Sony Vegas Pro 12: A Quick Look at a New Standard in Video Editing

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Introducing an All-New Sony Vegas Pro

Sony Vegas Pro 12

Late this summer, Sony released their latest upgrade to their Vegas editing application – Vegas Pro 12.  This version of Vegas adds tons of feature enhancements and performance improvements.  Since this is one of the main tools we use in our arsenal, we wanted to see just how well this new software worked so we took it on a test drive and compared it directly with its predecessor.

For those who aren’t familiar with Vegas Pro, Sony has put together a collection of integrated, cutting-edge video production environment tools for professional video editing, audio mixing, and DVD/Blu-ray Disc authoring.  Vegas Pro, like its other competitors on the market – Apple’s Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, and Magix Video Pro – supports a large number of image, video and audio formats, and also includes a large OpenFX plug-in architecture.  Other workflow innovations built into Vegas Pro 12 make it easy for a user (or Director) to deliver a story and express their vision.

Vegas Pro allows you to edit standard-definition, High-definition, 2k and 4k material even in 3D with relative ease.  Traditionally, the Sony Vegas interface has always had innovative tools and a very user friendly track-based editing layout. Sony promises that the dozens of additional feature enhancements and performance improvements will make the upgraded Vegas Pro 12 that much stronger.

The Sony Vegas family of software includes the Vegas Pro line, as well as the Sony Movie Studio for movie makers who aren’t trying to win an Oscar.  Between the pro-line and ‘novice ‘packages, there should be a product that meets your needs.  Here is a quick look comparing the Vegas family of software (Click for larger image):

Sony Vegas Family Comparison

When you pick up the Vegas Pro 12 Suite it includes version 12 of Vegas Pro (of course), as well as DVD Architect Pro 5.2 DVD-authoring software, a Dolby Digital Professional Encoder, NewBlue Pro Titler, more than 30 DirectX audio plug-ins, and over 300 video transitions and effects to bring out your inner George Lucas.  The list price for Vegas Pro 12 is $699, but you can find it for as low as $460 at your favorite retailer.  Upgrades from previous versions of Vegas Pro to Vegas Pro 12 will be available for $199 as well.

 

Sony Vegas Pro 12 Workspace

Product Features:

Precise Video Editing Tools

  • Interactive, dynamic timeline trimming using the Expanded Edit Mode
  • Smart Proxy clips achieve full frame rate playback of image sequences and other challenging media formats
  • Visual confirmation of event alignment when moving clips on the timeline
  • Intuitive Event Handles and Controls on every timeline event creates a more fluid, effortless editing environment

Broadcast Workflow

  • Work with high dynamic range S-log files from Sony cameras including the PMW-F3, F-23, F-35, and F-65
  • Import, edit, monitor, and deliver closed captioned programs
  • Capture and compress video directly to XDCAM™-compatible MXF files from supported SD/HD-SDI devices
  • Deliver higher resolution with 4k support for projects up to 4096 by 4096 pixels
  • Ingest, edit, preview, and deliver stereoscopic 3D video

Extensive Capture and Export Support

  • Edit XDCAM, AVCHD, NXCAM, RED ONE® and EPIC®, HDCAM-SR™ and Panasonic P2 media natively, with no transcoding or re-wrapping
  • Supports Digital SLR workflows using h.264 Quicktime files or AVCHD recording
  • Encode to HDCAM-SR for pristine archiving and mastering
  • MainConcept AVC encoder now supports variable bit rates up to 40 Mbps and average bit rate of 25 Mbps
  • MP4 encoding with progressive download function, enablingvideos to begin playing while downloading

Supported Formats:

  • Opens: AA3, AAF, AIF, ASF, AU, AVI, BMP, BWF, CDA, DIG, DLX, DPX, DV, EXR, FLAC, GIF, HDP, IVC, JPG, M2T, M2TS, MOV, Sony MXF (XDCAM and HDCAM SR), MP3, MP4, M4A, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video, OGG, OMA, Panasonic MXF (DVCPRO 25, 50, 100, AVC-Intra 50, 100), PCA, PNG, PSD, QT, R3D, SFA, SND, TIFF, TGA, VOX, W64, WAV, WDP, WMA, WMV
  • Saves: AA3, AC3, AIF, ATRAC, AVC, AVI, DPX, EXR, FLAC, HDP, MOV, MP3, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 video, MP4, M2T, Sony MXF (XDCAM and HDCAM SR), OGG, PCA, W64, WAV, WMA, WMV
  • DVD encoding, Video: NTSC 4:3, NTSC Widescreen, PAL 4:3, PAL Widescreen
  • DVD encoding, Audio: AC-3 5.1 or stereo, PCM
  • BD encoding, Video: MPEG-2 or AVC, 1080-60i, 1080-50i and 1080-24p
  • BD encoding, Audio: AC-3 5.1 or stereo, PCM

 

Now, don’t make the mistake in thinking that you found a great deal for Sony Vegas 12 if you find something much less than these prices.  Sony actually released two flavors of Sony Vegas 12 – Pro and Edit.

Sony Vegas Family

Sony Vegas Pro 12 Edit is lower cost package identical in editing features and performance.  The Edit version comes with everything that the Pro version has except for DVD Architect Pro 5.2 and Dolby Digital Professional Encoder and lists for $499 (~$360 street).

Unlike Adobe’s Creative Cloud service, Sony only charges a one-time charge for using Vegas Pro 12.  While the Creative Cloud service is nice, we are still fans of owning the product and install keys.

Let’s take a closer look at the Vegas Pro 12’s new features:

  • 64-bit Exclusively
  • Expanded Edit mode
  • Smart Proxy
  • Color Match
  • Project Interchange
  • Import  Panasonic P2 clips
  • S-log Workflow
  • HDCAM SR Mastering
  • Shape Masking Tools
  • FX Masking
  • GPU acceleration for Titles & Text
  • AVCHD 2.0 support
  • OpenGL® texture extension for OpenFX
  • Plays  Audio Indicator upon render completion
  • Layer Dimensionality plug-in
  • Simultaneous audio/video fades
  • Auto pairing of PMW-TD300 3D clips
  • Auto pairing of PMW-F3 3D Link clips
  • Manipulate colors in L*a*b* color space with LAB Adjust
  • L*a*b* Color Space Histogram
  • Project Media updates
  • File tagging in Project Media view
  • Import .txt into Credit Roll generator
  • Match project to first media added
  • Vertical docking windows
  • Audio monitoring via SDI
  • Vegas Pro Explorer updates
  • Improved L-cut, J-cut editing
  • OpenFX enhancements
  • Orientation metadata for still images
  • User Interface enhancements
  • Share Project Media Lists between multiple projects
  • 64-bit Audio Plug-ins
  • Blu-ray rendering support for MainConcept AVC plug-in
  • Edit Properties for multiple video files
  • Auto Re-Name Titles & Text Clips based on content
  • Timeline Editing and Trimming enhancements

As you can see, the list of improvements over previous versions is pretty great.  In the past Sony Vegas has been criticized as being behind the curve in technology and offerings in its working area.  Some of the biggest improvements include the Project Interchange with other popular editing programs such as Adobe Premier Pro CS6, Avid Pro Tools 10, and Apple Final Cut Pro. There is also Color Match that quickly matches the color characteristics of different video clips, perfect for the multi-camera shoot.

Of course, the biggest improvement we can expect is in project render speed.  On the next page we will perform some tests using Vegas 12 Pro and whether there is any significant performance difference over previous generations of Vegas.

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