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Sony Vegas Pro 8

First look at Sony's new professional NLE By Heath McKnight

Sony Creative Software recently shipped the latest version of its very popular, professional editing program, Vegas Pro 8. Some features include working with AVCHD and XDCAM video files, among others, along with a more powerful titling application, ProType. Another interesting feature/function is the capability to work in 32-bit floating point video processing, giving it a more aggressive way to cut and finish video. One other feature that makes sense is support with third party hardware cards, including industry leaders AJA and DeckLink. Sony was kind enough to send a full copy of Vegas, and I decided to take it for a spin.

Just so you know, I pretty much work with Final Cut Pro, with the occasional edit session in Avid, so this is new territory for me personally, but some of my colleagues work with Vegas exclusively. Parts of my last feature film, 9:04 AM, feature visual effects that were cut together in Vegas, and outputted to QuickTime HD to be put into the film. So I'm no stranger to the application; I've just never personally used it before.

I like Vegas a lot, and enjoyed using it with several colleagues who already own a copy of Vegas 8, along with me using it on my own system. On a modern system that's running quite fast, I was able to do some fast renders with HDV (native .m2t) clips and filters. Many of the existing filters are nice, and the new ones in version 8 rival those found in Magic Bullet, and other third party applications. 

I also enjoyed working with multiple formats and frame rates, such as HDV 24p and DV 60i, something Vegas has offered for a little while now, and I'm happy it's appeared in the latest version of Final Cut Pro. Multi-camera functions and the sound mixer are great, too. Actually, I think the sound design and mixing functions of Vegas are incredible, a major feature in every version of Vegas.

Two years ago, I joined Douglas Spotted Eagle (Spot) as co-instructor on the Sony/VASST HDV road tour. I learned a lot about Vegas, which became Sony's premiere NLE program. What blew me away the most was the capability to do multiple instances of a Vegas project. What that means is, and I'll just describe what Spot did on his speedy dual-core system with tons of RAM (speedy for 2005): he opened an existing project, dropped a filter on a large chunk of video, then started rendering. In Final Cut Pro, you would sit back and wait for the render to finish, but Spot wasn't limited to that in Vegas.

Vegas Interface

While the project rendered, Spot opened another project, one that was rendered and featured uncompressed HD, and hit play with a loop, so it played over and over again.  Again, the other project was still rendering. He then opened a third project and began capturing video, while the others did their thing!  He even went back to each project, and showed off that each one was still working. Of course, things can slow down a bit when you're working on multiple projects, especially if uncompressed HD or SD video is involved.


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