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Review: CHV QC Integration FX V1.6

October, 2008



CHV QC Integration FX V1.6 $95.00



Review by Steve Douglas

I must be dating myself, but I do remember a time when plug in packages for Final Cut Pro were few and far between. Each new package offered something different and worth getting excited about. These days, companies producing their own versions of plug in sets are considerably more prolific. CHV-Electronics, spearheaded by Christoph Vonrhein has been in the forefront of software development for use in Final Cut Pro, Motion and Final Cut Express since the beginning, and I have always been pleased to review his new offerings as they came out.

This latest set of plug-ins is not exactly new, but it has been updated with enough new features and plug-ins to warrant another look.

The QC Integration FX 1.6 is comprised of 85 plug in transitions, filters and generators designed to be used as they are or work within the quartz composer to enable you to create and save your own plug ins, or even to create and sell them to others. In order to create your own FX for yourself or for sale, you must first have Quartz Composer found on your OS installation disc installed. I do not, so I did not attempt to test or utilize this versatile feature. However, using it can certainly expand the number of preset plug ins you already have and it won't cost you a penny further. If you are unsure as to whether it is installed, simply go to your hard drive/Developer/Applications and you should find it there. If not, you can install it off your original installation discs.

There are more transitions, filters and generators compiled in this set than you might ever need,
but isn't it nice to know that, should you need them, they will be there?

We've all seen clips that appear stair-stepped and the QC Integration FX set is the only Quartz Composer related plug-in package that completely supports high quality Anti-Aliasing rendering. For example in the Video Generators > QC Integration FX > Scale HQ" (as well as "Video Filter > CHV QC Replicate > Tile HQ") are scale effects that do not create those artifacts that you see when you scale or tile a video with the FCP internal scale function. "Scale HQ" and "Tile HQ" always create perfect high quality video.

There are a number of filters and transitions that you may find similar to others you may already have. Often different companies just give their FX different names. However, CHV has come up with a few different and original effects that you very well might find useful for a number of projects.

While I have similar filters, the CHV Bloomy filter had a gentle glowing effect when used properly. In the example below, I have exaggerated the parameters a touch but the Bloomy filter does create an ethereal aura with the photo.

Before and After

New to the CHV collection is the Liquid Metal Filter which produces an animated melted metal flowing effect. It can be fully key framed and utilized in a number of ways.

Wish I had a few shots of the Hawaiian volcanoes, I could see making a transition between eruptions with this Liquid Metal Filter. Alas, I had to use this Island shot.

I had a clip of a tiger shark that seemed a bit soft in the focus so I applied the CHV channel sharpen to get back some of the color and a bit of contrast. While I have exaggerated the settings again for this review, look at how the detail of the fin meeting the body is sharpened and improved.

CHV Channel Sharpen has parameter controls for all channels as well as a master setting. Before and After.

The Feedback filter was an interesting way to bring in a new clip layered over an existing clip. The result is an echo of the original. This filter, like several of the filters and transitions can be very GPU consuming so not all of them will play in real time. Option/P will give you a good preview of any of the effects.

A swirling filter that also can be used as a transition.

While there are a number of transitions in this collection, I particularly liked the disintegration and integration transitions. I believe they may work off a clips' luminance values and are really just opposite transitions of each other. Either way, they produce a very pleasing dissolve effect that I know I will be able to use in many projects.

I wish you could see this disintegrate transition in action. A full clip would show it off a lot better than this screen grab does.

Many sets of plug-ins have various light ray effects, however, I think that this light ray filter from CHV exhibits the high quality that I find in most everything Christoph Vonrhein has produced.

Before and After: The CHV light rays filter creates its own aura which you can manipulate in numerous ways.
This is the default setting laid upon the reflection of the water back lighting a fellow shark diver.

There are some areas for improvement, which I know Christoph has been working on, and will result in free updates to the user. Some of the generators such as the CHV VideoWall and the CHV Coverflip use images stored in folders that you have accumulated. In order to reach these images you will need to use the 'Folder Path' parameter and type in your own path. Once done, it took forever to actually bring anything up. I have been told that a newer and more standard way of choosing the folder you want will be forthcoming in a soon to be update. I would also like to see the ability to import files from stored folders so that an entire folder does not need to be imported. In addition, while the Snow generator worked perfectly, to me, the snow never looked terribly realistic. Finally, while almost all the parameters found in this abundant collection of FX worked beautifully, there were some that were extremely sensitive to use like those in the Floating Text generator. Once you identify which ones these are, you'll start typing in the settings rather than using the sliders. It is important to note that this collection will be getting bigger over time and that more plug-ins will be added free to the purchaser. The most important thing is the fact that QC Integration FX is not just a plug-in package, it is actually a full blown plug-in platform where everyone can create new plug-ins for FCS without the need to write a single line of code by using Quartz Composer. In addition there will be Add-On packages that work on top of QC Integration FX.

My bottom line is that for those who have not built up a library of supplementary plug ins in addition to that which is already installed in Final Cut Pro, or even for those who have other sets, the CHV QC collection is definitely worthy of consideration for a number of reasons. Having used most of these plug ins at one time or another, I have always found them to be very user friendly supplying the necessary parameters within each to provide ample customization. The CHV plug-ins continue to retain the quality many other companys should envy. And then there is the price, this set is not going to set you back $1200.00 for a plug in app that takes you forever to figure out. Almost every thing I have seen from CHV is quite intuitive so, if there is a learning curve, it is not a steep one. In todays' market, where money is only in the hands of the CEOs and politicians, CHV is offering as good a deal as you can find anywhere.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History channel's MegaDisaster show and is a feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine. His first National Geographic special will air in late 2008. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Kenya in Aug.09, the Red Sea for Nov.2009, and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for July,2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.

copyright © Steve Douglas 2008


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