Sony Vegas Pro 12 Edit review
Consumer video-editing software is undergoing a renaissance, with less emphasis on glitzy special effects and more focus on efficient editing tools and responsive performance. Sony Movie Studio Platinum is a prime example, and a great choice for anyone who simply wants to organise and present footage at its best. Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is also a very high-quality video editing package, but it’s also very expensive. And now there’s Sony Vegas Pro 12 Edit.
Its effects aren’t as dazzlingly eye-catching as Premiere Pro’s but there’s plenty to distinguish it from consumer editors. It supports unlimited video and audio tracks and nested sequences, making it easier to handle complex sequences with split-screen video and lots of disparate graphic and text elements. Its support for masks means that split-screen videos can take any shape rather than being confined to a rectangular frame. It’s also possible to rotate footage in 3D space, which is something available in various consumer editors but not Vegas Movie Studio Platinum. Its text animation is precise and sophisticated, with the ability to animate by line, word or individual character. It has histogram, vectorscope and other analysis tools to keep a close eye on colour output, plus extended support for professional cameras and other hardware.
It’s worth noting that it no longer supports Windows XP or any 32-bit version of Windows, and this is a good thing as 64-bit brings significant performance improvements to video-editing software.
Vegas Pro’s mask function for revealing a limited area of a clip has long been one of its strongest features, and it’s better than ever in this update. Masks can still be drawn using bezier curves, but now there are tools for quickly creating rectangular and elliptical masks. This seemingly simple task used to be incredibly fiddly, so this subtle improvement comes as a huge relief. It’s also possible to resize and rotate masks in one simple action rather than adjusting each bezier node. The feathering options for creating a soft edge to the mask are easier to find too.
There’s also an option to apply the mask to the clip’s effects rather than its opacity. This is perfect for applying a blur or mosaic effect to obscure a person’s face or a car number plate. It could also be used to apply selective colour correction, perhaps just to the sky or main subject. However, the mask acts on all effects applied to the clip, so it’s not possible to apply other effects to the whole frame without resorting to a complex array of nested sequences.
It’s also disappointing that the accompanying object motion tools haven’t been overhauled at the same time as the mask functions. Clips can be animated around the frame, but there’s not enough control over the route or speed between keyframes. A single keyframe lane means position, size and rotation keyframes get in each other’s way. Vegas Pro uses multiple keyframe lanes and bezier curves elsewhere, and their absence here is a significant weakness compared to Premiere Pro.
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