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Excalibur 6.0 Custom Command for Sony Vegas Pro 8

COW Library : MAGIX Vegas : Jim Harvey : Excalibur 6.0 Custom Command for Sony Vegas Pro 8
Excalibur 6.0 Custom Command for Sony Vegas Pro 8
A Creative COW Product Review


Excalibur 6.0 Custom Command for Sony Vegas Pro 8

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey
JHV Digital
New York, USA

©Copyright 2008 Jim Harvey and Creativecow.net. All Rights Reserved


Article Focus:
If you read CreativeCOW's Jim Harvey's 2005 review of Excalibur 4.5 you know that he liked the plug in very much. So much so that he gave it the full 5 cows. So it will come as no surprise that Jim likes the newest edition as well. There are some very nice and useful additions to the toolset that will interface seamlessly with the new Vegas Pro 8 editing package.

Prior to this, you had to invoke a script to have Excalibur run. At the time, there was a short delay as the program loaded itself and got up and running. Not a big deal, but for some, it was a minor annoyance. I got a couple of emails questioning my giving 5 cows to a program that actually made you wait! Well, I'm not that retentive so it really never affected me all that much. If you were one of those who chastised me way back when, then you will be very pleased to know that the NEW Excalibur 6.0 has no such wait time. (Are you listening timesaver638@painintheglutes.com?)

The NEW Excalibur 6.0 is actually integrated right into the new Vegas Pro 8. Once you run the program initially, it will sit in the docking area each time that Vegas Pro 8 is started. It's a custom command so you can access it via "View>Extensions" which will also give you access to the Project Inspector which I will touch on later in this review.

The program comes with a 78 page instruction manual that covers each of the tools that Excalibur brings to the table. In it, you will find all the answers and tips on how to best use the tools. The standard Excalibur tools are still there, and you can add individual tools to the taskbar in order to have them right there at your fingertips (Are you listening Speededit@cranklystylist.org?)

One of the things that I really like about Excalibur 6.0 in addition to the integration is the multi-cam function. At first I thought it was a little too convoluted to be of use to me, but after I RTFM'd the accompanying PDF file, the lights went on and I realized that it was really quite clever and in a couple of days, I found that I liked it more than the Multicam function packaged in Vegas Pro 8. Take the time to go step by step with the Excalibur method of working with multiple cameras and I think that you'll agree that Excalibur 6.0 wins the 'usefulness' competition. You can work with up to 25 cameras, so it's a pretty good bet that you won't over extend your capabilities. If you need more than that, then you will just have to revert to the Vegas Pro 8 Multi-cam. Truthfully, if you need more than 25 cameras, you're probably NOT using VEGAS at all.


Multi Cam Function
Fig.1 - The Multi-Cam function in Excalibur is extremely powerful and can quickly assemble your footage.


Excalibur still contains the standard tools that it always did, PIPs, video effects, fast assembly of video walls, video scrapbooks and event tools. I think it's probably one of the best tools you can use for finding gaps in a project that you might ordinarily miss. It can work with markers, change playback rates, add or randomize events at the touch of a key and in general, make it easier for both beginning editors as well as seasoned snip artists to get a project out in a timely fashion with clean composition, and a minimum of fuss. You can set video properties, remove transitions, find unused media (what an annoying job THAT can be), and do all the little maintenance and clean up jobs that take so much time to perform manually.



So let's take a look at what Excalibur has going for it:

It's now a custom command so it runs when Vegas Pro 8 starts. You don't have to start it up each time you load Vegas Pro 8. Sitting in the docking window, it is instantly available to you without the need to run a script.

The Undo function now recognizes each individual tool rather than one all encompassing command. You can select which command you want to undo while leaving other commands untouched.


Fig.2 - The Undo Command now shows individual tools so that you can precisely reverse any command.

The Auto Save command has additional features that the older version was lacking. Now you can save date/time stamped files in multiple folders so that you can generate a history for your backup files.

Volume Envelopes are automatically added to all audio tracks which I really like. This in itself is a time saver for me as I am always tweaking the volume of this track or that. Having the envelope added for me just saves me a step on each audio track.

The User manual is well written and comprehensive.

The Project Inspector looks at your project and finds irregularities and common problems that you might ordinarily miss. Short gaps, opacity problems, short events. All can be picked up by the Inspector and the editor can go directly to the problem area to effect a repair or correction. This too is a custom command and can reside in the docking area.


Fig.3 - The Project Inspector will show you what and where you have an issue with your project.


And finally, Excalibur isn't a static program. It is updated regularly to keep up with the changing needs of its users. You can find out more or download a 15 day trial version at http://www.jetdv.com/excalibur/home.php


Conclusion:
If you already own Excalibur you can upgrade for a small fee. All in all, I think that Excalibur is still a very good tool and a very good value for those who use Vegas Pro 8. There are some things that I'd like to see such as the ability of the program to stay in the folder that I am working in when picking new clips rather than reverting to the default folder, but other than that minor pick, I can give it a 4 1/2 cows with ease. Newer users can add the other half cow as Excalibur will make their lives a lot easier in short order.


 









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