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Sony Vegas 6.0 Reviewed

Sony Vegas 6.0 Reviewed

A Creative COW Product Review

Jim Harvey reviews: Sony Vegas 6.0

Jim Harvey Jim Harvey
JHV Digital
New York, USA

©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey and Creativecow.net. All Rights Reserved
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CreativeCOW.net contributing editor Jim Harvey reviews the exciting new release of Sony Vegas 6.0 and says, "It's here and I'm loving it! The release of Sony Vegas 6.0 has been eagerly awaited by previous users as well as those just embarking on the NLE adventure. Sony has stepped up to the plate with the new Vegas with new tools and functionality that promise to make constructing your video project as effortless as possible."




If you just wanted to cobble some clips together and throw in a few nice transitions to make your home movies more palatable for the rest of the family to watch, then Vegas 6.0 will make you jump for joy. If, however, you want to create intricate content, complex compositions and have the ability to work with the new HDV footage, have the finest audio tools at your fingertips, then Vegas 6.0 will make you sing arias at the Met!

The most anticipated feature of the new Vegas 6.0 has to be its ability to work with HDV files. The new crop of cameras that are now and soon to be available deliver spectacular imagery but are thought to be extremely difficult to work with in an editing environment. The average user does not have access to multi-million dollar edit suites and with all the negative rumblings that are floating around the Internet, one would thing that purchasing an HDV camera would be tantamount to career suicide. Well, it's NOT true, the HDV format is just as easily worked with as regular footage from your older DV acquisition tools. Yes, there is an intermediate step and yes, there is a slight time penalty in the conversion, but it is nowhere near what the grumblers would have you believe.

HDV cameras use a highly compressed variant of the MPEG-2 format. The data rate is no higher than that of regular DV so capture isn't an issue. The problem arises when you attempt to edit these highly compressed files. There aren't readily available computers with enough processing power to edit the M2T files effectively. The solution is to use an intermediate file, perform your edits and adjustments on that and then swap out the intermediate for the original footage. All your edits, adjustments and processing such as color correction etc. are transferred to the original footage for final render.

The fact that you need to make some adjustment to your workflow is no more a damming factor than it was way back when DV burst on the scene. We had to adjust then and we all seemed to survive. The beauty of the HDV cameras is that if you choose to deliver in SD format, you can simply use the cameras downconvert function to capture your clips directly to SD and work with them as needed. If however, you plan to deliver in an HD format, then you will need to use an intermediate for editing on the timeline. Vegas provides the tools for you to do just that. There are also plug-ins that are available that automate the process to make things even easier. The boxed version comes with additional information that will point you to third party vendors that work closely with Sony to create add-ons for Vegas 6.0.

There are lots of other new features as well. Some are small enhancements to the user interface such as revised menus and features such as support for Blackmagic Decklink cards. Sony has also done some work in the rendering department. Render speeds are up from Vegas 5.0 and with a moderately powered computer, you will see much improved render times.

Another big additions/improvement to Vegas 6.0 is the ability to perform Nesting. Let's say that you have a group of projects that you'd like to incorporate into a single composition. You can drag the *.veg files of each project into a single timeline and perform whatever modifications you desire. For instance, you could deliver multiple formats from a master file. Mixing SD, 16:9 and 24p in a single master project and then simply render it out in any format that you'd like. You could make individual clips of mixed footage, apply modifications to them and combine them all in a single master project for final rendering. Very powerful and easy to work with.


Master Comp.
Multiple Projects can be nested within one master comp.


One new element that got me scratching my head was the Media Manager. The box comes with a sample disk of loops and SFX that you can install and have the files available for use in your projects. I have to confess that it took me a lot longer than I would have thought to get it operational. Vegas 6.0 failed to recognize the installed effects & loops automatically, but with some RTFM and a little time, I managed to get things sorted out. The media manager is a neat idea, allowing users to set up libraries of frequently used, or standard files. I found the search utility to be extremely fast and you can create multiple databases of files and effects so you can bring in the appropriate library for a particular project.

Media Manager
The media manager can quickly search and locate files necessary for your project.


The boxed set came with printed manuals for both Vegas 6.0 and DVD Architect 3 (see review elsewhere). This is something that I always felt was a necessary part of any software package. A printed manual is just easier to use for a lot of people, regardless of how extensive online assistance/manuals may be. Some of us like to read from paper. Sony has accommodated the bookworms among us with a well written and fairly comprehensive manual that explains most of the features of the program. Used in conjunction with the tutorials that are available here on the COW, a new user can quickly come up to speed with the program.

In the previous version of VEGAS (VEGAS 5.0) Magic Bullet included 5 “Movie Looks” with the program. These plug-ins allowed the user to craft a look in order to simulate or approximate certain visual styles by automatically adjusting the gamma, levels tint etc. In VEGAS 6 the original 5 looks are still there but they have added MOVIE LOOKS HD, which gives the user over 50 preset looks that can be applied to their footage with the click of a mouse. There is even a pretty convincing Bleach Bypass that looks very nice. You can see in the helicopter shot of the Chrysler building in New York that the original footage was kind of muddy and soft (On of the hazards of shooting out of a dirty window at dusk). With Bleach Bypass applied the footage became more usable for the short segment that it was needed for.


No Bleach
Bleach Bypass
Bleach Bypass

The Bleach Bypass Plug-in can change the look of your image dramatically



While the render hit is fairly stiff on a long project, it seems that things get done faster in VEGAS 6.0 than previous releases.

There is also some bonus software that is bundled with Vegas 6.0. Notably Boris Graffiti LTD and Boris FX LTD that give the user some powerful tools to tweak their footage create more compelling graphics within their projects. A nice touch, and even though the bundled software is a “lite” version, there is still a lot of power available to you

In Conclusion

All in all, VEGAS 6.0 has proven itself to be a powerful, easy to learn program that is maturing with each release. The SONY programmers are keeping right up to date with changes in the technology that is available to Videographer's today. The ability to work with HD and HDV footage is an incredible asset in such a reasonably priced program. The user interface is very intuitive and the color correction tools are fast and easy to use.

For a newcomer to video editing, VEGAS 6.0 will provide all the tools that one could possible need. For an experienced editor, VEGAS 6.0 will allow complex projects in both SD and HD/HDV to be constructed and rendered to final output in short order.

I give it 5 COWS for its advanced toolset and ease of use. This is a wise investment for anyone in need of a powerful and versatile editing program

5 Cows.



©Copyright 2005 Jim Harvey | Creative Cow
All Rights Reserved


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