Getting started

Start screen

When Synaesthesia has finished initializing, you will see the Start screen:

From here you can create and load new productions, open the asset manager, and perform other functions.

Create a production

To create a production: 
  1. Click new production
  2. You will be prompted for the production's name (you can change this at any time)
The new production is shown in the middle of the screen.

Load a different production

To choose between different productions:
  1. Click list productions
  2. Choose a production from the list

Enter the production breakdown

To enter the production breakdown:
  1. Click the production badge

Breakdown screens

Each breakdown screen uses a similar layout:

Different areas of the production are separated by tabs, with areas for attachments and notes, and a search box.

Editing fields

Editable fields are indicated by a blue border. Any data you have entered will be in yellow.
To edit a field:
  1. Click inside the field
Depending upon the type of data required, you can either type into the field directly, or a panel will appear (for entering dates, choosing other items in a production, specifying timecodes, and so on).

Adding notes

To add a note to the current breakdown:
  1. Type the note into the Add note field on the right of the screen
  2. Press enter
The note will be added to the notes list.

Viewing and editing notes

To view a note:
  1. Click on a note in the list
The note window will appear. You can edit the note as needed.

Adding attachments

To add a file to the current breakdown, either:
  1. Click the Choose… button and choose a file
  1. Drag one or more files from the Finder onto the breakdown screen
If you attach an image to the current breakdown, Synaesthesia will use that as a thumbnail for that item, so it's a good idea to attach at least one image to each item you create for reference.

Adding items

To add new items to a production (such as a new scene or character):
  1. Click on the appropriate tab
  2. Click the + button at the bottom
  3. You will be prompted for the new item's name

Removing items

To remove one or more items:
  1. Click on the appropriate tab
  2. Select the items from the list to be removed by clicking the dot to the left (selected items will turn white)
  3. Click the - button at the bottom
When items are removed, they are not permanently deleted, but sent to Synaesthesia's trash, where they can be recovered later.

Going to an item's breakdown

To go to an item's breakdown (for example, to go to the character breakdown for a character):
  1. Click on the appropriate tab
  2. Click on the item

Navigating between items

Most breakdown screens have a navigation bar at the bottom:

To change the current item (for example, to go to the breakdown for a different character):
  1. Click on one of the other items
This will "spool" the navigation bar along, so just click on the end item until the one you are after appears in the bar.

Navigating between breakdowns

Some breakdowns have tabs down the left side of the window for related breakdowns:

To go to a related breakdown:
  1. Click on the appropriate tab


Some breakdowns have a tags area:

Tags are used to group different items together. You can add as many tags as you like to each item.

Adding tags

To add a tag to the current breakdown:
  1. Type a tag into the Add tag field
  2. Press enter

Automatic tagging

Some tags are created automatically by Synaesthesia. For example, if a scene is set at night, it will automatically be tagged with "night".


You can search by keyword for any item from any breakdown.

Performing a search

To search the current production:
  1. Type a search term into the Search field
  2. Press enter

Synaesthesia will search all items, notes and attachments in the current production. The results will be displayed in a list:
To go to an item's breakdown:
  1. Click on the item's badge

Item info

Many parts of Synaesthesia have an info button:

Clicking this button will open the info window for that item:

You can add tags, and lock and protect items from this window.

Locking items

Locking an item prevents it from being edited.
To lock or unlock an item:
  1. From the item's info window, click the Locked button

Protecting items

Protecting an item prevents it from being deleted.
To protect or unprotect an item:
  1. From the item's info window, click the Protected button


Several areas in Synaesthesia allow you to specify a location. Clicking on a Location field will open the location entry window:

Entering a location

To enter a location within the location window, either:
  1. Fill in the address fields
  2. Click Save
  1. Enter a search term in the Search field
  2. Press enter
  3. Click Save
Either way, a map of the location will be saved for future viewing (note that the map and search functionality require an internet connection).


You can import a screenplay for each production from a properly formatted text file. Synaesthesia will automatically create scenes, sets and characters from the screenplay, so this can be a really quick way to get all that data in.

Importing a screenplay

To import a screenplay into the current production:
  1. From the production breakdown, click the Screenplays tab
  2. Click the Import button
  3. Choose the file (Supported Screenplay Formats) containing the screenplay text
Synaesthesia will import the text, then break down characters, sets and scenes from it.

If you have already created characters, sets or scenes, Synaesthesia will update them with the new information. You can even import revised screenplays later and Synaesthesia will update the previous version, omitting and creating scenes as needed.


Assets are items (such as cameras, vehicles and even people), that are shared between productions. These are managed via the "Asset manager" window.

Opening the asset manager

To open the asset manager:
  1. From the top of a breakdown screen, click Manage assets
The asset manager allows you to create and modify different types of assets:

Shooting mode

Synaesthesia has a special "shooting mode" that allows you to easily enter data during a shoot, creating takes and other items as you go.

Activating shooting mode

To activate shooting mode:
  1. On any breakdown screen, click the Shooting mode button at the top
Shooting mode uses the recorders attached to the current production to determine what to record.

Adding a recorder to production

To add a recorder to the current production:
  1. From the production breakdown, click the Assets tab
  2. Click the + button to add a new asset
  3. Change the Type field to "Recorders"
  4. Click on the recorder to add

Creating a new slate

A new slate indicates that the current scene and/or shot has changed, and the take number is reset.
To create a new slate:
  1. Click the New slate button
  2. If there are no other shots in the current scene, you will be prompted to mark the scene as complete
  3. Click the next scene to shoot
  4. If there are any shots within that scene, you will be prompted to click a shot

Creating a new take

A new take indicates that neither the current shot nor scene should change
To create a new take:
  1. Click the New take button
The take number increases by 1.

Disabling a recording

Disable a recording to tell Synaesthesia that it is not recording the current take.
To disable or enable a recording:
  1. Click the Rec button for that recorder
The recording status will be updated accordingly.


You can import sequences from an EDL from an editing system. Synaesthesia will automatically link edits to clips already in the system.

Importing a sequence

To import a sequence into the current production:
  1. From the production breakdown, click the Sequences tab
  2. Click the Import button
  3. Choose the CMX3600-formatted EDL file
Synaesthesia will import the EDL and validate it.
This process can take some time, so check the status bar at the bottom to keep an eye on its progress.

If you have already created reels and clips, Synaesthesia will match events in the sequence to them. You can even import as many different sequences as you like, and you can even merge events from multiple sequences.