro X.

RØDEShow 2017 Video:

RØDEShow 2017 New Product Releases from RØDE Microphones on Vimeo.

Image Credits:

Header image concept and production by Carmel D. Morris.

Product shot still frames extracted from RØDEShow 2017 video.

Kyno, the Last Big Missing Piece in a Professional Stills, Video and Audio Workflow?

While going through the long, bureaucracy-dominated process of financing our projects including this one, ‘Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success’, I have been looking for the hardware, software and workflows to best support ‘Untitled’ when self-funding and serious production can finally begin. 

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My default Kyno workspace.

These last couple of years have seen some amazing advances in audio, stills and video hardware and software, but during the search process I identified one last missing piece in the equation, a versatile, up-to-date media management solution for audio, photography and video.

Digital asset management (DAM) has been the subject of some highly regarded books and was much discussed several years ago but seems to have fallen off the radar lately. Of course, reality as manifested offline in industry trade shows and other gatherings overseas may be entirely different.

I used a range of media management and digital asset management systems, in the course of working in agencies, for magazine publishers, online publishers and in-house production facilities for corporations.

Most were big-ticket items aimed squarely at the corporate sector but my favourite was a shareware product that anyone could afford and that could handle just about any type of media file thrown at it. It had its glitches, but it was essential to work that required a wide range of file types. Its name was iView Media Pro. And then it vanished, later to resurface as Phase One’s Media Pro SE.

Neat, simple, clean, powerful: the Kyno interface.

In the years since I have tried numerous other solutions but none really cut it. Some were applications that also had browser or catalog functions, some were big-end-of-town media catalogers that I could not personally afford and some were discontinued just when I started to really need them. None of them handled audio, stills and video files equally well.

ss_kyno_ui_05Often I ended up trying separate management solutions for each of the three types of media, a ridiculous situation given that contemporary media production often requires all three media formats combined into various forms of output. Photo slideshows with soundtracks. Videos combining all three with equal importance. Time-lapse sequences and big collections of photographs with Ken Burns effects applied, for standalone use or as parts of larger projects.

Then there were the utility programs needed to playback, handle, annotate, process and convert the three different file types. Add all those software licences up and it comes to a pretty hefty figure. And, almost none of those separate applications talk to each other.

ss_kyno_ui_06So I had very high hopes when fcp.co published an article about Kyno, an “all-in-one media management app” by Lesspain Software. Somehow I had missed the initial Kyno product announcement, perhaps as I have had to concentrate on low upload bandwidth stills photography for a while due to the National Broadband Network failing to come to this cluster of northern Sydney suburbs.

ss_kyno_ui_02I have been taking advantage of Kyno’s 14-day trial period to determine if the perfect media management solution for all three media types, audio, stills and video, has finally arrived. Right now, it is an almost-but-not-quite situation.

Kyno has some excellent audio and video features but its stills photography handling lacks one big functionality – universal raw file support. Kyno currently displays raw files from cameras I no longer use, Canon cameras, and Panasonic Lumix cameras I use primarily for video, but it fails to recognise that raw files from Fujifilm X-Pro2 and X-T2 cameras exist.

ss_kyno_ui_03This is disappointing given the major inroads many mirrorless cameras are making into cinematography and stills photography and how essential I for one find integrating stills into my media production work. This absence means I cannot pull the trigger on a Kyno licence at the moment.

Surprising too because Apple and the LibRaw team (makers of the excellent Fujifilm-raw-savvy FastRawViewer) provide support for a wide range of digital raw files meaning third party software makers can use that to add support into their own products, as I was informed by a dedicated stills software maker the other day.

ss_kyno_ui_04“We do have plans to offer raw support in a future version of Kyno,” is the FAQ answer to “Will Kyno support raw formats?” but that answer is to do with “integration of DNG from Blackmagic Design cameras and RED (R3D)”. I certainly hope that those plans include support for Fujifilm raw stills files too.

Another FAQ, “Is Kyno a Media Asset Management System?”, answers that Kyno “is much more light-weight than typical MAMs because it does not require an import/ingest step before you can do something useful with your material” along with “but its scope is currently rather a very light-weight support of production processes rather than long-term archival”.

That lack of import or ingest is key for my needs. The last thing I need is yet another great-looking media management application that demands time-consuming importing or ingesting and creation of often-bloated catalog or database files. Worse, a solution that, having worked okay for some time, is discontinued or sold off then suddenly priced beyond my reach.

Kyno’s no ingest, import, catalog or database functionality has resulted in operational simplicity and speed, and avoids a dependency that may result in disappointment and the loss of years’ worth of archiving work.

If Lesspain can add Fujifilm raw stills file support to Kyno then they will have a new customer, or at least my software wishlist will be gaining a new entry right up there at the very top.

Postscript:

The Kyno crew tells me that “we’ll look into Fujifilm raw still support for the next update”.