PRODUCT: Boris FX Continuum Complete 5
PRICE: $895 (new) and $295 (upgrade). Available through resellers or Boris’s Website.
· native FxPlug for Final Cut Pro
· more than 180 filters
· a tool for every type of job
I was afraid that if I spent any more time evaluating Boris FX Continuum Complete 5, I would never have gotten this review turned in. The problem is I just keep discovering more new cool things it does. I mean, it’s already a set of more than 180 FxPlug filters, transitions and generators, and it ships complete with over 1,500 presets that are prêt-à-porter. I guess that’s why they don’t call it Boris Continuum Partial.
BCC has become an indispensable tool for my post production workflow. A job is truly not “complete” until it’s been run through Continuum Complete. No matter what kind of job it is: from keying to motion tracking or grading to uprezing, BCC has something for everyone.
GET PLUGGED IN
The BCC 5 family of products can be purchased for a variety of hosts. The usual suspects are Avid’s AVX architecture; Adobe applications, including the new CS3 After Effects; and Autodesk’s Combustion and Sparks API. But new to this version is native support for Apple’s proprietary FxPlug architecture — which I’ve chosen to focus on in my use of Final Cut Pro 6. BCC 5 for FxPlug takes full advantage of the FxPlug plug-in architecture to greatly extend the compositing and effects capabilities of Final Cut Studio. New BCC 5 for FxPlug workflow benefits include support for deep color processing, new contextual controls for better structuring of your workspace, and full support for Motion 3.
A NEW BATCH OF FILTERS
With limited space to go over all the new filters in this release, I’ve whittled it down to a few of my favs. The BCC LED filter was designed to make an image, clip or text element with alpha appear as though it was constructed out of an array of blinking or solid LED lights, similar to the display boards that we see in today’s sports stadiums. Or, to date myself, Hasbro’s Lite-Brite toy I used to play with as a kid. “Lite-Brite, Lite-Brite, turn on the magical shining light!” By default, the lights take their color from the clip to which it was applied and can be set to either square or round diodes or “bulbs” [see image above, right]. This filter is a part of the new OGL category of filters in BCC which benefit from hardware acceleration as all of the processing is done by the GPU of the graphics card instead of the CPU, which greatly improves performance while working with these filters within Final Cut Pro and significantly reduces render times.
The BCC Prism filter can be used to simulate the photographic effect of chromatic aberration, where a bad lens can create prismatic color fringing along edges of contrast within the image. The filter can also be used as an interesting wipe or blur effect and includes controls for image rotation along two points of one axis within the image, which, through some tweaking, leads to a pleasant twisting blurred effect. The Prism filter is another one of the new filters that are included in the OpenGL category and benefits from the super-fast image processing that the hardware acceleration allows for.
The BCC UpRez provides an answer to a common problem facing today’s Final Cut Pro editors, which is, what to do about situations where SD clips need to be reused in an HD project. Designed to facilitate the resizing of image clips while minimizing the data loss that is usually associated with media transforms within Final Cut Pro, the BCC UpRez filter employs very sophisticated image sampling techniques with edge detection, providing a final result that cannot be achieved by Final Cut Pro scaling and standard post processing methods.
The BCC Pan and Zoom filter was designed to automate the work of documentary-style pan and zoom effects, where a large still image file is moved along the X and Y axis (pan) and scaled up or down (zoom) in a composite, in effect, adding animation to a still image. The BCC Pan and Zoom filter includes on-screen HUD widgets (heads-up display) to achieve this end result with precision and ease, and also includes algorithms that generate a razor sharp image result even when the image has been subject to a large transform scale. The filter can be run in full-automatic, semi-automatic or full-manual animation modes, but any way you choose, it’s easy to use and generates smooth animation and a sharp image result.
A COMPANY IN TOUCH
One of the things I’ve really grown to appreciate about Boris FX as a company is their accessibility. One, they offer downloads of all their software free as full featured 14-day trial versions (www.borisfx.com/downloads) so you can try before you buy. Two, their tech support team has always been top notch and ultra responsive. Three, their Website is a great resource for product information, updates and very helpful tutorials. And four, and certainly not least, the fact that you can attend a convention like NAB, stop by the booth, and have a chat with Boris Yamnitsky himself is super cool. As much of a motion graphics geek that I am, I had to restrain myself from asking for his autograph…but settled for a firm handshake.