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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.


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Old February 11th, 2010, 06:40 AM   #1
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Long Introduction but only a few simple questions...

Hi all!
I've been involved in professional photography for 30 years and video production for 20 years, but have not gone HD. My production is 90% corporate, and no one has wanted to do a training or sales video in HD as there aren't BD players in the boardrooms or their customers' offices yet. I have a good opportunity financially of late, however, so I upgraded my still cameras to the 5DII and added a 7D. Yesterday, after a couple of days of testing, I added a JVC GY-HM700U with another to follow in a week or so. I was shooting on two Sony DSR-300s and a PD-150 previously, and I haven't decided if I will keep those or sell them.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've been editing on Premiere 6. I have After Effects and anything else I could ever need on my two editors, but I prefer to keep my productions simple and clean, so it's cuts, dissolves and straight-forward titling. My edit system builder put Premiere Pro 1.0 on these as well, but I just never made the move. With the Canopus Storm cards, they were always fast and reliable. But really... at this stage, Premiere 6? It's getting embarrassing and looks as though I haven't kept up with technology.

This is because I haven't kept up with technology.

So, now I'm jumping in headfirst. The cameras are a short learning curve, though I never had to deal with various pixel sizes, progressive v. interlaced, frame rates, etc. DVCAM was just 720x480, 29.97. But I'll learn the cameras pretty quickly.

The harder part for me will be choosing a new editing platform. At my local pro dealers urging, I downloaded Vegas and I really like how intuitive it is. I had a little piece put together in 15 minutes with JumpBacks (my only source available at that moment), transitions, titles and a ducking music bed. So intuitive, as a matter of fact, that I was concerned that I would outgrow it in 6 months.

I also planned on checking out demos for Edius & Premiere CS4. I downloaded the Premiere demo, and it all seems so counter-intuitive after playing around with Vegas for a few days... though admittedly, I haven't really sunk my teeth into it. I haven't downloaded Edius yet. I've always been a Pee-Cee guy, so there's no good route for trying FCP. And, I don't know why, I don't feel any pressing need to try Avid. I've also been searching a lot of forums for info. So, even though I haven't finished my testing, it sure seems like I'm leaning towards Vegas. If so, I might just attempt my own build as outlined on the VideoGuys site. I've never built a computer, but I don't have any real fear of it if the various components are known to play nice with each other. I've Googled NLE comparison..... editing shootout... pretty much anything I could find to give me a good overview. Most of what is found is very simplistic or...literally... 10 years old. In other words, no help.

So, the questions. I was searching these forums last night but couldn't find answers...likely because some of the questions are too simple or vague:

1 - In putting together a quick little timeline and outputting it to DVD, the quality was horrible. Not like "it could be better", but more like "is this 320X240 web video blown up?" type of horrible. My aforementioned dealer thought that the demo version I'm using might have a crippled output capability, but Googling for that turns up nothing. I believe my original footage was 1080i, 29.97. I couldn't tell you that the timeline looked crisp either as I have to turn the preview quality way down on this temporary hosting computer.

2 - It DOES seem like the output choices, though a long list, are still not very complete. For instance, in outputting the timeline above, I chose "Render As Main Concept MPEG-2", then as "DVD Architect NTSC video stream". I was surprised that I wasn't given any options as for bit rate, etc... (not that BR options would have helped with the one DVD I output!). Also, it doesn't appear to do Flash. I've used Flix for that in the past, but was surprised that it wasn't offered. Is this because Adobe owns it now?

3 - Regarding that VideoGuys build above, anyone see that it's missing anything major? I would likely increase the storage to 8TB running on Raid 5, and I noticed it doesn't show F/W 400 and 800 cards, but is there anything else?

4 - Finally, the most generic question: Is there anything lacking in Vegas 9? I told my dealer yesterday that it seems so easy, I'm afraid I'll commit to it and I won't find out for 6 months that there's something major it's not good at or missing. He only deals with production equipment, nothing for "post", so he doesn't deal NLEs or such. Do people outgrow Vegas? (Seems like a really silly question from a guy using Premiere 6, huh? :) )

I'll continue with the other demos, and I'll continue bopping around the internet for as much info as I can get. But I thought it time to stop lurking everywhere and join a forum to just ask a couple (OK, now it's more than a couple) of questions. And I chose you guys.

Don't you feel honored? :)

Seriously, any help at all with be greatly appreciated!
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Old February 11th, 2010, 08:05 AM   #2
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1. How did you go to DVD? The recommend method is to render to MPEG2 and AC3 in Vegas and then give DVD Architect those two files. However, the default MPEG2 preset is HORRIBLE. You need to choose the proper preset and adjust the bitrate as needed for that project. MPEG2 can look horrible or it can look great - all depends on the settings.

2. You have to click on the "custom" button to get access to things like the bitrate. If the custom button is not active, it's probably either because you're in demo mode or you're running a "Movie Studio" version. The "Movie Studio" versions are basically the "Lite" versions. If you can afford those cameras, I'd definitely say go with the Vegas PRO version which does allow you to set the bitrate for MPEG2 as desired.

4. It has satisfied my needs for 10 years. Vegas is a very powerful app with lots of compositing abilities built-in as well. But, yes it lacks some things as do all the other NLE's as well. So it's hard to answer that without know exactly what feature you think you might need that might not be there.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #3
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Mark,
Edward is a Vegas guru so when he speaks I listen. As for me, I've been using Vegas since version 2 and it has never failed me. I do lots of weddings and events but I've also edited some TV commericals and a TV sports show on it and it has performed flawlessly.
You will love the scripting feature, it makes for 1 touch editing. There are a hugh number of plugins available and the audio side is the best out there since Vegas started out in Version1 as an audio program.
As Edward said, when you want a DVD render the video to MPEG using the proper bitrate and the audio to AC3, (render in Vegas) name them the same and wneh you goto DVD Arch to make the DVD one file will follow the other and when properly done the quality is great.
As for gowing out of it, I suppose you could but I doubt it. NLEs always upgrade and Vegas is no exception. As for being intitive, you bet it is. When I moved to it I tried every NLE I could get a hold of and Vegas just worked the for me.
I think you'll like it. Check out Edwards newsletters on his site. While a lot has changed in Vegas 9 the basic premisies are the same as the earlier versions.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #4
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Hi Edward:

Thanks so much for responding!

I hadn't seen the "custom" button on the output window! I went in and changed some parameters (bitrate, 16x9 ratio and the output DVD was 100% better! I just didn't realize that option was there, and that the default would be such a low quality setting! I brought the end file into DVD architect and just used the default settings there as well.

Yes, my plan would be for Vegas Pro 9.0.

I guess, since I haven't explored different NLEs for so long, I just wondered what DOES FCP, Premiere or Avid offer that Vegas doesn't...if anything at all?
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Old February 11th, 2010, 11:20 AM   #5
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1. The Virtual Dub thread read this thread it will enlighten you :)

2. I find TMPGenc 4.0 xpress works better then Vegas for rendering so I put out a Cineform .avi - resize with Vdub then encode with TMPGenc

4. 64 Bit can't run many plug-ins that 32 bit can...
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Old February 11th, 2010, 04:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. Johnson View Post
I guess, since I haven't explored different NLEs for so long, I just wondered what DOES FCP, Premiere or Avid offer that Vegas doesn't...if anything at all?
The historic weak points of Vegas are in generated media particularly text / credits. The new pro titler does little to bump up the abilities. Bluff Titler seems to fit the bill. I have yet to need it, but if I do, Bluff is where i would go.

Vegas does seem (by reputation only) to be better at native audio manipulation that other NLEs, since it started out life as Soundforge then Sony bought the apps and added video abilities way back when (or so I have heard).

I have tried PP, Liquid, and Avid and I basically "groved" with the workflow of Vegas more than the others. Avid in particular seemed designed to keep film editors at home and introduce as little change to their existing workflow as possible. And it is hella expensive. Granted, it has HARDWARE assisted rendering, so if you have the MoJo box you get beautiful real time full rez viewing.

Vegas works on almost any platform, but the tradeoff is it is a software ONLY app, so no amout of beefy graphics hardware will make your system render faster. New CUDA based plugins might change that, but that is still cutting edge / development stuff.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
...Vegas does seem (by reputation only) to be better at native audio manipulation that other NLEs, since it started out life as Soundforge then Sony bought the apps and added video abilities way back when (or so I have heard)....
That's a slight rewriting of history, unintentional, I'm sure.

As a soundforge user, I was excited when Sonic Foundry introduced Vegas, because it was a non-destructive (aka proxy) editor for multitrack audio. Prior to that, on the PC platform there really weren't many other choices for audio editing.

Soundforge was great, but, it required extensive rendering and creation of undos on each edit/filter, since you were cutting the actual file. And the old Pentium III with um, 512K of RAM (?) was cutting edge, but still, pretty slow at these tasks, especially on long-form projects.

Vegas, OTOH, was putting up a temporary proxy on the timeline, you'd cut, edit, add efx, etc., then decide when you wanted to render. A huge workflow improvement, even for mono/stereo work. And also, Vegas was a multitrack editor. I was pretty darn happy! If I remember, Sonic Foundry made the original Vegas available to registered forge users for under $100.

Video was added in V2 or 3, DV really worked extremely well in V4, Sony bought it at V4 or 5.

A trip down memory lane...

No question, Vegas as an audio editor is way ahead of any other Video NLE. It is in a league with audio-only DAWs such as pro-tools, sonar, etc.

Some of us like being able to match up our multicamera event cut with 24 audio tracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
...I have tried PP, Liquid, and Avid and I basically "groved" with the workflow of Vegas more than the others. Avid in particular seemed designed to keep film editors at home and introduce as little change to their existing workflow as possible...
Me too. And, that's good advice back to the original poster - he reported that the Vegas interface seemed intuitive - that's absolutely a good reason to move Vegas to the top of the list.
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Old February 11th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #8
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ok there we go. I thought I had my facts twisted a bit. Thanks for straightening them out Seth.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #9
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To clarify Seth a little bit:

Video was added in version 2 (they actually had two versions "Vegas Audio" and "Vegas Video")

Sony purchased it when Vegas 4 was current. Vegas 4 was renamed from Sonic Foundry to Sony but Vegas 5 was the first version fully released by Sony.

Scripting was added in Vegas 4. All Vegas 4 scripts used "using SonicFoundry.Vegas;" while Vegas 5 and newer use "using Sony.Vegas;"
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Old February 12th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #10
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Wow...you guys are great.. very helpful!

I remember when Sonic Foundry owned Vegas. I was a little disappointed when Sony bought it, though. Even though I hadn't used it mysef, I knew quite a few fellow WEVA members and event videographers that used it and loved it... and I was sure it would be screwed up by being bought by a big company! Glad it didn't happen! :)

Thomas, I used to use TMPGenc years ago as well... I think when I first started creating MPEG-1 files for multimedia CDs.

I Googled Bluff titler. It sure looks capable! I'll have to spend more time on the site, but it looks like it's SD only?

I'll have to search the forum for scripts... I'm not sure what that means or what they will do for me. I'm assuming I can automate portions of the editing....

Thank you all again! I'm going to go through this thread several times and try all the suggestions one by one! :)
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Old February 12th, 2010, 02:05 PM   #11
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Scripts only work in the Pro version (i.e. none of the "Movie Studio" versions can run scripts). And, yes, they can automate tasks making editing faster and easier. They can also add new features. Excalibur added the first multi-cam editing options in Vegas 4 in June of 2003 (and it's evolved tremendously since then) as an example.
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Old February 12th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #12
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Mark, you've gotten some great background. I'll just hit a few points:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. Johnson View Post

1 - In putting together a quick little timeline and outputting it to DVD, the quality was horrible. Not like "it could be better", but more like "is this 320X240 web video blown up?" type of horrible. My aforementioned dealer thought that the demo version I'm using might have a crippled output capability, but Googling for that turns up nothing. I believe my original footage was 1080i, 29.97. I couldn't tell you that the timeline looked crisp either as I have to turn the preview quality way down on this temporary hosting computer.
Going from HD to SD DVD can be a minefield. Doesn't have to be, but most NLE's are pretty poor at it. Vegas is no exception.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. Johnson View Post
2 - It DOES seem like the output choices, though a long list, are still not very complete. For instance, in outputting the timeline above, I chose "Render As Main Concept MPEG-2", then as "DVD Architect NTSC video stream". I was surprised that I wasn't given any options as for bit rate, etc... (not that BR options would have helped with the one DVD I output!). Also, it doesn't appear to do Flash. I've used Flix for that in the past, but was surprised that it wasn't offered. Is this because Adobe owns it now?
The options for bitrate are there if you know where to look. It's quite simple, but you just need to see it once as a new user to get it. As for flash, no way to do that out of Vegas. You'll have to use a third party tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. Johnson View Post
3 - Regarding that VideoGuys build above, anyone see that it's missing anything major? I would likely increase the storage to 8TB running on Raid 5, and I noticed it doesn't show F/W 400 and 800 cards, but is there anything else?
eSATA. The Firewire connections are considered somewhat slow for HD depending on what you're doing. They're ok, but not ideal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. Johnson View Post
4 - Finally, the most generic question: Is there anything lacking in Vegas 9? I told my dealer yesterday that it seems so easy, I'm afraid I'll commit to it and I won't find out for 6 months that there's something major it's not good at or missing. He only deals with production equipment, nothing for "post", so he doesn't deal NLEs or such. Do people outgrow Vegas? (Seems like a really silly question from a guy using Premiere 6, huh? :) )
Is there anything lacking in Vegas? Depends on where you're coming from. For most new users, the answer is no. For pros, the answer is likely yes. Especially compared to other pro NLEs. Vegas does some things extremely well. And in concept is a terrific tool. I've been using it happily for years. But over time, things have been stripped out of it's "suite" and that has really caused some problems. If you were just used to using Premiere 6, I'd say that it probably has everything you're used to. I moved to Vegas from Premiere 6 years ago. But when you add the power of After Effects, then Vegas is going to come up short in a lot of areas.

The biggest weakness to me in Vegas really stem from the original design ideas. The idea of putting everything in one application, and making sure it would run on any kind of hardware. That's fabulous if you have a slow machine. But when, as a pro, you spend significant money on a good machine, and your NLE just ignores much of it, it can be frustrating.

Vegas does not handle some types of files well at all. Like anything in a .MOV container. And there aren't many good .AVI file types in the HD world. Cineform is one of the best, and Vegas used to ship with it. Now it doesn't. You can't do flash. That's a separate purchase. The titling is poor. So that's a separate purchase. If you need to coordinate your projects with other people (for sound, color, graphics, etc.) Vegas makes some of that nearly impossible. And working around those limitations can be expensive and difficult.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. Johnson View Post
I'll continue with the other demos, and I'll continue bopping around the internet for as much info as I can get. But I thought it time to stop lurking everywhere and join a forum to just ask a couple (OK, now it's more than a couple) of questions. And I chose you guys.
If I were starting this all over and I wanted something in the same price range, I'd look VERY hard a Edius 5. If price were not a factor, Avid needs to be considered. There are a lot of choices out there. And to be certain, you can do some great work in Vegas. I just wish Vegas didn't make it like pulling teeth sometimes to do more advanced work.
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