Australian Videocamera: Boris FX Continuum
10 August 2011

by David Hague, August 10, 2011

For users of standalone editing packages, the concept of plug-ins may be a bit of an alien subject. You’ve never had to use them – and in fact your package may not even accept them – and you reckon that everything you need is already a part of your base package be it Premiere Elements, Sony Movie Studio, Pinnacle Studio, Corel Studio, Magix – whatever.

In short however, you don’t know what you are missing!

So what is a plugin?

In simple terms a plugin uses your application as a “host” so you are using a familiar interface, but getting access to a whole new set of tools. A good example is Boris FX Continuum.

Here all illustrations are shown using Sony Vegas as the host, but you can also use Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro, AVID DS, as well as other AVID applications and those from Autodesk and Quantel.

In all, there are over 200 filters available to you ranging from the spectacular to the highly technical.

For example, some effects can be very visual such as the Morph filter (think back to Michael Jackson videos), others can be used to “repair” dodgy video such as tone smoothing or reducing noise reduction and yet others can be used to create actual footage, especially the fabulous particle filter generator. Here are just a few of the filters available.

Particle Filter

When you think of particles you probably think of lots of atom like objects dashing around unpredictably. But reflect a bit more and you’ll realise that a bunch of particles can be any ordered or unordered group; smoke and fog, a pod of dolphins, even a massive Goblin army or a universe of exploding stars! Get the idea? With Boris FX Continuum, you have the freedom to create well beyond your imagination.

Volumetric lighting and glows

You know those shots you see of the inside of old cathedrals, with light streaming through windows and dust motes dancing in the light beams? This is an example of volumetric lighting; physical lighting can be a tedious, long and expensive exercise requiring much expertise, so using Boris’ FX Continuum’s filters can save huge amounts of time and cost.

Motion Tracking

If you have a clip that is unsteady, but there is a reference point in the clip that is stationery in reference to the shooter – say a lamp pole or similar – motion tracking allows you to use Boris Continuums tools to steady the shoot by moving pixels in each frame to their correct location in reference to the stationery object. This can be time consuming of course, but can also save your bacon!

This is just a small subset of what Boris Continuum can do. As mentioned there are over 200 filters but additionally there are 200 animated presets and 1500 stationery presets all ready to go. Open GL acceleration (using the intelligence and speed of your video card) is fully supported as is spline based line and mask technology, 3D extrusions from splines are available and key framing can be applied. Other features include spectacular lighting effects such as Glint, Glare and Glitter, film effects (bleach, damaged and grain) and various blur and lens filters are all in the single package for the host you choose.

Boris Continuum is an invaluable tool in our estimation for the video editor. Coupled with your favourite editor or compositing program, it provides the missing link at the point where we have all said at some point, “I just wish I could do that”.