Sony Rolls the Dice on Vegas 12 Pro Suite

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Sony I went all in and rolled the dice on Vegas 12 Pro Suite and came up a winner! Of course the deck was stacked in their favor with a true suite of software products that will carry you through any editing project. Let’s look at the hand you get dealt with Sony Vegas 12 Pro Suite.

First, you get totally revamped 64-bit version of the program. No more 32 bit or 64 bit. It’s all 64-bit for Sony Vegas 12. This will help increase stability and lightning fast responses to your editing commands.

The next two cards give you a couple of totally new software titles called Vegas Pro Production Assistant 2 and Hit Film 2 Ultimate. These are a pair of Aces to keep up your sleeve when you need them.

A helpful pair of familiar cards are updated versions of DVD Architect 6.0 and Sound Forge Pro 10.0. Sony has also included a nice mix of Production Music as well a a special bonus. That bonus is a fantastic titling software that we at 3DGuy love called NewBlueFX Titler Pro.

So that’s the hand that Sony has dealt us. Let’s play and see how it all stacks up.

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Now things have gotten a lot easier.

Here is the list of new and improved 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

•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

•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

•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

•Plus a whole lot more!

Let’s start with Sony Vegas 12 for editing.

Sony has always been a solid performer in the 2D department. This version finally gets us in the game with 3D. In the past, other versions had difficult or even hidden tools to create your 3D. Now things have gotten a lot easier.

First of all the fully customizable workspace allows me to drag any of my windows across two screens or more. I like this for setting up easy-to-use, easy-to-edit projects. I’ve already created several custom workspaces to take me through the various parts of my edit. I’ve always liked Sony’s built-in explorer and now things are gotten even easier with additional “able-to-work” with my project files.

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With Vegas 12, 3DGuy is now able to work on all of its project files with different formats.

Here is the list of formats that we used in testing :

  • P2 clips from the Panasonic AG3DP1
  • AVCHD from the Panasonic AG3DA1
  • AVCHD 2.0 from the Panasonic HDC-Z10000
  • MP4 from Hero 3- resolutions from 720/120 to 1080/30&60, 2.7k/30 and 4k/15
  • XDCAM-EX FROM Sony EX3
  • AVCHD from Sony TD 10
  • ProRes HQ, LT and 422 from Atomos Samurai and Ninja 2
  • DNG Files from the BlackMagic Cinema Camera ( will only play with Proxy)
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A much easier 3D pairing.

Next, and this one is very important to the 3DGuy, much easier 3D pairing. In the past we had to search for the controls to pair up clips. Now, just right click and there you go, it’s right there, easy to find and use. Now while that has improved dramatically, we still can’t move clips around inside the bin to organize our project flow better. This missing feature is number one on my request list.

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Stereoscopic Adjustment tool.

Next, the Stereoscopic Adjustment tool has stabilized fantastically. While it is not as snap fast as others, it no longer crashes the program. In fact,we experienced 12% increase in speed in our tests. And in tests with multiple formats, it performed “aces” every time!

Another fantastically easy part of the Stereoscopic Adjuster is the “Floating Windows” adjustment. Simple and easy to the point of elegance, this adjustment lets you keyframe the floating window with simple clicks and slides to create a perfect effect. You can also bulk pair your stereoscopic subclips right on the timeline. I found this tomb extremely attractive as it saved a good bit of time over sending things back and forth to the bin.

For the more aggressive 3D project, Vegas Pro 12 lets you create motion effects with exacting control over your Z depth space. A track grouping model allows for multiple tracks to be precisely adjusted by shifting and rotating in true 3D space. All of this is accomplished in real-time for instant viewing and corrections.

Sony lets you edit in full frame side-by-side as well as side-by-side half, top-bottom half and full frame, line alternate, anaglyph including red/cyan, amber/blue and green/magenta. Additionally you can use checkerboard, left or right only, blend (overlay) or difference modes.

In all our our 3D tests Sony Vegas 12 gave us 5 star performance. We did experience some frame dropping as we added filters and effects, but all within reason and expectations. The ability to easily switch our output resolution worked flawlessly. The only problem is that for any 3D footage, the ability to see the 3D in full resolution is vital for proper adjustment. But, no one else out there can beat Sony’s performance at the same price point of hardware and software combination.

One missing 3D feature that is absolutely vital to 3D editors is Waveform/Vectorscope and RGB Parade. There is no way currently to see and compare your 3D left and right views. The default view is “Left Only”. In order to see the “Right”, you need to go into the video display properties and choose “Right Only” there. Not a very realistic or user friendly way to view the scopes.

On the plus side, Vegas has some amazing tools and hosts third party apps that add some real excitement to your 3D edit. Sony’s own Color Matching is one of my new favorites. I will get into more detail about that later.

On to more new features

Expanded Edit Mode:

Think of this as Super Edit mode. By entering this mode you can do fine adjustments to your edit by letting you see the adjacent frames between two clips. By being able to view the last and first frames of the two clips you can make sure that a precise cut is made. You can view additional frames by dragging the edit point left or right on the timeline. You can even enable a loop region to test your cut points. This “RollingEdit” point makes it much easier for the editor to preserve the flow of the edit. You can even use the keyboard to shift frame by frame.

Smart Proxy Workflow:

With the more common use of high quality but CPU intensive codecs something had to done to let editors work in smooth uninterrupted workflows. Sony Vegas answer is what they call Smart Proxy Workflow. With this system you can create high-performance, edit-friendly Smart Proxy clips in the Project Media view. This helps you achieve faster playback on a wide variety of hardware. It really comes in handy for DPX image sequences and CPU-intensive codecs like .mvc and high bit-rate formats like HDCAM SR 444. It is the only realistic way to work with BlackMagic Cinema Camera DNG sequences. The media will automatically and dynamically switch from original to proxy based on the Preview playback settings. In order to guarantee optimum quality, the original media files will be used for the final render. Using Smart Proxies in place of the original material during the edit enables you to maintain a high frame rate on the timeline. Smart Proxy in performance facilitates multi-stream compositing and multicam editing even when the source material is difficult to decode in realtime.

Color Match:

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Testing Sony Color Match: See how beautiful will the footage on the right will match with the color of the one on the left.

This is definitely one of my 3D favorites. Even when working with a camera like the Sony TD300, left and right images may experience a color shift during recording due to environmental issues beyond your control. Now with Vegas Pro 12 you have the ability to automatically match the color characteristics of images. Even 2D editors will love being able to match images shot with different cameras, or shot at different times of the day with different lighting conditions. Establish the look you want, save it as a still image and the Color Match plug-in can be used to match shots to that reference image, to achieve your specific look. The requirement to keep the color characteristics consistent throughout a scene or a full production comes up very frequently and manual color matching can be a difficult and time consuming task. In Vegas Pro 12 this process has been greatly simplified and automated via the Color Match plug-in.

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Perfect match!

Project Interchange:

Export/convert a Vegas Pro 12 project to a variety of common post-production platforms, including Avid® Pro Tools® 10, Adobe® Premiere® Pro CS6 and After Effects® CS6, DaVinci Resolve 8, Apple® Final Cut Pro® 7 and Final Cut Pro X. Additionally, projects from those platforms can be imported into Vegas Pro 12 for further video editing and audio sweetening (FCP X is export only). Post-production is often a collaborative experience and exporting a Vegas Pro project to other editing platforms is a huge benefit for Vegas Pro editors who can now work on projects started on other platforms, facilitating more creative opportunities. Nice!

Import Panasonic P2 Clips:

As a frequent user of the Panasonic AG3DP1, the P2 clips that it creates can be problematic in some editors. And the 3D nature of my work requires easy handling of these clips in combination with other camera clips on the same timeline. Vegas Pro 12 now reads DVCPRO 25, 50 , and 100 files, as well as AVC-Intra 50 and 100 files. And it handles them easily and smoothly.

ACES/S-log Workflow:

Vegas Pro 12 provides an end-to-end S-log solution, with the ability to apply the appropriate LUT (Look-up Table) during the editing process, based on the display device and the creative goals of the production team. Using OpenColorIO technology developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Vegas Pro 12 supports S-log via the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) color space standard. The Sony PMW-F3 camera, along with the F23, F35 and F65 cameras, can record video with a response curve intended to capture the full dynamic range that the camera is capable of. Working with original high dynamic range S-log material, Vegas Pro 12 maintains the maximum quality throughout the editing process and offers the most flexibility for monitoring and final output. The edited project can be encoded to a wide range of formats, using ACES-defined color space standards as well as other popular non-ACES standards:

•Supports the expanded dynamic range of the Sony PMW-F3 and other cameras using S-Log encoding

•Uses OpenColorIO technology developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks

•Supports the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) color space

HDCAM SR Mastering:

Working with clients around the world there have been a plethora of different formats requested. Sony Vegas 12 fills the bill by allowing you to render to one of the worldwide standards. By rendering your finished project to HDCAM SR, an extremely high-quality mastering format that is widely accepted by post houses and duplication facilities worldwide, Vegas Pro 12 gives you a competitive edge. It supports all of the frame sizes and frame rates in the HDCAM SR standard, at bit rates from 220 Mbps through 880 Mbps. Encoding to all flavors of the HDCAM SR mastering format, including the 220 Mb/s SR Lite and the 880 Mb/s SR 444, provides Vegas Pro 12 customers with an extremely versatile output option. HDCAM SR is a high-quality recording and mastering format based on MPEG-4 SStP (Simple Studio Profile). A full range of format templates are included, and the rendered .mxf files are compatible with HDCAM SR camcorders, VTRs, and SR Memory solid state recording devices. With the addition of HDCAM SR encoding, Vegas Pro 12 is now an end-to-end cost-effective HDCAM SR editing solution. •Renders to the HDCAM SR MXF format

•Supports all flavors, including SR Lite and SR 444

Shape Masking Tools:

Adds a rectangle/square masking tool along with a circle/oval masking tool within the Pan/Crop view. While the Vegas Pro Bezier Masking Tool is powerful and accurate, it can be overly complex for masking simple shapes. The new rectangle/square and oval/circle Masking Tools make it easy to mask portions of the media by drawing the desired shape over the appropriate areas. Holding down keyboard modifiers can create rounded corners and move the center point of the mask.

•Circle/Oval & Square/Rectangle

•Keyboard modifiers for round edges

FX Masking Tool:

Enables the masking tools within the Pan/Crop view to apply an effect directly to the defined area. The FX Masking Tool streamlines the process of defining an area of a clip an applying an effect to the masked area, or optionally to the unmasked area. This is extremely useful for obscuring a person’s face, a logo, or a license plate with a Gaussian Blur or Pixelate effect.

General UI Improvements: Vegas Pro 12 contains many small, thoughtful User Interface enhancements to make the editing experience more intuitive and enjoyable. For example, (1) a new Toolbar Icon for Splitting is available, (2) A yellow border outlines the most recently added clip on the timeline, (3) Large blue handles on timeline events make it easier to grab the various interactive event modifiers, and (4)more comprehensive tool tips, describing not just the name of the tool but also what the tool does. The improved functionality and visual feedback provided by these UI enhancements enables experienced users to edit more efficiently than ever in Vegas Pro 12, while at the same time making it easier for new users to ‘jump in’ to the world of Vegas Pro and begin enjoying the many benefits that Vegas Pro provides.

In addition to all the new features, we have done extensive testing with all of the formats that we listed above. The results were nothing less than spectacular. Sony Vegas 12 out performs it’s own earlier versions by 5-15% Consistently. A significant achievement.

What’s more in head to head testing on the same system with identical files Sony matched or beat other NLE’s in 6 out of 10 tests. In some cases by as much as 20% faster.

We have really only scratched the surface of this truly full editing suite. Keep watching as we will take you through each one of the products in the suite and give you the scoop on how it performs.

Next time we will examine what we call the two “aces”, Vegas Pro Production Assistant 2 and Hit Film 2 Ultimate. Both of these will amaze you with the abilities and user friendly features.

Sony Vegas Pro Suite 12 3D editing tutorials coming soon here, and from the one and only— 3DGuy!

Bigger versions of photo? Check it out here.

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