A Wide Variety of Native Filters and Transitions Magic Eye is located in Hürth, Germany, outside Cologne. The facility created the post-production of several award-winning German TV shows including "Genial Daneben," "Schillerstrasse" and the first seasons of "Was guckst Du?!?" which was nominated for the International Emmy in 2001. But they also specialize in on-screen design such as show openers, commercials and highresolution design for tradeshows.
Florian Peters is one of the owners of Magic Eye. The majority of his work is compositing (using AE and 844/X) and editing. Florian is also responsible for the technical infrastructure of the company (computers, network, SAN, software, even phones).
"Right now we are working on the video for the opening show for the IAA, the world's largest Motor Show in Frankfurt," said Florian. "The opening will be presented in stereoscopic 3D projection in HD 1080/25p, giving the viewer a true, ultra-sharp 3D experience." For details on the show, visit www.iaa.de/2005/www/Englisch/rest/start.php .
"We use mainly Media 100 products; five Media 100 HD systems, one 844/X real-time compositing station and a few Media 100 i systems, all
networked to a centralized SAN. A wide set of plugins is used heavily for the special effects and design work. Most material comes from and goes to HDCam or DigiBeta decks. We always try to find new solutions to help increase our productivity like our SAN network which we installed in 1996."
Magic Eye works on everything from 10-second commercials to 90-minute shows to large events like the IAA. The most demanding in terms of special effects and compositing work are the various comedy shows. Often these shows simulate big Hollywood films with a decidedly un-Hollywood budget, for example movie trailer parodies. This type of work requires Magic Eye to recreate intense special effects with much less time than the originals. Streamlining their workflow allows Magic Eye to create these effects within the available time available.
"The biggest workflow issue solved by FEC is the backwards compatibility to older projects," said Florian. "We sometimes have to change something on a legacy project from our BlueICE days. Having all effects with improved rendering times helps a lot. Since the FCE include such a wide set of filters, it has become a common base among the freelancers who work with us. Nearly everybody has them, so you can be sure that if you exchange AE projects all filters used from the FEC set will be intact."
"Final Effects were the first plugins we ever bought for AE, shortly followed by Studio Effects, which led into the FEC bundle," said Florian. "Then the Ice´d Final Effects were released, using the Green Ice/BlueICE DSP cards to speed rendering dramatically. During this time the Ice´d FEC blur was the fastest way to create a gaussian blur which saved us a lot of rendering time."
Florian appreciates the wide variety of FEC filters combined with the filter's good default-settings. He especially appreciates filters that animate automatically (like the waves / snow / rain filters) which provide good results quickly.
"Over the years other AE plugin packs have been released, but still there is nothing that contains such a wide range of different and useful filters in one set than FEC, from geometrics/perspective filters to stylize and blur filters to Particle Systems and waves/rain/snow filters," said Florian. "Additionally it is very handy to have FCE for legacy projects from our BlueICE days, because sometimes clients still want to refresh some of their content in old AE projects. Having everything ready with all filter sets intact is a big help."
So what was Florian's reaction when he heard that heard Boris FX had acquired FEC?
"We worked very closely with Media 100 on several projects including the development of 844/X and Media 100 HD and had a good relationship with the people working there," said Florian. "But we felt that FEC was no longer considered a core market product for the company. It seemed that development of future versions of FEC were on hold. So we were quite happy when we heard that Boris FX bought FEC. Besides their own compositing tools like Red or Blue, Boris FX specializes in plug-ins for AE and various editing and compositing systems. FEC is a good addition to the existing product line and will probably have a bigger potential to gain new features and improvements in upcoming versions."
In the future, Florian would like to see more presets for the more complex filters like the particle systems. "Usually it is easier to use presets to get an idea what the filter can do, and to modify a preset to our needs rather than to create everything from scratch from the plugin default settings. Most of the Boris tools (Boris FX and Graffiti) have a library with pre-built animations, and that's something I would like to see with FEC, too." Among his other feature requests are 16-bit support and performance enhancements. "Of course everybody would like to have everything as fast as possible, and if FEC can be tweaked to take advantage of dual processors this would be nice. While we usually work in 8-bit because of the reduced rendering time, it is sometimes necessary to switch to 16-bit for quality. Obviously we would like to have as many plugins 16-bit capable as possible due to the fact that we sometimes decide in the middle of building a project that we have to render it in 16-bit, and not having to replace effects because they don´t render in 16-bit is very helpful."