SVG On-Demand: EditShare and Blackbird CEOs Talk Cloud Editing, Remote Production, and the Future of M&E
Integration of the two vendors’ tech promises speed and flexibility in collaboration and editing
Last month, EditShare and Blackbird joined forces to give media professionals more options for collaborating and editing video in the cloud. The integrated solution combines EditShare’s EFS scalable storage, FLOW media management, and open APIs with Blackbird’s cloud video-editing and -publishing platform.
Optimized for both speed and mobility, Blackbird and EditShare connect users into the wider media ecosystem, making content of all types located across storage pools accessible in the proper formats for rapid editing and delivery to multiple platforms and channels.
SVG sat down with EditShare CEO Conrad Clemson and Blackbird CEO Ian McDonough to discuss the new partnership, the pandemic-caused shift toward remote and cloud-based tools, how the combined solution accelerates workflows for the M&E industry, the impact on sports-content creators, and where they see the industry headed in 2021. Check out the full video interview below, along with a few highlights from Clemson and McDonough.
Clemson on the importance of building partnerships with other vendors like Blackbird:
For our customers that are looking for a complete solution, we build those complete solutions through partnerships. We think our ability at EditShare to create strong, broad partnerships is a long-term differentiator for this company, and, quite frankly, it helps us be a better technology provider to our customers. There are a lot of players out there who say, “If you want innovation, get it from me. Everything that happens, happens inside my walls.” That’s not how we think about things; we want customers to have a choice. They buy software from us because they want to, not because they have to, and we don’t tell customers what hardware to use or cloud to run on or editor to use. You tell us the problem you’re trying to solve, and we’ll bring about solutions to help that. That’s really where the Blackbird [partnership] comes in, from our perspective.
McDonough on the perception that EditShare and Blackbird were competitors:
Conrad and I were very open with each other from the very start. There has been a perception that perhaps we would be competitive in certain areas, and I think, before we arrived, that was probably true. But we [focused on how] we really are specialists at what we do. We’re best of breed, and there’s no need for Conrad’s team to reinvent the wheel and try to do what Blackbird does, because we’ve perfected that. We will continue to grow to this point, and we’ll continue to improve, but we can retain our uniqueness within the EditShare workflow while creating a better product in totality to compete with others to make sure that we can bring the very best solution.
Clemson on why the partnership makes sense in today’s climate:
It’s a really natural extension for us to leverage the capabilities that Blackbird uniquely brings into the marketplace. It’s a natural collaboration, too, because one of the things we’re seeing in the marketplace that is really exciting is, we’re starting to tiptoe into remote editing, into hybrid on-prem/cloud editing, and into true cloud editing. There is nothing that beats the Blackbird solution for bringing that into the marketplace. A year ago, I think, there were actually people in the industry who would still say, “My editing is never going to the cloud.” But I think, sitting here with what we’ve been through coming to the end of 2020, most of us would say, “It’s not if, it’s when.” Maybe I’m not ready to go today like the early adopters, but the combination of EditShare’s EFS [media storage], FLOW [media management], and EFSv [cloud platform] plus Blackbird is a phenomenal transitional technology to make that move.
McDonough on the specific benefits to customers who leverage Blackbird and EditShare together:
The main customer benefit will be speed, and they will be able to see content that’s in the EditShare system and instantaneously be able to get it into the Blackboard system to edit. [Both of us] work in a hybrid fashion, so customers looking to elevate themselves into the cloud would be perfect for us, but [so would] those greenfield customers that want to go direct to the cloud. It’s also going to reduce project cycles. With the two systems working together, the time it takes to get from one to the other and then to publish back into EditShare storage is absolutely minimal.
McDonough on how the partnership will benefit sports-production specifically:
We all know that, in sports, you’ve got to be first to the punch. That’s the most important [factor]. And there is nobody faster than Blackbird to get that content [produced] and [distributed] around to partners and customers.
It was obviously very sad news last month about [Argentine soccer star] Diego Maradona’s passing. When we heard that news, it was quite a shock. When it happened, a lot of [media organizations] were very quickly trying to get deep into their archive and find clips of him. I think that is an example of when an EditShare storage and its rich toolsets allow you to quickly get that into Blackbird and get that [distributed] out. The appetite for Maradona stories at that moment was enormous.
Clemson on what he sees coming in 2021:
We look at the middle of the year and particularly starting in Q2, and I would say 2021 is going to be explosive. [With] the combination of available vaccines and societal-level decisions, not only are you going to see production coming back, but we’re going to see sports coming back in a massive fashion. The early adopters are either in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment. We’re going to see the early adopters and the innovators and people who embrace EditShare and Blackbird differentiating themselves and being able to get more done, publish more content, move faster, and be in front of that wave.
That’s as opposed to the people who, quite frankly, are living with closed proprietary, 1990s/2000s-class systems. The wave is coming, and either you’re going to ride the wave or the wave is going to crash right on top of you. That’s not saying that you need to be with Blackbird and EditShare, but I would encourage everybody to be looking and thinking about the innovation that you can take advantage of to allow you to ride the explosive growth we’re going to have as sports, full-length film, and TV production come back.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.