Viva Sony Vegas
Who said professional editing programs had to be difficult to learn? Beginners and advanced users alike take note: Sony’s premier editing software offers a very easy learning curve while maintaining the integrity and power of a professional editing suite. Whether you’re editing together a highlight video from last Christmas or producing a feature length movie in HDV, Sony Vegas 7 has the tools and stability to suit your needs.
Installation is fairly quick, and Vegas must be activated before use.
With installation complete, we quickly dove into the program. The main interface is slightly different from most other editing programs, namely the timeline is at the top of the screen with the media pool and preview window being at the bottom, However, the interface can be customized to emulate other editing programs such as Avid, Final Cut or Premiere. The preview window has several display modes from “Draft” to “Best” quality, allowing realtime playback even on slower machines.
The video capture interface is intuitive and well laid out. Offering both basic and advanced capture modes, Vegas allows the user to quickly capture video with the touch of a button, or for more advanced users, the batch capture allows you to capture only selected areas from the source media.
We tested the program on a Dell XPS system with a 3.0GHz Dual Pentium Processor. The minimum requirements for the program call for at least an 800MHz processor and 256MB of RAM. Oh, and you should definitely have plenty of hard drive space available, but hopefully that goes without saying.After dropping our first video clip onto the timeline and performing a few quick edits, we quickly noticed how fast and smooth the program handles. Each video track contains a group of tools and controls including track automation, track effects and motion tracking. To customize even more, advanced users can quickly change the track properties, allowing for complex compositing or masking effects. Each individual clip also contains a set of controls that allow the user to make adjustments or add effects to a clip on a single timeline without affecting the other clips on the same timeline.
Composite level and velocity or speed control are both handled using an envelope, which is great for those of us who work visually.
Vegas 7 comes with fairly good- sized effects package, ranging from simple color correction tools to chroma key effects. The effects interface is very intuitive and offers the user full key framing capabilities to take full control over your video effects.
The audio track behaves similar to the video track with a few less controls to work with. Vegas allows the user to work in either stereo format or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Again, Vegas comes with quite a collection of audio effects, from simple EQ control to delay and reverb effects that give your audio depth. One key feature worth mentioning is Vegas allows the user to record audio in real time, making voice over work or simply recording your own soundtrack very easy and convenient. So not only is Vegas a complete video editing program, with live recording ability and virtually unlimited tracks, it works quite well as a multi-track audio editor as well. What a bonus!
Editing in Vegas is surprisingly intuitive and quick. There are usually 2 or 3 different ways to get the same desired result, and I found myself trying things to see if it would work and being pleasantly surprised when it actually did. For instance, I thought pushing a video clip into the clip behind it should automatically create a cross dissolve and it does. What a concept. And pretty much everything is drag and droppable. Simple moves such as fade-in/fade-out’s, trimming, track splitting, or even envelope editing don’t even require a tool change. Vegas also offers its fair share of complex features such as project nesting, which allows you to take a previously edited project (a .veg file) and import it into your timeline. This is especially handy for large projects or instances where there may be more than one editor. Overall the editing capabilities and workability are as complex as they need to be and as simple as they should be.
Vegas can import almost any file format, including MPEG, MP3, MP4, WMV, WAV and a whole list of others that I haven’t even heard of, and it supports native HDV, SD/HD-SDI, and all XDCAM formats.
The exporting capabilities found in Vegas 7 are just as extensive. You can render your project to a wide variety of formats, including MPEG 1, 2 and 4, WMV, Quicktime, AVI and even WAV and MP3 for those audio-only projects. You can also render to MP4, allowing you to put video on your Sony PSP (PlayStation Portable) or iPod Video. Other render options include print to tape, export to XDCAM disc, and you can even render your project to 24p.
The Final Word
Sony Vegas 7 will appeal to beginners as much as to professionals. The easy learning curve, intuitive design and high end capabilities make it the perfect application for anyone looking to start editing without the intimidation of having to learn a massive editing program. It’s also ideal for those with editing experience looking to graduate to a more advanced application without the worry of outgrowing it in the future. Download the free 30-day trial version and check it out!
Trial Version Available: Yes, 30 days
Operating System: Windows XP
Minimum CPU: 800MHz
Minimum RAM: 256MB
Minimum Hard Drive Space for Installation: 200MB
Capture Formats: DV, HDV, built-in SDI support
Batch Capture: Yes
Automatic Scene Detection: Yes
User Interface: Yes
Number of Video Tracks: Unlimited
Number of Audio Tracks: Unlimited
Nesting Tracks: Yes
Audio/Video Level Envelopes: Yes
Audio Scrub: Yes
Keyframe Animation: Yes
Number of Video Transitions 201
Number of Video Filters: 319 + 65 third party
Background Rendering: No
Realtime Software Previews: Yes
Optimized for Dual Processor/HyperThreading: Yes
Third-party Plug-in Support: Yes
Encoding Formats AA3, AC3, AIF, ATRAC, AVI, MOV, MP3,,MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MP4, Sony MXF, GG,PCA, RM, W64, WAV,
Batch Render: Yes, with Vegas script support
DVD Authoring Software Included: Yes, DVD Architect
- Easy to learn
- Comprehensive interface
- No background rendering
Sony Vegas 7 is an easy to learn professional program with all of the capabilities of any other program in its class.
Brent Holland is a wedding/event video producer and owner of a local video production company.
$849 ($199 upgrade)
Sony Media Software
1617 Sherman Ave.
Madison, WI 53704