After spending three weeks working with
this impressive array of FCP plug-ins, I'm convinced its name
should be changed Boris Continuum "Wow." The collection
provides in six categories over 150 filters, generators, and
transitions. It is easily one of the most comprehensive packages
of effects available for FCP users. The installer also supports
After Effects, so you have de facto double bonus if you own Adobe's
compositing application. At $795.00, it is a little pricey, but
nevertheless provides unprecedented potential for creativity
Many will remember Boris Yamnitsky as
the individual who wrote the fx module for the early Media 100
systems. Today, Yamintsky's company consistently produces excellent,
and exceedingly in depth, packages of generators, fx, titling,
and transitions. Understandably some plug-ins are more impressive
than others, but all offer the potential to add the special "touch"
to video production.
There are some very interesting new plug-ins
and features. Cartooner transforms your source footage into an
outline animation look. These outlines can be stroked, colorized,
expanded or contracted to achieve the look you wish. A new Color
Palette provides various controls for selecting and saving custom
color swatches. The PixelChooser filter is both standalone and
included as a parameter in many of the Continuum filters. BCC3
adds a Time Displacement effect, but in a unique configuration.
It displaces pixels in time rather than is space. In addition,
there is a new, and very useful, Motion Tracker plug-in. There
is support for various film "treatments," and a new
24p conversion filter.
BCC3 also provides a series of new parameters
in existing plug-ins that now can be animated, such as apply
modes. There are 3D compositing filters, filters used to create
natural elements such as rain, snow etc., various particle systems
and emitters, time manipulation and high impact effects. Boris
has optimized BCC3 for whatever host application is being used.
However, FCP does not support some parameters for certain effects,
while After Effects will.
The true impact of BCC3 is in the sheer
breath and complexity of the supplied filters. There are literally
endless combinations of presets and parameters to control virtually
any aspect of the filter, transition, or generator. In this sense,
BCC3 is both a novice and expert application. In the hands of
the occasional users, for example, many of the default "looks"
and presets will prove acceptable.
But some time, effort, and discipline
should be expected for the postproduction professional to learn
how each filter is designed to work, and its full capabilities.
To that end, Boris provides an excellent, thick manual
unfortunately it is the BCC version 2.0. Fortunately, a PDF manual
is available at the web site as are numerous instructional aides
and tutorials. In addition an images gallery is available at:
There are numerous key enhancements to
several filter groups. Perhaps most impressive is the "Integrated
Motion Tracking" feature. The feature is a component of
several filters, and eases the task of positioning the target
point for the host filter on a moving image. You'll easily create
a particle emanater that tracks a source point on a moving wand
in your video. In addition, the new "Witness Protection"
filter can similarly track the movement of a face to blur or
obscure it using the integrated motion tracker.
The particle effects feature provides
both transitions and generators. It also adds a "Z"
parameter using a 3D particle system that works on the alpha
layer, and provides custom particle shapes, and cameras. Open
GL accelerated lightning effects has been implemented as well.
In FCP HD's Generator menu are thirteen
real time generators used to create static backgrounds. Although
they do not animate, they do playback in real time, and include
both default and option presets. Among the generators included
are Brick, Cloth, Fractal Noise, Granite, Mixed Colors, Rays,
Reptilian, Rock, Steel Plate, Veined Marble, and various wood
textures. Combined with FCP HD's transfer modes, they create
The BCC Caustic generator, although a
slow render, is one of the best I've seen. It is used to simulate
light refracting through a surface of water such as what you
would see through the water to the pool bottom. But it also can
generate some pretty dramatic effects such as a plasma field
or interesting geometric patterns.
The package includes nine time-based
filters to create smooth speed changes, and to blur frames across
time. An interesting component of these filters uses displacement
maps across time rather than in space. Using Boris's newly implemented
Optical Flow technology, motion vectors analyze each image to
create new intermediate frames for a smooth ramp. The seven wipe
transitions include auto or manual animate selections, and a
number of default and stock pre sets, as well as support for
extensive border control.
The deinterlace filter contains controls
to deinterlace 60i footage and a reverse telecine generator that
converts 29.97 video footage to 24P with pulldown. Rendering
was fairly decent using a 2 GHz G5 with 2.5 Gbs of RAM.
There are literally dozens of large and
small enhancements to this package encompassing virtually any
effect, transition, filter, or generator in 2D and 3D space.
Within each of the applied plug-ins are both stock presets and
dozens of sliders, drop menus, and additional controls to tweak
the application of the plug-in. Previously unanimatable parameters
now can be animated, and additional options have been provided
to further animate the parameters. Many plug-ins, such as the
Wipe Transitions noted above, have menu choices for auto or manual
animate, as well as a percentage election.
Registration of the product provides
free technical support for a year, free software upgrades, and
access to additional free filters. As I stated earlier, BCC3
ships with version 2's printed manual, but all new features are
fully explained in the 3.0 PDF manual available on line or on
the installer CD. On line Help files are also provided. Rather
than providing more screen shots of various applied filters,
visit Boris's website for some excellent still and video images.
There is no possible manner to fully
evaluate this package in any review. It is sufficient to represent
that BCC3 represents one of the best values for plug-ins for
FCP HD users, with the additional bonus of use in AE. Many users
will simply resort to the dozens of pre sets available with the
application of a plug-ins. But the product also carries with
it the potential for virtually limitless augmenting of a preset
or starting from scratch to create your. In this sense, patience
and dedication are their own rewards, because virtually every
plug-in is deep, complex, and powerful.
©Copyright 2004 David
All Rights Reserved
Saraceno is a motion graphics
artist located in Spokane, Washington. He has written for DV
Magazine, AV Video, MacHome Journal, and several state and national
legal technology magazines. David also moderates several forums