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PRODUCER – Maker Machina Tested – First Look at the All-In-One Production Software

February 2nd, 2024 Jump to Comment Section 5

Let’s be honest: production pipelines can be enormously frustrating at times – especially if you shoot commercials, have tons of client projects, and collaborate with different filmmakers. Ever seen a desperate 1st AD calling each member of the 20-people crew to reschedule the shoot? Or found yourself lost in countless Google documents with shooting plans, Notion boards, and Asana task lists? These are exactly the issues that the new production software PRODUCER – Maker Machina aims to solve. Together with seasoned filmmaker Christoph Tilley from MXR Productions, we decided to take it into the field and give the creators (and you) our honest feedback on what this software can and cannot do.

This is the first of our video interview series in which Nino Leitner (CineD) sits together with Christoph Tilley (MXR Productions) and Xaver Walser (CEO of PRODUCER – Maker Machina). Initially, Xaver guides everyone through the online software step by step and presents all the features that are currently available. Filmmakers also discuss the biggest pain points in current project production, and why it’s so important to change the existing paradigm and streamline all the processes.

What is the main goal of PRODUCER – Maker Machina?

The idea for an all-in-one production software came to Xaver during a commercial shoot for a watch brand. The client asked him if they could have all the created content, shooting schedules, and feedback notes in one place. Regrettably, the filmmaker had to acknowledge that he had never come across such a comprehensive tool. That was the first step toward founding a start-up with precisely this goal: to give creatives an all-in-one application for managing productions from early concept through to delivery. Or, as Xaver Walser nicely puts it: “To make a painkiller for filmmakers.”

Inside the PRODUCER – Maker Machina

According to Xaver, the new software is called “PRODUCER” because the person who will likely use it the most is a line producer. At the same time, it is developed as a collaborative tool adjustable for projects of varying scales, ranging from a 30-second commercial to music videos, image and corporate films. Feature films are planned to be integrated at a later development stage.

When you select a project from a visual board, as demonstrated above, you will see the entire production process divided into stages we all are familiar with:

Image source: PRODUCER – Maker Machina

This overview helps to make sure that no step will be overlooked. Simultaneously, the software keeps everything related to this particular project centralized. In the video interview, Xaver explains in detail how centralization works. Let’s look at a couple of existing features.

Automating repetitive tasks in PRODUCER – Maker Machina

What PRODUCER – Maker Machina promises to be good at is automating processes and simplifying repetitive tasks. For example, here we have a storyboard section in which you can drag and drop your scribbles, generated pictures, or references from the Internet:

Image source: PRODUCER – Maker Machina

Apart from moving them around until you get the correct storyline, you can connect each of your pictures to a shooting day, a location (from the list you created before), and characters. Also, it’s easy to collaborate with a cinematographer, adding additional information such as angle, movement, shot size, camera lens, etc.

Image source: PRODUCER – Maker Machina

While you’re going through this process, the software automatically creates a shot list for each day based on the information you’ve provided. Simply make the final adjustments by dragging shots into the desired sequence (e.g., for consecutive shots), include the estimated time, and let the program do the math. Double-check, connect the actors from the list to the character roles, add your crew members for this project – and, wait, what? Has PRODUCER – Maker Machina just generated a correct call sheet?

At first glance, the tool does seem easy to use, fast, and flexible. During the presentation, Christoph Tilley remembered how they had just finished a shooting schedule in a clumsy Google doc, and watching the new software made him jealous. Well, I can only relate.

For easy communication

Extensive communication is another big pain point in our industry that PRODUCER – Maker Machina wants to resolve. The software allows users to add comments to each document and at every production stage. Your clients can also collaborate whenever needed. For example, in the post-production section, it is possible to upload your first cut and share it for quick feedback. Additionally, you can compare different versions of the edit side by side, directly in the software.

Image source: PRODUCER – Maker Machina

Of course, there are enough tools out there that offer us the same in terms of editing and delivery. For instance, a lot of filmmakers use Frame.io to gather feedback. Yet, how many times have your clients lost the link to a rough cut? If they could have everything just in one online tool, wouldn’t it be easier for everyone?

What else to expect?

Of course, an image is worth a thousand words, and our written text can only capture a limited number of features. So, make sure to watch our video above to form your own impression of PRODUCER.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s young software and only a starting point for this tool. At the moment, they have around 4000 people testing the application and providing them with feedback. Xaver Walser says they take all input seriously and have a big roadmap ahead. For example, developers want to add an extensive and structured briefing document or offer the possibility to upload dailies beside each day’s call sheet, just to give you an idea of the upcoming features.

Test PRODUCER – Maker Machina for free – get 50% off paid plans soon

The best thing is that you can also try out the production tool at no cost. The free plan includes 1 user, 1 project at a time, 5 GB storage, and no time limit. To participate in this trial, you only need to register here. Developers welcome filmmakers to test their brainchild and provide feedback, which will help to improve the tool to everyone’s benefit. And here’s a little secret that the people behind PRODUCER shared with us: If you sign up for the free plan now, they will give 50% off to existing users when they exit the beta phase at the end of March!

Stay tuned for our upcoming videos!

For our video series, Christopher Tilley will take PRODUCER on an upcoming commercial shoot, test it thoroughly, and come back with honest feedback on what worked and what can be improved. So, stay tuned, and don’t miss our follow-up in a couple of weeks!

What do you think of PRODUCER – Maker Machina? How did you feel about the video presentation? Is it something that you were also looking for production-wise? Are there any features that could be added to the software, in your opinion? Let’s talk in the comments below!

Feature image source: PRODUCER Maker Machina

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