September 13, 2016
IBC 2016

Boris Buys GenArts—What Does This Mean for Sapphire and Other Plugins?

Genarts Sapphire
Plugin developer Boris, which bought Imagineer Systems two years ago, is still on a shopping spree.

Plugin developer Boris, best known for their Continuum line of plugins, announced at IBC last week their purchase of GenArts, whose Sapphire line of plugins has been popular across a wide range of broadcast, cinema, and advertising productions. Among many other features, Sapphire has long had one of the best tools around for adding flare to your footage in post, one that offers a lot of options and control for crafting picture perfect flares. Nothing quite compares to in-camera flares, but Sapphire comes close, and especially if you are working on a green screen production, where flares might make it harder to cut a clean key, it's been a go-to tool.

There are a bunch of new tools and features included in the Sapphire 10 update, like new presets, new builder tools for creating your own plugins, and new tools including a Roman Tile generator with grout selection, a new hand painted brushstroke generator, and S-Luna for moon generation. Sapphire claims that the moon generator will be date and time accurate, which should help avoid situations like the James Cameron vs. Neal DeGrasse Tyson controversy.

Boris purchased Imagineer Systems, the creator of Mocha planar motion tracking software, back in 2014, and has continued to develop that software including integration through OFX with Blackmagic Fusion, and a new cloud licensing system. The goal with the purchase of Sapphire is to further the development of those tools and to have a complete package of tools for post professionals that plugs into the widest possible array of software platforms. Many Sapphire plugins are currently software accelerated through CUDA, which works with NVIDIA cards, while Boris has developed plugins that utilize both CUDA and open platform OpenCL. Hopefully, we will see more OpenCL integration into the Sapphire line as AMD grows in popularity, especially in Macs.

While acquisitions don't always work out for huge companies (Google's purchase of Nest hasn't lead to much improvement there), smaller companies have shown some really great benefits from combining forces for a common goal. Obviously, as we discussed last week, Blackmagic has a history of acquiring companies and integrating them well into a holistic platform; Boris has proven with Mocha Pro that the company doesn't let its purchases languish.

What do you think: are you excited to see what happens here, or worried that less competition in the plugin space will end up leading to less innovation?     

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