Sony Vegas Pro 13
Sony Vegas Pro 13
Street price: $400 for video + audio only / $550 with Blu-ray authoring / $650 for “Suite”, which adds Sound Forge
The problem I have with Vegas (the town) is the prevalence of truly deadbeat, destitute gambling addicts haunting the slots when they should be home sleeping it off. Or, better yet, out contributing to society.
The problem I have with gambling on Sony Vegas Pro software is that it’s like driving up a dead-end. You invest serious time away from your loved ones on this platform, only to find yourself addicted—like a wanton wagerer—to a tool that has a questionable future. It can only do so much. That much is not quite enough for most users amidst today’s confusing convergence. And Sony’s track record of timely development is not encouraging.
And yet, if you like a plain vanilla workspace, have a pile of different camera formats to cut together and do Windows, Vegas might seduce you.
Now, if you are a big show, shooting a lot of cameras in XDCAM format, you might even be in for a Vegas wedding. Here’s why: you can upload low-res proxies to your private server, moments after the shots are shot, wirelessly (special hardware required). That lets your loggers and editors start working immediately. Your team can also log and annotate footage on the Vegas Pro Connect iPad app. These notes show up on the Vegas Pro timeline. Your team will conform the full-res footage later. It’s a blast from the production past, but it works. It’s just hard to see anything less than a small army needing this arcane workflow.
But even small projects these days seem to attract a swarm of media formats from a candy store of cameras: REDs, GoPros, DSLRs, mirror-less minis, smarter phones, digital cinema cams. The good news is Vegas Pro hosts most of these with ease on its ecumenical timeline.
And Vegas edits 3D stereo with easy auto-pairing in the timeline. This may be the last, best hope for this package: Sony introduced—then discontinued—its professional 3D XDCAM (TD300) 3D video camera. The company seems to have retreated to its consumer 3D Handycam. Perhaps it'd consider a bundling deal which more appropriately prices Vegas Pro?
Native effects and filters in Vegas Pro are limited. But Sony committed to speaking OpenFX, the protocol running under plug-ins from several market leaders. Vegas Pro is bundled with plugs and presets from NewBlueFX.
Sony headed down the path of companion programs—notably Sound Forge, for audio sweetening and sound design—but got lost in the desert.
Vegas Pro will, however, pick-up projects started in other editors. And it exports to a few as well. Adobe’s Premiere Pro and FCPX (via XML) are surprisingly well supported.
If you are familiar with another major NLE—and you want to take the time—you can re-map your keyboard to put your most often used commands where your muscle memory believes them to be. But since that other toolkit is undoubtedly deeper and wider than Vegas, why would you bother?
Despite the “Pro” in Sony Vegas, this toolset seems caught below the threshold of what most professionals now need, and it sells above a price -point where it can compete with amateur/hobbyist products like those reviewed in part two of our series.