Boris Red 1.5

SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - Rating:

PROS:Elegant interface; versatile; excellent documentation; superb rendering quality.

CONS:Expensive.

List Price:$1,995

COMPANY:617/451-9900, Boris FX/ Artel Software Inc.

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Advice:Boris Red is the most capable video-effects plug-in available. From its stunning effects capabilities to its workflow-streamlining features, there's no better way to add advanced motion graphics and 3-D titling to your video-editing program.

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Most video producers live in editing applications such as Adobe Systems Inc.'s Premiere or Apple Computer Inc.'s Final Cut Pro. Those are great programs, but they lack the rich palette of motion-graphics effects found in Adobe After Effects. As a result, many producers turn to After Effects to produce footage and then import it into their editing projects. This program hopping works, but it's hardly efficient.

Boris FX's Boris Red 1.5 is the cure for After Effects envy. The program lets you create gorgeous 3-D motion graphics, titles, and transitions directly within an editing program. Boris Red works in Premiere and After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and several Avid and Media 100 systems.

At $1,995, Boris Red costs more than many of the programs it plugs into. It's worth it. Indeed, Boris Red out-effects After Effects in many areas. If you've been contemplating buying After Effects to complement your editing application, you may want to try out Boris Red first.

Looking at Boris

Boris Red 1.5's effects-generating prowess is wrapped up in an elegantly designed interface similar to that of Adobe After Effects.

A Vaguely Familiar Face

Boris Red's many talents fall into several overlapping categories: motion graphics (spinning, rotating, and stretching video clips, complete with motion blur); 3-D effects and transitions (page peels, rotating cubes, and video clips mapped onto shapes); text and titling (with 2-D or 3-D text); keying (superimposing footage shot in front of, say, a green background); and filters (for adding spotlight and lighting effects, exploding particle effects, and more).

When you invoke Boris Red, it takes over the screen, replacing your editor's menus with its own. Boris Red's interface loosely resembles After Effects': a timeline window visually depicts your project's flow and lets you set keyframes, which specify effect parameters at a given point in time.

You position and size clips in the Composite window, which also displays a preview of your project. The Controls window is packed with dials and sliders for specifying everything from scaling to rotation speed, to motion blur. When you finish a project, choose Boris Red's quit command, and you're back within your editing application.

A Multidimensional Performer

Boris Red does many things well, but it excels at Z-space control: the ability to determine what happens when elements overlap in 3-D space. It's easy to create dramatic 3-D effects in which elements intersect or travel through one another, great for animated logos.

Text is often an afterthought in effects packages, but it's a star player in Boris Red. A Microsoft Corp. Word-like text-editor window lets you create and animate 2-D or 3-D text. You can apply textures, gradients, static images, and even movie clips to 3-D text characters. And you can animate text to create everything from crawling credits to movie-of-the-week-style flying logos. (If you don't need Boris Red's full effects arsenal but crave its textual talents, you can buy them separately in the $495 Boris Graffiti.)Boris BonusesBoris Red includes a stand-alone program, Boris Red KeyFramer, that provides access to all of Boris Red's features but lacks rendering abilities. You can use KeyFramer to build motion-graphics projects that you'll later render in an editing application. KeyFramer uses only 32MB of memory and runs well, even on elderly Power Macs. Better yet, the Boris Red license agreement lets you freely copy KeyFramer to all your Macs. That means each member of a production team can simultaneously work on different projects, deferring final rendering until later.

On top of all this, Boris Red lets you use many popular After Effects plug-ins within editing applications that wouldn't otherwise support them. It supports numerous popular After Effects plug-in packages from DigiEffects, Puffin Designs, and others.

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