By Walter Biscardi, Creative Cow ( Go to article on Creative Cow. )
I still remember meeting a guy named Boris at the 1995 Apple MacWorld in Boston. Jeans and a white T-Shirt, he was in the booth all by himself with his brand new product. Boris FX that ran on the awesome Media 100 platform. He was hilarious and I bought the plug-in on the spot for my corporate job. Now here we are 21 years later and while much of the post production industry has changed, Boris FX is still making lives easier for editors and motion graphic artists.
Boris FX has long been the “swiss army knife” of filters with effects that are actually useful to editors rather than being bogged down with a ton of ‘fluff’ that you would never use. A year ago they added the incredible Imagineer Systems team to their company with their Academy award-winning mocha planar tracker. The new Boris Continuum Complete 10 (BCC 10) brings the power of mocha right into the architecture creating an incredibly powerful VFX and graphics system inside your NLE. Forget ‘swiss army knife,’ BCC 10 is more like a cannon.
Let’s start with multi-platform support. BCC 10 is available now for Adobe Premiere Pro , Adobe After Effects and Avid Media Composer , with support for other hosts coming soon. If you’re like me and you use multiple editing platforms, Boris FX has introduced a Multi-Host License allowing you to install in multiple software hosts simultaneously. As of this writing, that’s Adobe, Avid and OFX but check the Boris FX website for the most current information regarding hosts and licensing.
One of the most incredible additions to BCC 10 has to be the integrated mocha planar tracking and masking tools. Only the most ridiculous, insanely amazing tracking tool in post production. And now it’s sitting right in your host ready to go as part of your filter set.
Most of the BCC 10 filters (I didn’t have time to try them all) can take advantage of mocha giving you a level of control over the filters and effects I’ve honestly never seen before inside an NLE. Mask and track specific areas to apply the filters gives you all sorts of creative options even when the client is sitting right over your shoulder. It’s worth your time to explore and learn the basics of mocha and fortunately Boris FX provides a ton of tutorials on their site.
EASY, YET COMPLEX
BCC 10 aims to give you a level of complexity that really enhances your work, but makes it super easy to get the looks even when the client is over your shoulder watching the clock.
Included with BCC 10 are more than 250 filters . And really useful stuff like Lights, Particles, Looks, Film, Restoration, Styles, Lens Corrections and the incredible Beauty Studio that will make your clients, and on-screen talent, super happy, more on that below. Oh and there’s an awesome set of titling tools, including the new Title Studio, which are much more robust than what is found in most NLEs.
I’m sure you’re like me and you don’t want to read the manual or watch tutorials on how these work so there are over 2500 presets to get you going with these tools in a hurry.
Also included are a generous set of transitions and let’s face it, you can never have too many transitions on your system. One of the new transitions for BCC 10 is the Light Leak transition which I’ll talk about shortly.
Here’s the BCC Fast Film Glow in Adobe Premiere Pro and as you can see it looks like a standard plug-in with pretty self explanatory options and sliders. You can also see that mocha is an in the option lower left.
You can choose presets either by clicking “Current” to bring up a drop down menu or via the FX Browser which presents a thumbnail gallery that’s really useful when you’re first learning the looks.
The image below is a stack of Fast Film Glow, Film Damage and Vignette. All of these were used in their default settings and as you can see, the combination creates a really nice look and this took about 10 seconds to drag the three filters onto the clip.
I haven’t even done anything yet in terms of adjustments , but already I probably have a look that the client will love. I like that these are all separate filters giving me a lot of control with each element. I think this creates better overall looks because you can really tweak elements and you can change the order of the filters to give you slightly different looks.
In most cases, the default or one of the presets will give you precisely what you and your client are looking for. But as you get comfortable with the tools, you’ll see that there are an array of elements to control in each filter that can allow you to create some incredibly complex looks right inside your host. So BCC 10 is allowing to you create some great visual effects very fast and easy, but also giving you the controls to be as creative as you want to be. Here’s a few stand-out features for me in BCC 10 beyond Mocha Pro.
THE BEAUTY STUDIO (part of Image Restoration)
How many of you are excited about 4k UHD work but at the same time you’re hearing from on-camera talent that they’re terrified of 4k UHD. Heck I remember when we switched to HD how much the on-camera talent was freaking out over the “extra resolution.” BCC 10 adds the Beauty Studio allowing you to be the most amazing make-up artist and allay those fears. It appears very simple but you do have a lot of underlying control and of course, the mocha tracking is available.
Here’s an original image of on-camera talent that can definitely use some touching up. This is 1080p ProRes shot with a Blackmagic 4k Cinema Camera. It was early morning and it’s pretty clear I’m tired.
Beauty Studio using keying to isolate the skin tone which you can set the colors in the Compare section of the tool. Whatever is keyed is where the smoothing will take place.
Here’s the resulting image. Again, this is default, I have not changed anything on the filter. It could probably use some adjustment, but I could just render this and go. My wife said, “Oh there’s the guy I married.” If only we could make the beard black again……
It might look a little fake, but remember you’re seeing the before and after here and I’ve made no changes from the default. If you didn’t know there was a filter applied, you may not even notice because again, this is working on a key so only my skin tone is affected, everything else in the image remains sharp. Just imagine how much your clients and your on-screen talent are going to love you once you have this in your toolbox.
BCC RESTORATION: CLEAN THE FRAME
This is an awesome tool and so incredibly fast to remove or clean up elements in your scene in just seconds (or a few minutes) without the need to start stacking up layers and masks and clones and….. well you get the picture. This can even be used on people to help clean up their faces or clothes.
White sign is gone. Pipe in the drain is gone. All in one video layer. It took me a total of 45 seconds to eliminate both elements and it was the first time I ever used the tool.
If the camera was moving I could very easily track the motion with mocha. If my host crossed in front of the sign or the drain, then I would use a second video layer on top of this one and use Mocha Pro to create the rotoscope. Great tool for documentary and reality show work when you have to eliminate elements or blur / track things like license plates, logos and signs.
BCC TITLE STUDIO
The biggest complaint of most editors is usually the title tool of any NLE. Many of us still use Photoshop just because we have so many options available to us to create text and type. The Title Studio is a tremendous addition to any toolbox and will most likely all but eliminate your use of Photoshop as your titling tool. It’s very “Photoshop like” in its ability to very easily create unique font layouts and design but then add to that the ability the animate the text. Plus you can do all sorts of 3D text and camera movements.
I could write an entire review just on this one tool because it is so deep, but for the purposes of this review, I’m going to zero in on the area that enhances your efficiency and style right from day one. The animated presets. There are a bunch of great animated title reveals and elements for both flat and 3D text.
Nice animated reveal in less than a minute built from a preset.
This doesn’t even scratch the surface, so here's a quick demo. Note that while the host application used for the demo is Avid Media Composer, it works the same way in all other hosts as well.
BCC FINAL THOUGHTS
It’s quite impressive how far Boris FX has come and particularly with the addition of Imagineer Systems and Mocha Pro. In my testing for the this review, really the only thing I wasn’t enamored with were the Light Leak effects and transition but that’s only because I’ve been using practical, filmed light leaks, for years and it’s really hard to replicate the erratic nature of them. These are impressive in the sense that you have absolute control over them and if you don’t have any like leaks in your toolbox now, these will definitely enhance your work.
As I mentioned before, BCC has gone far beyond the “swiss army knife” it once was. Especially with the addition of Mocha Pro as this just adds a elevation to this filter package that really nobody else has, at least not that I’ve seen. The ability to license the plug-in across multiple hosts certainly helps offset the investment in the tool since you don’t have to purchase a separate license for each host. That’s huge for the freelancer and small shop.
All in all, BCC 10 is a winner and something that would do well in any Post Creative’s toolbox.
BCC 10 Annual Subscription (Multi-Host) $595 USD per year
BCC 10 for Avid - New Purchase $1695 USD / Upgrade $595 USD
BCC 10 for Adobe - New Purchase $995 USD / Upgrade $295 USD
For more information, please visit borisfx.com