A closer look at BorisFX Continuum Complete 9

Written by Mark Zdunnek

BorisFX

BorisFX Continuum Complete 9 (BCC 9) was first released for Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas Pro and Adobe After Effects / Premiere Pro. Further versions for other host applications such as Apple Final Cut Pro X / Motion 5 and the OpenFX architecture of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve have arrived which makes it a good time for Mark Zdunnek to assess the package and its capabilities.

This newest release was based on the foundation of BCC 8 and is the culmination of an extensive two-year effort to refine and enhance from its previous release. Around the world customers like me have realised the value of BCC9 for mid-market post production and broadcast. The package includes many timesaving workflows such as Pixel Chooser for masking the effects, Motion Tracker for automated tracking of the mattes and Beat Reactor for automated animation of effects to music, all inside a video editing platform of your choice.

What’s new

Boris Continuum Complete 9 offers more than 30 all-new effects, including 23 new transitions. Within this package in total, BCC 9 versions for After Effects, Premiere Pro and Media Composer each offer a collection of more than 230 filters.

Effects such as particle & environment effects, image restoration and optimization tools, 3D extruded text, lens flares, studio keying (next-level keying with included elements such as de-spill, light-wrap, color correction, chroma key, quick mask, pre key cleanup and outside mask) and compositing elements and much more are included.

Exciting and specific new filters in BCC9 include a lens vignette (with a slight defocus & blur and other controls included; not just darkening the frame edges), two-strip color process (to emulate the look and feel of traditional technicolor film), magic sharpening, lens correction (ie wide-angle correction, especially useful for POV cams such as Sony’s AS100 or GoPro Hero 4), grunge, edge grunge, a laser beam effect, an improved pan and zoom filter with perspective, and a one-stop chromakey “studio“.

What I personally like a lot is the combination of effects, all of which truly unleash the power of this toolset. The application of BCC Fast Film Process to finish a look, the application of image-enriching effects such as BCC Fast Film Glow or BCC Lens Flare Round, or the combination with transitions, such as the all new fully automated BCC Damaged TV Dissolve (with HUD on-screen controls) offer a large amount of creative freedom to those wizards working with them.

Graphics Acceleration

While filters and stylish / useful effects are always fun, two other major changes in BCC 9 should be highlighted here: OpenCL and CUDA acceleration on the one hand, and the addition of the FX Browser window on the other. With this new environment, BorisFX claims a 2x improvement in rendering capabilities and speed with some filters compared to BCC 8 (tested on multiple machine sets and confirmed in professional practice).

The FX Browser is brand new for this version of Continuum Complete and turns out to be very powerful and functional at the same time. It has been included in two different variations: standalone and in-effect.

The standalone FX Browser offers preset browsing and creation with a filter gallery, a history view of chosen presets for a professional creative workflow between members of the creative and producing departments, a preview playback window with quality control and live-playback and background rendering, and options to create your own workspace and save new looks.

The in-effect FX Browser offers practically the same, but with different presents and option sets, depending on the effect that has been chosen to use. It is implemented as a control panel button, just like a very useful HUD, the list of presets and other great functions.

Integration And Migration

If you are new to this product line and have not worked with BorisFX before, you might not be aware of the fact, that there also is a professional tool called Boris Transfer AE. This tool allows you to transfer Apple Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer program sequences to Adobe After Effects. Another program element called Boris Transfer FCP allows the bidirectional transfer from sequences from and to Final Cut Pro and Media Composer.

To me personally the best part of the BCC is its integration story. Most of the motion graphics and titling animation can be done right within the NLE without the expense of going outside of your familiar environment.

One thing that’s important to note though is that, while most of the filters and effects are available and identical across all host platforms, there are some host-specific variations which display different controls, options or filter applications.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Overall speed improvement
  • Overall efficiency improvement of the provided toolbox with a highly thought through and useful set of presets (created by practitioners for practitioners)
  • Overall improvement of handling
  • GPU acceleration (OpenCL and CUDA)
  • New and very useful filters / enormous amount of filters provided
  • Quality improvement of provided filters (more details, more options, more precise)
  • Support for popular NLE hosts

Cons

  • The Avid version is rather expensive

But then, let's face it: this is probably one of the best collections or all-around packages of filters, effects and transitions on the world market.

Tags: Post & VFX

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