Test Bench:Boris FX Inc. Red 1.2 titling and 3D effects software


Boris FX, Inc.

381 Congress 3rd floor

Boston, MA 02210

(888) 77-BORIS


As computer-based editing continues to explode, a whole host of editing add-on and plug-in software is also gaining in power and popularity. Boris FX, Inc. recently launched a new version of Boris Red, a brawny 3D compositing and titling software plug-in.

Since Boris Red is a plug-in application, it works with the editing environment of a number of editing programs like Adobe Premiere, Avid Composer, Avid Xpress and Media 100 iFinish. Red is aimed at advanced and professional videographers who want to add sophisticated effects and graphics to their video programs. This pricey special-effects program packs a wallop.

What It Is

Boris Red is a 3D compositing and title effects application that works with your editing software. With Boris Red, you can spin, tumble or rotate any number of tracks of full-motion video in 3D space. You can also create cool effects by mapping your video onto a cube, flat plane, sphere, text or any other geometrical shape you can think of.

There are about 50 different compositing filters including color, keying, blur, lighting and particle effects that let you change and adjust your clips to your heart’s desire. In addition, Boris Red includes titling effects that allow you to create animated titles, 2D/3D text or text media with alpha channels that you can use as map layers or with other effects.

Setting It Up

Setting up was easy. We installed Boris Red on our test machine, a Pentium III 550MHz with 128MB RAM, a Matrox G400 video card, an IBM UltraStar 9GB 10,020rpm SCSI drive and Adobe Premiere 5.1. We went through the setup procedure and were ready to rock within minutes.

Because Red is accessed through your editing software, it isn’t necessary to import and export back and forth. You can tweak your clips from within the editing software as you edit. This program may sound simple enough, but don’t expect to master it in one sitting. This is a powerful application that has a fairly steep learning curve.

Test Run

The first things we wanted to check out were Red’s transitions and filter effects. We imported some .avi files into Premiere and added the clips to our timeline. We put one on Video track 1 and another on track 2. We created an overlap, went to the transition track and selected the Boris Red icon from the transition window.

We double-clicked on the Boris transition icon and selected the customize box. This opened the Boris Red interface in another window. Here we were able to enter the exact parameters that we wanted. It’s like having a program within a program. Like Premiere, Boris Red uses a timeline interface. Each element that you use (text, color or video) has a different track. This makes it easy to organize, preview and change them.

There are seven filter categories: Blur, Color, Distortion, Keying, Light, Noise and Particle. Within each of these, are others that you can choose to create just about anything you can imagine. For example, if you wanted to distort your video, you could make it bulge out, sink in, appear warped, have beveled edges or have a mirrored effect. The possibilities are endless.

Rolling, Scrolling 3D Titles

One of the many cool aspects of Red is that you can create rolling titles and other effects quickly and easily. You can create titles from scratch or import and animate them using masks and alpha channels. We decided to create a rolling title in which the title moves vertically.

There’s a pop-up text window, where you can create and control your titles. This window acts like a flat 3D surface. Here you can turn the text any way you want and add shadows, lighting, motion blur and other effects. There’s also a Style Palette where you can create your own customized styles and save them to use again for other projects.

We opened the text window and typed in our title. We selected the size and font, created a colored backdrop, added shadows and positioned its starting location, center justified at the bottom of the screen. We then set the animation style to Roll, set the speed and watched it roll. It worked like a charm. You can add as many pages of text as you like and adjust the speed, positioning and look of each one.

Animated Effects

Animated effects are where the power of Boris Red lies. It’s one of the more difficult features to master. Features like Bezier Rotoscoping, for creating moving mattes, and Vector Paint tools, which give you fast animated graphic creation with complete keyframe control. Boris Red’s animated vector engine allows you to create and output formats for video post-production and Flash animations for the Web.

Final Analysis

If you’re looking to take your video productions to the next level with professional quality 3D effects, titling and animation, and you have two thousand dollars to spend, Boris Red will not disappoint you. It’s easy to set up and performs well. Though Red is a powerful plug-in, it is obscenely expensive and takes time to master. Editors hungry for 3D effects will love the performance, but they’d better have deep pockets.

*As of this writing Boris Red 1.2 was the latest version. Boris Red 2 is expected to ship in Q4 of 2000.


Platform: Macintosh or Windows

Minimum System Requirements: Mac

Processor: PowerPC

Operating System: MacOS 8.5.1 or later

RAM: 128MB

Hard Drive Space: 20MB

Editing Software: Adobe Premiere 5.1,

Avid Media Composer 7.1, Xpress 2.1 or Media 100 Finish 4.5

Minimum System Requirements: PC

Processor: Pentium

Operating System: Windows NT 4.0/Mac OS

RAM: 128MB

Hard Drive Space: 20MB

Editing Software: Adobe Premiere 5.1, Avid Symphony 1.0, Media Composer XL 8.0, Xpress 2.1 or Media 100 Finish 2.0


  • works with variety of editing apps
  • easy-to-use interface
  • easy to set up


  • expensive
  • steep learning curve


  • A pricey program aimed at advanced videographers who need to create and customize high-quality 3D titles and animated effects.
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