Review: Sapphire 10 by Mark Colegrove at MicroFilmmaker Magazine

Review: Sapphire 10 by Mark Colegrove at MicroFilmmaker Magazine
News, Reviews Oct 11, 2017 at 09:35 AM

While Sapphire 11 will be out very soon, it’s worth looking at the current version. The next version will only be better! Check out this great review of Sapphire 10 by Mark Colegrove of MicroFilmmaker Magazine.

Sapphire 10 review at Microfilmmaker MagazinePublisher: GenArts
Platform: PC & Mac
x32/x64: x32 & x64
Description: Effects Plug-Ins
Purchase/Rent: Purchase & Rental
Pricing: $1700-$2800 (Permanent License), $499/year Subsciption
Download Demo: Click Here
Expected Release: Available Now
Review Issue: #129 (11/16)
Reviewed By: Mark Colegrove
Final Score: 9.3 (out of 10)

For those that haven’t looked into Sapphire before, what it includes is a broad bundle of over 250 effects plug-ins and transitions ranging from adjustment tools, glows, stylized looks, generated backgrounds and more. It works on just about every platform out there, Adobe Premiere & After Effects, Avid, Nuke, Autodesk & Davinci. The only noticeably absent NLE is Final Cut X. (You can read the last review we did in the Sapphire line here.)

Microfilmmaker award of superiorityMany awesome effects have been added to the bundle over the years, and the release of 10 touts several new ones like Brush & Roman Tile plus over 150 new presets. To boot, all the old favorites are still here. For years I’ve relied on the Dissolve Glow, Film Look, Damaged TV effects, and one particular favorite – Beauty, which functions as a “skin smoother” that doesn’t blur your subject.

sapphire 10 review beauty microfilmmaker magazine

Ease of Use

Once installed, Sapphire effects appear among your other effects in whichever program you’re using. For this review, I’m using Premiere and After Effects. You can quickly and easily see which effect is capable of by applying it to a clip or object and opening the Preset Browser. When we last looked at Sapphire 7, this was a relatively new feature, so not every effect had presets associated with it, but now, with this latest release we’re treated to over 3000 presets across all of Sapphire, which also helps you discover some capabilities you may not have known where there. For example, an effect like PsychoBlobs which looks literally insane when first dropped on your clip, has more subtle uses readily apparent once you open the preset browser.

sapphire review microfilmmaker magazine preset browser

Also worth mentioning, when it comes to ease, are the transitions. While a simple dissolve or cut works 90% of the time, with Sapphire you have some great glow and lens flare transitions, swish pans, and more that can all easily be slapped on in Premiere and adjusted just like you would any other transition. I’ve come to rely on these over the years as a quick and easy way to spice up my projects.

sapphire review microfilmmaker magazine transitions

Depth of Options

As mentioned before there are over 250 effects in Sapphire, so there really is a lot here. While the “adjust” effects may feel redundant to some of your existing color correction tools, for me, what really stands out in Sapphire are the Lighting effects, and many of the transitions. The Lens Flare effect alone has over 100 presets that actually mimic the look you’d get from lenses of a specific focal length, and comes with a Lens Flare Builder that actually lets you delve into more custom design work.

Microfilmmaker sapphire review lens flare

One great new feature is the addition of the effect Builder, which allows you to mix and match multiple Sapphire effects to create your own custom effects. First you simply apply the “S_Effect” to your clip. This time when you open the preset browser you’ll see everything available to you. After you choose a preset, hit the “edit effect” button that will open up the new builder window that will then allow you to stack effects using a node-based browser, and create your own entirely new effects, which you can save for future use as well.

sapphire 10 effects builder microfilmmaker review


All of the effects in Sapphire are GPU accelerated, and render out extremely quick. As a matter of fact, most play back smoothly without rendering. It’s also worth noting that GenArts is constantly releasing patches for its products to make sure that they will work with the latest versions of your NLE, which these days seem to be updating faster than ever before.


One of the drawbacks to Sapphire has always been the price. It’s sort of the Bugatti of the effects world. Yes, it’s the largest, most complete, and best thought out set of plugins on the market, but you will end up paying for it. It retails roughly $700 more than its closest comparable competitor, Boris Continuum Complete 10, and at $499 per year for a subscription to Sapphire, that still may seem a bit steep for many of us Microfilmmakers out there. However, I would say if you’re an editor who also does motion graphic design, it will greatly enhance your workflow.

It’s obviously worth checking out the trial version to see how you might be able to use Sapphire. Now that I’ve been using it for a few years, I tend to get withdrawal symptoms when editing a project on a machine that doesn’t have it.

Final Comments

The release of Sapphire 10 comes right on the heels of GenArts acquisition by another effects giant, Boris, makers of the aforementioned Boris Continuum Complete. As for now, the merger doesn’t affect the consumer. Both companies function independently as far as the consumer is concerned, although maybe we’ll see some benefits down the road of some cross-packaging or merging of the two platforms. It’ll be interesting to see how these products develop in tandem over the next few years, and possibly get even better through the shared knowledge between both companies!

microfilmmaker grade


Mark Colegrove

Mark ColgroveMark Colegrove is the director of 2008's horror/comedy Isle of the Damned, which is self-distributed through his production company, Dire Wit Films. Based in Maryland, he currently produces corporate video and is working on his second feature, Driven to Succeed, a driver's ed comedy.


This review was reprinted with permission from MicroFilmmaker Magazine.

Posted by Michele Yamazaki