If you’ve been around post-production for any length of time, you will have noticed certain video plug-in manufacturers have not only survived but flourished in the competitive world of third-party providers. Boris FX has not been one to sit on its laurels. With its long history of creating plug-ins for all major video software companies, you would expect a level of maturity and broad capability in its products. Continuum Complete 8 from Boris FX is no exception. Boris Continuum is a broad set of video effects and filters for various video editing applications, providing the user with tools for image manipulation, effect generation, and keying.
Building on their strengths in areas such as 3D tools, particle emitters, and transition tools, Continuum Complete 8 offers more capabilities to add production value to your project. This filter set is available as a plug-in for many software products by Adobe, Apple, Avid and the like. This review covers the Adobe After Effects version but most if not all the new filters are present for all platforms.
In addition to the effects and filters included in this broad and capable package throughout the years, Boris FX has included new tools that put even more capabilities at your fingertips. Let’s go through a few of them.
In many ways, the digital editing revolution has lead to a major shift in tools to ensure quality throughout the video post-production process. One tool that seems to have been left by the side of the road is the vectorscope/waveform monitor. Boris FX has picked up on this and included the ability to see your composition’s color and brightness levels. Not only does this give you confirmation if your overall image or a particular layer is over-exposed or not, but you can use this tool to ensure that your image is utilizing the full range of exposure values available, which gives you optimum contrast. With the built-in logger, any off-color frame can be easily found.
In the old days, shooters would use lens filters or even stockings to add certain softness to the image. This of course commits that effect permanently to your final image. With the advent of digital imaging control in editing, we can now add and tweak image effects as needed. The film glow filter gives you a nice way to bloom out those highlights, providing a soft filmic effect for your footage. Careful application can allow this filter to work well on graphics when you want to add an organic glow.
There have been times when we’ve have to edit with footage shot under flickering light sources or when the exposure values jump, and it’s extremely frustrating to find ways to fix this problem. This filter could have saved that footage and given us more material to work with. The flicker fixer opens up more footage and saves the production of that footage – two valuable reasons to consider using Continuum Complete 8.
Lens Flare 3D
Lens flare capabilities in filters have been around for many years. But recently a few filter manufacturers have added 3D capabilities to the lens flare effect. Boris FX has included this advanced flare tool in Continuum Complete 8.
The flares interact beautifully with the After Effects camera and the custom controls give you the ability to customize the exact look for your project. Oftentimes, matte boxes and other equipment are used on set to eliminate lens flares; now that the effect is desired, having control of them in post is good. Lens flares also add a nice organic touch and can imply motion and depth in your footage.
One holy grail of computer-generated lights has been the idea of volumetric lighting. In the real world, lights can have volume, especially when shining through fog or smoke. The new Stage Light filter provides a nice way to add volumetric lighting to your scene. You can even add a smoke texture to help the lights create more atmosphere as they shine on your composed elements.
Particle Emitter 3D
When designing and animating your motion graphics compositions , adding particles can give your project a whole new look. With this new effect, those particles can now interact in 3D space with your camera’s movement. Before Continuum Complete 8, you could buy single dedicated plug-ins – now you have another option.
Sometimes we want to add organic elements to our animation to provide movement and depth. This filter lets you generate a wide variety of auto animating strand-like objects. Like other new filters in Continuum Complete 8, the generated elements integrate wonderfully with the 3D imagery and the lighting of your composition.
This plug-in allows you to create beautiful 3D layouts of two images, providing some nice depth to your composition. This tool is great for transitions or cutting your image into a matrix of smaller boxes.
As you can see, many of these new tools are similar to high priced specialized plug-ins from various manufacturers. By including these capabilities in one package, Boris FX has given you a broad set of high-end tools without the cost of buying expensive individual plug-ins from other companies. I especially appreciate the integration most of these filters have with the After Effects 3D camera and lighting, providing us with tools that add immense depth and complexity. In addition, expanded GPU integration means faster rendering and higher quality output for those with the right hardware.
When you add these new filters to the already expansive list of great tools included in the package, we find the price-to-value proposition is extremely positive. You would have to spend thousands of dollars on individual plug-ins to duplicate the capabilities included in this wide-ranging set of tools.
Supported Host Applications:
Macintosh OSX 10.5 and higher: Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro CS4, CS5, CS5.5 and CS6
Windows 7 32/64, Vista 32/64, XP 32/64: Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro CS4, CS5, CS5.5 and CS6
- Broad set of useful tools for a variety of needs
- Includes effects and filters that provide tools that normally cost much more
- GPU acceleration on a wide variety of graphics cards
- 14-day trial available
- Many effects and filters are not usable in a wide variety of situations
- Some effects may look dated
- Price might be out of reach for hobbyists or budget-minded users
For those in need of a broad toolset that provides a nearly complete set of effects and filters, take a good look at Boris Continuum Complete 8. With more than 200 effects, you’ll surely find yourself with no shortage of ways to raise the production value of your projects.
Steve Taylor is Senior Creative Director at Digital Spatula, a Los Angeles based production/post boutique specializing in motion graphics.