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Celtx Scout Reviewed

June 16, 2012

Celtx Scout is a new $1.99 mobile app — available on both iOS and Android platforms. If you’re already using Celtx for short or long-form media preproduction, Celtx Scout is a handy little addition to the workflow. Using your mobile phone or tablet, you can quickly take snapshots on location, as well as pull previous shots or images from your device’s photo library, and then file them in your Celtx “cloud” account, where you can (and should) be stashing all of your Celtx scripts, projects and related videos.

Can you already do this without Celtx Scout? Sure, but it’s a little bit clunkier, with additional steps and multiple apps or tools needed.

On the other hand, if you’re already using one or more Celtx tools to manage pre-production, this modest app just makes things a little easier — and that $1.99 you’ll sacrifice won’t even buy you a croissant or a latte, so what have you got to lose?

The app is intended for 3rd and 4th generation iPhone/iPod Touch devices, for all generations of the iPad, and for Android 2.2 (and up) devices (if your mobile devices are older than any of these, it’s really time to upgrade).

Home Screen - Celtx Scout

Home Screen

The Tour

Let’s take a quick look at Celtx Scout after installation on an iPad 3. Launching the app will bring us a Home Screen: a virtual camera with a lower toolbar containing 3 icons: Options, Shoot, Photos.

(Note that you can  select any thumbnail to view a full-sized screenshot.)

You might notice that on the iPad, the user screen for the app takes up only a portion of the iPad’s real estate: this app has clearly been designed for iPhone dimensions, and doesn’t really take advantage of the iPad’s greater screen size. (You’ll have one screen display option on iPads and Android tablets that I’ll show off soon.)

This can’t get any simpler, right? You’ve found a potential location, prop or extra — and shoot an image.

Preview Screen - Celtx Scout

Preview Screen

Snapping the shot will bring up a Preview screen, where you can review your shot and decide whether to cancel it or use it.

Add Comments Screen - Celtx Scout

Add Comments Screen

Selecting the Use button will then bring up an Add Comments screen. You should always add detailed comments (yes, the details will pay off for you), and I would also recommend changing the file name from the usual time-stamped default name your device provides. (We’ll see later on why that’s a good idea.)

Select Done once you’ve added your comments, and Scout’s Home Screen will return — you’ll be ready to snap another shot.

Where does the photo go? We’ll find out shortly.

In the meantime, let’s return to the Home Screen to explore other features.

Options Screen - Celtx Scout

Options Screen

Selecting the Options icon will bring up an Options Screen. A drop-down menu will allow you to save photos to specific Celtx “cloud” folders. The default option is, of course, the Home folder in your Celtx account — but you can create a new folder, and Celtx Scout suggests a number of logical choices, including: Actors, Extra, Locations, Props, Set, Wardrobe.

You can (of course) customize the new folder name, if you’d like.

Add New Folder Screen - Celtx Scout

Add New Folder Screen

The final icon available on the Home Screen toolbar will bring up photos on the local device: this is a way to add pre-existing snapshots, headshots and other graphic images. To widen the search, you can click on an Albums button to display all photo albums on your device. This screen will display all albums, plus the last 12 months, the last import, and the current camera roll.

Photo Albums Screen - Celtx Scout

Photo Albums Screen

Let’s assume that your location or prop scouting is done, and you’re now ready to hop onto your Celtx account and view your shots. (The assumption is that you’ve already established a Celtx account.)

The screen shot below shows sample shots gathered via Celtx Scout (and placed in a Locations folder) — and you’ll notice that in this demonstration, the original file names were retained — and they’ll clearly be confusing before very long. As an example, Interior Building Lobby is vastly superior to Scout June 15 13:57:10.jpg. (Note that this screenshot is also demonstrating Celtx Edge, another of Celtx’s new tools.)

Bottom line: rename those file names right away to reflect the photos’ contents.

Celtx List of files

Celtx List of Files – screen shot

As mentioned earlier, tablets don’t currently offer significant advantages over mobile phones in using Celtx Scout. In the Home Screen screenshot above, you might have noticed a 2x button in the bottom right corner of the screen. Clicking on this will result in a doubling of the app screen:

Home Screen (2x size) - Celtx Scout

Home Screen (2x size)

However, this tends to pixelate the toolbar, and in my opinion, little advantage is gained. The screen can be reduced to regular size with the 1x button in the bottom right corner.

Summary

Celtx Scout is not the place to start learning about Celtx tools — but if you’ve already incorporated Celtx tools (desktop Celtx, the Celtx Script app, or Celtx Shots) into your pre-production workflow, and if one of your tasks is to go out to scout for locations, props, wardrobe, actors, and so on, then Celtx Scout is worth its very modest purchase. Your iPhone, ‘droid phone or tablet become even more valuable mobile tools. You’ll never have to worry about carrying a camera or forgetting which SD card you might have stashed some reference stills on.

Mastering Celtx

Celtx Scout, being brand new, is not covered in Mastering Celtx — but most of Celtx’s pre-production tools are, and if you or any of your colleagues are new to Celtx, it’s worth checking out Mastering Celtx and seeing if the book deserves to be on your working bookshelf, or in the production office.

Keep tabs on this book blog as I’ll be reviewing all of Celtx’s new and evolved tools over the summer. Feel free to let me know if this review has been helpful.

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