Boris Continuum Complete 3.01 test and review

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Boris Continuum Complete 3.01

Depending on how they're used, filters and effects can be genuinely useful or just plain daft. Boris provides the tools with which to sink or swim

Some video editors just want to tell a story. For anyone whose work is primarily narrative, too many fancy effects would be considered self-indulgent frippery. But others can't resist pushing the capabilities that digital editing allows as far as they can go. For them, no amount of effects is enough, and a new suite of filters is like handing over the keys of a toyshop to a small child. Anyone who even remotely fits into the latter category will find Boris Continuum Complete (BCC) a bit like being given the run of Hamleys during Christmas. With a whopping 150 filters in one package, BCC offers almost limitless creative potential.
There are two main versions of Continuum Complete. One, AVX, is aimed exclusively at Avid platforms, of which most recent varieties are supported. However, the version we looked at is aimed at non-Avid platforms. This includes support for Adobe After Effects 5.5 and above, Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5, and Final Cut Pro 4.1 on the Mac. The AVX version offers a few slightly different features to the non-Avid version on review, but the suite of filters is essentially the same. There's also a version of Continuum called Basics, which offers a subset of 30 of the filters in the Complete package, and supports a greater variety of hosts - including Discreet Combustion and eyeon Digital Fusion.

Boris Continuum Complete has many great features, but one of the most powerful is its ability to bring motion tracking to a considerable number of the included filters. However, BCC's Motion Tracker isn't as sophisticated as After Effects'. We took some time to figure out how to use it, and discovered that it's particularly finicky and difficult to use in Premiere Pro. But it only needs to be understood once, and then it operates the same in every filter where it's available. After Effects Professional users may prefer to use their app's tracking system instead. However, After Effects Standard and Premiere Pro users have no built-in motion tracking tools to call upon, making this one of BCC's most attractive features.
Anyone who will only occasionally use a couple of the BCC filters will find the price off-putting. But pretty much everyone else should find quite a few of the included filters very useful, and they're all extraordinarily configurable, powerful, and well rendered. When many other specialist filter companies charge half the amount BCC costs for a much more limited set of capabilities, BCC actually works out at remarkably good value, particularly when motion tracking is brought into the equation.
The only blemish we encountered was the OpenGL problem, but it's impossible to tell whether this is the result of Boris FX's or Matrox's coding, and it only applies to five of the 150 filters. After Effects 6.5 users should have no such worries, making Boris Continuum Complete a particularly good buy for extending the breadth of Adobe's industrial-strength compositing application. Truly straight-laced narrative video makers might consider Boris Continuum Complete a bit much, but for almost everyone else there's a smorgasbord of possibilities.

James Morris

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Reviewed in this issue:

Elgato EyeHome
Boris Continuum Complete 3.01
Snazzi DV.AVIO
Terratec Aureon 7.1
Sony Sound Forge 7 v Steinberg Wavelab 5

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