Jun 22, 2010

 Furnace Core filter set - The Foundry

For as long as there have been film and video editors there has also been the need to have a robust and usable toolkit of filters and effects to add spice, fill and even correction to motion picture visuals.  And with the advent of cost-effective desktop editing solutions such as Avid, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro so too have come a handful of developers that offer a suite of effects to add to the toolkit.

One of the those cost-effective and usable options is the set of effects offered up in Furnace Core from "The Foundry" in the UK.  Like most other filter set offerings there is a small batch of highly effective and fast-to-process of effects that can be considered staples in any editors bag of tricks, however the one that I was most interested in and has possibly the greatest implementation across the various genres of motion picture work thus making it one of the most utilized and important effect is that of re-timing, appropriately named by The Foundry as "Kronos".

FCP has it's own built-in retiming tool which got a slight tweak in version 7 however it still suffers from the same two issues: The end result isn't as good looking as it could be, as proven by other re-timing plugins and, it's very slow to do it's analysis and work.

Prior to testing Kronos the best re-timing tool I've ever used was Twixtor by ReVisionFX.  The use of and output from Twixtor is absolutely gorgeous, the problem with Twixtor?  The cost, at $900 for the full "pro" version it costs more than the entire FC suite!  That's hardly cost effective by today's standards and I can't think of any FCP-based editor who could justify such a premium for a single effect no matter how gorgeous.

While the user interface and implementation in the FCP timeline is different than Twixtor, Kronos brings all the gorgeous end-result beauty without the high price-tag and, since it's part of a set of filters in the Furnace Core set it's a bargain at $500.

Why is re-timing such an important tool?  One only needs to look at almost any national ad campaign on broadcast TV especially during prime-time; you'd be hard-pressed to find one that didn't use some form of re-timing whether it's a ramp up or down.

Ramping or, re-timing as it's more commonly known, has as much an immediate and global effect on the feel and immediacy of any clip just as controlling depth-of-field does during production; the end result is nothing short of stunningly dramatic - when done properly.  Thus retiming can be used for literally any kind of production, whether it's uncle Joe's wedding day or that national ad-spot.

But a filter is only as useful as the editor deems it and much of that usefulness comes in the form of responsiveness and ease of use; Kronos has both in spades as it's much faster at doing it's job than the built-in speed tool in FCP and it's interface is just as intuitive as any other plug-in based effect.  And as mentioned earlier the end-result output is far and away superior to FCP's weak and almost useless implementation of a speed tool.


Kronos is a very well implemented effect with high-quality results that are commercial-grade.  Adding the list of other effects, DeFlicker, DeNoise, ReGrain, DirtRemoval, MatchGrade and MotionBlur adds up to a hugely useful and creative toolset for any FCP editor.

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