Kyno: Taking the indie film circuit by storm

In an industry where movies must have broad appeal to turn a profit, independent filmmakers are more often free from the constraints of commercial success. Uninhibited by the pressures of the box office, they have room to explore niche themes via unique storytelling techniques, letting their inner creativity run wild.

Nevertheless, the realm of indie filmmaking presents its own set of challenges: small team sizes, reduced budgets, and on-the-fly changes to filming can present a difficult environment in which to produce creative work.

But with Kyno on their side, director Charlie Griak and assistant director Matt Cici are able to work at the speed of their imagination. Even in a production where improvisation and changeability are necessary factors, Kyno is ready to help them keep track of what’s been shot and when.

Organised creativity

Throughout early 2017, Griak and Cici are preparing original storyboards for Stalking Nina, a psychedelic sci-fi thriller planned for filming in the summer: An out-of-options actress agrees to appear on a supernatural ‘reality’ show — an experience that will ultimately drive her and the crew to become lost in manifestations of their own nightmares.

Being directors, Griak and Cici know that careful management of footage is key. At least, it is if you’re going to tell a consistent and meaningful story within the limited hours of filmed narrative.

And they’re not just directors — Cici is also a creative trainer at Apple and works at Twin Cities Film Fest, developing programs to educate aspiring filmmakers and encourage community growth.

“My interest is always in finding efficiency in workflows,” he explains. “Being that I work at Apple, I like to seek out plugins and extensions that can provide the ultimate resource.”

Cici discovered Kyno in one of his many hunts for the latest camera-related software. Specifically, he was searching for a tool that could automate and streamline the day-to-day aspects of post-production.

“I’ve spent weeks of my life doing the same tasks over and over; like marking which folders had to be edited or ignored,” says Cici. “I was getting confused the whole time, even with an assistant editor. However, Kyno that can handle those tasks, no matter how trivial, which is absolutely brilliant.”

Cici found a likeminded partner in Griak, who came into the filmmaking industry by way of storyboard illustration.

“I’m a big organiser — I believe in having things structured so filmmakers have time to actually be creative,” he says. “I’m relieved to now have Kyno, and a way to effectively deal with masses of footage and information. You can’t keep being creative without first being organised.”

Planning is everything

As an illustrator, Griak emphasises the importance of visual reference in the pre-production and planning phases of filmmaking. Kyno’s ability to insert markers into footage and easily export stills is incredibly useful in this regard, enabling Griak to easily sort and deliver the footage he wishes to use as reference.

“As soon as I saw that clip export function in Kyno, I knew it was exactly what I needed,” he says. “I’m already using Kyno to communicate with my cinematographer in Brazil. I’m showing him all of these clips as examples of how I want to proceed with our project, editing them down to just the pieces I want to show.

“Kyno makes perfect sense and lines up with the way I work. It feels like the tool that filmmakers have always wanted, but we never knew that we could have!”

Camera crazy

When it comes to actual production on Stalking Nina, Kyno is going to play a key role, keeping hours of footage from multiple cameras as accessible as can be.

“The trick with Stalking Nina is that each of the actors will also be carrying camera as part of the story,” explains Griak. “It will be a huge mix of footage, featuring orchestrated shots from the cinematographer, while occasionally cutting to the cameras held by actors.”

The crew expects to gather huge amounts of footage every day, but with Kyno on hand, Griak and Cici won’t have to worry about time wasted converting clips or searching through files. Freeing up a hours from the footage review process, they will effectively be able to manage dailies within a 24-hour turnaround.

“It will be nice using Kyno in this production to quickly run through everything we have on a memory card — we’ll be able to immediately see what’s working and what’s not,” confirms Cici. “This helps us out twofold — we can spend more time thinking about the creative side of things, and we’ll be able to quickly react to production problems without any red tape. Kyno makes us more efficient, which makes us more effective.”

Instant overview

Griak and Cici expect Kyno to make a huge difference when logging all of the footage in post stages as well. For example, when dealing with a long clip, Kyno can immediately take out only the relevant sections. No resources will be wasted in Final Cut Pro or Premiere, as Cici explains.

“With Kyno, we only edit the things we want to, by very quickly marking, logging, capturing, and favoriting. Everything that you could want to do with normal files on a daily basis, now you can do with your media. That opens up a lot of doors for us to spend more time perfecting the edit versus organising.

“One thing that especially stuck out to me was being able to convert very quickly whatever it is that you’re working on,” he adds. “You can create proxies or you can create rendered version of what you originally had.”

Launching into production

Although Stalking Nina is still in the early stages of pre-production, Griak is confident that Kyno will prove a key asset, especially with attentive technical support from the Lesspain team.

“When I asked for a demo, Lesspain’s co-founder Robert Kruger was very respectful and gave me a great overview of the software,” he says. “I have no doubt that, while we’re in production, contacting the Kyno team won’t be difficult at all. They’re already proving to be a really good resource.”

“Having such a solid program already, I doubt we’ll find many flaws in Kyno,” adds Cici. “When I first tried it, I installed the software, plugged in the hard drive, and Kyno found every single video clip immediately. It blew my mind.”

“I knew Kyno was software we had been waiting for for a very long time.”