The following is an interview with Forbidden Technologies VP of Products, Jeff Krebs, for The Broadcast Bridge in August 2018:
With the Blackbird codec from Forbidden Technologies, cloud-based editing can be as fast and accurate as a desktop NLE.
Forbidden Technologies has announced a new powerful codec called Blackbird, and according to their vp of products, Jeff Krebs, it is the first codec designed from the ground up to manipulate video in the cloud.
“What people describe as a proxy codec in the cloud is usually some derivative of H.264 which is very good technology for the playback experience,” Krebs said. “If the readers of The Broadcast Bridge will go to the Blackbird section of our Web site they can play with the codec and see how easy it is to frame accurately go backward and forward through the video clip they will find there.”
“The difference between our approach and that of other post production systems is that with Blackbird we transcode the high bit rate source material and only upload a much lighter proxy to the cloud along with its metadata,” Krebs explained. “That all goes into a directory or folder that only the client can access.”
That gives the editor a very fast proxy workflow.
“Then when it comes to conforming the final sequence, we know where all the source material resides, so we can composite the project’s master from just the material that is needed,” Krebs said. Every project is secure because only someone with the proper credentials can access that material.
To edit and finish the post production of a project, the company offers a choice of two SaaS (Software as a Service) programs, each of which can run on any platform: Mac, Windows, Linux or Android.
The first is Blackbird Forte, a full featured NLE that can run on any platform and, significantly, only requires 5 Mbps to upload material to the cloud, and 2 Mbps for download and playback. Then there is Blackbird Ascent, a simplified SaaS system designed for production personnel who do not have a lot of video editing experience. Actually, as Krebs told me, “You should not need to spend more than a minute learning it.”
The Forte timeline provides a thumbnail image of each frame, and if you zoom in on it with a right/click (Windows) or option/click (Mac) a video waveform, and motion and scene changes are exhibited through patented patterns in the display. Closed captioning, data modification, timing, position and compliance functions are also displayed.
Operators can select clips during live shows through easy-to-learn keyboard shortcuts and macros that anyone from production assistant to producer can master. Both systems are pre-configured for one-button social media, OTT, online or file-based delivery—whichever distribution format is required.
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