Everyone’s a cinematographer these days. People are taking more photos and videos than ever before–likely because everyone’s pocketing a camera in the form of a smart phone. While anyone who’s seen an Apple billboard knows that you can take a pretty good photo with a smartphone, taking a good video has proven to be much more difficult. Stabilization, focus, tracking–all really difficult without a bulky, expensive, professional setup. Not exactly something you’re going to take with you on a hike or a bike ride.

Two people who know these tradeoffs better than anyone are Alex Karpenko and Chris Cunningham. They come from Instagram where Chris developed software and Alex created Hyperlapse. When it came time to look for a new challenge, the two set out to dramatically improve the quality of handheld video. When they realized it would take more than software, they didn’t blink. They built it–a small, unshakable, 360 degree camera with two lenses and powerful software behind it that lets you shoot first and frame later.


“You can be in the moment and still capture it. You don’t need to be an actor and director at the same time.”

— Rylo founder Alex Karpenko


The Problem:

A tight squeeze
A tighter timeline


When we showed up at Magenta Labs, Alex and Chris had a working prototype and a small team on Townsend Street in San Francisco. Their timeline was hurdling forward and they needed a name fast. Considering the name was going to be stamped on the product and printed on the lens bezel, any delays in naming would delay the production process. Seeing how physically small these applications were, it became clear that the name had to be small as well. Now, we get a lot of people asking for short names. Most of them don’t have a good reason other than saying that they’re “punchy” or that people can’t remember long names (lies). Fitting the name onto a 2mm lens bezel is as good a reason for a short name as we’ve heard.

The Fix:

Keep it smooth
Six letters or fewer


Aside from being short, one of the key elements of the experience that we wanted to draw out with the name was smoothness. This was a key differentiator because it’s the first thing you notice when you compare footage shot on this camera with a standard camera. Flip the switch and everything starts to glide. The effect is truly cinematic. Your home video turns into a Hollywood biopic.

From a naming perspective, there are two ways to communicate this effect. You could just say it: Smooth-Mo, fluidcapture. But this is lazy and doesn’t really work. Fluidity is a feeling and instead of referencing this feeling by using words closely associated with it, it’s much stronger and more powerful to find a word that exhibits the same sort of fluidity. Enter Rylo. Say it slowly. The name rolls off the tongue in the same way the camera rolls smoothly from one frame to the next.

We found the name in an old book of Dublin slang which had it as an acronym for Run Your Lights Over. This adds another layer of meaning. RYLO means to take a look at, and in the context of video the definition couldn’t have been a better fit. While almost everyone will take the name at face value, we like that there’s something connecting it to the real world. Your average Frappuccino drinker doesn’t know where the name Starbucks comes from, but with a little digging there’s a reference point that anchors the name and rewards you for your research.

If you’re looking to seriously up your video quality, take a look at Rylo here.


+++ rylo.com
+++ rylo in wired
+++ rylo in the verge
+++ graphic design by manual creative


More you say?