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Boris RED 2.1

Boris RED 2.1 -- broadcast designer Mark Harvey reports
A CreativeCOW.net Training Product Review





Mark Harvey <whassup@hotmail.com>
RDS Television, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

©2004 by Mark Harvey and CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.

Article Focus:
Those of you who know editor and fx artist, Mark Harvey, know that he's a big fan of Boris Red. He's used the program for a number of years and has co-hosted the Boris FX forum at Creativecow since day one along with Philip Hodgetts. So when he heard that Borisfx and Philip had joined forces to create a long awaited training DVD for Boris RED, Mark jumped at the chance to take a look at it. Here's his report.


Well it’s been a while since I reviewed something, so when I heard that Borisfx and Philip Hodgetts had teamed up to create a long awaited training DVD for their flagship effects program, Boris Red, I figured that it would be the perfect opportunity. Before handing over all credit to others, it needs to be said that the script for the DVD was written by Anne Renham of Borisfx.

Those who know me, know that I am a big fan of Boris Red. I have used the program for a number of years. I have been one of the moderators in the Borisfx forum here at the COW since day one, along with Philip Hodgetts. Tim Rice joined us a few years later. In those years Philip has helped a number of people with Borisfx products. He is also well regarded in the industry for his knowledge in all things multimedia, such as Final Cut Pro, Apple Quicktime and Apple OS. Philip also is the man behind the intelligent assistant, a help program that plugs into After Effects, Borisfx, and a number of non-linear editing systems. Boris Red ships with a full version of the intelligent assistant.

So, now on to the review of the DVD. The DVD is available from the Borisfx website for the sum of $79 USD. For this type of DVD the price is definitely right.

The DVD is split into 13 main subjects. They are:

  1. Use Interface
  2. Working with media
  3. Working with shapes
  4. Working with titles
  5. Text animation
  6. 3D Text
  7. Title Containers
  8. Containers and masks
  9. 3D Chart Containers
  10. Spline Objects
  11. Filters
  12. Interpolation and Keyframes
  13. Rendering Effects


Each subject is divided into a number of sub-chapters. Each main subject is designed to give the basics of that subject. For example, the very first subject is 'User Interface'. As the title states, you will learn the basics of the user interface. This includes learning about all of the different windows that you use when playing around in Red. From the text window, to the timeline, to the project window, Philip explains all of the windows in a way that even the most novice user will understand.

I like the fact that Philip demonstrates some principles that a lot of people ask about in the forums. These include reflection maps on text, and filters that use map tracks. He also explains how to use splines, and one of the newest features of Red3GL, the charts. Now, personally I don’t foresee using charts in the near future, but I did learn how to use them….yeah I didn’t read the manual.

Chapter 5 of the DVD deals with text animation. Text is by far the biggest reason I have for opening Boris Red. Red just simply does a fantastic job of text creation and animation. Philip shows us how to animate text. We see how to use the type on effect. This is such a powerful effect, and often an overlooked effect.

Containers are often a source of confusion. In chapter 8, Philip explains the different rendering options of containers to get the desired effect. Be it 3d model, z-space or 2d renderor, Philip explains them all. In this same chapter he also explains masks in Red. Again, a source of confusion is upstream and downstream masking. Philip explains this concept well, again the newbie should be able to follow along.

Along with these specific examples, we see tons of other things that Boris does. One thing that Philip shows that Boris does, which no other software does natively is the ability to mix compositing modes (Other software calls these transfer modes) This is a huge feature, but because it has been a part of Red for so long often gets overlooked or forgotten.

Pros: What I really liked about this training DVD was the simplicity in which the subject is presented. All of the basic bases are covered. In fact, after listening to the DVD for only about 20 minutes even the beginner could be moving things around the screen and doing very basic animation. The instruction is clear and precise, and there is tons of ground covered. This DVD will definitely help the newbie or novice user.

Cons: Unfortunately, there were a few things that I didn’t like about this DVD. I found the production values to be low. The menus, although clear and precise, lacked finish. Although this is a training video, not a demo, I felt that more graphic animation in the menus, and even the presentation itself should have been included. Boris Red, is a software that is capable of doing some pretty wild stuff…problem is that we really don’t see that.

Also, the transition between sub-chapters is, well really quite annoying and again lacking in finish. The content is really dry, and although Philip does a good job of explaining concepts, watching the entire DVD in one sitting is near impossible. I guess my biggest beef is that after watching some of the total training DVDs for another software, my hopes were high that the Boris Red DVD would equal or surpass them. This simply was not the case. Sorry, but I need eye-candy ! That said, the Boris Red DVD would get me animating probably a little quicker, also the Boris DVD is all one DVD and is 79$ USD, not on 14 DVDs and over 600$ USD.

Conclusion and COW Rating:

All in all this is a great training video for the rookie. I would not recommend this for the more advanced user, but the intermediate user may pick up some nifty little tricks. The price is definitely right. If you can look beyond the little touches that would have made a good DVD a great DVD, then you will get a great deal of out this DVD.

I would definitely recommend this DVD to new or even intermediate users of the program, I would not, however, recommend this DVD to advanced users of the program.

I am giving this DVD a rating of four cows on five, but I am basing this rating purely on the information this DVD conveys. This rating does not include production values, as it would have made the DVD score lower.


          

-- Mark Harvey

###


You can interact with Mark Harvey online in the Cow's Boris FX forum




©2004 by Mark Harvey and CreativeCow.net. All rights are reserved.



Click here to visit Creative COW's user forums and many other articles if you got here by a direct link to this page





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