Sony Vegas Pro 13 Review

Screen grabs of Sony Vegas Pro 13

Sony Vegas Pro is well known as a powerful, yet beginner-friendly video editing program. Boasting several new professional level features and a trio of new plug-ins, Version 13 has a lot to offer, but is it enough to justify an upgrade?

A wide array of video editing software programs dot the post-production landscape these days. They may be simple, inexpensive programs that pretty much do everything for you or they may be very sophisticated and powerful with steep learning curves and a price tag to match. One thing Sony Creative Software has managed to do quite well with their Vegas Pro editor is balance a powerful feature set with a beginner friendly interface and workflow, and a wallet friendly price. 

The Basics

Sony Vegas Pro 13 is a timeline-based editor that is fairly easy to learn and use. If you are already familiar with version 12 you will find that little has changed, except for the addition of a few new pro features, which we’ll cover later. Some of the functions formerly located on an upper toolbar have been moved beneath the Timeline, bringing oft used tools a little closer to the action. Five new edit tools are accessible from this new toolbar: Shuffle, Slip, Slide, Time Stretch/Compress and Split Trim. These functions were previously available via the keyboard but may now be accessed using clickable icons. A few improvements have also been made to project archiving wherein all the media files related to a project are saved into one location, included nested timelines. 

Pro Stuff

The real differences lie in the professional features that have been added to this new version. Remember the good ol’ days of having to jockey the volume buttons on the remote control because the commercials would come on and blast you out of the room? Well, when an overly loud commercial interrupted a certain congresswoman’s family dinner a few years back, the result was a broadly accepted piece of legislation that became known as the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act. Television broadcasters are now required to meet certain specific audio guidelines in their broadcasting or face penalties. To facilitate compliance with the CALM Act Vegas Pro 13 has introduced Loudness Meters.

Screen grab of Loudness Meter
Loudness Meters will be a valuable addition for those working in the broadcast market. The average levels of your audio are measured according to the legislated standard so you can easily conform it to the allowed range of loudness units prior to broadcast, saving the broadcaster from costly fines and yourself from an embarrassing re-do.

Also great for the broadcast market, Vegas 13’s Proxy-First workflow can offer some real time saving benefits. If you’re shooting with the right camera (XDCAM footage) and have a Sony Wireless Adapter you can record hi-res files to the in-camera media then wirelessly send lo-res proxies back to your editor, who can download and edit them, while you high tail it back to the station. When you get there, the edited proxy version can be re-linked to the hi-res files and rendered out just in time for the evening news. Pretty cool, huh?

Vegas Pro Connect is an app that allows multiple iPad users to collaborate with one another as they review a project, placing notes and markers directly into the timeline. Offline mode lets them download proxies which they can then comment on in the same way and then later sync their proxy versions back to the master project. To more easily facilitate the process the app also turns the iPad into a gesture activated control pad.

Finally, Vegas Pro 13 includes seven really cool Hitfilm effects from FXHOME such as Bleach Bypass, Light Flares, TV Damage, Witness Protection, and a bunch of goodies from New Blue Fx including Chroma Key Pro, Garbage Matte, Picture in Shape and Saturation EQ. It also includes iZotope Nectar Elements, a mastering tool for your audio crammed full of presets for sweetening and creating special effects.      

The Verdict

Sony Vegas Pro 13 is a powerful, affordable editing program. If you don’t already have an editor or are currently using a less sophisticated program and would like to up your game, you can download the trial and take it for a spin. If you are a non-professional user and are already using Vegas Pro 12, then you may want to wait for the next update to come around. Except for the new pro features in version 13, not a lot has changed. If, on the other hand you are a professional user then check out the pro features and see what you think.

Sony Creative Software, Inc.
www.sonycreativesoftware.com
Vegas Pro 13 (tested): Purchase $599.95; Upgrade $249.95
Vegas Pro 13 Edit: Purchase $399.95; Upgrade $199.95
Vegas Pro 13 Suite: Purchase $799.95; Upgrade $449.95
Trial versions available 

Tech Specs

Operating System: Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 (64-bit)
Minimum CPU: 2GHz (multicore or multiprocessor CPU recommended for HD or stereoscopic 3D; 8 cores recommended for 4K)
Minimum RAM: 4GB (8GB recommended; 16GB recommended for 4K)
Minimum Hard Drive: 1GB required for program installation
Graphics Card: GPU-acceleration requires OpenCL supported NVIDIA, AMD/ATI or Intel GPU with 512MB memory; 1GB for 4K

Strengths

  • Professional features
  • Collaborative app
  • Affordable compared to other Windows based pro-level editors
  • Useful plugins

Weaknesses

  • Not a lot of enhancements to make it worthwhile as an upgrade for the average user


Contributing Editor Mark Holder is a video producer and trainer.

Issue: 

Mark
Holder
Wed, 08/13/2014 - 5:04pm

Comments

4K is seemless with Vegas Pro

tomsyl's picture

I tried them all:  Premiere, Avid, FCP, and finally settled on Vegas Pro.  I use quite an array of plug-ins (because I use a myriad of cameras), and worried that when I added 4K into the mix that it would grind my computer to a halt.  It didn't.  In fact, I haven't even noticed a difference.  Now I'm filming with both the Sony FS700RH and the Sony AX100 4K cameras, and my workflow hasn't changed.  Sony accepts almost every format that exists---that cannot be said for FCP or others, who are trying to force a certain format on the industry.  I can't think of one reason to ever leave Vegas Pro for another NLE.

Glad to see Vegas getting the press

Jmizera's picture

I too have tried most all of them.  Avid, Edius, Premiere, and so on.  None are pefect, including Vegas, but one thing became very clear.  Most common tasks that I do in Vegas seen far more intuitive that in any other NLE.  Often a number of additional steps, and far less intuitive.  

 

It's nice to see Vegas get some press now and then, because so much of the established DV plublications esentially ignore it.  

 

Being able to drop virtually any combination of media right on the timeline and just go, is a joy.  

Vegas Pro 13

I have been a Vegas users since the Sonic Foundry days and have upgraded every time itis available.  When Vegas 12 arrived it was a bit of a dissapointment. It had issues which made it very difficult to work with.  However I am finding Version 13 a big improvement.  And using it in conjunction with the Production Assistant program, it has made leaps and bounds of improvement.  It is a very underrated editing package.  

In todays marketplace, I am concentrating more on internet based production rather than broadcast and the ability of this package to deliver a multitude of different formats works for me, and my clients.  I shoot on P2 and deliver as *.mp4 for internet use and the pictures are wonderful.  

This is an incredibly versatile package.