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Product Review: Boris Final Effects Complete 5

August 20th, 2008 · 6 Comments

When I first installed Boris Final Effects Complete 5, I was pretty unimpressed. I felt it was pretty ordinary and I was really bummed that a top name like Boris would put out a product like this. If you just drop these filters on your video tracks you would get those results. But if you open the filter tab and begin manipulating the settings you will get an amazing set of filters and transitions.

Final Effects Complete 5 FxPlug is a set of 100+ visual effects filters re-designed for Apple’s FxPlug plug-in architecture, providing seamless integration with Apple Final Cut Pro and Motion. FEC 5 FxPlug adds new support for 16 bit-color processing and takes full advantage of FxPlug for a big performance boost including unlimited RT filters and native Final Cut Pro transitions. The same FEC filters are recognized by Motion and run within Motion’s accelerated GPU environment for improved compatibility and flexible workflow.

What’s New In FEC 5
This is all new to me since I never used FEC 4 or less but there are some pretty cool new features. Here is more information on the new features in Boris FEC 5 from their website…

FEC 5 takes full advantage of many technologies found in Boris Continuum Complete. Features such as PixelChooser, Motion Tracker, Preset Loader and Online Documentation – hallmarks of BCC filters – are now included with FEC, too.

New UI


The new modernized native parameter UI sports new control groups, contextual controls, on-screen widgets, custom controls and many other improvements. All parameter options are now readily available as native parameters without a need to open modal dialog windows.

16 Bit Rendering


FEC 5 includes both 8 and 16 bit filters for highest quality image processing.

MP Acceleration

All filters have been optimized from the original version to take full advantage of multi core and multi processor computing platforms. The overall speedup varies from filter to filter.

PixelChooser Technology


Most FEC 5 filters feature the award-winning Boris PixelChooser where appropriate. PixelChooser is an internal method of selectively applying the image processing to the image based on criteria defined by the user. The criteria may vary from color channel information to simple geometric shapes to spline-based masks available in After Effects. This method is superior to layer duplication and masking because it is more flexible and efficient. The mask can be applied to various stages of pre and post processing. The parts of the image not chosen by the mask remain untouched by the filter.

Multitude Of Standard Presets


As any Boris product FEC 5 ships with over 800 pre-saved presets for quick new looks. Custom presets can be saved and shared between multiple workstations and even emailed to other users.

Extensive Filter Enhancements

FEC 5 adds new features and improvements to every one of the 108 filters in the set.

Highlights include:

• Auto-animation in many of the transitions

• Extensive new controls in FEC Hair such as the ability to generate curly hair instead of just straight hair as well as the ability to modulate the gravity direction across the image based on a gradient map

• New FEC Bubbles controls for drift direction, particle randomness, and source texture mapping pinning. In addition, FEC Bubbles now includes a Deflector point to create regions with no bubbles.

• Much better lighting controls in Mr Mercury, Blobblylize, Glue Gun, Glass, and Ball Action

• Two new particle types in Particle Systems II – Advanced Sphere and Advanced Lens. These new particle types allow you to generate different looking spheres with more extensive lighting control.

• New bend styles added to the FEC Bender menu

The one setting that stands out for me is the PixelChooser.

How the PixelChooser Works

The PixelChooser performs the same basic operations in most filters:

  • The PixelChooser examines each pixel in the image and decides how to process each pixel based on its location and/or the channel values in that pixel.
  • If the PixelChooser decides that a pixel not does meet the selection criteria, the source pixel is copied to the output and left unfiltered. Unfiltered pixels are black in the matte.
  • If the PixelChooser decides that a pixel fully meets the selection criteria, the filtered pixel replaces the source pixel in the output. Filtered pixels are white in the matte.
  • If the PixelChooser decides that a pixel partially meets the selection criteria, a mix of the source pixel and filtered pixel appears in the output. Partially filtered pixels are gray in the matte.

You can turn these on or keep them off with your filters. By default they are kept off. It multiplies the effect hands down. The PixelChooser also has a pulldown menu of presets for each filter which opens the possibilities to create some really unique effects. You can manually adjust the settings and come up with your own as well. You can save your adjusted PixelChooser as a preset, but not just for that specific filter. Each saved PixelChooser preset is available on any of the filters that use the PixelChooser.

The filters/transitions come with presets that you can chose from a drop-down menu or you can save your own preset and load it at another time. That functionality is great and is becoming common with effects packages. Here is something odd, or I think is odd. There are duplicate filters one real time (RT) and the other is I guess normal. From Boris Help manual…

Final Effects Complete filters offer an optional realtime capability inside of Final Cut Pro. Using these specific filters will enable you to playback a realtime preview of what your final effect will look like without having to render the clip or sequence. Previewing FEC RT filters in realtime requires you to be in Unlimited RT Mode, but they will still work in any mode.

The concept is simple you load the RT filter and can preview it without rendering the filter…um I can preview both filters so that is where I’m confused. But anyway here is how many filters/transitions come with Boris FEC. I found out the difference between the RT and regular filters. The Regular filters have a Motion Tracker setting.

  • 14 Transitions
  • 11 RT & Regular Blur & Sharpen Filters
  • 11 RT & Regular Color Correction Filters
  • 18 RT & Regular Distort Filters
  • 10 RT & Regular Edges Filters
  • 5 RT & 6 Regular Image Filters
  • 6 RT & Regular Light Filters
  • 8 RT & 11 Particle Filters
  • 3 RT & 6 Perspective Filters
  • 12 RT & 14 Stylize Filters
  • 1 Time Filter
  • 7 RT & 15 Transition Filters

You see how that ended. Yeah they have some transitions that you can apply to a video track like the filters…meaning you drop it on the video file and the length of that video clip is the length of the transition. They also have the classic way to use the transition where you can apply it to the end or beginning of a video clip to bridge another video clip to it and extend the time by either opening it up in the viewer or grab the handles and pull it to the timing you desire. I prefer the classic transitions.

If you are an experienced editor in FCP then this is an easy transition for you to create some really cool effects for your video. If you are not an expert and have more questions than ideas I would stay clear of this plugin, this is not for you.

Boris does a really good job of informing you how effects work with a help button in the viewer browser in the filters tab. For any transition and filter just click on the help button and a PDF will open up and give you all the information that you will want to know and more. It is really helpful to have these. They also have a help button for the PixelChooser. A PDF opens up and explains in great detail how the PixelChooser works.

Motion Tracker why do you tease me? So fooling around with some of the plugins I found that the Regular filters have a motion tracker setting. I want to use it and experiment with it but I find that it is a difficult process. It too has a Help button, when clicked nothing happens. There are far too many settings in the Motion Tracker to just leave me at my own ingenuity. I’d really like to know how to use the Motion Tracker with these filters…it’s there but I don’t know how to use it.

As a user of Boris FEC 5 getting help is a bit difficult from the company. Granted most of your answers are snug away in the software with the Help buttons. Boris FX offers 30 days of free e-mail support for new software and software upgrade purchases. You must first register your purchase.

If you require assistance after 30 days, Boris FX offers the following support programs for customers located in the United States and Canada:

  • Pay Per Incident ($39)
  • Boris FX Technical Support Plan ($195)
  • Boris FX 24 Hour Technical Support Plan ($495)

I’m not a fan of pay-per-help, I guess thats why I have this blog and many other individuals post helpful tips on forums and discussion boards. But I do think that the 24 Hour Support Plan is a great Idea and more companies should incorporate that in their business plan. I have no problems paying for that plan when working on an important project in the middle of the night and the system goes down when I drop a plugin on a video track.

Boris FX plug-in purchases now include one year of free technical support!

Tech Specs
I couldn’t find any. I know it works in Final Cut Pro but not sure if it will work on a G5 or Mac Pro. It works on a G5 because that is what I use but if I was going to purchase it I would like to see what is recommended computer system and a minimum system setup…which FCP works with the plugins would be nice too.

I wish I could tell you the price since their website hasn’t been updated since the mid 90’s… it makes you want to go to another site. I’m serious if you can find the price from their website I’ll post it here. Thanks to Trevor Anderson for digging a bit deeper than I and finding the price.

Final Effects Complete 5 AE Mac
Supports After Effects $895.00

Final Effects Complete 5 AE Win
Supports After Effects $895.00

FEC 5 FxPlug Mac (FCS 2) $895.00

FEC 5 AE and FEC 5 FxPlug Bundle
FECFXPLUGBUNpadRegular price: $1,790.00
Currently on Sale for: $1,095.00

FEC 5 AE Upgrade Macpad
Upgrades older versions of FEC to FEC 5 AE.

Boris Final Effect Complete 5 is a nice suite of plugins that can help anyone add production value in the editing bay. On the flip side they need to redo their website soon. With more effects packages coming to market and incorporating a user friendly website and building a community of editors and effects artist it will become more difficult to compete against that market with a website like theirs.

Tags: Final Cut Pro · Reviews

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Trevor Anderson // Aug 21, 2008 at 3:11 am

    After a little digging on the site – you have to select Online Store from the Purchase menu at the top of the page.

    Final Effects Complete 5 AE Mac
    Supports After Effects $895.00

    Final Effects Complete 5 AE Win
    Supports After Effects $895.00

    FEC 5 FxPlug Mac (FCS 2) $895.00

    FEC 5 AE and FEC 5 FxPlug Bundle
    FECFXPLUGBUNpadRegular price: $1,790.00
    Currently on Sale for: $1,095.00

  • 2 Andy Coon // Aug 21, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Thanks Trevor,

    I searched their online store for all the Boris packs and had no idea to look in the Adobe plugins where it was hiding.

    I appreciate it.

  • 3 Rob // Aug 27, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Thanks for the review. I put a lot of weight on the quality of a products documentation. If the documentation is well written then the product likely is also. So the fact that the help files don’t open is enough for me to steer clear of this one. That and the fact that they charge as much for the bundle as Adobe’s Primer Production Suite.



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