Nattress Film FX Filters for Final Cut Pro review
by Nigel Cooper
The Nattress "Film Effects" is the 24p Film Effect designed especially for Final Cut Pro. Film Effects does everything you need to make your digital video look like film - whether PAL or NTSC
Many digital video editors who shoot on digital formats like MiniDV or DVCAM often spend a huge amount of time in post production trying desperately to get that "Film Look". They will spend hours de-saturating the colours, de-interlacing, adding Gaussian blur, grain and who knows what else. Some people say (myself included) the only way you can get a true film look is to, well, shoot on film, be it 16mm, super 16 or even the Hollywood standard of 35mm.
Well after trying the set of film FX filters by Nattress I am about to change my lifetimes tune. This set of plug-in filters designed for Final Cut Pro are just superb, they will save you hours in the edit suit changing settings trying to get a decent film look and because the Nattress Film FX filters are native Final Cut Pro plug-ins there is no need to use an external FX programme. Each of these filters comes with a preset, well several actually, then when you have the one you want you can treat it just like any other Final Cut plug-in and go in and tweak the settings and fine tune them to your own personal tastes.
Because creating a decent (and believable) film look can be a tricky business the designer has included a great set of presets.
After choosing one of the film fx plug-ins, if you are a PAL user, Film Effects has a high quality smart de-interlacer that will convert your 50i video to 25p, then how you change the presets in the filters tab in the viewer is entirely up to you, personally I tend to leave them at their defaults as the designer obviously knew what he was doing when he built these filters so I will stick to his recommendations in the presets department.
Using the filters is a breeze, just like any other Final Cut Pro filter it's simply a case of dragging one of the film fx filters to the clip then click on the filters tab in the viewer and adjust the many settings as you see fit. Alternatively you can choose to leave the filters at their default settings and they will give you superb results. These plug-in filters are also quicker in terms of rendering speed when compared to the competition, whilst I'm on the subject of rendering I will just point out that you should always apply the G Film effect before you apply any other Final Cut filters, this will speed up the rendering times.
There are several plug-ins that will make your digital video take on the tonal characteristics of film and because film can become damaged or scratched during storage there are plugins that allow you to add dirt, scratches and hair to give it that totally convincing look and I have to say they all work very well indeed.
There is no doubt that DV formats are today's film students weapon of choice simply because it's a much cheaper format to use than say super 16mm film, also it's lighter and more readily available in college media departments, however digital formats like MiniDV or DVCAM are not without their faults, resolution of the colour (chroma) part of the video signal is one of them. The low chroma resolution of DV is perfectly acceptable in many cases, but can cause problems when certain effects are used, like chroma-keys (blue and green screen effects). G Nicer is a chroma-upsampler which uses a new algorithm to intelligently improve the quality of the chroma by looking at the high resolution brightness information in the video as well as the colour. This technique can provide you with a better when outputting to a higher quality format like Digital Betacam, or when applying chroma-key effects. G Nicer is not a chroma blur filter. Although blurring the chroma can help achieve a better looking chroma-key or transfer, it will not put back in some of the information that was lost - just spread what information there is about a bit to make its low resolution less noticeable. G Nicer puts back in a lot of the information that was lost. It can't put it all back in - that's impossible - but it does help a lot!
For £75 the Film FX plug-in set of filters includes:
G Film Plus
G Film Presets Explorer
G Film Damage
G Film Dissolve
G Film Flash Filter
G Film Flash Transition
The Nattress Film FX filters are worth every penny, trying to get these quality and very convincing results just a couple of years back would have cost thousands of pounds in a professional post-production house, in fact it still does. Today if you have an Apple Mac computer with Final Cut Pro and this set of plug-in filters you can get the same result for a fraction of the price. Check them out at the Nattress website below.
©2004 Nigel Cooper
Product: Final Cut Pro Film-Effects plugins
Title: Nattress Film-Effects
Platform: Mac OSX - Final Cut Pro
Reviewed by: Nigel Cooper
Review Date: 10-03-2004
Summary: UK born and raised Graeme Nattress has obviously put in a lot of painstaking hours developing these film-look plugins for Final Cut Pro and I for one am grateful. They are quite simply the best film-effect plugins you can buy for Final Cut, cheap too.
Pros: Ease of use, superb results, price.
Cons: Nothing really.