A pivotal aspect of the Blackbird platform is the notion of “publishing”. In the world of print, publishing implies the making available of specific content (often mass-produced thanks to the invention of the printing press) to the public. The implication is that the published matter, once actually distributed and disseminated, is in a “terminal format” – one would not (and in fact, could not) change the actual published copies, one would go further back up the workflow and edit, issuing a new edition.

Publishing in the Blackbird cloud

Similarly, the Blackbird platform holds edits of a production, and the production process you are engaged in likely requires people to look at results, either intermediate or final. The means of getting results in front of people is to “publish” it using our cloud, accessible by anyone anywhere with the unique url the Blackbird system sends to them under your command. This is useful for a distributed work team, even internationally. A logger could log and clip an asset for review, elsewhere a reviewer could peruse the published clip in a browser, contributing their input immediately.

Blackbird ingests source material to proxies on the Blackbird cloud, which power the Blackbird players of various types (including the Blackbird cloud video editor). This enables rapid navigation and selection within source clips, affording the opportunity to embed knowledge of the clip content (logging, review) and choose durations within a clip (clipping, editing). To make intermediate work available to others without a Blackbird account, the clip or edit which forms an asset of the production can be made to generate a conventional movie file viewable in any browser (hosted for speed on the Blackbird cloud worldwide).

Cloud publishing affords rapid review turn-around

Publishing assists the intermediate flow of tasks such as logging; keyword modification; translation; transcription; adding markers, as well as the general editing tasks of arranging content to bring a production together, syncing up multicam assets.

Editing of metadata files (for FCP or Avid) and linking up to the original media is eased by publishing a generated version of progress so far. The published version may even only need to be generated based on the proxy settings, if that is good enough for the intended output (such as the production team, in progress). Indeed, for external publishing to the actual public on twitter, etc., there may even be no need to link back to original source for any higher density of output.

Named clips

By playing a media clip, or jumping to various points using the Video Waveform, or by scrubbing through the video waveform and then continuing to play, you can identify both “in” points and “out” points for saving out “named clips”. These named clips are not actually video clips themselves, but are actually a small EDL of a selected duration from the actual media clip. Several differently-timed named clips may be saved out from the same media clip, and will appear in the library at the bottom, underneath the Blackbird control centre video player. Any of these may be dropped onto a “publishing button” to swiftly publish the clip in a desired format.

This represents one of the simplest workflows possible, and yet does not even touch the Blackbird cloud video editor at this stage! Using the control centre to “top ’n tail” clips after first logging is actually a rapid and effective way of reviewing content for approval, if followed by a simple publishing action (dropping the resulting named clip onto a publishing button).

Using publishing buttons

Publishing buttons are mainly found in two places – the Blackbird cloud video editor application itself, and also the Blackbird control centre. In the latter, the control centre, the publishing buttons are actually created as pre-sets according to the set-up information you specify. In the former, the cloud video editor, the publishing buttons are evident in the left-most tool panel, as a set of actions which will publish to destinations, according to the information you have pre-set.

There are other instances in which publishing buttons appear, and often these will be evident as specialised publishing options within the slim player apps – clipping and reviewing apps, for example.

As mentioned, the two places to see publishing buttons are the Blackbird control centre to set up the pre-set actions and place them into the editor on that account; and the Blackbird cloud video editor where they are used within a production task such as editing, logging or reviewing of rushes / assemblies.

First, we shall see some example publishing buttons typically found in the cloud video editor, then we shall examine how such buttons are assigned and pre-set with relevant information for your particular usage.

Publishing buttons in Blackbird cloud video editor

The set of publishing buttons any given Blackbird cloud video editor deployment might use will vary considerably from one production company’s account to another. There is no “typical” set, in fact – each organisation will configure their own publishing buttons according to their needs. Also, not all user roles within the same account will need to see the same range of publishing buttons. Here is a perhaps extensive example of some of the buttons you may see, although your account may well not have all of these set up (there are also others possible, according to need). In some cases, the icons chosen may differ from these given, as the choice is contingent upon the person creating the publishing button at the Control Centre, and a different icon may have proved a more attractive selection.

Some of the publishing buttons you may see in the Blackbird Forte left-side toolbar, centre section, are:


Edit decision list.


Avid edit decision list / video content file


Final Cut Pro X edit decision list


Avid video content file

Review? Review

Video file published on the Blackbird cloud, awaiting review action

Web Web, or HTML5 HTML5

A simple web page with a single video embedded in it.


Stand-alone H.264 video file exchangeable with virtually anyone in the world.


A single still-frame picture image.

YouTube YouTube

Uploading a video to a pre-set YouTube account.

Facebook video Facebook video

Uploading a video to a pre-set Facebook account.

Facebook photo Facebook photo

Posting a still frame picture to a pre-set Facebook account.

DailyMotion DailyMotion

Uploading a video to a pre-set account on DailyMotion video hosting site.

Twitch Twitch

Uploading a video to a pre-set account on the Twitch video hosting site.

Twitter Twitter

Tweeting a video to a pre-set account on the Twitter social media site.

Amazon S3 Amazon S3

Publish video file to a pre-set account on Amazon S3

Bear in mind that the presence of any of these buttons (in the Forte toolbar along the left side) is contingent upon your account settings. It is also contingent on whether any pre-set buttons have actually been set up as presets, in the control centre. For example, an “un-set” YouTube export button could not work without knowing your YouTube account settings too, in order to make the export actually happen. It may well be that you only see a very minimal set of buttons.

Publishing buttons in Blackbird control centre

Tasks may be created for yourself and other users of your account, depending on your role settings. The ability to set up tasks is itself an account-level dependent feature. Primarily, these tasks will be to allow reviewing or approving, of source clips or edited production sequences. A user wishing to set up tasks will themselves require the enabling of the feature, if it is not already set to allow task creation.

Pre-set buttons for publishing tasks

tasks button  accepts drag and drop, when a file is dropped onto it a prompt appears asking for an email address. A Secondary-click (or Option+click/Alt+click) in the text box will allow searching for users. Once a valid email address is entered, an email is sent to the recipient to inform them of for example a file for review (or other such task which requires action). Obviously, choose an email which you know will actually be attended in the field within the time required!

If the recipient is not a Blackbird user they will receive a link to download an mpeg of the file, published to the Blackbird cloud.

Where to publish

Different user accounts may have variously configured publishing options in the form of presence or absence of “publishing buttons”. Each of these buttons sets in motion a sequence of actions which result in publishing an item of media to a destination.

Publishing to the Blackbird cloud itself as an end-point is possibly the most efficient way of having other production team members view or review a production asset or edit. All that is required is the sending of the resulting url and anyone you give it to may view the published result wherever they are around the world.

The destinations may also be outside-world ones such as YouTubeTwitterDailyMotionFacebook, etc. This is ideal for mass consumption by the public at large, and can be achieved rapidly from the assets already on the Blackbird cloud or residing on Blackbird Edge Servers.

EDL file publishing

Another possible “destination” is to output only an EDL file (typically for Avid). This is ideal for productions in which the material was originally gathered on Avid, ingested to Blackbird for logging and rough-cut edit. All that is required to round-trip back to the Avid environment is logging metadata and decision information, in the form of an EDL.

Examples of publishing buttons which a given user may or may not see (contingent on setting up by their account manager) are: EDLWebMPEGJPEGHTML5YouTubeFacebook videoFacebook photo.

Publishing video

  • publishing settings

  • To publish, drag sequences onto the publishing button for the desired format.

  • To see the status of a publishing job, and to access the published result, click the publishing button for that format. The items are organised in categories PublishedCompressingQueuedFailed, with colour coding.

  • etc.

Exporting edits as EDLs

Shot selection is a significant usage of Blackbird due to the exceedingly rapid turn-around of production decisions that our product makes possible. An incoming capture can be viewed in review or logging circumstances more or less as soon as it starts ingesting, which in turn is as soon as it lands on the Edge Server in a watch folder.

As a result, a major usage of Blackbird in the early stages of a production is to arrive at an EDL – an Edit Decision List, which contains logging or review information (as metadata). Such an EDL can be easily read into other systems such as Avid, in a typical off-line or on-line editing suite.

To export a production or edit as an EDL, drop the work file onto the EDL button. A resulting file will then appear (as “published”) in the export folder – double click this file. A separate browser window will then appear (if you grant permissions for pop-ups to be enabled), showing a list detailing which file types are available to download.

From here it is a simple matter to Secondary-click the desired link; select “Save link”; select where you want it to download, and click Save.

Blackbird is able to export to AAF, EDL, ALE, XML and HTML formats:

AAF – Advanced Authoring Format

For auto-conforming logging and off-line edits within Blackbird with an on-line Avid system, supporting all cuts of video and audio and all metadata.

EDL – Edit Decision List

Blackbird generates the standard EDL format: CMX3600. Used to import a sequence into an off-line or on-line editing system such as CMX3600 for Final Cut Pro. The EDL contains the sequence of clips exactly as they were saved in the timeline from Blackbird. ‘CMX3600 with ALE fudges’ accounts for potential issues (i.e. edit points being too close to timecode breaks) and adjusts accordingly.

ALE – Avid Log Exchange

This is a digitising list for batch capturing into Avid. The ALE comprises a list of clips in timecode order and includes 30s handles. Exporting a file generates one ALE per tape that your exported work refers to.

XML Interchange Format

XML files are for importing to Final Cut Pro. The XML provides a combination of both sequence and digitising list – clips are in the order they were on the Blackbird timeline, and also listing the clips used. The available XML exports are:

  • XML for Final Cut Pro (capture)

  • XML for Final Cut Pro (reconnect, 10min reelABCD files)

  • XML for Final Cut Pro (reconnect, xxx-reelno-NN files)

  • XML for Final Cut Pro (media export)

  • XML for Final Cut Pro (media export, plain shot names)

HTML – Paper Edit

Blackbird provides a printable HMTL table of the timeline, complete with logging information and timecodes. This can be accessed by clicking on the HTML file (at the top) on the “clips – Blackbird export” page. The resulting table in a web browser may simply be printed out to any printer you have network access to (either a nearby printer, or one anywhere in the world for someone else).

If the edit contains anything that may cause a problem when digitising into another system, a list of warnings will appear below the files. This informs you of what to change in your edit to work in the subsequent system.