Blackbird® platform

Access level

A setting which governs how much or how little a user is allowed to change, regarding their account and the work that goes through it.

Account management

The allowance of permissions given to various users on an organisational project.

Account manager

A person with privileges within the system enabling them to change access levels.


A navigational aid in web pages and computer applications, to demonstrate “where you have been” or “where you have come from”, enabling a user to find their way back to an earlier source of media or assets in a file system view.


This word has many meanings, including advertising channels and broadcast channels. In the context of the Blackbird editing software, a channel would refer to a single strip of media (audio, video, captioning, title or other type of track). The terms channel or track may be encountered interchangeably. The essential consideration is that only one strip of media will be in one channel – one channel does not contain more than one item. To cut or interpose from one video context to another, you are in effect cutting what might be thought of as “the visibility” of the output from one channel or track to another. Thus, both lengths of video are present in parallel, each instance residing in its own channel. Similarly with audio: stereo sound requires a left and a right channel, but the sound from two or more video sources would reside in further channels of their own.


An arrangement of connected geographically distributed high-performance always-on computing platforms to act as one seamless very large very fast computer, from the point of view of both storage and processing power.


The arrangement of settings, allowed levels of access and connectivity, for the user or organisation using Blackbird.

Drag and drop

The ability of an operating system and the applications that run on it to recognise the user action of selecting an object, moving it to another meaningful location on the screen corresponding with a destination for that object, and when ‘dropped’ there, performing some kind of action such as moving or copying that object.

File Management

The logistical process of arranging files in specific locations. This should be done to ease identification and to facilitate choice, as well as to provide a safe workflow.

File window

Where you would find media files pertaining to the project or your account.

Blackbird account

An area of the cloud which allows access for changes, uploads, editing or other work using assets arranged within meaningful structures, belonging to a particular organisation

Global access

The ability of anyone or any role within an organisation or project to access a particular asset or action. This may or may not imply the ability to change, delete or update it beyond reading it. The opposite would be local access, in which only some parts of an organisation are aware that some assets or actions may exist.


The particular process of moving the source material from the media upon which it was shot or captured, into the system (and in our case, the cloud) from where it will reside and be worked on. Ingesting is expected for each shoot, partly because working from the digital shooting media is inefficient (and possibly risky), and partly because one would normally want to free up the shooting media within a short turn-around time for continued use. Finally, once ingested, it can also begin to be backed up as a safety procedure – another good reason to get it off the capture media as soon as possible.

Interface launch buttons

In this context, a set of tasks for work that a specific user is allowed to perform with their particular login. Typically these would be chosen from Upload; Review, Log and Edit.


An additional ‘in-between’ program on a computer which allows some complex programs to work seamlessly with the operating system of that computer. Currently, Blackbird is one of those complex programs which benefit from having Java installed first, if it had not already been installed in the past.


Source markers and other markers are additional information that are associated to a specific point in time, either of the original clip, or the editing timeline. Markers could be utilised for reasons such as indicating an intended in point or an out point.


The act of ‘moving through’ an item of media. A clip of audio or video media has a duration of time, and when playing we often wish to skip or jump signficantly forward or backward. The smallest movement either forward or backward is one frame. If edit points are set, it is possible to jump to the nearest of those, or even to the very beginning or end of the clip. Different speeds of playing, either forward or reverse, are available, and as keyboard short cuts. The blue scroll bar under the audio track is also another way of navigating, by directly ‘grabbing’ it and repositioning it elsewhere, behind or ahead of your current viewing position.

Play window

This is where you see uploaded or source material – an ideal place to view or listen and log such assets. Multiple files may be opened as a stack of play windows, accessed through their numbered tabs in blue.


In digital editing, it is often advantagous to work with a slightly lower resolution of video media than the originally shot source. Once the editing is decided upon, the same edit decision list that was assembled using the smaller and swifter proxy media can be applied to the original-sized source media. Consequently it is accepted in the industry that a proxy version is preferable to work with. Our software is unique in that it will generate the working proxy almost immediately the source material is connected up to the system (ie, ingesting).

Record window

This is where you view sequences as assembled on the timeline.


A label applied to a user or other resource that denotes what their expected activities and interactions are. This can be used to ‘group together’ similar types of users under a specific role, and thus privileges can be applied to the role instead of a number of similarly specified individual users as a convenience.

Secondary-click (or “right-click”)

(Properly, this should be called ‘secondary click’ – although in many cases ‘right click’ is inconsiderately used, which excludes a significant portion of the population who use the mouse in the left hand with the buttons switched). A secondary click is the use of the ‘other’ button of the mouse to perform variations of actions. On the Mac Option+click also achieves the same. It is worth noting that in general, mobile touchscreen devices such as tablets and phones offer no ability to secondary click.

Shortcuts button

A specific button found on the ‘panel’ of the Blackbird user interface. The panel will typically be on the leftmost edge, running vertically, and the shortcuts button will be within the bottom third of those buttons, looking like four keyboard keys (three in a row with one more on top).


An item of information that can be made to ‘pop up’ around or near an item when certain actions are performed on it, such as hovering a mouse pointer near or over it. This is typically not easily achieved, or achieved in other ways, on mobile devices with touch screens, so is usually associated with desktop or laptop computer use.


Also related to the term ‘ingest’, this is the process of bringing media assets into the system. Being a cloud-based editing system, there is a signficant difference in the upload process to that of other desktop NLE systems. Blackbird will upload in such a way as to provide the most usable view of the material as early on as possible in the editing stages, while uploading is commencing.

User Assistance

One of a number of means of seeking help or support on a specific point of operation or configuration of the system.

User privilege

A configuration setting that allows a particular user to perform reading, creating, updating or deleting of categories of information within specified parts of a system.

Watch folder

An otherwise ordinary folder on the computer, one among possibly several that has been nominated to be observed continually. Certain events or conditions will initiate selected or specified further processes or situations. This is exceedingly useful for streamlining a workflow, once the workflow has been worked out and a level of automation desired for repetitive file management occurrences.

Video industry

Aspect ratio

Traditionally, television screens were slightly wider than they were high, whereas cinema screens were considerably wider than they were high. Photographs were often rectangular also, as were most paintings and books (although occasional square ones were encountered – for example, many roll film cameras shot in square). The aspect ratio of such media is the ratio between width and height. Thus we see older standard definition television screens described as 4:3 (four across by three down – as a comparative ratio, not any particular unit of measurement) and newer televisions and phones as 16:9 which resembles some cinema productions. Of course, modern mobile phone usage brings with it an increase in 9:16 ratio material, shot ‘portrait’ instead of ‘landscape’ (in other words, higher than it is wide, not wider than it is high).


CSV is another human-readable text format, in which the text is divided into ‘fields’ arranged within rows and columns, much like a spread sheet. The boundary between one cell and its subsequent neighbour is indicated with a comma – hence the name: Comma Separated Values. These sorts of file, incidentally, can often be read directly into a spreadsheet application, if it were required to actually read it.


This is also commonly termed ‘resolution’ (although perhaps inaccurately) – see the entry [Resolution]. High definition or HD requires a greater pixel width and height than standard definition or SD.


An Edit Decision List is actually quite an old concept, predating computer based video production, and even video itself. In the days of film, copies of lengths or reels of film would be identified and labeled. The desired arrangement of an intended edit would be written down on paper as a log or list of times pertaining to in or out edits, relating to the labels of the camera takes on the copies of film strips. This proved a safe and repeatable means of editing. Today various editing software uses one form of EDL or another, made available as digital file.


The arrangement, through selection, deletion, re-ordering, of a set of related media, to tell a story or communicate a point.


person who cuts and pastes media in a specific order according to a plan.


Video is captured not as a continuous moving image but, rather much like cinematic film was, shooting separate consecutive images or frames running faster than the eye can separate out. Thus, a frame is generally the smallest unit of storage or manipulation in video. Common frame rates in use are 25 or 30 frames per second, among others.


Person who labels all incoming material and media.


One of the first stages of post-production, occurring as soon as possible after shooting, recording or capture. The act of logging is to identify and in effect label all incoming media assets. This can be in the form of additional metadata.


A description of not only the length of a work, but the type of content often associated with this choice. Short-form by contrast is often associated with the newer user-generated content of today’s internet age, but this is by no means an exclusive boundary of the definition.

Media management

The arrangement of all the assets required for the production, in such a manner that they are identifiable and of the correct form.


Shooting or capturing with more than one camera is often done to provide more than one viewpoint of the same subject or point of interest. An example of this is an interview, in which the interviewer and interviewee are each shown on camera, closer, in isolation, with a further camera position to show both together in context. In a single camera shoot, the only camera position would be the combined shot of both, and any closer individual shots would have to be ‘faked’ after the interview by repeating the question or answer, or perhaps the interviewer is shown ‘agreeing’ with a point that you hear the interviewee relate verbally (such a shot is known as a ‘noddy’ shot, as the interviewer says nothing but merely nods in agreement, and therefore can be captured after the actual interview on the single camera). Multicam shooting allows many points of view of an event or action or point of interest to be captured and then selected afterwards at the editing stage by cutting between camera positions.


Over The Air – the process of broadcasting through terrestrial or satellite transmission for reception by the consumer through their aerials or dishes. A traditional television programme would be transmitted “over the air”, a live television studio would have a red sign which lights up saying “ON AIR” when people should be quiet. Digital satellite and terrestrial receiver boxes often receive their firmware updates as “OTA” updates, meaning that the firmware update is transmitted digitally through the same aerial, through the air, as any other television programme content.


Over The Top – a service model for distribution of “broadcast content” not through transmission but rather over broadband (in other words, using internet protocol, or IP). The OTT model does not involve paying for individual instances of film or TV content, rather, it includes it in the “bundle” being sold. The meaning of the term OTT is even now shifting from broadcasters, cable and broadband providers, to now include Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, etc. Before using the term “OTT”, briefly check to see if it now means what you and your intended audience still think it means.


The two differing and initially somewhat incompatible broadcast television standards for shooting and transmitting video signals. PAL was used in Great Britain, much of Europe, Australia and parts of Asia. NTSC was used in the United States, and also South America, some parts of Asia and Japan. The scan line vertical resolutions were different, as were the frames per second.

Post production

The act of applying creative or technical or directorial work after the capture of the media involved in the production.


The act of making edited program material, either final or at a gateway between production stages, available in one form or another, via one channel or another. This is usually considered a terminal format in that no further production work is expected on that particular published program, without otherwise going back to the editing stage and publishing again.

Raw material

Captured media of any form that may usually need further processing such as editing, or format conversion.


The spatial area of an image or display destination is often specified as a ‘resolution’, either in a basic quantity of pixels across and down (such as 1920x1080), or as that quantity in relation to the size of an area (as it would be with print) or as a set of agreed acronyms such as WXGA, HD, FHD or UHD.


Person who says yes or no.


The assessment of validity of an edited production, or partially edited candidate piece of a production.


A rendered copy of the output of the production, or of a section of it. This is usually a representation of the state of progress of an edit or production, for review, or may be a candidate finalised representation of the whole production, as it nears readiness. It may well be that the rush contains issues which require correcting, in which case production implements such changes and issues a new rush.


A serial digital interface, specifically for professional video usage. Modern high definition SDI (HD-SDI) can handle very fast high bandwidth video data, exceeding even that of a consumer HDMI connection. The distance is also much greater – a consumer HDMI lead should only really be relied upon up to 5m in length, whereas SDI leads can be connected over far longer runs. An SDI connection uses an already-existing plug and socket type known as a BNC connector. These connectors and the cable should be 75 Ohm (75Ω) – using 50Ω ones may seem to work but will prove to be the source of mysterious hard-to-track-down errors.


The origin of whichever media or material is being worked on. For example, cameras can be a source of video data, as could still picture files or graphics. Audio recorders can be a source of sound: dialogue or playout sting music, or ambient location sounds (often called ‘wild tracks’).


A sequential or logistic plan of the aim of the editing process, often as a visual representation. Historically, this might be a series of panels drawn using cartoon techniques.


Video media from the very earliest days had the possibility of recording an extra track of information to denote a ‘time’ position within the recorded clip or reel. Sometimes, a copy of a clip would feature a ‘burned in’ timecode (a BIT) showing a series of numbers viewable on the image. Not every camera, nor every player or recorder, had the facility to read or write (or ‘stripe’, as it was known) a timecode track. Contemporary digital equipment will embed some form of time information readily, however, this does not necessarily equate to the specific professional timecode formats in use in broadcast and film-making (such as the SMPTE family of timecode formats).


A graphic indicator of the time or temporal relationships between media assets in the representation of the current edit. Time is treated as a progression from left to right, and media assets placed further to the right are to be encountered further into the future, in the final program.


the separate recording of additional audio, usually on top of or over some existing video, which may or may not have its own audio track(s).


The expression of processing of resources across time, to achieve a given result. Some workflows can be improved, others adhere to best practice. Fine tuning a workflow is almost always of benefit, particularly for repetitive work.


XML is a human-readable text format which allows the definition of named elements which can contain further named elements, or just plain text. The heirarchy of the containment of elements inside other elements, and text inside elements, gives rise to a ‘semantic meaning’ of the topic or application.