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   Software Review
   Nattress Film Effects, Version 2.5

   Programmer: Graeme Nattress
   Publisher: Nattress Software
   Genre: FCP Effects Plug-in Software

   Release Dates: August 18, 2005

   Sample Footage: Click Here
   Demo Downloads: Click Here
   Cost: $100.00

   Review Date:
October 15, 2005
   Reviewed By: Jeremy Hanke
Final Score:

Graeme Nattress is something of a legend in the editing community in general and in the microfilmmaker community in specific. He saw the writing on the wall from the early days of Final Cut Pro and started creating effects plug-in packages that would meet the needs of editors and filmmakers that would utilize the program.

A creator and innovator, through and through, Graeme will try out new plug-ins and effects just to see what might work. Because not all of these plug-ins are generally marketable, he allows many of the more eclectic and experimental ones to be downloaded from his site free of charge. The ones that are marketable end up getting pulled into one of his effects packages.

Film Effects is perhaps one of his most well-known filter packages because it aims to help filmmakers who can't afford to shoot on film get that film look. This is not to say that it will actually be converted to 24 P for film out work. What it means is that it will convert your footage to 24 P then down-convert it with a 3:2 pull down to 29.97 fps NTSC. While this means that it's more of a visual effect, it's still very helpful. (If you actually need to convert your footage to 24 fps and leave it there, Nattress also publishes a plug-in package called Standards Conversion 2.0, which will actually convert to and from 24 frame film standard for film out requirements.) It also means that you can use standard NTSC editing space in Final Cut Pro, without having to go into 24 frames per second editing.

We are now up to version 2.5 of Film Effects with lots of new filter effects to go along with some nice additional De-Interlacing and Chroma up-rezzing options.

With that said, let's break it all down.

Ease of Use
Film Effects is very easy to use. Working as a dedicated plug-in system for Final Cut Pro, it doesn't require you to tweak with anything in After Effects like the original Magic Bullet software did and it actually renders more rapidly than Magic Bullet Editors.

While it is simple to slap on Graeme's presets, you can tweak every single one of the filters just as you would a native filter with Final Cut 5.0. This means that your ability to touch things up to your hearts delight is pretty much unending.

Depth of Options
There are lots and lots of features and filter presets for you to fiddle with Film Effects 2.5. I'll basically cover the new features, as I've touched on many of the older features already.

People familiar with the G Film presets of Film Effects know that it's designed to give you the options to adjust your DV footage to more closely resemble film. In the past, this has always involved lots of rendering. In the new addition of Film Effects, the G Film and G Film Presets Explorer now has a Real Time (RT) rendering interface to take advantage of your more powerful Mac and improvements in the Final Cut 5.0 RT engine. (It's not quite as sophisticated as the RT feature in the upcoming Magic Bullet Editors 2.0--which will specifically power much of it's rendering through your graphics card--but it's still pretty nice if you have a newer Mac.)

In addition to this new feature, there are thing's like Smart De-Interlacer that helps make De-Interlacing look more fluid and a lot less chunky, by analyzing motion and determining the best fields to shift together. It's a far superior mode than just having Final Cut Pro De-Interlace the even or odd fields and hope you come out with something you like.

He's also included a Vignette option, which can be very nice for wedding videos or dream sequences, as well as some nice film dissolves, some improved chroma sharpeners, a few new gamma control plugins, and some improvements on his chroma upsampler, which improves DV precision for things like blue-screen and green-screen work. (Especially nice due to some of the new lower-budget green screen kits that are coming out.)

In addition to these elements, he's included 15 filter presets to change a lot of the color and look of your films, from one's designed to replicate the filmic look of "The Crow" to those designed to replicate the look of Hell. While many of these presets did not seem quite as smoothly professional as those found in Magic Bullet Editors, you could easily adjust them to get precisely the look you were going for.

So long as you don't mind tweaking your filters a bit, there's more than enough depth in Film Effects 2.5 for nearly anyone.

For the money, Film Effects 2.5 is an amazingly great value. It's a third the cost of Magic Bullet Editors (a fourth the cost of the newest version!) and it's got nearly all the functionality, plus the ability to adjust the frame rate look and it renders faster to boot!

While there are a few presets that I prefer in MBE, you can attain most of them just by playing around with the more basic filters that Graeme includes. (Plus, Graeme's the sort of person who would program a filter preset just for you if you wanted it after you bought the package!)

Overall Comment
Graeme Nattress is one of the pioneer programmers for Final Cut Pro plugins and his expertise really shows in this new release of Film Effects. At less than $100, this will allow you to create the look you're going for without breaking the bank. A must-own for any microfilmmaker using Final Cut Pro as their editing suite.

Ease of Use            
Depth of Options            
Overall Score           

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