Saturday, June 26, 2010

Importing Apple Pages scripts into Celtx

A client handed me a script (screenplay format, not two column AV, thankfully) that they had written in Apple Pages which is all well and good but the AD needs it in Celtx for whatever she's going to do with it.

Now, I love Celtx because it's simple, feature-rich and FREE (for most of it). And I have no problem with Pages myself; I use it nearly every day but getting something from Pages into Celtx and retaining all the formatting was a challenge.

There's a help page about precisely this here. See Celtx only imports plain text files and formats them as long as certain conventions are in the text file. So you'd think it's as easy as exporting the screenplay in Pages to a text file and then importing it into Celtx. Nope. Course not, silly.

See for some reason completely lost to me Pages does export Scene Headers (Slug Lines) as all capitals even though they're all capitals in the Pages document. I know. Maybe the original author messed something up, I dunno. Even copy and paste will not retain the all caps scene headers even if you paste it into a rich text document or a plain text one in SimpleTex...I mean TextEdit.

So to workaround this issue I did this:

0. Remove all pages numbers from pages and all Headers and Footers (use the Inspector Window)
1. In Pages export the script as a PDF file. File > Export >PDF
2. Open that PDF in Preview. (Scene Headers should still be in all caps)
3. Copy the text beginning with the FIRST INT. or EXT. (ignore the title page and anything before this) by selecting (dragging) from the first INT. or EXT. to some other text then hitting the End key to move to the end of the script and while HOLDING SHIFT click at the end of the script. It should all be highlighted now.

Be SURE that the highlight is from the very first INT. or EXT. till the end. For me it kept auto-annoyingly selecting a "FADE IN:" at the beginning but we'll deal with that in a 'mo.

4. Hit COMMAND+C to Copy.
5. Launch TextEdit and make sure it's set to Plain Text format. (Format > Make Plain Text)
6. Paste the clipboard's contents into the plain text document. COMMAND + V.

For me the FADE IN: that was highlighted when I did the copy wasn't pasted in. Weird. Double check the beginning of the script to make sure (again) that it begins with either EXT. or INT. Also double check to make sure that character names for their dialog are in all caps as well. Celtx uses these things to format the script and tell what's from what.

7. Save. COMMAND + S

8. Do this:

Importing from Pages for Macintosh

  • File->Export using the Plain Text Setting.
  • Open in BBedit ( the free version will work)
  • Delete all formatting characters at the beginning of the script; there will be some arrows or non alpha characters
  • Delete all the lines before the first text characters.
  • In BBedit, do Edit->Zap Gremlins, with the non-ASCII set to "Delete"
  • Use "Convert to ASCII" ( forget where the menu choice is)

Then Save.

9. Launch Celtx
10. Create a new "Film" project.
11. Select Script > Import Script from the menubar.

IT WILL NOT BE PERFECT. But it'll be close. I couldn't find a way to get it to import the script with 100% perfect formatting. The AD will go through and clean it up but for now, on short notice, this is the best I could come up with.

Anyone have any tips or suggestions?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

iPhone 4's HD Video

Here's a sample of footage from an iPhone 4 shot at 720/30 in it's native H.264.

It looks good, a bit blown out and jerky but the image holds up nicely even with the complexity of the plants all around. The thing that bugs me -aside from nothing protecting the lens from a pretty massive kick- is that it seems to have a rolling shutter.

You can see it in action by scrubbing a little back and forth in the final second when the camera is looking at the house.