By: Sony Creative Software Inc.
Wouldn’t it be surprising that anyone who has access to the internet has not created or posted any video online? From cities to rural areas, most people have tasted the modern trend of videos and are actively participating in it.
In those online videos, some people are known to post highly edited video files. These special effects can be something as simple as color correction to complex CGI effects or chroma key effects.
Many of you may wonder how people do such extreme editing. How are these movies with high CGI effects made? All these questions puzzle the majority of masses.
The answer to this is the Video Editors. These are complex software products that are capable of editing a video or profoundly altering these files, with stunning effects. Movies utilize such products to create all those amazing effects.
In a long list of many video editors, cloud or offline, we now have to review Vegas Pro 17. This top-class video editing software, Vegas Pro, has been long in the market and has satisfied millions of customers and movie studios.
The first sneak peek for Vegas Pro was given by Sonic Foundry in June 1999. Later in July 1999, version 1.0 was unveiled. After its success, Sony Creative Software acquired it in 2003.
As of now, Magix Inc. has acquired Vegas Pro since 2016. Even with these ups & downs, Vegas Pro hasn’t flinched and upgraded its performance and capabilities.
Magix already has its own video creator called Magix Movie Edit Pro. There are some similarities present in both of them. But regardless, Vegas was launched way before Magix and so had the upper hand in terms of features and stability.
Currently, we are reviewing Vegas Pro 17. The modern-day video editing features like multi-camera editing, 4k editing, stereoscopic 3D effects, support for HDV/SDI/XDCAM, etc. were already in Vegas Pro 8,9, and 10.
This indicates that they were well ahead of their time. Now, it has one of the most stable offline video editing platforms. Vegas Pro has been used by many film festival winners and even in news broadcasts like BBC Nightline.
With such an intense background, it will be more fun exploring the features of Vegas Pro and judge its true potential. There are several methods for doing that, and we will explore them as we go further into the review.
Instead of lurking through the features from the get-go, let us go through a swift outline of Vegas Pro. Here, we shall see the setup procedure and its UI.
Judging from the results of both, we can then compare and conclude if the software is worthy. Much complicated UI can turn into a lethargic learning experience, even for experienced players.
When it comes to product usage, the requirements are not that high. However, it is highly recommended to use a 2 GB graphics processor with at least 8 GB RAM to get a hassle-free performance.
It may work with relatively lower specs and laggy experience. Regardless, the program is allotted with a 30-day free trial. This can be obtained by registration on the Magix portal.
As the program is installed and registered, the first step is to check its preferences and configure certain settings for graphics, display, performance, etc. Once you commence into Vegas Pro, you’ll find it effortless.
Some changes, like plugins, skin change, and changing GPU settings, will need a restart of the product. The one change we appreciated most was the skin feature. Many video editors come with a very dark skin mode, and that is too frustrating.
It hinders with the natural colors and is demanding for eyes. Vegas Pro offers a light theme, which for us, was the best theme so far.
As for the program’s look, it is somewhat similar to Magix Movie Edit Pro. Although, Vegas Pro packs more detailed features from the get-go.
As for the Vegas Pro UI, it is coherently split into multiple divisions, with a unique function in each. On a fundamental note, Vegas Pro contains sections like timeline panel, media explorer, function toolbar, status bar, sound mixer, and a video preview window.
All these panels can be docked/un-docked. The interface is immaculate comparatively, which shows the designers’ hard work.
There is an interactive help tutorial that guides and gives a brief description of each feature in Vegas Pro.
All in all, Vegas Pro displays its experience with a unique, novice-friendly, and feature-packed UI. With some practice, it is bound to perform significantly in the hands of all kinds of users.
The baby steps in any video editing process are first to import all the relevant media into the video editor. To do that, most editors provide a media manager, as seen in Vegas Pro.
The media manager in Vegas Pro is split into 2 sections, viz., Project Media and File Explorer. The file explorer simply navigates to the local system and helps in adding required media files.
The second one, i.e., project media, stores the media files used in the current project. This is to safeguard the file in case they are moved or deleted. We can relink any altered media files.
Let us import one file and see what we can do in it. From the file explorer, click a video file and add it to the project media list. From here, merely drag and drop a file in the Timeline Workspace.
The timeline will auto-adjust the content track. Typically, we can view a video track and an audio track in it. We will need to manipulate things in accordance to these original tracks to edit the video.
Users can add their own tracks while editing. As we talked about the primary editing feature, we can use the toolbar below this timeline panel. The toolbar has some of the common as well as handy editing tools. These tools are standard playback buttons, editing tools, and quick insert buttons.
The features of Normal Edit Button are shuffle tool, slip tool, slide tool, time-stretch tool, and split trim tool. If any reader has done video editing before, they can recognize some of these easily.
As of now, they worked pretty fine. The quick insert tool could add effects like snapping, ripples, auto-fade, etc. We can even add markers at a specified location in a project. The use of markers in video editing is vital.
The other UI perk we found in Vegas Pro was that the Scrubber Feature. This scrubber’s speed was a bit slow, unlike other editors. There is a Trimmer given aside the main preview window too.
Overall, the functions in the base video editor are elementary. Users need not possess any significant experience to do learn them.
There are zoom IN/OUT button to alter the visible playback field and tracks on the timeline panel. There are mute/solo buttons too in the tracks section to play either single video or mute audio from it.
Concluding to this section, Vegas Pro has given us a very resourceful UI. In most offline video editors, these functions are basic determiners of the product’s capabilities. And as you can judge yourself, it is on par with topmost editors.
Now, let us explore the main editing features of Vegas Pro. These are ones that are used for studio-level video editing.
The above features that included basic trimming, moving, or altering the original playback of a video are quite common, and you need not take the help of a sophisticated video editor to do so.
But the main purpose of such a dedicated and sophisticated editor is to alter the internal graphics of a video. For doing so, we have Vegas Pro 17.
After you are done editing the main video to be worked with, move to other workspaces for checking out the editing effects.
This is one of the main playgrounds of many video editors, which we will be assessed today. The video FX effects contain many effects like Chroma Key, Bezier Masking, and many other effects.
What is to be assessed here if we know what these effects do? As always, we will check the effects, their utility, and then the customization each of them possesses.
The effect’s application is akin to most video editors. Users need to drag & drop these effects into a section in timeline pane.
The procedure is different in Vegas Pro in the sense that the plugins are loaded automatically if an effect is picked from the effect’s menu. The Video FX has listed the effects into 5 main types viz., OFX, 32-bit float point, GPU, Vegas, and 3rd party effect.
Out of these, pick one and drag it to the timeline section. One of the methods to input separate effects into a single video is to split it into multiple parts and later add relevant effects to each of them.
Later on, in the final rendering, the video output is going to be combined automatically. As you drag an effect to the timeline, a pop-up appears asking to add further parameters of selected special effects. The editing parameters in it are quite outstanding. You can add multiple items to this script.
The first thing you encounter here is the Effect Intensity. For most video FX effects, its intensity is controllable. You can utilize the Keyframes in this section to further divide and change the effect intensity in several time intervals.
From here, users can even input the sequence of effects. Just choose Add Chain Effects and keep adding effects as needed. This gives the freedom to use keyframes and then adjust them accordingly.
The best part of this entire experience is that these effects are applied flawlessly. We hardly encountered any lag with mere 4GB RAM. We expect the process to go more smoothly in higher configurations.
Another thing is that this is a unique video editor with chain VFX settings. We added three to four animation effects in a mere 10 seconds clip from the editor interface, which is very astounding.
Similar to this, add your desired effects to other sections too. Due to these editing methods, a very detailed and per second based modifications can be made in a video.
Vegas Pro clearly leads in this section compared to any other video editor. The only thing we felt that can be improved was the editor section to display color codes for distinct effects while using the keyframes.
Users can get confused while adding chain effects in a video section. We hope that this is something developers can comfortably handle.
All in all, you’ll thoroughly enjoy playing with the video FX section. The methods are really straightforward not to cause any confusion among users.
Vegas Pro indeed offers some pro-level special effects and editing elements. The effects vary from product to product, and so we can’t really complain about that.
Vegas Pro has given special provisions for items like backgrounds, textures, etc. This can be done via Media Generators. They are used to add unique graphics to the videos or presentations based on the above theme.
Like video FX, media generators also have their own panel. From this panel, users can pick any format of textures they want to input in a file.
So, how to use these effects in Vegas Pro? The answer to this can be viewed simply by dragging these items into the timeline panel. Several distinct items can be attached to a video file.
In the list of various media generator effects, we can view files as in checkers, color gradients, credit roll, textures, and titles & texts.
The best part is that these effects can be superimposed easily on a video by placing them on another track. Use the Composting Mode to configure in detail the embossing effects of these media.
Media generator's effects like a checkerboard, color gradients, and textures can be used most efficiently and are very frequently seen in many videos.
There is no direct option to configure the transparency of these effects. Instead, they have given a slider to change the overlay intensity of a layer.
Now, once an effect is selected, users need to configure the intensity for each of them. There are several parameters and offsets given to do that.
Operators can even add animation effects in each section with keyframes. Create keyframes and change the intensity of these effects and form a complete change in textures.
Next, we look at the Titles & Texts section. As you see in the preview here, users can pick and add text to their videos. We can even include animation effects to the text on the screen.
Similar to this is the credits roll effect. We can use this to input animated credits to the video screen. The amount of detailed customization here is staggering.
All in all, media generators can be used to not only incorporate various filters or texture effects into the video, but it can also add animated titles and text into a video.
Once you get a hold of this interface, every complex editing in this section will be a child’s play. However, users are advised to use as many tracks as possible for each effect to differentiate them while editing. Also, we can add two separate media textures and superimpose them as above.
The only con we saw here is the lack of a dedicated subtitle editor. Unlike some top video editors, we need to use the text input effect to add subtitles to a video. Some video editors give fields like text, time stamp, and font formatting, explicitly designed for a subtitle editor.
We need a similar and distinct subtitle maker in Vegas Pro too. Nonetheless, they have done superb work here too. We now move to review the transition effects in it.
It will be very disappointing if we lack transition effects in a video editor. This is because video editors are a bit similar to the presentation makers.
In presentation makers like MS PowerPoint, users can create quite discrete animations and other effects by the use of mere photos. In case we are making a wedding film, or birthday memories, we are bound to use such effects in them.
It would be annoying to scroll through such memories one by one. We can present them in some unique or interesting form.
To do so in Vegas Pro 17, we head to the Transitions Panel from this list. This panel, like always, lists out the transition effects and their previews with it.
Now, transitions are added between two slides. These slides can be videos, images, or audio files. The method to input them is identical.
Split a media file and import the selected transition between it. The transition window will now open, and users can then alter the core parameters here.
So, what changes are possible in the current version? Well, the changes given by Vegas Pro are very plain. Users can change the intensity of a transition effect, its shape factors, run-time, and the speed of transition.
Users cannot add multiple keyframe transitions in it. However, there is another thing that new users need to get the hang of, i.e., the time span in each transition.
As you can view in the transition property window, there is no provision to edit the time span. Instead, there is a slider given by Vegas Pro.
With this slider, we can adjust the length of a transition in the timeline. It looks typical but is much more user-friendly.
Overall, even this section comes with its own leaps. Vegas Pro has one of the finest and very diverse transition effects, among many other video editors.
Another feature we missed here was the audio transition effects. This thing could have made it perfect. We hope Vegas Pro procures them in later updates. With this, the transition section comes to an end.
One of the prominent tasks of every video editor is to alter or enhance a video. It can be quite disappointing if we merely enhance a video and forget about improving its audio.
One criterion for most video editors is to have an excellent audio mixer. Well, in that case, Vegas Pro comes with a comprehensive set of tools to make sure the audio isn’t left out while making a movie.
Now, on the interface of this software, you can see that there is a provision in the timeline to add audio tracks and also separate the audio track from a chosen video.
Now, there is a Master Bus panel in it to control the audio properties. There are few options to alter audio when you right-click an audio track in the timeline, viz., edit audio, trim audio, audio FX, etc.
When it comes to audio editing, there is no separate tool given by Vegas Pro. However, we can use another product by Vegas called as Vegas Audio Editor, which also comes as a trial version.
Remember, we said something about the audio transition effects before. We can use a workaround here to do that. Well, we need to split the current audio and use the audio FX feature to manipulate it.
Let us review it then. For any selected audio track, hit right click and then press the Audio FX. This will open a list of audio effects in Vegas Pro 17.
It is better if users have an insight into the effect in use. Now, pick an effect at random. You can also chain various audio effects like video effects.
After this, click proceed, and it will open the audio FX settings. Here, you can see an individual tab for each type of effect and also the parameters that can be altered.
If you are a newbie, there are more chances of you getting confused here. The only way out is to try a sample audio in a new project and then learn the feature of each effect and the options that alter its properties.
We can view graphs, decibel values, skew rates, and tempo in this section. You can also google them and learn more about these terms. For now, we won’t elaborate on them here.
However, we felt the need for color codes for the split sections. Without them, it was tough to differentiate between various divided segments in a single audio track.
All in all, audio editing is cumbersome in the audio FX sections. Next, we move to assess the Audio Mixer. The audio mixer is simply used to adjust the base parameters of audio mixing.
This includes changing the decibels, audio buses, meters, and so on. You can play with it and learn most of the things yourself. There is a very minimal need for a tutorial here.
The concept of an audio bus here is for mixing the soundtracks. One of the main aims is to guide its output in each bus through a different set of hardware. This can create interesting combos and sound effects in a multi-channel audio output.
That is why the number of buses depends on the supported hardware. We can create a master bus and then link sub-buses to it. Users can apply varied effects to each bus.
Huff! Merely such a level of editing in an audio mixer is genuinely boggling. It is offering much-advanced features compared to even dedicated audio editors.
To explore Vegas Pro further, we need to go through some more features in it. Some of the noteworthy features in it are Vectorscope, multi-camera editing, burning discs, etc. The first one to explore is their vectorscope feature.
As we know, while editing videos, modifications in the colors are very critical. The color adjustments include the shades of filters, graphic elements, and even a text element on the screen.
Video Scopes is one of the methods employed in many video editors to isolate every color scheme. Vegas Pro comes with this tool to identify the exact color content of a video.
Users can access a scope panel from the view menu on the top toolbar. In this scope’s menu, we can view different categories to identify different strains of colors in a video.
The first one is the Vectorscope. It will display the hue and saturation points in a video on circular graph. The mouse pointer at a location in this circle displays the chroma value. You can even play a video and move to another segment and view the graph accordingly.
Similarly, we can view more info on colors via scopes like waveform, histogram, and RGB parade. Switch to all views in case you need to monitor all graphs on a single panel. Comparatively, most top-class video editors employ the same technique in the color scopes. Vegas Pro has provided the same features in it too.
Multi-Camera Editing is another feature supported here. The process to configure it can be accessed from a new project setup itself. Users can sync the timecodes too.
This multi-capture images can be expanded in the timeline tracks for further editing. Overall, the process goes the same, as we have discussed before.
Vegas Pro also provides one more camera effects called Stereoscopic 3D. Once again, users need to set what kind of 3D images they need in the preferences.
You can pick from 3D effects like side by side, anaglyphic, checkerboard, blend 3D, etc. Overall, these settings are generally added in the final rendering section in most video editors. But in Vegas Pro, we can configure them beforehand and also restrict it to a particular video segment.
Composting is another term we might have forgotten to mention. The critical work of composting is to cover the layering of a video. Instead of using a flat opacity feature, users can work with this to manipulate the different layers of clips.
They have used a parent-child system for composting to enhance the method of layering further. With the correct hands, it can create a fantastic layer by layer special effects.
Other than this, Vegas Pro is fully capable of working with HDV, Red Camera Tapes, AVCHD, MIDI Timecodes, and many more complex setups. We can even publish a video with OHCI compliance.
Lastly, there is a burn disc setup too in it. This will be quite helpful if you are looking to make a DVD movie. The setup process is plain and simple.
Users can burn DVDs either with 2 seconds pause in between each track or all in one flow. For free users, the time limit is less than 2 minutes for rendering and burning videos.
Most of these sections have in-depth settings, and that makes it more comfortable to create disk-drives. The printing of DV, HDV, and other such disks also makes Vegas Pro a unique product.
There is a section called Project Notes too, where we can add notes to be followed in the project. It is not that detailed, but at least we can add simple text notes to it to remember important project stuff. You won’t have to remember many precise editing requirements in such cases.
As discussed above, we have one last section for reviewing, and that is the rendering part. Most of the features are covered by us and tested too. So far, Vegas Pro has definitely formed a comprehensive video editor, that can be mastered quickly.
No matter how smart the video editor is, the efforts will fail if it is unable to create a good quality video from the final edited project. Another essential requirement is to be able to convert the project into formats suitable for most video players and devices.
This can be done only if the extent of a video editor and the underlying editing is expendable. In Vegas Pro, the limit for a trial version is less than 2 minutes. Also, it will watermark the video.
To do so, click the Render As option from the file menu on the top menu-bar. From here, the work efficiency of this product is tested. Rendering needs hefty resources, and so it is better to do it after closing all applications except Vegas Pro 17.
In the rendering menu, Vegas Pro has divided it based on individual format and appropriate templates. Using these ideal templates, we won’t need to configure video projects repeatedly. We can even add our own custom templates or edit the current ones.
Here, formats like simple audio, image sequences, MP4, AVC, AVI, DV/HDV, MP3, XDCAM, and many more are available. We picked the basic mp4 format.
On the right, we can select a custom-template or edit it. The details in its customization menu are boggling. This is a profound setup by Vegas Pro.
Pick a name for the file, location, and format. It reveals an approximate size of the project. Hit Render Now, and your project starts converting.
It will take time as per the computer stats. Once completed, move to a set location and see if the video effects are looking beautiful.
The rendering time was okay on our machine, and the finished video was of good quality. The conversion did not distort any pixels from the original video.
With this, Vegas Pro has likely done a splendid task and made this program among the top 5 video editors. There is hardly any big wish-list in this product since it covers every substantial thing.
There is nothing much left to be said in the conclusion part. Vegas Pro has covered so many areas of video editing and that too with one of the most learner-friendly methods.
The pricing of the product is also a crucial factor, and Vegas Pro thrives here too. Among similar price range products, Vegas Pro offers the best services, support, and full bang of the buck.
In the end, we would certainly recommend this power-packed yet straightforward video editor. With time and practice, you can literally do Marvel-style movie effects in your videos, using Vegas Pro.