June 30, 2011

GenArts gives Sapphire the Edge

GenArts has introduced Sapphire Edge, a new budget visual effects plug in, for Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas, with support for FCP X (now in beta) scheduled for August.

The $299 plug-in comes with more than 350 high-quality preset looks that are quickly applied to any video, via its Preset browser (the FCP X version will be integrated into the X interface). Looks appear to be easy to customise, but users will also be able to download further looks every month from FX Central (this collection will cost $99 per year, but the first year is included).

It is "very streamlined and easy to use," and is aimed at lower budget users than its high-end software, said Todd Prives, GenArts' Senior Business Development and Marketing Manager, who previewed Sapphire Edge at last week's FCPUG London SuperMeet,

It gives real-time previews of how an effect will look with the scene you are using it with. "There's not a whole lot of fiddling around with parameters to get a look," he added.

It allows users to quickly stylize and colour-correct any video with effects such as Filmstyle, FilmDamage, and TVDamage, and add numerous transitions with natural looking lighting effects such as DissolveLensFlare, DissolveGlow, and DissolveGlint.

The software has multiprocessor and GPU acceleration support, and will run on FCP 6.0 or newer, with Motion 3.0.2 or newer, and Final Cut Express 4 or newer, as well as with Sony Vegas Pro 10.

Sapphire Edge is powered by the same effects engine that powers GenArts' high-end ($1,699) Sapphire effects platform, which works with a wider range of host software, including Avid, After Effects, Autodesk and Nuke. It was used by ILM to create some effects for Iron Man, and is used by the BBC, CNN, ESPN, HBO, NBC, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

By David Fox

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