12 August 2006

Now in Pre-Production: Free Software

I wouldn't normally write about software designed for the world of film and TV industries, but this seems pretty noteworthy. Celtx (pronounced "keltix") provides

the film, TV, theatre, and new media industries with an Internet compliant tool for writing, managing and producing media content.

The film and TV industries traditionally use large binders filled with paper and taped-in Polaroid pictures to manage the production of movies and television shows. "It is incredible how little attention has been paid to the pre-production end of the business.", Celtx co-founder and company CEO Mark Kennedy stated. "Lots of time and effort have been spent introducing digital technologies to the production and post-production phases - digital cameras, digital film and sound editing, CGI software - but nothing to help those working in pre-production. Celtx is the first application to do so.

It is, of course, open source (or I wouldn't be writing about it), and is apparently based on Firefox, which is pretty amazing given the complexity of the program that has been developed as a result. It is also cross-platform and available in many localised versions. It comes from a company located in Newfoundland, about which I know nothing other than that they have laudably outrageous ambitions.

What might seem an incredibly specialised piece of code is, I think, of broader significance, for several reasons. First, it shows how the open source approach of building on what has been done before - Firefox in this case - allows even small companies to produce complex and exciting software without needing to make huge upfront investments other than that of their own ingenuity.

It also demonstrates how far free software has moved beyond both basic infrastructural programs like Linux and Apache and mainstream apps like Firefox and OpenOffice.org. As such, Celtx is a perfect example of what might be called third-generation open source - and definitely a story worth following closely. (Via NewsForge.)

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