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Boris Blue 2.5

Running Blue on an Unqualified system By Kevin McAuliffe

A little while ago, I had the chance to sit down and take Boris Blue 2 for AVX for a spin. If you didn't get a chance to check out my review, you can by clicking here ! I thought Blue was an excellent product and definitely worth picking up. One thing that was important to keep in mind was that I was basing my review on a "qualified" system, and needless to say, the system requirements for Blue were extremely stringent. For this article I will do things a little different. The updates to Blue from 2.0 to 2.5 might seem minor, but there are a couple of big ones hidden in there. Since Blue is awesome on a "qualified" system, I thought I would take it for a spin on a Mac. Now I know what you are saying, Blue is only a Windows-based application, and that is true. I'm running Boot Camp on my Mac with Windows Vista, and I'm going to fire up Vista, fire up Blue 2.5, and take it for a spin to see what results I get out of a "non-qualified" (NQ) system, as opposed to a "qualified" one.
 
WHAT YOU GET 
For this article, I think I need to take a look at "WHAT YOU GET" first, as it is very significant. With the update to 2.5 of Blue, BorisFX has added two significant (but could easily be overlooked) updates, and that is support for not only Windows Vista but Adobe After Effects CS3 as a host application as well. Boris has just opened the door to a whole new user base by doing this which is very, very smart on its part. Most people might not even know that there is support for Vista, as Boris' website does not list it on the Blue section, but it is included in the "Demo License" e-mail that you receive when you download the demo software.
 


 
And I can confirm for everyone that it does in fact run on Vista, as I am doing this review based on it.
 

 
There have been no actual feature updates to Blue 2.5, but the addition of Windows Vista support and After Effects CS3 as a new host application is more than enough!
 
INSTALLATION
Much like other plug-in packages, Blue 2.5 (B25) installs quickly and easily, and once installed you have the option of running it from within Adobe After Effects, or as a stand alone application. Since I want to see how Blue holds up on my NQ system, After Effects is where I'm going. Once launched, you access B25 as you would any other plug-in, simply drop a clip onto your timeline, navigate to EFFECTS>BORIS>BORIS BLUE. Blue will now launch automatically, and the first thing that B25 does is look at your system to see if your system meets the minimum system requirements to run it. Since my system doesn't (I don't have a qualified graphics card for OpenGL-based rendering), I am now greeted by this window:
 

 
So, in this case, I did what any other determined motion graphic designer would do. I clicked O.K. to get B25 running anyway, and low and behold, I now have the B25 interface. Now, let's see how it works!
 
HOW IT WORKS 
For a detailed summary of Blue's interface, effects, 3D Deformers, new Image Processor and Open GL effects, check out my review of Boris Blue for AVX. What we're going to do here is get into B25 and see what works and what doesn't work.
 
First, I'm going to take two clips and drop them into my timeline. Next, like I said in the INSTALLATION section, I'm going to apply the B25 onto the top layer and once it's there, Blue will open automatically. Once I've clicked "O.K." on the warning screen, I am now greeted by the Blue Interface. I'm going to create a quick transition effect, so the first thing I'm going to do is open the "Library Browser" to take a look at the effects. This will be a good first test to see the performance of B25 on an unqualified system, as Blue is a "Real-Time" 3D application. Once I have the "Library Browser" open, I'm going to click on the "Transitions" drop-down, and then I'm going to select a transition. At this point, B25 should preview the effect for me in real-time, and it does, but it is very slow since the quality level is set to high. I'm going to change it to low quality and try again. This time, no problems. It plays smoothly, and gives me a good idea of what the effect is going to look like. The only problem is that it seems to only want to preview half the effect. Well, for an UQ system, I'll take it! Seemingly success so far! Okay, now I'm going to click "Insert Effect" to apply it to my clip. Once it is applied, I'm going to press the play button and see what happens. Well, well, well, B25 is playing the clip back with the effect in pretty close to real-time. There's a small bit of lag, but not enough for there to be any real concern. Now that I'm happy with the effect, I'm going to close the B25 interface, and in After Effects, I'm going to use the Effects Pallette to map my other clip to the "Video 2" input of Blue, so there is a transition in my effect. Now, I can simply hit the "0" key to preview the effect, and I'm set to go. Here's the effect that I created.
 

 
Creating animated text and backgrounds was just as easy, and previewed in almost real-time as well. After using Blue 2.5 for about a week, I have to say that overall, I'm pretty impressed at how it's running on an unqualified Mac running Boot Camp. Now, that being said, there have been a couple of problems. The main one is that I have had a couple of crashes that have required a quick restart, and there have been a couple of video codecs (DVCProHD 1080i) that have given me some strange tearing issues on the video, but other than that, I am very happy to say, that Boris Blue 2.5 has given me very few problems, and some very excellent results. With that being said, do I recommend Blue 2.5? For people who have qualified systems and are using After Effects CS3, I can't see any reason why you would overlook Blue 2.5. My opinion of it hasn't changed since my first review, and the addition of Vista and AE CS3 support only adds more icing to the cake. Now, should people running NQ systems write off Blue 2.5? Absolutely not. For the bargain price of $1995 you get Boris RED, Blue, BCC 5 AE, FEC 5 AE, FEC 5 AVX, and Title Toolkit. From what I got out of my Boot Camp Mac and Blue 2.5, I was very happy, and got some excellent looking results. If you haven't picked up any of Boris' effects packages, this deal for $1995 is too good to pass up.

PROS

  • Vista and After Effects CS3 support
  • support for ATI based as well as NVIDIA based graphics boards
  • Just because your system isn't qualified, doesn't mean it won't run
  • Great looking effects in real 3D space
  •  Blue 2.5 comes with the Boris box set for Windows for a staggering $1995


CONS


  • Blue can be a bit flaky running on a NQ system (crashes & not quite real-time playback)
  • New users might find a bit of a steep learning curve
  • Shouldn't this be 2.1???

Purchase Recommendation : On a Qualified System - Buy
On an Unqualified System - If you are happy with your system's performance, Buy!

Overall, Boris moving Blue ahead by adding Vista and AE CS3 support is definitely a move in the right direction. For all you users out there running NQ systems, I encourage you to download the 14-day trial version of Blue 2.5 from www.borisfx.com, and take it for a spin. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how well it runs on an unqualified system, and what great results you can achieve!


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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at [email protected]


Related Keywords:visual effects, motion graphics, video effects

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