The installation was painless. Upon launching the application, I was presented an interface laid out in a logical fashion: the timeline window across the top, a tabbed section of pallets in the lower left, and a preview window in the lower right.
My first mission was to customize the interface to my way of working. Vegas+ DVD enabled me to choose which windows to display for easy access and which to hide. Because windows can float and are dockable, I could select features that I regularly use, such as histograms and the surround panner, and dock them to the work area for easy access. At the same time, I hid features I.used less often. Next, I chose Split View for the Preview window to view my video side by side in a before-and-after style.
Those new to video editing should expect a learning curve. Yet, Vegas+DVD does a good job of flattening that curve by enabling users to work in as simple or as complex an environment as suits their comfort level. Editing video in Vegas is as simple as dragging a file from the Explorer window into the Trimmer window and highlighting the selection by dragging the cursor. Alternatively, users can click the cursor where they want the clip to start and hit the I key (for "in"), click the cursor where they want the clip to end, and hit the O key (for "out"). Upon striking the A key (for "add"), the trimmed clip is added to the timeline.
The Transition tab in the lower-left window lists transition styles on the left and thumbnails on the right. To see an animated preview of the transition, you move the mouse over the thumbnail. You then drag a selection to the timeline, and you're done. When finished editing clips, you can print to a tape or burn to a CD directly from Vegas. That's Vegas+DVD at its simplest, yet it just scratches the surface of the power within.
Moving beyond the basics, Vegas+DVD offers many advanced features that are new to Version 4, such as video scopes (Vector-scope, Waveform, Parade, and Histogram), three-wheel primary color correction, secondary color correction (to adjust a single color), new transitions, effects and composite abilities, and enhanced ripple editing.
Vegas+DVD boasts an incredible audio-editing experience with unlimited tracks, 24-bit/96khz audio support, and more than 30 studio-quality effects, such as EQ, reverb, time compress/expand, and delay. It also offers ASIO driver support and a Dolby-certified AC-3 5.1 encoder. With Vegas +DVD, you can produce videos with Dolby 5.1 soundtracks and add tremendous depth to your productions.
Also included is DVD Architect for DVD authoring. DVD Architect integrates flawlessly with Vegas, enabling users to import markers in Vegas as DVD chapter points and AC-3 files for multi-channel 5.1 DVDs. And as with Vegas, it's all wrapped in an easy-to-use, wizard-driven interface.
Customizing the layout of the DVD menu in DVD Architect is as simple as dragging the elements to the desired locations. Double-clicking the chapter thumbnail switches the interface to a trimmer window, where you can insert chapters, set in and out points, set menu item thumbnails, and more. When you're done building the DVD, you can preview it by selecting Preview or pressing the keyboard shortcut (F9), after which you're presented with a large viewing area on the left and a virtual remote on the right. When satisfied, select Make DVD from the toolbar to open the burn dialogue window. You have three options: Prepare (if you intend to burn later), Burn (from a previously prepared file), or Prepare & Burn (to complete the entire process at once).
Vegas+DVD, an all-in-one professional video/audio/authoring solution, is powerful, flexible, and stable. It ships with Vegas 4.0, DVD Architect, Sony's Dolby Digital AC-3 encoder, MediaFACE 4 labeling software, and more than 30 DirectX audio plug-ins.
David Singer (email@example.com) is a founding partner of Singer Creative Services offering digital photographic, video, and other services.
Minimum System Requirements:
400mhz processor; 128mb of RAM; 30mb of hard-disk space; Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, or XP; DirectX 8 or later; IE 5.5 or later; OHCI-compatible IEEE 1394 DV card; Microsoft .Net framework or Windows XP; and a supported DVD recordable drive