|Review: Boris Continuum Complete 2
110 Filters for
Final Cut Pro 3.0 and above
System support: Mac OS 9.2.2 / OS X 10.2 and above
Regular Price $595
Special Price $495
Upgrade from Continuum 1 - $199
Review By Ken
Continuum Complete v2.0
- The New Filters
After loading Boris Continuum Complete
2 into FCP, I went through the Effects Menu. I guess that it
was a little bit like wandering around NAB and looking at all
the new and exciting video equipment, there is almost too much
good stuff. 32 new filters have been added to Boris Continuum
BCC Bump Map
BCC Colorize Glow
BCC Drop Shadow
BCC DVE Basic
BCC Film Damage
BCC Film Grain
BCC Fractal Knots
BCC Glow Matte
BCC Jitter Basic
BCC Light Matte
||BCC Light Zoom
BCC Mixed Colors
BCC Optical Flow
BCC Multi Shadow
BCC Star Matte
BCC Steel Plate
BCC Trails Basic
BCC Veined Marble
BCC Wood Grain
BCC Wooden Planks
What has always impressed me most with
Boris for FCP is the motion quality of its filters. Motion is
magnificent. Whether you are using Graffiti or Continuum, the
motion on screen is always sooth and handsome. True, Boris Continuum
Complete, here after referred to as BCC, offers much more than
motion filters, but for me, motion has always been a telling
test. The other big plus is that working with BCC is no different
than work with any of the stock filters or generators that come
with FCP. Everything is controlled in the Viewer window, Filters
tab. The layout is the same only with BCC there can be a very
large number of parameters that give extraordinary control over
- Color and Blurs
- Distortion and Perspective
- Keys and Mattes
I t would be impossible for me to review
BCC in total so I am going to look at several filters that interest
me. The first is the 'Rain' generator, in part because I actually
needed to add rain to a clip in an actors reel.
I wanted to add some rain to a clip used in an actors reel. It
is a night scene with a young boy looking out through the rear
window of a car watching as his father is talking to two other
I applied the Rain filter to the clip
with the default settings and while I was impressed with the
realism of the rain it needed some tweeking. As you can see below
there are a number of parameters that you can adjust. I increased
the blur of the rain drops and lowered the opacity as I wanted
a softer more misty look. I adjusted several other setting including
rain amount and speed.
I now had the rain the way I wanted it
to look and in deed it looked real. Only one small problem that
broke the reality of the illusion. The trunk of the car is in
the shot and it looked like the rain was passing through the
trunk. This is where the power of BCC comes into play. If you
will look at the Interaction settings box below, you will see
that there is a 'Splash on Ground' setting with an option to
view the ground. I raised the height of the ground to 140 which
put the Ground level at the same height as the trunk of the car.
Now it looked like the rain was splashing off the trunk of the
car. The illusion was complete.
I have two screen shots below, one that
shows the Ground (purple grid) and one with View Ground turned
off. As these are screen shots of one frame from the Canvas window
it is not possible to show how real the rain looks, but it does
look like real rain. One caveat, if you have 'View Ground' turned
on when you render, guess what......it shows up in the final
output, so turn it off before rendering.
Splash on Grolund - View
Splash on Grolund - View
Ground turned off
Matte and Key
There are 14 different filters in the 'Matte and Key' section
of BCC. Along with Chroma Keys, Composite Chokers and other filters
are two new Mattes. Glow Matte and Star Matte.
The Glow Matte is one of the most interesting filters
I have ever seen and creates a gorgeous special effect look for
video. While there are numerous controls for this filter there
are two controls that allow you to get very close to your final
result. After applying the Glow matte I adjusted the Choke control
setting to thin the edge of the effect. I then adjusted the 'Mix
with Original' setting to bring back some of the detail found
in the original video. The 'Mix with Original' control is found
in most of the BCC filters. This one setting offers powerful
control over your special effects as it allows you to re introduces
detail from the source video and therefore control the amount
of realism in your special effects.
| Standard video
|| Glow Matte applied at default
|| Choke and 'Mix with Original' applied
The Posterized Time
This Time filter is use to create a strobing type effect. The
strobing effect is achieved by altering the frame rate of the
source video and controlling the duration that each frame remains
on screen. Using the Frame Separation setting, you can adjust
the depth of the effect. Frame Separation dictates which frames
are displayed and how long that frame remains on the screen.
As shown below, I have set Frame Separation to 6 which means
that every sixth frame will be displayed and held for six frames.
The next element is 'Time Width' which mixes the Posterized effects
with a normal frame rate from the source material and then alternating
the display between the two, (posterized and normal frame rates).
'Time Falloff' dissolves from the posterized frames to the source
frames. The higher the setting, the longer the dissolve which
blends or smooths out the effect.
What I have achieved so far is a strobing
effect who's image looks like the source video. Included with
the different controls is 'Apply Mode' which is much like 'Composite
Mode' in FCP. Using Apply Mode I selected 'Difference X 2' which
changes the look of the video in a very dramatic way by compositing
the Posterized Time effect with the source video using the Mode
selected. There are 26 different modes to chose from, each one
is very different
At this point the effect is a bit too
strong for me, shown below center. I then added in 'Mix with
Original' which brings back some of the detail of the source
video, softening the effect, below right. There are numerous
addition parameters that you can adjust to create the visual
effect that you want.
| Standard video
|| Posterized Time with Difference x 2
|| Posterized Time 'Mix with Original'
There are a total of 11 'Time' filters
found in BCC. Finding really good and diverse Time filters has
always been a quest for FCP users.
- Jitter Basic
- Optical Flow
- Posterize Time
- Temporal Blur
- Time Displacement
- Trails Basic
- Velocity Remap
An excellent feature of all BCC filters is the PixelChooser.
It's a built-in set of masking tools for every filter. The Regional
selections provide customizable garbage masks; rectangles, ovals,
etc. For example, you can use a Distance to Point PixelChooser
in the Mosaic filter to obscure only part of a frame, then animate
its position as needed. Being able to animate masks 'within'
filters is a very powerful feature.
Another aspect of PixelChooser is the
ability to apply the filter to only selected channels in the
Matte category of controls. For example, you can create a nice
glow by only blurring luminance.
BCC provides hundreds Presets. They're stored in a pop-up menu
where the banner with the filter name says "Current"
by default, shown below. Note that Final Cut Pro has a limitation
with their implementation of AE's plug-in architecture when it
comes to presets. An easy enough workaround -- you have to engage
the Caps Lock key before loading a preset, then disengage to
see the result. You can also name and Save your own presets.
It's easy to get lost in filters with so many parameters. Many
of the Continuum filters have precisely the maximum number of
parameters that the FCP plugin architecture allows, 128 to be
exact. BCC provides a Help button in the banner of each filter
in the Filters tab in the Viewer. Clicking the 'Help' button,
below red arrow, opens up a PDF of the chapter in the manual
for that filter.
Boris Continuum Complete with it's 110 different filters and
generators is a very powerful package. Aside from the special
effects filters (and generators) there are numerous filters that
are tools that can be use in working with your video. Brightness-Contrast,
Color Balance, Hue-Saturation, Color Select, Levels Gamma, to
name just a few. There are 10 Keys and Mattes. While it's true
that a number of these tools can be found in FCP, these filters,
in BCC, have many more parameters, thus allowing much greater
control and better results. As all of the BCC filters and generators
work in the same way and use the same interface as FCP filters
and generators there is no learning curve to deal with. As there
are a very large number of controls associated with most of these
filters I would recommend that you use Quick
View in your work flow, as you adjust and tweak your work.
I wish that there was some way to show
you in this review just how amazing these filters and generators
are. Alas, screen shots just don't demonstrate what I see on
NTSC. You will have to take my word for it that BCC final output
is sublime. BCC is truly a professional package that produces
amazing results over a large spectrum of needs. BTW, for those
of you who are concerned about the compatibility of BCC with
FCP 4, rest assured that BCC 2 will work with FCP 4.
The BCC collection comes in both 8 and
16 bit. Go to Boris FX for a complete list
and description of all 110 Boris Continuum 2 plugins.
© www.kenstone.net 2003
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.