Bootlegger is a powerful platform, which can be used to perform many different tasks in the production workflow. Here are three examples of how the API can be applied to your project:

Produce Content

Make your own production client (instead of our mobile app) to give users a different end experience, or to automate the production of content.

Manage Content

Use for managing, storing, distributing and editing content making use of our extensive meta-data, micro-editing and pro-editor resources.

Commission Custom Content

Design your own template editor which allows you to commission content in new ways. For example, your application aids the creation of templates for local football competitions using fixture and team information.

API features required:

  • Connecting as a media producer
  • Responding to real-time direction events
  • Creating and uploading media

API features required:

  • Retrieving media for shoots
  • Adjusting and creating meta-data
  • Creating mico-edits
  • Managing file syncronization and output formatting

API features required:

  • Loading seed templates and the shot library
  • Creating and editing of shoot templates
  • Managing media and exporting content

Bootlegger Goes to School

We’ve been using bootlegger in our Ubicomp third year computing science module. As part of the module students are learning how to build prototype ubicomp interactions using raspberry pi and a grove kit.

Capturing practical with Bootlegger

We’re interested in how we can increase our students’ visibility with future employers, as well as provide learning materials for other people in the community interesting in computing science and are using bootlegger as a tool to help us achieve this. Over the course of the semester we’ve tasked our students with creating a set of ‘how-to’ instructional videos that other people can use to get to grips with raspberry pi using bootlegger. Each week the class work in pairs to complete a set of practical challenges with Pi, as well as to create a series of clips demonstrating what they have been doing. After the class students can then access everyone’s clips, review how other students have completed the task, or presented their work.

Capturing practical with Bootlegger

Through doing so they can reflect on ways of presenting technical knowledge and consider how they might improve their own skills. By choosing and structuring the clips using Bootlegger’s inbuilt editing tool students can quickly develop a short ‘how-to’ video that they can share with each other, and other interested parties.

At the end of the module students’ submissions will be posted online as a resource that students can point to, and reuse throughout the year.

by Madeline Balaam on Oct 19th 2015
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The Bootlegger API is accessible through a simple JSON REST interface. To get started, just signup for an API key, clone the examples and away you go!

Sign-up for an API Key


Clone our reference code examples or use the same open-source code we deploy in the Bootlegger mobile applications to kick start your integration.


You can get started working with the REST and Websocket API right away. Use our interactive docs to find out how to integrate and experiment with the endpoints.


Get involved in the community, ask questions or share your experiences to other users.

At a simplistic level, Bootlegger provides a structured way of requesting specific videos, agregating them from a community of contributors and then processing them.

Bootlegger maps nicely onto the tasks in a traditional production workflow. When using the API, you can choose to integrate with any part of the process. Each provides unique features for specifying, producing and handling footage.

At the core of bootlegger is the shoot template. This is a heirachichal data structure which represents everything about a shoot, and is used throughout the production workflow. Detailed information on structure of the template document is here.


Authorisation and Profile

Your Bootlegger API application will perform actions in the bootlegger system on behalf of other users. For them to authenticate, you need to provide a browser based login procedure (just like OAuth), which will return a valid session. Once a user is authenticated and you have obtained their session key, you do not nessesearily need any more user interaction.

We provide endpoints for:

  • Redirection to the Login Page
  • Listing shoots the user can edit
  • Logging Out

Commission Design

The bootlegger API primarly gives access to shoots. Shoots represent what shots are requested from contributors, and the meta-data to be applied. It can be edited, updated, adjusted in real-time. Seed (and community developed) templates can be used as a starting point for development.

We provide endpoints for:

  • Obtaining the seed templates
  • Listing the shot overlay archive
  • Updating a current shoot template

Shoot Management

Bootlegger provides 2 direction modes: automatic and pallet. If a shoot is in automatic mode, shots are allocated to contributors in real-time depending on the paramters set in the template. In pallet mode, contributors are free to start and stop recording when they want. During the shoot, contributions can be monitored, and parameters of the shoot adjusted.

We provide endpoints for:

  • Starting a new shoot
  • Pausing and Starting the auto-director
  • Changing the current phase of a shoot
  • Monitoring contributions in real-time

Media Production

A core part of the bootlegger API is production of content. Clients list shoots a user can contribute to, then register to become a contributor. The template and associated on-screen overlay assets can then be downloaded. If the shoot is in auto-director mode, the client receives events from the server via a websocket connection. In pallet mode, the client is free to scaffold content in any way.

We provide endpoints for:

  • Listing available shoots
  • Joining a shoot, obtaining assets and template
  • Communicating with API about current recording status
  • Uploading meta-data and media to the platform

As well as these endpoints, messages sent from the server need to be responded to appropriately for correct operation of a shoot. The pattern and format of these messages are detailed in the API docs.

Post Production

Given specific privacy settings, Bootlegger provides access to shoot footage for contributors and shoot organisers. They can create simple edits which can be shared on social media. The bootlegger platform performs concatentation and editing, providing a shortlink to share.

We provide endpoints for:

  • Listing all footage from a shoot
  • Listing a user's edits
  • Creating a new edit


All media contributed to Bootlegger is stored in the cloud. You can export this content to use as raw media, alongside rich human-readable meta-data.

We provide endpoints for:

  • Downloading content

Bootlegger was started as a research project at Newcastle University, UK.
The continuing aim of the project is to explore how the emerging media literacy of non-professionals can be scaffolded to support rich media creation:


Bootlegger: Turning Fans into Film Crew.
Guy Schofield, Tom Bartindale, and Peter Wright.
2015, CHI '15. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 767-776

Download pre-print PDF

Scaffolding Community Documentary Film Making using Commissioning Templates
Tom Bartindale, Guy Schofield and Peter Wright.
2016, CHI '16. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2705-2716

Download pre-print PDF

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