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Sony Vegas 6

Sony Vegas 6
A CreativeCow.net Product Review


Vegas 6

Michael Hurwicz
Michael Hurwicz
Eastsound, Washington, USA
www.hurwicz.com

Article © 2005 by Michael Hurwicz

Article Focus:
Michael Hurwicz looks at Sony's Vegas 6.0 video/audio editing software, picking up where Jim Harvey left off.


Jim Harvey's review of Vegas 6.0 covers new HDV capabilities, rendering performance improvement, support for Blackmagic Decklink cards, project nesting, the Media Manager, and Movie Looks HD. This review focuses on three additional new features that I have found can be extremely useful: audio scrubbing, saved project paths in media files, and real-time feedback for ripple-editing (and non-ripple editing, too).


Audio Scrubbing

Audio scrubbing is a new feature that can be quite handy when you're doing fine-grained audio editing. Vegas already had video scrubbing, which allows you to grab the timeline cursor, move it and watch the video in the video preview window. Previously, however, audio did not play during scrubbing. Now it does. This can be good, for example, if you want to make a cut exactly at or after a particular sound, or if you want to synchronize something else to a particular sound. Until now, I've mainly accomplished these kinds of things visually, but the visual sound wave display in Vegas did not always provide the information I needed for precise positioning, and I often ended up having to tinker with the edit. Audio scrubbing helps eliminate that problem.

There's also now a little "grabber" on the cursor to make it easier to scrub without risking grabbing an audio or video clip. (See figure below.)

 

Saved Paths

Vegas 6.0 offers the ability to save project paths in rendered media files. Let's say you render roller_bladers.avi from c:projectsfamilypicnic.veg. Now, if you use roller_bladers.avi in sports.veg and decide you need to change something in your original edit, you don't need to scratch your head and try to remember where roller_bladers.avi came from. Nor do you need to have some complicated filing system. You can just right-click on roller_bladers.avi in sports.veg, choose Edit Source Project (picnic.veg) from the menu (see figure below) and bingo! picnic.veg opens. Edit and re-render, and the changes show up in sports.veg. You can keep both sports.veg and picnic.veg open, trying various things out in picnic.veg till you're satisfied with the results.



The saved path feature also works with sound files rendered from Sony Sound Forge 8.0 and Sony ACID Pro 5.0, each of which is an industry standard in its field (audio waveform editing and loop-based sound editing respectively). The figure below shows an ACID Pro file being opened using the saved path feature.



Vegas itself is a robust and full-featured multi-track audio editing environment, but it does only non-destructive editing, is not loop-oriented, and lacks any MIDI capability. Sound Forge, though not multi-track, is a full-gamut, in-depth audio editor that can do both destructive and non-destructive editing. ACID Pro focuses primarily on loops and also has some MIDI capability. Together, Vegas, Sound Forge and ACID Pro provide an impressively rich and solid toolset for working with audio. The saved path feature makes it a lot easier to use these three great tools together. (If you're seriously into recording and editing MIDI, you'll also want something that specializes in that, such as Cakewalk SONAR 4.)

By the way, ACID Pro is very easy for any Vegas user to learn. The interfaces are so similar that you could literally mistake one for the other at first glance. (See figure below: ACID upper left, Vegas lower right.)




Vegas 6.0 and ACID Pro 5.0 also share a number of key features, including the new Media Manager.

Real-Time Visual Feedback for Ripple-Editing

In previous versions of Vegas, when you were doing a ripple edit, only the clip you were moving would move as you dragged it with the mouse. Not until you let go of the clip would other affected clips ripple into place in reaction to the initial move. You couldn't visually tell where the affected clips were going to end up until you had committed yourself to the move by releasing the mouse. If the position of other clips was not correct, you had to click and drag again.

In Vegas 6.0, the other affected clips move as you are moving the first clip, so that you can see where they are going to end up. This can make it a lot easier to position the other clips correctly before releasing the mouse, possibly saving yourself several mouse clicks.

Incidentally, there's also new visual feedback for non-ripple-editing, in the form of displays showing how much the clip was moved and the amount of overlap between two neighboring clips. For instance, in the figure below, the clip on the far right has been moved to the left 1.06 seconds. Since Vegas is not in Auto-Ripple mode, the clip on the far right overlaps the clip to its left by 1.06 seconds.




Conclusion


Although this review obviously does not attempt to be comprehensive, my overall opinion of Vegas is that it is a great application and getting better. It is a superlative video editor, and it is at least as powerful as a non-destructive audio editor. Combine Vegas with Sound Forge and ACID Pro, and you have a really wide-ranging and powerful creative audio editing suite.

 

I give this product 5 out of 5 Cows.

 


© 2005 by Michael Hurwicz




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