Celtx brings media preproduction into the digital age

Create all types of media with this versatile free preproduction suite.

In media, "preproduction" generally means drawing stuff: sketching out ideas on storyboards, whiteboards, legal pads, and even cocktail napkins. Greyfirst's Celtx is a free tool that finally brings preproduction into the same century as the media it creates, with some old-school touches, too. It includes Project Templates for planning and creating Film, Audio-Visual, Theatre, Audio Play, Storyboard, Comic Book, and Novel projects. Sample projects help get you started. Celtx integrates with free online and cloud-based resources and syncs with your mobile devices, so your creative projects are always available and safely stored online in the cloud, as well as on your home PC and smartphone or other mobile device. You have to sign up for Celtx online, but it's free, too.

Celtx opens with a start screen listing its template types, as well as sample templates and news about the software and the large and active Celtx community. We clicked the first template, Film, which opened an Untitled project template with a layout and look recalling classic Office, with Project Library and Scenes in the left sidebar; Notes, Media, Breakdown, and more on the right; and in between a main window with word processor-style controls above and tabs for Script, TypeSet/PDF, Scratchpad, Index Cards, Title Page, and Reports along the bottom edge. The program's Tools include a spell checker and inline spell checker, but there's a Toolbox feature for adding and managing optional Celtx tools.

We named and saved our project and moved on to Scene 1 in the Script tab. A drop-down menu let us choose Scene Heading, Action, Character, Dialogue, Shot, and more. The default typeface is classic movie script that looks like it was done on a manual typewriter. We could edit dialogue, move blocks of text, and even lock portions with a Text Lock feature. The Title Page template has precentered fields, and we just had to compose our titles, choose fonts and other factors, and type them in the appropriate fields. And that's just a sample. Its forums, user-created "Seeds," and much more set Celtx apart from any other tool of its type.

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