What is meant by publishing?

To publish is to make completed editorial matter available to a public. Publishing is a “terminal” stage constituting a final format – that specific instance of published media sees no further change. If edits are required, a new edition is issued from the editing workflow and the old one discarded.

In Blackbird there is a publishing feature intended for producing the result of an editing session. From this the file may be uploaded to a wide variety of online hosting services such as YouTube; Facebook; Vimeo to mention a few.

When video material is ingested using an Edge Server, the high resolution source is sent to the Blackbird cloud as editable proxy. This affords very rapid reviewing and editing, perhaps from elsewhere and not necessarily on the Edge Server the material was ingested. This is actually a key advantage of the Blackbird platform.

To produce an end result, the system runs a “job”, which itself depends upon the connection to the cloud. This job is a sequence of instructions run by the cloud but not necessary on the cloud – it may be, or it may instead be running on the Edge Server itself.

The job will typically generate a published result, such as:

  • an EDL

  • a media file such as H.264 or AAC or JPEG

  • media posted to external media hosting services YouTube, DailyMotion, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch or similar.

The generated publishable media file may then be actually published – which is a step further than merely generating it. There are numerous choices of destinations for publishing what was generated:

  • as a file, on the originating Edge Server (in other words, the end result will be the generated publishable media itself, in the same place)

  • as a file but hosted on the Blackbird cloud (whether the generated publishable media was generated on the originating Edge Server, or that media was generated in the cloud itself)

  • to an external media hosting service such as YouTube, DailyMotion, FaceBook, Twitch, Twitter or the like.

In the case of a media file, the job generates the file either on the cloud, or on the originating Edge Server (the one which ingested all of the source material). Similarly, in the case of a video posting to an external media hosting service, the job could run on the Edge Server or on the Blackbird Cloud, and first generates an intermediate file – which we shall refer to here as a “publishable media file” (in other words, a representative file intended for publishing, but which isn’t yet directed to any specific publishing destination – that would be the next step).

1) Generating a publishable media file in one of two locations

generate a publishable file on the Edge Server
Figure 1. Generating a publishable media file on the Blackbird cloud

A publishing job specifying that the publishable media file (which will subsequently be published, to a specified destination) shall be generated on the Blackbird Cloud.

generate a publishable file on the Blackbird Cloud
Figure 2. Generating a publishable media file on the Edge Server which ingested the video

A publishing job specifying that the publishable media file (which will subsequently be published) shall be generated back on the single Edge Server which holds the original and ingested material. As you can see from the diagram, the job itself still requires the Blackbird Cloud to control the job, even though the original source video file stays on the Edge Server.

2) Publishing aforementioned file to an external media site

publishing a file from the cloud to an external site
Figure 3. Publishing to an external media site, from a generated file on the Blackbird cloud

A publishing job specifying that a published file be uploaded to an external media site, based on first generating the publishable media file on the Blackbird Cloud.

generate a publishable file on the Edge Server
Figure 4. Publishing to an external media site, from a generated file on an Edge Server

A publishing job specifying that a published file be uploaded to an external media site, based on first generating the publishable media file on the single Edge Server which holds the original and ingested material. As you can see from the diagram, the job itself also requires the Blackbird Cloud to control the job.

If material was ingested across several Edge Servers (the source material is distributed), then the publishable media file should be generated on the cloud, and not on any individual Edge Server. Once at that stage, any publishing to external media services could even be delayed until a later time.

In the case of publishing to external media hosting services such as YouTube, Facebook, DailyMotion, Twitch, Twitter and others, the publish will depend upon the generated publishable media file having been generated to the Blackbird cloud first, as opposed to generating it on individual Edge Server. (The job itself could be run either on the Edge Server or the cloud, the critical issue is where the generated publishable media file is to be generated prior to publishing).

A pre-set push-button approach

In the Blackbird platform, publishing is enabled through specific “publishing buttons”. Ordinarily we click a button to cause or prevent the occurrence of a simple action. What we mean by a “button” is two-fold. In the control centre, it is evident as a single small ‘pane’ to click which performs a comprehensive pre-set unit of action. Once configured, a corresponding button (containing the pre-set action) will appear in the Blackbird cloud video editor on the left-hand edge in the midst of any other action buttons.

Pre-set your buttons

The button must be configured as a preset first, a task not performed within the cloud video editor but the Blackbird browser-based control centre. The control centre is a web-application for management of aspects of Blackbird and assets associated with productions.


Another way to find your way to the configuration is to click on Sitesclick on ‘Sites’

search for your Edge server name in ‘sites’…then Search for your Site name. Once you have selected your site name, in the left sidebar see the button marked “Edge Servers”.

Blackbird web-app control panel cog menu

The “Cog” icon is a menu allowing (if you are set to be an account manager) the configuration of aspects of a relevant account. Selecting Cog Configuration will present you with many options pertaining to the site configuration (configuration; tags; extra data; file and logging metadata columns, keyboard short cuts and more). These are not the options you are looking for.

sidebar menu button for configuration in green

From this view, however, the left button sidebar shows an “Edge Servers” button.

A pane corresponding to your Edge server will be visible (and possibly a number of panes for other Edge servers also associated with that site). Hovering your mouse pointer over your Edge server pane may bring up an information panel to one side.

Pre-setting a service

To begin to set up a preset for a service, select the Services menu entry.

an Edge server pane showing the information panel to the side

At this point, when clicking on the sidebar Edge Servers button, you should see the Edge server name you originally gave when setting up the Mac ingest server.

beginning the setup of a service as a preset

Choose a new service for the preset:

choosing a new service for the preset.

On macOS, the only viable option at present is Services Edge server local publishing. Here is the resulting new publishing preset pane.

the resulting new publishing preset pane

This is the resulting publishing pane for the publishing service preset, as seen in the Blackbird control centre.

create a named publishing preset

Here is the right-hand side information panel for a named publishing preset. From here, the preset pane can be renamed, just as it can on the preset pane itself.

Configuring the preset access information

the publishing preset pane

The publishing preset pane may now have the configuration settings set (or ‘pre-set’) for use in the workflow. Click on the Configure access.

about to make an access preset

This will allow a set of access settings to be pre-set into the button preset. We are now about to make a new access setting for this preset.

publishing account access 3rd panel renaming sequence

Here we alter the naming of the access preset (to, in this case, “publish_mac”) and under “Choose an account” type in the first few characters of the account we wish to associate with and then selecting the found result (in this case, “edge_ingest_test”), then click Create to save those settings.

The account name you would enter is shown below in the Edge server’s Expert GUI window.

in the Blackbird expert gui
Figure 5. In the Blackbird expert gui, your current default account and folder are shown here
the result – an access preset with the access settings edited

The result – an access preset with the access settings edited At this point we have defined how the system will access the Mac, for a specific output type, or service, and for our particular account information.

We shall now return to your Edge server pane.

Return to your pane

Creating the publishing button for the editor

We will now create the actual publishing button in the editor, which relies on all the information which we have already just set into the preset pane.

The navigation breadcrumb trail along the top title area of the page, beneath the Blackbird product branding, enters the account, and may prove an easy shortcut to return to the edge servers

Select Cog Publishing, ensure the Publishing button on the left sidebar is selected

The cog menu publishing entry
Go to the Publishing button on the left sidebar

If no prior buttons have been configured for this account, you will see a panel with a large ⊕ icon captioned “New publishing button”. Pressing this gives you an “Add publishing button” menu listing a selection of publishing destinations. On macOS, only one option is currently valid.

Such a ⊕ panel will remain present after setting up an account preset publishing button, in order to create further publish presets perhaps at a later time.

new publishing button
destination menu
the resulting pane

The resulting pane.

Publishing on the Blackbird cloud

Publishing on the Blackbird cloud is the most desirable end result. The url of the resulting publish may be simply given to the person or people needing the published end result, no matter where in the world they are.

selecting where to run and changing name

In this menu, we leave the default as “Cloud”, and while we are here, we also change the name of the intended button preset pane (you could also select a different icon, should that suit you).

the resulting pane with new name

The resulting pane with new name.

Publishing on the Edge server (prototype feature)

Ordinarily, for broadcast, the assets for a production would go through an editing stage. For some workflows it may be desirable to capture and ingest followed by a “top&tail” edit for an in-house party to review, giving a quick “go/no-go” decision, the result treated as disposable.

To try out this prototype feature, use this menu to select your own Edge Server (which would contain all of the material for the publishing job). Be aware that it is inefficient to run a publish job in this way at the present time if the Edge Server also contains media and jobs which other Edge Servers require. It carries the risk of blocking the Blackbird Cloud from working with this Edge Server for such other tasks. Also, the single Edge Server used in this manner must remain on, awake and connected for the duration of the entire publishing task. Closing a laptop lid, allowing the battery to drain, or disconnecting from the Internet will prevent the job from completing, and may also prevent you from receiving any notifying information that this is the case.

selecting where to run and changing name
Figure 6. In this example, this Edge Server (named here “lxmedge_load3”) is selected as “Where to run”.

It may be the case that the Mac you are using has not had the cloud video Blackbird editor installed, or you are not in a position to install Java in order to proceed. Possibly someone else is editing, using the cloud video Blackbird editor on a different computer. If that is the case, note that it is certainly more efficient to publish the resulting production from the same Edge server that performed the ingest, in the short-term. Therefore it may well be that the editor requests that the publish be initiated from back on the ingesting Edge server.

We describe here two main different routes to publishing ingested asset material.

Publish in the Blackbird web-based control centre

It is possible to publish purely from within the Blackbird web-based control centre, not far from where we initially defined our preset panes. These will function as active buttons to perform the same preset tasks from there.

clicking the cog menu

On the Blackbird web-app control centre, click the cog menu for your account. clicking the cog menu media entryGo to cog Media.

You will see your “Media” view of “Files”, after a very brief loading pause.

the media view of files

Switch from the “Files” view to the “Publishing” view.

the publishing view

Opening the “Publishing” menu on the left, select the publishing preset we have just made (in this case, we made one called “Mac_publish”, which is visible as a menu entry to select).

publishing view of Mac_publish

It is possible to drag and drop the desired media onto the preset button’s entry in the “Publishing” drop-down menu on the left.

drag and drop onto the preset

Once processed, the resulting published media is available as a link. This may be sent with ease to the recepient, without sending unnecessarily large data out in the field.

How to perform a top&tail edit from the control centre

In Media Files double-click a video asset to work on.

picking a video to work on

Now we can pick the “in” and “out” points to discard any unwanted material which commonly occurs at the start and end of a clip.

topping and tailing a new clip
  • Position the play head to the start of the desired span of video (either moving it with the cursor or play/pause using the spacebar.

  • Press the arrow facing left beneath the timecode (or the I key) to enter this time into the “in” buffer.

  • Scrub the play head to the end of the wanted span of video.

  • Press the arrow facing right (or the O key) to load that time into the “out” buffer. These two numbers represent the duration of your selection of a video asset.

  • In the top right corner of the player there is a floppy disk icon, to save as a new clip. This appends the text “ - selection” to the new clip name.

  • Press the Clip button in blue, to save it.

Now we have an edited (or at least, “top&tailed”) clip, we can go ahead and publish it in a similar manner to that previously described.

Go from files to publish to our presetChange from “Files” to “Publish” and go to your new preset publishing button’s menu entry (in our case here, Publishing Mac_publish).

drag and drop onto the publishing preset entryNow all we need to do is to drag and drop our new clip over onto the publishing preset menu entry.

Setting high resolution

select your preset and look over to the right of the screen

Your new preset may be set to a higher than usual resolution, if required. With the preset pane selected, the right panel will indicate a “settings” tab. Switch tabs to the “Source” tab and set the “Source quality” to “High resolution only”, and press the Save button.

go to the source panel and set to high resolution

At present, publishing from the Blackbird web-based control centre only allows the publication of saved clips, rather than your whole unaltered ingested asset as it originally stands. If this really is desired, then simply make a clip from the original ingested asset which bears the same start and end points. This also gives you the opportunity to rename the publication as appropriate.

Publish in the Blackbird cloud video editor

We may also see the results of the preset setup process in the cloud video Blackbird editor application, if this is intended to be installed and used on your particular Edge server. Install the Blackbird application. You will see this dialog:

  • Log in using your given Blackbird login and password.

  • Select your project from the drop down menu in the dialog.

  • Press the Launch Blackbird button.

Once you have clicked through the “do you want to run this application” dialog and clicked run, the Blackbird cloud video editor will open.

In the editor, on the left sidebar where all the buttons are, our new one will be evident:

new button in Java-based editor

There – it really is as simple as that!

dragging and droppingNow you may publish on Blackbird merely by dragging your produced sequences of editing onto the publishing button depicting your desired format.

You may also double-click on the publishing button to open a window into which produced editions may be dropped for processing and output.

Depicted here is the act of dragging and dropping onto an opened publish preset button’s window. The edited sequence is recognised and then compressed, straight away.

Why should we publish?

The need to publish from the Blackbird platform is influenced by the shape of your workflow. For example, many broadcast oriented workflows will not desire to publish material to social media. They may benefit from “round-tripping” some production work by exporting an edit decision list to an external non-linear editing system. Broadcast work may also involve logging a shoot after ingest, producing an EDL of the logged work for review before the next production stage.

A different workflow example is the vertical market for esports. There, the final production is published to social media platforms of various descriptions. The initial capture may be in the form of direct SDI feeds. The entirety of the production work is performed within the Blackbird platform, culminating in publishing and syndication to social media outlets. In such a case, there is virtually no round-tripping, no external post in other NLEs and no requirement to expose the EDL. The review process may see a different route, via publishing an mpg file, but this leg is one-way for media, the return path is typically merely an editorial decision.

Efficiency within workflows

Due to the nature of Edge servers as not only ‘ingesters’ but also ‘egesters’ to the cloud, there are ways in which working can be made more (or less) efficient purely down to design of action flow. An example of this is when publishing, if the publish action takes place from the Edge server which ingested the content in the first instance, the overall throughput will be considerably more efficient and consequently lower in both time and cost. Conversely, an ingest on one Edge server followed very shortly by a subsequent publish operation initiated from a different machine elsewhere (another network, or geographically) will be highly inefficient – time consuming and costly. Hence, on the Mac Edge servers, the Blackbird web control panel publishing button presets should be set to refer to the same Edge server device that the content was ingested upon, rather than across other Edge devices.


Points to note

If the high-resolution source is missing (on the particular machine that it was linked from), then the publish will fail. If the media was on an external storage device (such as a hard drive or camera card) but is no longer connected, you should connect the external media again. Alternatively, you can save or transfer the high-resolution source file to the computer itself, and then re-ingest / re-link it again (otherwise the Blackbird Control Centre will not know about the new location).


Table 1. Keyboard equivalent functions for the Blackbird web-based control centre:



set “in” location:


set “out” location:


play backwards:

J once = normal speed; twice = faster; thrice = even faster

play forwards:

L once = normal speed; twice = faster; thrice = even faster


K (as well as spacebar)

frame advance:

cursor/arrow cluster 

frame step back:

cursor/arrow cluster 

zoom increase:

cursor/arrow cluster 

zoom decrease:

cursor/arrow cluster 

Change log


In the case of a reset identity, any media ingested from the earlier Edge Server will be offline, and will not be able to be published.

When the user publishes files to a local Edge Server, and then restarts, shuts down or switches off the machine, this will cause the publish job to fail.