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Old February 23rd, 2005, 09:39 PM   #1
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4 days left on my trial, a few questions

well, i had a really long post going, but it got wiped out twice before I could finish it (this forum software somehow wipes out the browser cache if you accidentally change the page). So I'll keep this short(er).

I've got 4 days left on my 30 day trial with Vegas 5. Unfortunately I've been on the road 4 times since my trial started so my time for research has been somewhat limited. I've pretty much been trying to learn it "on the fly". So far I like it pretty well, but the ~$600 price tag is making it difficult to justify a purchase (after getting burned on some fairly pricey software in the past, I'm a little wary) considering a few little items, which I'll list below.

I'm a long time Premiere user (dating back to 4.x in 1995-'96ish, ccurrently at 6.0) and I'm pretty familiar with it, but I also feel constrained by it to an extent. So I'm interested in trying something new, and after seeing all the buzz surrounding Vegas, I'm trying to make it work. On the other hand, upgrading to Premiere Pro would save me about $400 (compared to Vegas 5), and I would still get something "new".

Ok, here's the list.

1) Video Scaling From what I've seen, the scaling algorithms that are used by Vegas are clearly inferior to Virtualdub and Avisynth's internal scaler. Is there a plugin/patch that would fix this? In addition to my DVD projects, I also need to scale down clips that are destined for online distribution and I'm trying to get away from the wasteful mess that's currently required to adequately perform this step with my current toolset.

2) Setting Duration for Stills For the aforementioned online clips, I often create title slates in photoshop, and then import these stills to my project. Depending upon what's on the slate, I like to be able to quickly and accurately set the duration of these stills. For the life of me I can't find a way in Vegas to quickly and accurately set a still to be, say, 3 seconds long. On Premiere I simply right click the clip and select "Duration". I've searched the online help file, the tutorials at jetdv.com, and this (very helpful) forum on this and can't find anything.

3) Titling Except for one thing, Vegas' titling is superior to the way Premiere 6.0 does it. But this one thing is pretty big in my mind. Premiere allows you to include simple geometric shapes within the titles. I use these shapes to help make the text a bit more legible and even though the shapes are simple, the end results can look pretty good. I'm surprised Vegas doesn't support this. Again, hopefully I'm overlooking something.

I think there are probably a few other little things that could be mentioned, but right now these are the standouts (since all 3 bugged me on the last project i build on Vegas). Thanks for reading and for any input you can offer.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 10:38 PM   #2
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1) Video Scaling From what I've seen, the scaling algorithms that are used by Vegas are clearly inferior to Virtualdub and Avisynth's internal scaler. Is there a plugin/patch that would fix this? In addition to my DVD projects, I also need to scale down clips that are destined for online distribution and I'm trying to get away from the wasteful mess that's currently required to adequately perform this step with my current toolset.

I've never seen a problem here. Are you rendering at good or best? Reduce Interlace Flicker on or off? Resample on or off? You may wanting to try turning off things of that nature and rendering at best.

2) Setting Duration for Stills For the aforementioned online clips, I often create title slates in photoshop, and then import these stills to my project. Depending upon what's on the slate, I like to be able to quickly and accurately set the duration of these stills. For the life of me I can't find a way in Vegas to quickly and accurately set a still to be, say, 3 seconds long. On Premiere I simply right click the clip and select "Duration". I've searched the online help file, the tutorials at jetdv.com, and this (very helpful) forum on this and can't find anything.

Before adding stills to the timeline, you can set the still length in the preferences. After stills are already on the timeline, you have a couple of options - You can create a selection area on the timeline the proper size and then adjust the image to match that size. However, an easier method would be to use scripting. You can write a script to ask for a length and then set the selected event(s) to that length. There's always the Duration Wizard in Excalibur which does this for you.


3) Titling Except for one thing, Vegas' titling is superior to the way Premiere 6.0 does it. But this one thing is pretty big in my mind. Premiere allows you to include simple geometric shapes within the titles. I use these shapes to help make the text a bit more legible and even though the shapes are simple, the end results can look pretty good. I'm surprised Vegas doesn't support this. Again, hopefully I'm overlooking something.

Exactly what kinds of "shapes" are you looking for? You can add any character from a font into the title. For example, pick a "wingdings" type font with whatever shape you are wanting and simply enter the correct character.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #3
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Still duration : maybe I am missing something but I just make the jpg file the proper length on the timeline and I am done. Of course you CAN fool with all that other stuff.

Titling: If you are looking for things like lower thirds, you can do them with an imported graphic. Just doing a "color bar" is not intuitive, but easy. You set up a new track with a solid color from the media generator, then use the track motion controls to shape and place it where you want. You can even move it with keyframes.

HTH
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Old February 24th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
1) Video Scaling From what I've seen, the scaling algorithms that are used by Vegas are clearly inferior to Virtualdub and Avisynth's internal scaler. Is there a plugin/patch that would fix this?

I've never seen a problem here. Are you rendering at good or best? Reduce Interlace Flicker on or off? Resample on or off? You may wanting to try turning off things of that nature and rendering at best.
First of all, thanks for the response. Secondly, I probably should have mentioned the video I shoot is mostly 16:9 progressive (30P from my XL2), so the interlace flicker should be a nonissue (it was already off) and it seems that "resample" defaults to smart resample, so I disabled it and that seems to have helped with the aliasing issue. I believe I uncovered one other thing that was causing problems as well. Since my project is set up as DV Widescreen aspect ratio (720x480, 1.212121...), when scaling the video down for streaming output you have to be careful and be sure to set the rendering output format as square pixels and be sure the dimensions of your output will result in the desired 16:9 aspect ratio. In my case I was resampling to 424x240, but within the settings it was keeping the DV Widescreen Aspect ratio. Which (strangely enough) results in letterboxing on the sides, UNLESS you click the "stretch output to fill frame output size (do not letterbox)" option. But that's the wrong way to fix the problem, because apparently what's going on internally is that the program is scaling proportionally from the original 720x480 image, resulting in a 360x240 image, and then padding the sides of it to achieve the "16x9" aspect ratio. But this results in the black sidebars and an incorrect aspect ratio for the video shown in the middle. By selecting the "stretch output..." option on the Render dialogue, it "fixes" the aspect ratio problem, but only by actually UPSAMPLING from 360 pixels to 424. This seems just wrong. But it's easy enough to work around - simply set the output in your render template for square pixels and make sure the "stretch" option is disabled. Otherwise you end up with a loss in horizontal resolution and the aliasing I was noticing. In the end, it turns out that problem isn't much of a problem but the Sony folks should work on eliminating the potential for confusion.

Quote:
2) Setting Duration for Stills For the aforementioned online clips, I often create title slates in photoshop, and then import these stills to my project. Depending upon what's on the slate, I like to be able to quickly and accurately set the duration of these stills. For the life of me I can't find a way in Vegas to quickly and accurately set a still to be, say, 3 seconds long. On Premiere I simply right click the clip and select "Duration". I've searched the online help file, the tutorials at jetdv.com, and this (very helpful) forum on this and can't find anything.

Before adding stills to the timeline, you can set the still length in the preferences. After stills are already on the timeline, you have a couple of options - You can create a selection area on the timeline the proper size and then adjust the image to match that size. However, an easier method would be to use scripting. You can write a script to ask for a length and then set the selected event(s) to that length. There's always the Duration Wizard in Excalibur which does this for you.
I don't like that I'd have to set the preferences to do something that I can normally achieve with a simple right click, especially when the durations of this type of timeline event will vary from time to time. This creates issues in my workflow and no offense, but I shouldn't have to purchase an add-on product to achieve something that I consider to be a core feature of any NLE.

Quote:
3) Titling Except for one thing, Vegas' titling is superior to the way Premiere 6.0 does it. But this one thing is pretty big in my mind. Premiere allows you to include simple geometric shapes within the titles. I use these shapes to help make the text a bit more legible and even though the shapes are simple, the end results can look pretty good. I'm surprised Vegas doesn't support this. Again, hopefully I'm overlooking something.

Exactly what kinds of "shapes" are you looking for? You can add any character from a font into the title. For example, pick a "wingdings" type font with whatever shape you are wanting and simply enter the correct character.
I'm talking about actual vector based polygons that you can put anywhere on the title. You have control of the color of the border, shading, and fill on these polygons too. On Premiere I use them to create a backing for the text, similar to what you see on CNN when an anchor is identified or when they show the topic of the current discussion. IMO, plain floating text just looks too plain, and while premiere's titler is pretty danged simple in implementation, you can achieve nice looking results with it. I'm just surprised that something that was introduced in 2004 hasn't stepped up the game since Premiere 6.0, which dates back 4 or 5 years. I was hoping to see similar functionality in Vegas, but a more powerful way to template these things so I could more quickly add the titles to my project. With Premiere the only way to achieve a consistent look is if I edit and save an existing title.

One other little quibble with Vegas. The Render dialog should automatically remember all the settings from the last render, WITHOUT having to create a new template. It should also give you the option to pick up on the settings you've selected for the project itself.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Galt : Still duration : maybe I am missing something but I just make the jpg file the proper length on the timeline and I am done. Of course you CAN fool with all that other stuff.
You're talking about dragging the clip to set the duration? The way the timeline is labeled makes it difficult to get exact unless you zoom in so deep you have to scroll forever. I just don't like doing it that way. If it would even snap on one-second intervals (while dragging) that would be an improvement.

Quote:
Titling: If you are looking for things like lower thirds, you can do them with an imported graphic. Just doing a "color bar" is not intuitive, but easy. You set up a new track with a solid color from the media generator, then use the track motion controls to shape and place it where you want. You can even move it with keyframes.

HTH
Thanks, I'll have to look into that method. I was hoping to find some examples somewhere online showing this (I learn best by example, it seems) but I didn't see anything.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:11 AM   #6
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I don't like that I'd have to set the preferences to do something that I can normally achieve with a simple right click, especially when the durations of this type of timeline event will vary from time to time. This creates issues in my workflow and no offense, but I shouldn't have to purchase an add-on product to achieve something that I consider to be a core feature of any NLE.

You would set the preferences to be what your normal length would be. That would cover most issues. However, as I said, this is EASILY scripted - I never said you HAD to purchase a third party product. Just write a script to do what you want and you're done. In fact, I'm sure someone might even write it for you (FOR FREE) :-)



I'm talking about actual vector based polygons that you can put anywhere on the title. You have control of the color of the border, shading, and fill on these polygons too. On Premiere I use them to create a backing for the text, similar to what you see on CNN when an anchor is identified or when they show the topic of the current discussion. IMO, plain floating text just looks too plain, and while premiere's titler is pretty danged simple in implementation, you can achieve nice looking results with it. I'm just surprised that something that was introduced in 2004 hasn't stepped up the game since Premiere 6.0, which dates back 4 or 5 years. I was hoping to see similar functionality in Vegas, but a more powerful way to template these things so I could more quickly add the titles to my project. With Premiere the only way to achieve a consistent look is if I edit and save an existing title.

You do know that Vegas 5 comes with a FREE lite version of Boris Graffiti??? That greatly expands Vegas' titling abilities.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:45 AM   #7
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Here is a script that will set the length for all selected events:

http://www.jetdv.com/scripts/SetEventLength.js

Simply place this into the Sony\Vegas 5.0\Script Menu folder and you can run it either by:

1) Choosing Tools - Scripting - Run Script - and picking it from the list.

2) Placing it as a button on the toolbar for simple one-click access

3) Assigning it to a keypress

Just run the script, enter the new timecode length for the event(s), and click on OK. Gives you the EXACT functionality you are looking for.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #8
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thanks, I'll try that script. I haven't looked at the scripting language used by Vegas, but I've done some programming in the past so I do like that it offers that option.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 11:38 AM   #9
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Quick zooming...

Put cursor where you want to be, hit up arrow key abunch of times to zoom in, make your change, then down arrow to get back to higher view. This is quicker to do than to type, and for precise editing it works well. It zooms around cursor location (something that took me a while to figure out).

If you set default before you drag pics to timeline, they all start at that length. (simplest if you generally like pics do be on for x seconds). The standard Vegas default is pretty long, but once you change it in prefs it stays changed.

Otherwise, to do a global change of all pics the script is agood way to go.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #10
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Want a faster way? Just put the mouse over the timeline and turn the wheel.
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Old February 26th, 2005, 05:02 AM   #11
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If you really like the options in virtualdub / avisynth better you
can frameserve (you are probably familair with that) from Vegas
to other applications like VirtualDub:

http://www.debugmode.com/frameserver/
(free plugin)

Also see the sticky threads at the top of this forum.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 08:18 PM   #12
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Thanks, I found that frameserver a week or two ago and already used it to do some multipass DivX encodes, frameserving to virtualdub. That reminds me, is there a way to batch encode within Vegas? I was planning to try that out but then apparently my 30th day expired today.

One other question/doubt I have is related to the future of Vegas. I've seen a number of software platforms that have some momentum and lots of enthusiasm going for them, only to stall out and die. Nobody here will probably have an answer to this question, but is there any indication that Sony will continue to invest heavy resources into further developing this package? I haven't seen any major hints that there's anything new or exciting coming down the pipe any time soon.

In my time with Vegas, I see it as a solid alternative and in many ways an improvement compared to what I have been living with (but anything should be an improvement over (not a huge bogey: Premiere 6), but it's not what I would consider a "killer" or must-have app. I guess I was hoping for that. I still haven't decided NOT to make the purchase, but I'm not exactly in a real rush to run out and buy it just yet, either. On the other hand, I briefly played around with the Premiere Pro 1.5 demo and I wasn't exactly blown away by it either. But I need to do something soon, and I just want to be sure I'm going to be spending my money wisely.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 08:54 PM   #13
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is there a way to batch encode within Vegas?

Yes, via scripting. Probably the *best* one (with the most options) is part of the Veggie Toolkit.

but is there any indication that Sony will continue to invest heavy resources into further developing this package?

I have seen no indications of any cut-backs in development. You may note that Sound Forge 8 was just released.

but it's not what I would consider a "killer" or must-have app

What *would* make you consider it that?
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