PS3: BCC for Adobe CS6

by David Hurd, February 5, 2013

You can never have too many plug-ins. While most editing software comes with FX plug-ins to get you started, there will be times when you’ll need something special to get the job done. Boris Continuum Complete 8 AE from Boris FX delivers the most comprehensive VFX plug-in suite ever created for Macintosh and Windows versions of Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro CS6, CS5.5, CS5 and CS4.
With over 200 filters, BCC8 does a great job of including the various types of tools you’ll need. There are 3D particle effects, extrusions, true 3D lens flares and volumetric lighting effects, keys, mattes, blurs, glows and cinematic effects, such as film glow, film grain, film process looks, time-based effects, color grading tools, and image restoration and touchup tools.
There is simply not enough space to review every single filter, so I’ll just tell you about the new filters in this package and why they are important — and you can try them for yourself via a free trial download. Firstly, BCC8’s powerful plug-ins take a lot of horsepower, so all of these filters take advantage of either multi-processing or OpenGL hardware acceleration to let you enjoy your editing experience in a timely manner. My Mac Pro has an NVIDIA Quadro 4000 card while the DataBrick NLE has a 4000 and the NVIDIA Tesla, which really speeds things up. I tested BCC8 AE using CS6 on a really fast DataBrick NLE PC and a Mac Pro 12-core 2.93GHz. It takes time to tweak new filters, so to get started there are over 2,000 professionally designed presets included free with every installation of BCC8. You can also save and freely share your own presets, or build customized preset collections designed for the specific needs of a project.
Since projects may need to be edited on different computers or with different programs, both static and animated BCC presets are supported on the After Effects platform. Presets can be shared with matching BCC installations on any host application in which BCC is installed. If you need multi-platform support, you can jump between hosts via the Boris Transfer workflow utilities. BCC is the only plug-in collection that allows easy VFX migration between Adobe, Avid and Apple video-editing software while keeping parameters and keyframe information intact. If you’re creating in Avid or Final Cut Pro, Boris Transfer AE allows you to transfer your sequences into After Effects. And Boris Transfer FCP gives you the ability to transfer sequences between Avid and Final Cut Pro.
Boris Continuum Complete 8 AE has been called “the Swiss Army knife for VFX,” and I believe this to be true. The Image Restoration group of filters includes the Flicker Fixer. This tool offers a choice of intra-frame analysis or temporal flicker smoothing, allowing you to repair video affected by a flickering light source or uneven shutter exposure. One day this filter will save your life by solving a real-world problem. Here’s an example: I was shooting some footage on a sunny Florida golf course in 20 mph winds. Fast-moving clouds were causing iris problems, so I switched my iris to auto, but that made the footage a bit jumpy as it compensated for the constantly changing light. The flicker remover in BCC was able to even out the footage and save the shoot, which more than paid for the whole BCC filter set.
BCC’s Optical Stabilizer filter is another handy tool that allows you to easily stabilize shaky video footage without spending all day doing it. It uses optical flow technology to analyze a specified region and then adjusts the track’s position to compensate. Unlike many stabilizing tools, the BCC Optical Stabilizer does not require you to set user-defined tracking points. This is useful for images where tracking data is unreliable. During playback, the motion appears smooth because the track moves incrementally to offset the unwanted motion. You can also stabilize just a portion of a track to correct isolated camera bumps.
The Videoscope filter is valuable if you’re editing for broadcast. To use this utility for checking color levels at any stage of your AE composition, just insert the filter in the desired location and view overlaid scopes in the Composition window. You can see any individual element of your project to quickly find out which effect or filter is overstepping the limits, causing your video to be illegal. This filter will ensure that you are using broadcast-legal colors and levels in your final output, so that you can avoid having your show rejected by a TV network (which would be a really bad thing). BCC’s Film Glow filter creates the soft feel of exposed film and will make your highlights bloom and shadows spread out as you experiment with your own unique looks. You can use Film Glow to even out the differences between multiple clips shot on different cameras, or set the mood for the entire project. It also works great on text and logos. Again, there are many professionally designed presets included with the Film Glow filter to get you started, but adding just a touch of Film Glow can take an image to the next level.
Powered by GPU acceleration and working with AE’s camera and lighting system, the new Lens Flare 3D effect can be used to create cinematic looks, stylish broadcast design elements, and beautiful transitions. Most of these new filters can be keyframed to move with the camera; faded in and out; or controlled in whatever manner that comes to your creative mind. BCC’s Stage Light filter adds realism to your 3D composite. You can use this powerful volumetric lighting tool to simulate production lights, projectors or stage lighting where your viewer can see light beams emanating from powerful light sources. Depending on the effect you want in Premiere Pro, you can use it to add light to a shot by dropping it on your main footage or adding it to a transparent video layer. During a run-and-gun shoot, you may not have much time to get the lighting right. Now, in post you can go back and add in some of the light that was missing. You can re-create an atmosphere of a stage performance, a night scene or a rock-n-roll bar, or simply add light beams to the headlights of a car. The built-in smoke texture is cool too.
The BCC Particle Emitter 3D gives 3D broadcast designers the ultimate particle machine, providing a powerful, flexible and OpenGL-accelerated particle system. It even does some amazing things in the 2D world. And since it’s hard to have your work look different enough to stand out, the Organic Strands filter lets you enhance your broadcast graphics with organic design elements, such as flowing strands of matter, glowing plasma or hundreds of other creative options. This filter offers full AE camera and light system integration, so your effects creations will match the rest of your 3D composition with ease. And for a deeper feel of space and motion, just add motion blur and depth of field. This tool is sure to give your work a hot new look.
BCC also has powerful, specialized filters that enable you to recover motion data from a clip, and then use that data in creative and interesting ways. Use the BCC Matchmove filter to lock the movement of one image clip to another image clip, using the built-in motion tracking function. One of the great advantages of using the Matchmove filter to composite within your host editing application is that it includes full DVE functions, such as tumble, spin and rotate, along with interesting lighting and light wrap compositing features that are normally found only in full compositing applications.
BCC’s Time filters allow you to smoothly retime clips, and there are a dozen of these filters to help you easily achieve a variety of temporal effects. There are also 11 Transitions included in BCC8, letting you choose from this variety of wipes and transition effects: Burnt Film, Criss-Cross Wipe, Lens Transition, Linear Wipe, Multi-Stretch Wipe, Multi-Stripe Wipe, Radial Wipe, Rectangular Wipe, Sphere Transition, Swish Pan and Textured Wipe. They all have presets to help you get started, and you can easily customize the effects using an on-screen, graph-curve user interface. And Beat Reactor Technology is now built into many BCC8 filters, making it easy to generate audio-driven effects, such as a pulsing light or glow. And since they can be keyframed, you can have music-driven pulsing light of varying intensities. This filter is just begging to get used on your next commercial or music video.
Boris Continuum Complete 8 is a great all-around package of FX plug-ins. They all work well as their many powerful parameter controls allow you total creative freedom. In addition, BCC8 contains the Image Restoration group of filters that can help to get you out of trouble. This is basically a must-have filter set.
MSRP: Boris Continuum Complete 8 for $995. Owners of previous versions of BCC may upgrade for an MSRP of $295.


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