What Happens in Vegas Doesn't Have to Stay in Vegas

This recent upgrade to Sony’s Vegas will be welcome news to the growing body of video professionals who prefer Vegas’s intuitive interface, but it doesn’t include the same kind of gee-whiz improvements that propelled Vegas 4 and Vegas 5 into the limelight. Vegas 6 is more about refining what’s already there, rather than leaping into unexplored territory.
Many of the new features extend the interface outward to meet the current needs of video professionals. For example, the program now accommodates HDV devices through its support for 601/709 color spaces and the CineForm intermediate codec. You can export your HDV projects to a variety of formats, including Windows Media 9 HD, Real Media, QuickTime and the Sony YUV codec for HD-SDI output. Also new is support for Blackmagic Design DeckLink expansion cards. With a DeckLink HD card, you could have full 10-bit SDI uncompressed video capture and playback.
Rendering real-time effects on top of multiple HD video tracks can bog down even the fastest system. This latest version takes advantage of recent advances in parallel processing architectures, including dual-core processors and multiple processors. Because Vegas is multi-threaded, it’s able to split rendering tasks among discrete processors.
A major workflow improvement in this version is the project nesting feature. You can insert an entire project into the timeline and have it treated as a single object. This can be an efficient means to edit and apply effects throughout a project.
VST Plug-in Support
Because the interface was originally designed for a sound editor, Vegas has always excelled in audio production. In fact, Vegas is one of the best multi-track audio editors available for the PC. Vegas users have complained recently that the program has fallen behind, as many of the most popular audio effects are available only as VST plug-ins. Vegas 6 now supports both DirectX and VST plug-ins. You can freely assign the effects to all events on a track or to individual busses.
Vegas 6 is available in two flavors: Vegas 6 ($479.96) is the editor by itself, Vegas+DVD ($719.96) combines Vegas 6 with DVD Architect 3 and a Dolby Digital AC-3 encoder to form a DVD production package. New to DVD Architect is the ability to import layers from Photoshop files. This can be handy if you’re designing complex backgrounds, menus or buttons. There’s also support now for the DVD+R DL format, which lets you write as much as 8.5 GB to a dual-layer disc.
Sony Vegas 6 adds many of the features that will be needed to compete against Adobe, Apple and Avid. Ultimately, the choice of an NLE is highly subjective. Download the trial version from the Sony Web site and see for yourself if Vegas suits your working style and temperament.