COMPLETE 3.0 - Mac/Win
COMPLETE 3.0 - Mac/Win
Review by Steve
A year ago I read a review of Boris Continuum
2.0 and was highly intrigued. I knew of the Boris reputation
for quality but I also knew of its reputation for having a high
learning curve and simply did not have the time to work with
it. Never the less, with the recent release of Boris Continuum
3.0, I decided to take the plunge and have myself a good look
at what the Continuum package had to offer. With over 40 additional
plug ins added to the 2.0 package, the 3.0 users have at their
disposal over 150 plug ins covering almost every editing contingent
one could ask for. Each of these plug ins has about the largest
number of adjustable parameters that you could possibly want
or imagine utilizing.
All of the filters are divided
into six categories: Distortion Perspective, Effects, Keys Matte,
Generators, Color Blurs, and Time filters. Several features not
found in previous Continuum versions are introduced including
Integrated Motion Tracking, Open Gl filter rendering, several
Static Filters and the ability to apply transitions in FCP similar
to the full clip filters.
The unique PixelChooser, which
allows for built-in masking and automatic matte generation tools
for several of the filters, is also found in Continuum 3. The
PixelChooser is actually a dual masking tool, which has its own
presets. The PixelChooser, found on many of the effects and filters
in Continuum 3.0 allows you to determine which pixels will be
affected by whatever filter you have chosen with a great many
shapes and areas to chose from. New Transitions, Filters and
Generators to be found in Boris Continuum 3.0 are:
glow alpha edges
criss cross wipe
lens flare advanced
rays radiant edges
dust and scratches
Final Cut Pro does not support contextual
controls so several of the parameters found in the filters tab
may or may not work. In After Effects those that do not apply
would be grayed out but that is not the case in FCP. Therefore,
should you try to manipulate a parameter and find it has no effect
you can double check by clicking on 'Help' and the parameters
that do not apply in FCP will be found.
Coupled with the PixelChooser is the
New Motion Tracker, which worked flawlessly. It is, however,
important to note that when using either the Motion Tracker or
the PixelChooser that similar color pixels to that which is being
tracked can thwart the tracker from following the target accurately,
for instance, trying to track a blue green fish around in a blue
sea background. A work around is to change the color or hue of
the target, set the Motion Tracker the way you want and when
done, you can always go back to your original color.
In my example, I decided to use the Motion
Tracker found within the new Spiral Blur Filter.
After applying the filter, scroll down to where the Motion Tracker
Controls can be found.
Before doing anything further, set your canvas window to 100%
and to Use Square Pixels.
Next click the Track on the Fly Control and adjust your Tracker
Center to the area you wish to focus on.
Adjust your target width.
Make sure you are on the first frame and hit Option P to allow
the Motion Tracker to set its course.
Unclick the Track on the Fly and go to the apply control. With
the Spiral Blur filter you can go either to PixelChooser or to
Center. With other filters you might have more choices. Here
I went to Center and viola, the Spiral Blur kept my target perfectly
followed throughout the 10-second clip.
One filter that I liked was the ubiquitous
ripple filter. The great thing about the Boris version is that
you can adjust the angle of the ripple by the use of the stretch
and angle parameters so that the ripple can be placed horizontally
rather than the typical vertical ripple I have seen so frequently
Final Cut Pro has a cylinder filter but
it doesn't come close to the sphere filter found in Continuum.
By using CGM's animated Flag and then placing the Boris sphere
filter on it, I can keyframe the now spherical flag to spin and
open into its full regalia. Unfortunately, you can only see the
sphere and open positions on these graphics. However, you can
also see the filter's ability to place different light and shadow
parameters on the flag as well.
Blurs are always a popular and useful
tool. I found that by using the Boris Radial Blur, I could create
a nice effect using my new puppy for her first modeling job.
Notice how the blur maintains the environment but creates a strong
center of focus.
A new filter in Continuum 3.0 is the
Rays Streaky filter. With this you can control the length, width,
angle and type of light rays you wish to place upon the subject
turning, in my example, a peaceful manta ray into a jet streaming
The Rays Puffy filter, also new, is not
too dissimilar but does create a more diffused appearance.
What we have here is a virtual smorgasbord
of powerful editing tools. However, there is a price to pay,
as learning how to use them all will be a time consuming project
in itself. There are a cornucopia of plug ins for Final Cut Pro
and After Effects and while Boris Continuum is certainly one
of the very best, this is not the collection for the editing
novice as many of the filters are not entirely intuitive.
I received the well-organized 612-page
manual and started skimming through it. Each filter has an excellent
explanation of each of the parameter adjustments and how they
are to be used. It was only after reading a bit that I realized
that this was the manual for Continuum 2.0. After consulting
Boris I found out that there is no printed 3.0 manual. The 3.0
manual is on the disc itself as a User Guide pdf. The printed
manual for 3.0 should be available in about a month. For me,
I like to have the manual in my lap so I don't have to switch
back and forth between the app and the pdf file. While the manual
does define the various parameters of each filter there are no
tutorials on the disc which clearly show you the best way to
use them to achieve an effect.
I have always looked at a company's site
to see what type of on line tutorials are available for the consumer
who would like to reproduce many of the effects that the site
advertises. Sadly, while there were several tutorials for Boris'
other products, there was only one tutorial for Continuum and
that one focused upon Chroma key filters rather than the very
same effects Boris used in their adverts. I could think that
this is because Continuum 3 has been out for only a very short
time, but, then again, there was Continuum 1 and 2.0 so this
lack of on site tutorials surely needs to be ameliorated.
I found the support staff at Boris to
be extremely helpful and attentive to any questions I may have
had. Peter McAuley, Anne Renehan and Mukash certainly deserve
Bottom line, you can't go wrong with
purchasing Continuum 3.0. While it doesn't come cheap, it does
come with a full utility box of both standard and esoteric high
quality tools that may help you create almost any effect. You
will need to give it and yourself time to figure out some of
the complexities of its many parameters but in the end, you will
be happy you did.
Steve Douglas has been an underwater videographer and
contributor to numerous film festivals around the world. The
winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition
and the 2003 IVIE competition, Steve has also worked on the feature
film "The Deep Blue Sea", recently contributed footage
to the Seaworld parks for their new Atlantis production, and
is one of the principal organizers of the San Diego UnderSea
Film Festival. Steve leads both African safari and underwater
filming expeditions with upcoming filming excursions to Thailand,
Costa Rica and Kenya. Feel free to contact him.
© Steve Douglas 2004
This article first
appeared on www.kenstone.net and is reprinted here
All screen captures and
textual references are the property and trademark of their creators/owners/publishers.