Price: $1,995 (£1,272), upgrade $599 (£382)
Company: Boris FX
Pros: Fast and customisable, tons of presets, great value for money.
Cons: Exploring beyond the obvious presets requires some study.
Boris Continuum Complete 7 AVX brings over 200 filters to Avid Media Composer on the Mac. Like its sibling versions for Final Cut Pro (BCC 7 FxPlug) and After Effects (BCC 7 AE), the AVX release features several new enhancements, such as an excellent Lens Blur filter that brings a pleasing Bokeh effect to a clip and a video noise-reduction tool that smooths out noise using spatial and temporal information derived from the video clip.
There’s also a new OpenGL particle engine that offers sophisticated effects, such as Pin Art 3D, a generator style filter. With an effect resembling a pin-art desk toy, it uses the colour, luma, and alpha values of layers in the project to define the appearance and arrangement of the particles making up the Pin Screen.
There are a multitude of parameters for controlling the 2D and 3D appearance of the filter, applying built-in lights and cameras, mixing it with the underlying layer and applying built-in wipes to animate the effect. Similarly, the Particle Array 3D filter is a powerful motion graphics effect that can manipulate an array of particles based on graph controls, fractal noise patterns and random dispersion. The particles in these filters can take a number of forms, including 3D Spheres, planes or discs, or horizontal lines.
Each version of BCC7 integrates very well in the effects palette of the host application, but there is some variation across the range. BCC7 AVX, for example, uniquely offers on-screen overlay control widgets that automatically display updated parameter values as the widget is adjusted. The FxPlug and AE sets offer a three-way colour grading plug-in. A transfer plug-in is supplied with each version to allow the sharing of BCC effect sequences between the Avid, Apple and Adobe video applications.
All the BCC 7 filters take advantage of either multicore processing or OpenGL hardware acceleration to deliver very sophisticated results, matching those of the latest video applications from Avid, Apple and Adobe. Though expensive and not essential, in the long run these filters may offer some users clear-cut savings in time and money.