• Price: 459 . 149

  • Pros: Huge range of filters, cross host capabilities, powerful results, great manual.

  • Cons: Immediate update recommended, no included video tutorials or Web based samples, expensive.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Continnum 3.0 is a massive set of video plug-ins. The collection runs with Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, or After Effects, and there’s a Continuum AVX version for Avid Xpress. Over 40 plug-ins have been brought into the mix since version 2.0, which brings the total number of plug-ins to around 150. Version 3.0 isn’t just about extra plug-ins though – it introduces new features too. It now boasts integrated motion tracking, Open GL filter rendering, several static filters, and the ability to apply transitions in Final Cut Pro similar to the full clip filters.

Installation is simple enough, but did present a slight hiccup in OS X. Unfortunately, the installation defaulted to installing filters for After Effects 5.5 when only 6.5 was installed on the test system. Similarly, it didn’t default to install the plug-ins for Final Cut Pro either. With the right options manually selected installation worked fine – and there’s no need to copy-&-paste any files into plug-in folders.

Boris immediately earns points for including a thorough 650-page printed instruction manual with the software (rather than just a CD-ROM based PDF version). Visual effects packages can be tricky to manipulate at the best of times, but a concise instruction manual vastly reduces the initial learning curve and offers a constant source of reference in times of need.

Also worth mentioning is that while our sample software was version 3.00, at the time of writing version 3.01 was already available on the Boris Web site as a 30MB download. This fixes a variety of small reported problems, so it’s worth installing it from the outset.

Playing host

From the host application the Continuum plug-ins are sectioned off according to their capability. There are six categories
– Distortion & Perspective, Effects, Keys & Matte, Generators, Colour & Blurs, and Time filters – so there’s plenty to get stuck into.

As with a large number of plug-in filters, using them in Final Cut Pro rather than After Effects can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it saves time and hassle flicking between two applications. However, you lose some of the finer control aspects due to Final Cut Pro’s lack of contextual controls support. It doesn’t matter for many effects, but it can be frustrating to see greyed out menu’s that exist but can’t be controlled within your host application.

 align=right border=0 />Two new features that instantly catch the eye are the Witness Protection Filter and Wire Remover. Witness Protection is perfect for Crimewatch-style blurring effects on specific areas – such as car number plates or someone’s face. The automatic motion tracking allows you to select an area and then apply a mosaic, blur, tint or brightness/contrast effect to the chosen area. It’s simple, but very effective. Wire Remover works along similar lines, and as the name suggests is useful for removing background items before keying. 
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Continuum’s motion-tracker is impressive, but, like all motion tracking software, it’s by no means perfect. Without a large or distinct enough target area, or if footage contains a high degree of camera shake, it’s often necessary to insert a number of manual corrections before the effect follows the required path precisely. 
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