LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

DVFilm Raylight in Sony Vegas

CreativeCOW presents DVFilm Raylight in Sony Vegas -- Sony Vegas Review


www.hurwicz.com
Eastsound Washington USA
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Sony Vegas Pro 8.0 offers a number of major new features, including support for Microsoft Vista and XP SP2, multicamera editing, 32-bit floating point video processing, and a new titler. (See Ed Troxel's review, "Sony Vegas 8: What's New, What's Required & More" for more on Vegas Pro 8.) One of the things Vegas Pro 8 doesn't have built in, however, is support for Panasonic's flavor of MXF files, used by camcorders such as Panasonic's AG-HVX200. Out of the box, Sony Vegas Pro 8.0, like previous versions of Vegas, cannot handle MXF files created by Panasonic camcorders.

However, Raylight, a $195 piece of software from DVFilm, elegantly and reliably marries Vegas and Panasonic MXF. As far as I know, Raylight is the preferred way, and perhaps the only direct way, to get Panasonic MXF files onto the Vegas timeline. That seems likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. Sony supports its own version of MXF in Vegas, but not Panasonic's. Rather than offering Panasonic MXF support in Vegas, Sony has chosen to cooperate with DVFilm in producing Raylight.

Material eXchange Format (MXF) was designed with the idea of transparent exchange of audio, video, data and metadata among different manufacturers' equipment. It is an open standard, which anyone can use. Sony XDCAM and Panasonic P2 camera acquisition file formats both fit within the MXF standard. However, there are significant differences, both in the "essence" and the "wrapper" used by the two flavors of MXF.

MXF itself defines only the wrapper. What is contained in the wrapper (the essence) is left up to the manufacturer, and has to do with the codec that is used to encode the content. Sony XDCAM, for instance, uses IMX encoding for its content, while Panasonic P2 uses DVCPRO. Another difference is found in the "Operating Patterns" (OPs) used by the two manufacturers. Sony’s flavor of MXF uses OP-1A. Panasonic P2 uses OP-ATOM (which is also used by Avid, Thomson Grass Valley, Leitch, and most other vendors that support MXF). Out of the box, Vegas supports OP-1A but not OP-ATOM.

Raylight solves both the wrapper and the essence problems: It provides a high-quality DVCPRO-HD codec and an OP-ATOM wrapper as a plug-in for Vegas. (A versions for Adobe Premiere Pro is also available.)

I first tested Raylight in 2006 and have been using it steadily since early 2007. When I first looked at Raylight, it worked by creating proxy AVI files which you could drag onto the Vegas timeline -- full-resolution proxies for native DVCPRO-HD quality or lower res proxies for more responsive editing performance. However, creating the proxies can take a significant amount of time, and they also take up disk space (generally, about a third as much space as the original MXF files). In early 2007, Raylight introduced native support for MXF, which allows you to drag MXF files right onto the Vegas timeline without having to create proxies first. This was a huge step forward. (Raylight still supports the proxy approach, which should work with any program that can handle AVI files, and may be handy for programs like Adobe After Effects, for which there is no Raylight plug-in.)

My experiences with Raylight have been generally good. Most of the time, it has simply worked, and I didn't have to think about it. I did have problems with Vegas 7 crashing when I used Raylight version 2 in native mode under Windows Professional 2000. I ended up reverting to the proxy approach for a while. Now, however, Raylight version 3 (3.01-5 to be precise) is working well for me in native mode both under Windows Professional 2000 (with Vegas 7, since Vegas 8 is not supported under Windows 2000) and under Vista with Vegas Pro 8.

I did run into one issue running Raylight 3 under Vista. The issue revolves around using Matrox codecs with Raylight. The codec that comes with Raylight supports only HD resolutions. For lower resolutions (720 x 480 NTSC DV, for instance), Raylight requires that you download free codecs from Matrox. If you don't have those codecs installed, Raylight gives you a warning (like the one shown below) when you start Vegas and try to open a non-HD project in Vegas. In addition, the preview window and the timeline video track are empty in Vegas, since there is no codec to decode the video. (The audio still works.)

matrox not found

Unfortunately, as of December 2007, Matrox has not yet released codecs for Vista and hasn't said when they will. This sounds like a show-stopper, but it actually it doesn't seem to be. First, Marcus van Bavel, owner and chief engineer of DVFilm, tells me that in their testing, they found that the current Matrox codecs run normally under Vista, even though the installer gives four error messages during the install. I actually haven't tried that myself, because Matrox shared beta versions of their VFW Software codecs with me, and they installed without any problem and seem to be working flawlessly, as well.

Even though Matrox couldn't give me a release date for the VFW codecs for Vista, the fact that they have beta software that they're sharing is a good sign. The fact that I have had no problems with it is even better.

The figure below is the same project shown above, after the Matrox beta codecs were installed.

matrox working in vegas

There's really no way you can tell this from any other Vegas project unless you open up the Properties dialog and look in the Media tab. There, you'll see that the format is DVFilm Raylight.

the properties dialog

Workflow, too, is unchanged when you use the Raylight plug-in with Vegas. You can even drag MXF files directly from the P2 card onto the timeline and start editing immediately. I've only been using Raylight 3 for a few days as I write this, but based on my experience so far, as well as experience with previous versions of Raylight, I feel confident in recommending it and giving it the full honors five-cow rating.



 

--Michael Hurwicz
hurwicz.com

 


Comments

Thanks for your report...
by Joachim Albrecht
...are you getting the full frame rate of the original p2-material with vegas8?
Vista problems
by Patrick onemanvantech
Hi,

I just got a new HP Vista 64 machine and the video I want to edit Dv 720x640 fails to import into Vegas 8.1

The codec from matrox fails to install.

Patrick

PS: So I get just audio on the Vegas 8.1 timelines.

Vegas 8 Pro, Raylight and Windows Vista
by Michael Hurwicz
Patrick -

Raylight is required for any Panasonic P2 file: DVCPROHD, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO, or DV MXF file. (Sony MXF support is built in to Vegas.)

Raylight is not required for DV-AVI files.

Incidently Raylight has been replaced by
Raylight Ultra. (See dvfilm.com/raylight/ultra )

A video at dvfilm.com explains the differences.
Vegas 8 Pro, Raylight and Windows Vista
by Patrick Forestell
I thought the Raylight was only required for Vegas if you wanted DV50 onto the Vegas timeline. I thought DV25 worked without the RayLight plug in ?

Vegas 8 Pro, Raylight and Windows Vista
by Dolores Bernal
Extremely useful post. You saved my life. I was getting the error message on the Matrox codec and didn't know what to do until I found your post. Thank you so much!


Related Articles / Tutorials:
Sony Vegas
Pixelan DIssolveMaster Review: Organic, Powerful, Affordable

Pixelan DIssolveMaster Review: Organic, Powerful, Affordable

Organic, powerful, affordable, easy to use -- what else are you looking for from a plug-in package? Creative COW's Douglas Spotted Eagle found even more than he expected from Pixelan DissolveMaster, plug-ins for Adobe After Effects and Premiere, and Sony Vegas. Douglas invites you to see just how elegant, organic and flexible such a simple tool can be, even with 4K footage.

Review, Editorial
Douglas Spotted Eagle
Sony Vegas
Sony Vegas Pro Basics FORTY: Track Motion & 3D Track Motion

Sony Vegas Pro Basics FORTY: Track Motion & 3D Track Motion
  Play Video
Track Motion has nothing to do with tracking motion but is the ability to animate a whole track which includes all the events/clips on that track. Additionally, you can animate a track in 2D & 3D giving some really cool options inside Sony Vegas Pro. However, if you also want to use Layer Dimensionality with 3D Track Motion you need to know how as there are a few extra steps. In this tutorial, Andrew Devis explains what Track Motion is, how to set it up and goes through some of the issues involved if you want to use it in conjunction with Layer Dimensionality for cool results.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Andrew Devis
Sony Vegas
Sony Vegas Pro Basics THIRTY-EIGHT: Layer Dimensionality

Sony Vegas Pro Basics THIRTY-EIGHT: Layer Dimensionality
  Play Video
Layer Dimensionality can be applied in several different ways inside of Sony Vegas Pro and is a powerful effect which can give the illusion of depth to an item and is great for PiPs (Picture in Picture) and text to help them to stand-out in your production. In this tutorial, Andrew Devis goes through the options in Layer Dimensionality showing how they can take a flat looking PiP and make it stand out quickly and simply.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Andrew Devis
Sony Vegas
Sony Vegas Pro Basics THIRTY-NINE: Animating & Keyframes

Sony Vegas Pro Basics THIRTY-NINE: Animating & Keyframes
  Play Video
Previously we looked at 'spring loaded' animation in the Event Pan/Crop panel, but this time Andrew Devis looks at the animation toggle switch which allows us to choose which values we want to animate of any given effect. Andrew goes through how to use the toggle and has a closer look at both 'Lanes' and 'Curves' as well as at the various keyframe type options.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Andrew Devis
Sony Vegas
Sony Vegas Pro Basics THIRTY-SIX: Masking - Other Tools

Sony Vegas Pro Basics THIRTY-SIX: Masking - Other Tools
  Play Video
In this second tutorial on creating and using masks in Sony Vegas Pro, Andrew Devis shows how to modify masks, add masks and create masks with the various tools in the Event Pan/Crop panel - this is very helpful when trying to create complex masks for your productions.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Andrew Devis
Sony Vegas
HitFilm 2 Ultimate - Coming to a MAC Near You

HitFilm 2 Ultimate - Coming to a MAC Near You

HitFilm have just launched a KickStarter to bring their 3D compositing, visual effects and video editing software to Mac. Andrew Devis looks at the software package for Creative COW.

Review, Editorial, Feature
Andrew Devis
Sony Vegas
NAB 2013: Sony Creative Software

NAB 2013: Sony Creative Software

Sony Creative Software offered some important updates with its Vegas Pro 12 software. Chief among the upgrades was native support for 4K and support for Panasonic's P2 cameras. Sony Creative Software also highlighted SpectraLayers Pro and Sound Forge Pro Mac, which were shown as a technology demonstration at last year's NAB but are now shipping. With a range of in-depth presentations by Sony Creative Software users, a visit to this company's booth was an education in the various creative ways that the software can be used successfully.

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
Sony Vegas
Sony Vegas Pro 12: Color Match, LAB Adjust & Masking

Sony Vegas Pro 12: Color Match, LAB Adjust & Masking
  Play Video
In this Sony Vegas Pro 12 tutorial, Creative COW leader Michael Hurwicz looks at the new Color Match effect, which allows you to match one clip to another; the LAB Adjust effect, which allows you to modify the color match; and the new effect masking capability.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Michael Hurwicz
Sony Vegas
Sony Vegas Pro 12: The Lightness/a/b Vector Scope

Sony Vegas Pro 12: The Lightness/a/b Vector Scope
  Play Video
In this Sony Vegas 12 tutorial, Creative COW leader Michael Hurwicz looks at the Lightness/a/b Vector Scope. This is a follow-up to the tutorial on the Color Match and LAB Adjust FX, for which the Lightness/a/b Vector Scope is particularly useful.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Michael Hurwicz
Sony Vegas
Working with Layers in Sony Vegas

Working with Layers in Sony Vegas
  Play Video
In this tutorial, Roy van der Westen will demonstrate how to create depth in Sony Vegas by working with layers.

Tutorial, Video Tutorial
Roy van der Westen
MORE
© 2016 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]