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The Movie Manager

M3s is a full range management database designed for handling all the production details of a feature film, tv movie, or television series.  It is useful from early pre-production all the way through post-production.

Your High-Capability, Low-Cost Tool

Compare M3s with the other motion picture and television management systems out there.  They excel in the strip-board and doing the day-out-of-days.  If you don't need to give simultaneous access to the data to more than one person, and don't want to think about continuing to use any of the data you've input after you've shot your scene, then the "industry standard" programs are for you.
But if you want more options, a unified place to keep all your production data, a way to integrate your shot planning from conception all the way through postproduction, and a way to multitask your production, then you should definitely give M3s a test drive.  If you like it, register to get the manual, better help, and more pre-designed reports.  If money is an issue, use the demo during pre-production, and then register to gain added functionality before shooting starts. You will already have input much of the data you need; you'll just have more ways of looking at it. 

Wide Range of Functionality

M3s is the feature film and television production tool which really does try to do more, to go the extra mile, to give you more and more options when the others are saying you have only presets.  M3s manages data from all departments, all the way through production.  It even features useful tools, such as a lens calculator to compute shot sizes and distances.  Discover the magic of having your movie details managed easily and automatically.  Production, script, camera and sound departments will all love it -- and the editor will love having access to their information even more!

Quick Breakdowns

Doing a full breakdown of any script is never an instantaneous operation.  It takes time, and more importantly, thought.  It's not an automatic operation by any means, but M3s simplifies it by providing you a copy scene option which copies not only the basic scene information but also all related information for the scene.  Synchronized browse boxes provide a quick way of viewing and analyzing your breakdown, and let you do more of the thinking that allows you to put what's found between the lines into your breakdown. 

Sort your data in numerous ways with predefined tabs.

The predefined tabs in the browse windows give you a quick way to look at data in a number of ways -- without having to either change anything or enter sort criteria.  For instance, you can look at your scenes in scene order, or by location, or day/night, or interior/exterior -- one tab click and you're there.  Or use one of the custom 'tree' views to look at as much or as little information as you need.

Input your script, camera, and sound notes on set.

By the time shooting begins, you've probably input a great deal of information into M3s.  It makes sense to keep everything linked and add your script notes directly into your datasets.  Camera and sound notes can be input as part of the same process.  Then your editor has full access to all the information, and M3S can provide you the printouts you need, breaking out the information for production, script, camera, and sound.  Or your editor can keep it on a computer in the cutting room - to have full access to all scene and take information, as well as full data cross-referencing.

Timecodes based on your computer clock - with auto-offset feature.

When taking your script notes, more likely than not you'll want to use timecode reference numbers for the beginnings and ends of your shots.  Instead of hardwiring or radio-linking a computer to the timecode source (adding significant expense and possible connection problems), we've developed an ingenious method (at least we think it is) of using your computer's internal clock to generate the time code numbers for your notes by determining an offset and adding or subtracting it to your computer's clock time.  It works for free-run timecode (can be set for drop frame or non-drop) is extremely easy to set, and gives you separate single button inputs for start and end timecodes.  Just reset it when the sound department jam-synchs the slate and you're all set.  

Two sets of timecodes - one for production and one for postproduction.

Your notes for individual takes have the option of using two sets of timecodes.  The first set is taken from the numbers on the timecode slate (with auto-offset entry from your computer clock.)  The second set can be used to record the timecode numbers from your film-to-tape transfer.  You are also provided with a field to record the cassette number of the transfer tape.

Advantages and trade-offs.

M3s is capable of handling a huge amount of detail data.  This provides you with an unprecedented overview of all aspects of production.  It provides a single tool which provides numerous simultaneous views into your production.  To fully exploit the capacity of M3s does, however, require a great deal of inputting of data.  Much of this data has in the past existed only on lists that seem constantly to need updating.  Data in M3s must likewise be kept up-to-date.  Our feeling at OnSet is that by entering information into a centralized database, it eliminates much of the re-entry and multiple-listing that takes place elsewhere.  With the advent of affordable wireless networking, numerous users (such as different departments) can add or have access to data simultaneously.

At this time, M3s does not create and print standard 'stripboard strips' or work on a 'strip-style' display system, instead using an expandable 'schedule tree' design.  This requires a bit of rethinking and open-mindedness from those who think only in strips, though may be a welcome relief for those who never really liked stripboards, and does have the added advantage of providing rapid access to more information than is available on strips.

M3s Program Features (too numerous to list them all, but here are a few):

bulletTrue multi-document interface allows numerous work windows to be displayed simultaneously on your desktop. (Windows are automatically refreshed when selected or "brought to front")
bulletScene breakdown view shows all scene information, tab-sortable by scene order, time of day, interior/exterior, script location name, or filming site.  This window simultaneously provides synchronized cast list, extras list, production items list, and scheduled shoot days for selected scene.
bulletScene information and related data can be quickly copied for quick breakdowns of back-and-forth cutting scenes, or for splitting a scene into more than one scene number.
bulletSeparate lists of script location names and filming sites (locations) allow scenes to utilize more than one filming site.
bulletFilming sites can have numerous addresses associated with them (for sets, loading entrances, holding areas, parking, etc.)
bulletKeep track of shot lists and allow storyboard pictures to be related to shot descriptions.  More than one storyboard picture can be linked to a shot description. (sorry, no animations yet)
bulletMany categories are user-definable, and in most cases new category names can be added on-the-fly from within other data entry forms you are using.
bullet User Preference presets allow you to predefine numerous input items, speeding up the entry process on many forms.
bulletIntegrated lens calculator allows you to figure out the optimal lens for your needs.
bulletHierarchical entry systems make entry tasks even faster, while providing the option to make record adjustments on a shot-by-shot basis.  As an example, take camera filters, which tend to stay the same (or similar) for much of a shooting day, but which may change slightly, even on a take-by-take basis.  A normal filter pack can be predefined in the User Preferences.  Each time you go to the form for entering new shot information, your filter pack preference is automatically placed in the appropriate entry field.  You may change it here if you wish, or leave it as it is.  When you begin entering data for individual takes, the filter pack as defined in shot information will already be in the form.  Again, you can change it here if it changes for a specific take, or leave it as the normal filter pack for the take.  Admittedly this saves you only a few seconds per take, but multiply that out by several items and by 60-100 takes (no, not setups, takes) a day, and you've saved some real time.
bulletWhen assigning scenes to shoot days (scheduling), you can give each scene a start time in hours and minutes after call time.  Once your day has been given a call time, the associated schedule time for each scene appears on the one-line schedule.  Change the call time and all the scene schedule times automatically change as well.
bulletProduction items can be given general names with numerous related sub-items related to them.  (A wardrobe outfit, for instance, can be given a name which will be used instead of listing every element of clothing included in it.)  
bulletMore than fifty predefined report forms provide hard copy output with a wide range of functionality. (If you don't see what you need, please ask.  We're creating new forms all the time!)  Note: Most report forms are not accessible in demo versions.

Try M3s and discover a new level of organization.

M3s can bring any production, large or small, a whole new level of organization.  Demo downloads will be coming soon to this website.  To request a pre-demo beta test copy, click here and let us know about your upcoming production.  You'll be glad you did.


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