Vegas+DVD Production Suite
Issue: Volume: 27 Issue: 10 (October 2004)

Vegas+DVD Production Suite

With its release of Vegas+DVD Production Suite, Sony Pictures Digital is positioning Vegas as a professional-level, all-in-one video and audio tool. The software suite includes Vegas 5, DVD Architect 2, and a Dolby Digital AC3 encoder.

Vegas+DVD Production Suite boasts a wealth of new features. Using its new 3D track motion feature, you can move and rotate video clips along the x, y, and z axes. You can pan and crop events with keyframable Bezier masking and import Macromedia Flash files. With downmix monitoring, you can preview how your audio will sound—from 5.1 channel to stereo to mono—ensuring your audio will sound the way you want regardless of the end users' hardware.

A strong addition to Vegas, Network Rendering aided me in meeting a tight production deadline.

As you build your 5.1 surround projects, you can use a joystick to control your sound panning, faders, and more. Add support for Sony DSR-DU1 and DSR-1000 video disc recorders and J-H3 support with 3:2 pulldown removal and you can see why Vegas is quickly becoming one of the top choices for professionals.

The biggest impact, though, is on work flow. Multiple docking windows, customizable window layouts (up to 10 of which can be saved and recalled), real-time event reverse, and en-hanced application scripting contribute to a smoother production experience. Of all the new work flow enhancement features you will find in the suite, Network Rendering makes the biggest impact. Vegas+DVD Production Suite comes with a full license for installation on one machine and two additional rendering licenses for other machines on your network. Asked to produce a commercial with a very fast turnaround for a political candidate, I utilized the network rendering feature. It unquestioningly saved time in postproduction.

Network support offered in other non-linear editors allows multiple users to share resources. Vegas's distributed network rendering actually enables you to break your project in pieces to be rendered across multiple workstations (called renderers); the pieces are later re-assembled by the host workstation (called the stitch host). Another option in the Vegas+DVD Production Suite is non-distributed rendering. In this case, the workstation serves as the render host. The non-distributed rendering feature in the suite allows you to assign renderers to output the entire project in different formats. For example, one renderer can be directed to render to WMF (Windows Media Format) while another renders the same file to AVI simultaneously.

You can output your project for distribution using Sony's DVD auth-oring application, DVD Architect 2, included in the bundle. It quickly became clear that Sony Pictures Digital didn't save all of the software improvements for Vegas 5.

DVD Architect 2 is enhanced with greater flexibility, including support for multiple audio tracks and subtitles. This trait enables you to display subtitles with multiple language tracks or to add running commentary.

Additionally, in DVD Architect 2, you can now disable DVD remote-control functions during playback of menus, media files, and more. You can also define the navigation properties for each button, as well as program the end actions for your menus and media files. DVD Architect 2 supports 24p MPEG files for 24p DVD projects and supports all valid NTSC and PAL DVD video resolutions. Before committing your project to disc, you can use the new external preview, which allows DVD Architect 2 users to preview colors, layout, and TV safe areas on external devices before committing to the final burned disc.

As with its Vegas+DVD (Vegas 4 and DVD Architect 1) predecessor, Vegas+DVD Production Suite is a powerful, flexible, and stable NLE. Sony Pictures Digital has broadened Vegas+DVD's professional appeal, and it should be considered by those seeking a comprehensive, high-end video and audio solution.

David Singer (singercreativeservices@ is a founding partner of Singer Creative Services offering digital photographic, video, and other services.

Sony Pictures Digital
Price: $800
Minimum System Requirements: Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP, 500mhz processor, 60mb of hard-disk space for program installation, 128mb of RAM, OHCI-compatible i.LINK connector/IEEE-1394DV card, Windows-compatible sound card, ASIO-compatible sound card, supported CD-Recordable drive, supported DVD-R/-RW/+R/+RW drive, Microsoft DirectX 8 or later, Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 (included on CD-ROM), and Internet Explorer 5.0 or later