Boris Continuum Complete 8 for Final Cut Pro X

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Boris Continuum Complete 8 from Boris FX has finally made it to Apple Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. Customers purchasing BCC 8 will receive installers for both new and old versions of Final Cut and Motion. FCP X users will install the new 64-bit version designed for the updated FxPlug architecture – bringing to FCP X one of the most comprehensive plug-in sets available.

Third-party filters, transitions, titles and generators for Final Cut Pro X are built as Motion templates. This has made it a particular challenge to create an FCP X version of BCC 8 with the same controls, plus look and feel of the Continuum set. Yet changes are inevitable. According to Boris FX founder Boris Yamnitsky, “Since FCP X is a new platform unrelated to FCP 7, there is no need to maintain compatibility with BCC 7. This frees our hand to remove older filters, re-work some of the existing filters and make new filters best suited for the FCP X host. It is a very exciting project. We plan to release more templates as we get more feedback from our early adopters. We will be posting them for free as we go. For example, we are working on Materials and Transitions now.”

df_bcc8fcpx_3_smAround 200 filters install into Motion 5, but of these, a smaller subset of 94 effects filters and 11 transitions (in the current build) show up inside of Final Cut Pro X. Last year, I highlighted the new BCC 8 package for After Effects, which introduced new effects, like film glow and particles, as well as general improvements across the board. The same is true of this newest member of the BCC 8 product line. The Continuum filters are all high quality effects, but with modifications to make them work within FCP X. Some filters don’t show up in Final Cut, such as 3D lens flares, the 3-way grade filter and artist’s posterization, but you still have a variety of flare and art effects, including water color. All are there in Motion. Some of those in Motion have been modified to fit within the parameters of the Motion user interface. For instance, the 3-way grade filter uses color wheels in After Effects, but sliders and a floating “heads up display” panel in Motion.

df_bcc8fcpx_4_smThe over 100 effects and transitions inside Final Cut Pro X work in a familiar fashion to other versions of Boris Continuum Complete. There’s a wealth of slider controls on all of the filters to fine tune each effect. Many include built-in masking (the Boris Pixel Chooser), motion tracking (a first for FCP X filters) and/or beat reactor. The latter will pulse or vary an effect based on the amplitude of a linked audio track. Certain Boris FX hallmarks, like high-quality extruded, shaded 3D text, are also part of this package.

df_bcc8fcpx_5_smAll complex effects installed in the Final Cut Pro X host are somewhat slow to react as you adjust them. They do not play smoothly without dropping frames, until they are rendered. This is true for BCC 8, but also true for packages from Magic Bullet, Digital Film Tools, Tiffen and GenArts. If I compare similar Boris FX filters within different hosts, but applied to the same footage and using the same workstation, then BCC 8 in Premiere Pro CS6 outperforms Final Cut Pro X for real-time playback (when left unrendered). In general, user interaction is faster in After Effects, but rendering is often faster in Final Cut Pro X. As with most things related to FCP X, performance on the newest iMacs and MacBook Pros will be better than older Mac Pros. Yamnitsky adds this, “Because FCP X is a very different host, all traditional assumptions about visual effects will be reconsidered. For example, where in other hosts we rely on presets to deliver new looks, in FCP X we can simply export new Motion 5 templates, exposing just enough parameters to make the new look customizable. This approach allows us to avoid complex contextual controls and long parameter stacks.”

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Boris Continuum Complete 8 for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5 is the most complete package of effects for this combo to date. Quite a few effects, like caustics, 3D text and various distortion effects aren’t available in competing filter packages. Of particular interest is anything involving 3D rendering and shading. When you compare the quality of the BCC lens flares that are done in 3D space or the quality of shaded, extruded text, it’s clear to see that their quality exceeds similar effects available for other plug-in packages. BCC 8 isn’t cheap, but does offer a lot of value. Talk with any professional editor familiar with the BCC set and you’ll find out how important the BCC effects become to solving routine creative challenges.

Originally written for Digital Video magazine / Creative Planet Network.

©2013 Oliver Peters

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