Churches today are in search of solutions that are user friendly, easy to use and easy to train other ministry workers on how to use the product. I have used many other video editing software packages and had actually settled on an application that was a great package.
Last year however, I was introduced to Vegas 6.0 plus DVD. The learning curve was moderate for this powerful application but I still found myself vacillating between Vegas and my other application. Then enter Vegas 7.0. To sum up their latest version in one word: Excellent!
The Vegas + DVD Production Suite combines Vegas 7.0 (the audio/video editing application), DVD Architect (DVD Authoring program), and Dolby Digital AC-3 encoding software to offer an integrated environment for all phases of Video, audio, DVD, and broadcast production. What makes the product great is the suite has all the tools needed to edit and process DV, HDV, SD/HD-SDI, and all XDCAM formats in real time, fine-tune audio, and author surround sound, dual-layer DVD’s.
Although movies and documentaries have been created using this application, first time users would have success using the software.
Vegas has always been friendly to the user and the equipment the software is installed. Although there are system requirements, Vegas is not a system hog that ties up all processing functions. A computer system consisting of a Pentium III based machine with 512 MB RAM can operate the application without problems. I know because I have Vegas 6.0 running on a system with these specs.
Vegas 7.0 can now take advantage of the multi-threaded processors available. There is also a new multi-threaded audio engine. By leveraging the full capabilities of the hardware and reducing direct CPU load, users will benefit from:
Greater number of tracks and audio/video effects for real-time preview
Improved performance at lower latencies
Faster audio render times
Render time is reduced overall allowing you to spend more time on other tasks.
One area in particular I found very helpful is being able to capture in HD format directly from my Sony Z1U into Vegas 7.0. Although Vegas 6.0 allowed users to edit video captured in HD format, capturing was not as easy. This version has taken all of the guesswork out.
By connecting an i.Link cable (4-pin firewire cable) to either your laptop or desktop computer, Vegas opens automatically.
The next step is to go to capture mode and you are given two capture format options: DV, HDV or SDI.
Doing events while in capture mode, playback is almost real-time. Within the general capture window, the options available are capture video, tape or an image. If you have already completed production and are ready to edit, you are able to fast forward or rewind to the section of video or image required and then capture.
Once in the application, you have the freedom to “undock” all windows. By clicking on or click and dragging the six-dots aligned vertically, you are able to move any window to any location on the screen.
With 7.0, Sony used this to their advantage. Users of other NLE applications had expressed their dislike of the layout. ie: Preview window in the bottom right-hand corner, timeline on top and other items.
As I stated earlier, you had the ability to move the windows around but once you closed out and reopened Vegas again, the software reverted back to its default setup. Not anymore! Users can now fully customize the docking window layouts across multiple monitors, and save their own customized layout. Thank you Sony! This allows others that are accustomed to other applications (Avid, Final Cut, and Premiere Pro) to work in a layout that is most comfortable to them.
Sony also allowed for customized docking window layouts across multiple monitors. Further functionality includes mapping favorite views to any keyboard key, and organizing a “Top 10” for quick menu recall. With this flexibility, and since we work on a variety of projects, we are able to reconfigure the user interface specific to our workflow and editing style.
Sony Vegas 7.0 has added many other great features. Just to mention a few:
A new enhanced video preview option. Vegas provides functionality to view the timeline on both the preview window and an external monitor simultaneously.
New snapping options allow events or clips to snap regardless of track location. This allows for precise event placement.
An envelope brush “paint” tool has been added. This allows the user a quicker way to “outline” the general shape of the envelope as adjustments are made to velocity or audio.
To market to viewers that are into gaming and not DVD players, you can now export video files to PSP® (PlayStation® Portable).
With churches searching for new venues to expand to, Vegas 7.0 enables users to render video to iPod® files. In addition to streaming media content over the Internet, this is an untapped market that is ready to explode.
Sony Media Software has introduced a new software application called Cinescore. Although this application is another article in itself, Cinescore allows users to interface with Sony Vegas 7.0 to quickly and easily score their video productions with professional royalty-free music integrated within Cinescore.
Once completed rendering your video file utilizing the great professional tools within Vegas 7.0, you can open DVD Architect 4.0 (included with the purchase of Vegas + DVD) to author a DVD.
There are many other great features loaded within this application but there is not enough time or article space to mention them all. I recommend taking the leap and purchasing Sony Vegas + DVD and enjoy this powerful editing tool. I did this with Vegas 6.0 and have not looked back. Regardless of your skill level, the manual inside and the technical support (which is absolutely fabulous) will get you up and running in no time.