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Effects Filters and Transitions…All Translated: Boris Continuum Complete 8 Comes to Final Cut Pro X

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.

The BCC set includes text effects that can be extruded, shaded and animated. In this example, the text animates on and off the screen over a BCC Film Process filter that is also applied to the image.

Third-party filters, transitions, titles and generators for Final Cut Pro X are built as Motion templates, which 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, rework 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.”

BCC text filters use Boris’ ubiquitous text editing interface to modify type.

Around 200 filters install into Motion 5; 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 BCC 8 package for After Effects (Digital Video July 2012, “Class of 2012”), which introduced new effects, like film glow and particles, and general improvements across the board. This newest member of the BCC 8 product line does more of the same. 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 three-way grade filter and artist’s posterization—but you still have a variety of flare and art effects, including watercolor. 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 three-way grade filter uses color wheels in After Effects, but sliders and a floating “heads up display” panel in Motion.

The more than 100 effects and transitions inside Final Cut Pro X work in a similar 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.

A variety of high-quality lens flare filters come with BCC 8.

All 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 of BCC 8, but it is also true of Red Giant’s Magic Bullet and packages from 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.

The BCC Film Process filter may be used for subtle color correction and diffusion effects.

As with most things related to FCP X, performance on the newest iMacs and MacBook Pros will be better than on older Mac Pros. Yamnitsky adds, “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.”

Boris Continuum Complete 8 for Final Cut Pro X is the most complete package of effects for FCP X to date. Quite a few effects, like caustics, 3D text and various distortion effects, aren’t available in competing filter packages. BCC 8 isn’t cheap, but it offers 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 when solving routine creative challenges.

Product:Boris FX Boris Continuum Complete 8 for Final Cut Pro X
Pros: The most complete set of effects designed specifically to work within the FCP X/Motion 5 architecture.
Cons: Slow to update when effects are adjusted. Most effects require rendering for best playback performance during normal editing.
Bottom Line: This is a high-quality package of industry-standard, professional effects and transitions designed specifically for Final Cut Pro X.
MSRP: $995 new / $295 upgrade