David Arbor: Boris Continuum Complete 9 Review
03 August 2014

by David Arbor, August 3, 2014

Boris Continuum Complete 9 is the latest and greatest release of Boris FX’s gargantuan plug-in suite. With over 200 filters and 1000 presets (with more presets being emailed to users every-so-often for free), there’s easily a plug-in that can be used on any project. As I only have 4000 characters to write this, there’s simply not enough time to cover everything there is to like about BCC, so I’ll hit on the highlights.

The biggest news out of BCC 9 is the brand new FX Browser. Boris’ implementation is hands down the best preset viewer I’ve used. Gone are the days of clicking a drop down menu and guessing which ridiculous name will give you the style you want. Just open the FX Browser from any filter that uses presets and view all presets over your own footage! You can even play back your video with the previewed preset inside the FX Browser, compare before and after, and more. Double clicking applies your preset and closes the browser. Additionally, there is actually a filter called “FX Browser.” Applying this allows you to see presets for EVERY filter in BCC, however, due to architecture limitations of the NLE, you can’t apply a preset from here, you have to exit the browser to do this. Check out this great filter gallery to see everything included.

The filters themselves are incredibly in-depth and can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with Boris’ everything-is-tweakable approach. Again, this is where the FX Browser shines – start with a preset, then tweak only what you want. However, if you like the nitty gritty, you have dozens of powerful options to adjust. One thing that I’m a big fan of is the UI widget for adjusting filters directly on your video. It’s different from any other filter widget I’ve used, but once you get the hang of it you’ll realize how powerful it is.

Of course, what would a plug-in review be without the mention of GPU acceleration? It would be a review from a decade ago, that’s what. BCC 9 uses OpenGL, Open CL, and CUDA acceleration, and they claim that many BCC 9 filters can render 10% -70% faster than their BCC 8 counterparts. I can’t verify those numbers, but I was very pleased with the speeds I saw.

I tested BCC 9 inside of Premiere and After Effects, but other supported hosts are FCP X, Motion 5, Avid’s Media Composer and Symphony, Sony Vegas, and DaVinci Resolve. To that end, I was very excited to see that native transitions were used inside of Premiere. I won’t use transitions in Premiere anymore that have to be applied as filters; the process takes too long, and it’s messy, so this made me happy.

Inside of After Effects I was keen to check out the 3D features and compare them to the built-in Ray-traced 3D engine. I was pleased to see how much faster BCC’s 3D capabilities were than After Effects’, and I suspect this is because they’re OpenGL accelerated. Each filter has lights and a camera that you can control, or you can check a fancy box and use Ae’s NATIVE lights and cameras! This is fantastic and really worth checking out.

As I said before, there are too many filters to list, but some of my favorites are Magic Sharp (new to BCC 9), which can take footage that’s slightly out of focus and return impressive results; the Lights category; the extruded EPS and Text filters; and many of the transitions. In addition to favorite filters, something that shouldn’t be overlooked is good documentation. Each filter has a “Help” button that opens up extensive documentation on each parameter. You can also view everything online at http://www.borisfx.com/helpdocs/ , and this is the page just for the Particle Emitter 3D filter – very thorough.

Overall, I’m very impressed with this release of Continuum Complete, and I’ll be using it in many of my future projects. The price points range from $700-$2000 for full licenses and $200-$600 for upgrades, depending on your host applications, and it’s available from BorisFX.com

-David