Sony Vegas Pro 11 Beginner's Guide

4 (2 reviews total)
By Duncan Wood
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  1. Getting Acquainted with your New Best Friend: Vegas Pro 11 Overview

About this book

Sony Vegas Pro is a widely used video editing tool that provides an efficient and intuitive environment for creating professional quality videos. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced video editor, Vegas Pro meets all your needs

Sony Vegas Pro 11 Beginner's Guide is packed with tips and advice on how to go about creating professional quality videos from scratch. With this book in hand, even a novice can start making a video or a short film quickly and easily.

Sony Vegas Pro 11 Beginner’s Guide takes you through the process of creating a video project from scratch. The book is packed with many screenshots to help illustrate time-saving editing techniques and how to spice up your video with beautiful effects and titles. You will also dive into audio editing, color correction, event panning and cropping along with various other techniques which will enable you to develop a solid foundation in video editing.

By the end of this book you will be able to create and edit videos with ease.

Publication date:
July 2012
Publisher
Packt
Pages
264
ISBN
9781849691703

 

Chapter 1. Getting Acquainted with your New Best Friend: Vegas Pro 11 Overview

Every piece of software we utilize in our creative world seems to become one of our best friends, especially if it is our main go-to application for a specific task. We communicate with it every day and sometimes spend many hours interfacing with it. So the day comes when that software and you decide to take the relationship to a new level and it moves in with you, and takes up permanent residence on your PC. Just like a new housemate, we want to make sure it has all of the modern conveniences and space it needs to give you both a carefree coexistence.

So let's move him / her in...

In this chapter, we shall cover:

  • System requirements

  • Exploring the Vegas Pro windows

  • Customizing the User Interface

  • Overview of Vegas Project we will be working with

A note on your computer

A video editor's computer system will vary from user to user. With this in mind, Sony has made the Vegas Pro 11 software to be quite forgiving of any inefficiency that your system may have. So to ensure a happy first project, please ensure you have installed the latest version and build of Vegas Pro 11. You can check if you have the latest version by selecting Help | Sony on the Web | Latest Updates from the menu bar.

System requirements

Included on your installation disks or bundled with your downloaded installation file from Sony Creative Software Inc., is a list of Minimum System Requirements needed to successfully run Vegas Pro 11.

In order to use this book and the downloaded project, your system must satisfy those requirements.

Please refer to your Sony Vegas Pro 11 user manual for more details on this topic.

If you purchased Vegas Pro 11 online you can download the manual from http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/manuals/vegaspro.

Also technical support, reference information, program updates, tips and tricks, a user's forum, and a knowledge base are available from http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/support/default.asp.

Note

Although not essential, I would highly recommend having a second hard drive to store and edit your video project's media. This drive should also be at least a 7200 RPM drive as this will free up the system drive and be less taxing on the overall system.

 

A note on your computer


A video editor's computer system will vary from user to user. With this in mind, Sony has made the Vegas Pro 11 software to be quite forgiving of any inefficiency that your system may have. So to ensure a happy first project, please ensure you have installed the latest version and build of Vegas Pro 11. You can check if you have the latest version by selecting Help | Sony on the Web | Latest Updates from the menu bar.

System requirements

Included on your installation disks or bundled with your downloaded installation file from Sony Creative Software Inc., is a list of Minimum System Requirements needed to successfully run Vegas Pro 11.

In order to use this book and the downloaded project, your system must satisfy those requirements.

Please refer to your Sony Vegas Pro 11 user manual for more details on this topic.

If you purchased Vegas Pro 11 online you can download the manual from http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/download/manuals/vegaspro.

Also technical support, reference information, program updates, tips and tricks, a user's forum, and a knowledge base are available from http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/support/default.asp.

Note

Although not essential, I would highly recommend having a second hard drive to store and edit your video project's media. This drive should also be at least a 7200 RPM drive as this will free up the system drive and be less taxing on the overall system.

 

Getting help


Vegas Pro 11 also comes with two varieties of help available to you. Besides this beginners' guide you can access powerful information via:

  • Online Help

  • Interactive Tutorials

Online Help

Online help is accessible once Vegas Pro 11 is running on your computer by choosing Contents and Index from the Help menu or by pressing F1.

You can also access more help and information via the Sony Creative Software Inc website by choosing Sony on the Web from the Help menu.

Note

Tip: Please note that your computer must be connected to the Internet for the Sony on the Web function to operate.

Interactive Tutorials

You can also learn more about the many features in Vegas Pro 11 by accessing the interactive tutorials installed with the software. The tutorials will be displayed once you start the software, but you can also access them from the Help menu listed as Interactive Tutorials.

Note

Tip: The automatic display of tutorials can be turned off by un-checking the Show at Start-up box at the bottom of the tutorial window.

 

Getting to know the windows: Exploring the Vegas Pro 11 interface


Communication is the key to any relationship, and the same applies with your newly-installed software. Knowing how and where to access the right tools while editing is crucial, and will allow you to easily interact with Vegas Pro 11. The Graphical User Interface or GUI in Vegas Pro 11 is fairly complex, with many windows that contain all of the important tools for editing your video. Here we will overview each of these user interface elements to get you more acquainted with the windows of Vegas Pro 11, before we plunge into their uses in our Beginner's Guide Project.

The Vegas Pro 11 windows

The Sony Vegas Pro 11 user interface has many windows with which to access the tools and functions of the software, so let's go through each of the important windows to familiarize ourselves with them before we start the actual editing process:

  • The Track Header

    The next screenshot shows you the Track Header. Here Vegas Pro Projects display Video, Audio, Video Bus, and Audio Bus tracks in the list for your Project. Extending to the right into the Timeline, the tracks allow you to arrange your audio, video, Still Images, Backgrounds, and Text. All of the settings for the tracks can be found here including volume and panning, Video Compositing Level, applying temporary Solo and Muting to both video and audio, apply Track motion, changing the Recording Mode, or changing the Track Height. If you hover your mouse over any of the buttons and icons, its name will appear for you:

  • The Timeline

    The Timeline is your main work area, which allows you to arrange and edit all of your audio, video, and still images to create your final project movie. Horizontally reading from left to right, the timeline represents time.

    Think of a film strip or unraveled audio tape laid out on the timeline where you can see what you are editing. Vertically the timeline shows Tracks. Tracks are where you place your audio or video files and are known as Events. The timeline allows you to precisely control the length and time placements of your events:

  • The Transport toolbar

    The Transport toolbar allows you to control the playback of your project just like a tape deck or CD player. Clicking the play button will allow you to watch your video update in the Video Preview window. As with most tools in Vegas, there are multiple ways to utilize them. The Play and Stop buttons can also be accessed by pressing the Space bar to alternate between the play and stop functions of your video:

  • The Time Display

    The Vegas Pro Time Display shows the current position of the cursor on the timeline. This display uses the industry standard format of HH:MM:SS: FF where HH is Hours, MM is Minutes, SS is Seconds, and FF is the current video frame the cursor is on within that second. For example, the following screenshot indicates the cursor is sitting on the 12th second of the timeline and on the 19th frame of that second. If the Project Settings were set to a PAL Video, that would be the 19th Frame out of the 25 frames allocated for that second:

  • The Status bar

    The Status bar of the timeline shows us three numeric boxes which represent the highlighted selection's Starting Time, Ending Time, and Duration. If there is no selection, the first box displays the Cursor Position only:

  • The Explorer window

    By clicking on the Explorer tab just above the time display, or using key combination ALT + 1, the Explorer window is available. Here, you can quickly browse your entire computer and connected hard drives and network places for audio, video, and still images for your project. You can click-and-drag the files from the Explorer window into the timeline to make them available for use in your project. Once a file is dragged into the timeline, it automatically becomes available in the Project Media window:

  • XDCAM Explorer

    The XDCAM Explorer window can be accessed by using CTRL + ALT + 5. XDCAM files can be efficiently handled by this window so you can select and preview the files before dropping them onto the timeline for editing:

  • The Project Media window

    Click on the Project Media tab or use ALT + 5. The Project Media window shows you all of the media being currently used in your project. Media consists of audio, video, still images, backdrops, and text. You can also add media to your project by using the appropriate icon buttons which can be found across the top of the Project Media window. These icons allow you to: Import Media, Capture Video, Get Photo from attached Scanner, Extract Audio from CD, and Get Media from the Web. Hover your mouse over the icons to reveal their function.

  • The Trimmer

    Select the Trimmer tab or use ALT + 2. The Trimmer window is another useful editing tool at your disposal. In the trimmer, a portion of a media clip can be selected or trimmed and inserted into your project. You also have the ability to create subclips in the Trimmer window. A subclip allows you to leave the original media fully intact while creating a new shorter clip extracted from the original:

  • The Mixer window

    Select the Mixer window by using ALT + 3. The Mixer window in Vegas Pro 11 is a very powerful audio tool that allows for complete Final Mixing and Processing of your project's audio and soundtrack:

  • Mixing Console

    The Mixing Console window is a full featured traditional audio mixing console. It contains many of the same features as the Track Header, but is laid out in a recognizable and expected Audio Console format. The complexities and fun of audio mixing will be covered in Chapter 7, Look, I Made it Move!! : Automating Tools in Sony Vegas and Chapter 8,The Importance of Audio.

  • The Video Preview window

    Press ALT + 4 to bring up the Video Preview window. This preview generally displays the video output from your selected point on the timeline. The smoothness, quality, and clarity of the preview window depends greatly on the fine balance between the processing power available from your CPU and video card, the number and type of FX plugins you have on your media, and the preview quality setting you have chosen. The Preview Quality settings range from Draft, Preview, Good, and Best, but generally Preview Auto will be sufficient. One of the big pluses of Vegas Pro 11 is that it will now utilize the GPU processor on your video card as long as your video card supporwts the OpenCL architecture.

  • Transitions window

    Select the Transitions tab or ALT + 7 to open the Transitions window. Transitions are used to smoothly connect one media clip to another. Transitions sometimes can represent things such as time passing, travelling from interior to exterior, or from one scene to another. They are itemized by category in the left column with an animated representation of how the transition works on the right. The transitions can be quickly applied to two overlapping media clips by clicking-and-dragging the transition into the cross-faded media clips to add or change the transition:

  • Video FX

    Select the Video FX tab or use ALT + 8 to open the Video FX window. Like the Transitions window, the selection of Video FX that can be applied to your video clips are itemized into categories on the left with an appropriate animation on the right to give you an idea of what the FX does. Video FX range from creative choices, such as Blurs and Color FX, through to corrective FX such as Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpness with a myriad of choices in between. You can click-and-drag the FX onto your media clips and you can also apply multiple FX on top of each other onto a single clip. Once in place the presets can be animated over time:

  • Media Generators

    The Media Generator window can be accessed by selecting the Media Generator tab or using ALT + 9. This window will access many backdrop FX, color gradients, checkerboards, and some very powerful text and pro type titler generators. Dragging the selected preset onto the timeline will allow you to change the properties to suit your project as well as animate the generated media for truly stunning effects.

  • Device Explorer

    Using CTRL + ALT + 7 will open the Device Explorer window. With the advent of many different format cameras available, Vegas Pro 11 can now communicate directly with these camera devices to import their clips into your project. The Device Explorer will search for any such devices and allow you to browse the files and import them. Formats such as AVCHD, XDCAM XE, and RED ONE cameras will all communicate happily via this window.

  • Video Scopes window

    The Video Scopes window is accessed by using CTRL + ALT + 2. These Scopes and Histograms allow for accurate analyzing of the color and white balance of your video playback. They will become a very useful tool for the trained eye.

 

Customizing the User Interface


As we have seen in the previous section, there are many windows to access the tools and functions we will need while editing. Another great feature of Vegas Pro 11 is the ability to setup and display these windows in a way that suits your own personal taste and way of working. Let's learn how to make a custom window layout.

 

Time for action — customizing the Vegas User Interface


  1. 1. With a Blank Vegas Project open, select ALT + 4 to make sure your Preview window is open. You will notice a vertical row of six dots circled, in the top-left corner of the Preview window, as shown in the following screenshot:

  2. 2. These dots create a handle with which to grab and move the window either on to another part of the window dock or to a completely different position on the screen independent of the Vegas User Interface. Click-and-hold the row of dots and drag the Preview window so that it becomes independent of the other windows and floats on top of the interface, as shown in the following screenshot:

  3. 3. This free window can now be resized and positioned where ever you like on your desktop. If you had two screens attached to your computer, you could drag that window over to the second monitor.

  4. 4. So any window that has these six dots can be moved and resized independently.

  5. 5. Once you have all your windows positioned and sized to suit your working style, this unique layout can be saved into one of ten layout memory slots that are available.

  6. 6. Press CTRL + ALT + D and then release the keys and immediately select one of the numbers across the top of your keyboard (not your numeric pad) to save your layout into the slot. They are numbered 0 to 9, so to save in the first slot push CTRL + ALT + D followed by the 0 key.

  7. 7. The Save Layout As window will open which allows you to name your layout and decide which slot you wish to save it into:

  8. 8. Give your layout a name and hit OK to save the layout.

  9. 9. In the future, to recall this layout you simply press ALT + D + 0; the last number will correspond to the save slot.

  10. 10. Sony Vegas Pro 11 comes with three preset layouts that can be found by selecting View menu | Windows Layouts and then choosing from Default Layout, Audio Mixing, or Color Correction. Or you can use the shortcuts ALT + D + D, ALT + D + A, ALT + D + C accordingly.

  11. 11. Even though there are only ten slots to access your layouts, an unlimited number of layouts can be saved into the Layout folder and recalled at a later date, or even imported from another computer. These can be maintained in the Organize Layouts menu which is found in View | Organize Layouts. Layouts from the current Layout folder in the left panel can be added or removed from the Layouts Menu on the right panel, as seen in the following screenshot:

What just happened?

We now have learned the process of creating a unique Windows Layout to assist your work flow in Vegas Pro 11, as well as the ability to have 13 pre arranged layouts available to you using shortcuts, to have the windows in front of you that you need for the particular editing job you are doing.

 

Beginner's Guide to Vegas Pro 11 Media


As part of the Beginner's Guide to Vegas Pro 11, I have made available media for you to use as we work through the information and tutorials together. Once you have a full grasp of the information in each section of this book, you will be able to apply the tools to your own projects, but by using this downloaded media, you will find that the chapters will become much clearer to you far more quickly.

The project we will be working on is a Music Video clip. This kind of project is a great way to discover the powerful tools available to you in Vegas Pro 11, and apply them in a creative manner. The music bed also acts as a template that will help to guide our edits both dynamically and in the timeline.

The download files will contain a variety of video takes with scratch audio tracks and a master audio track that we will edit the video to. The files you will have downloaded are:

  • Take 1

  • Take 2

  • Take 3

  • Master Audio

The details for downloading these files are contained in the Preface of this book.

 

Video Killed the Radio Star


As the song goes "Video Killed the Radio Star," but music videos also gave birth to a whole new realm of ideas and tools along with a new league of editors specializing in an exciting creative medium. Keeping the viewer engaged and involved for about three and a half minutes doesn't sound like a hard thing to do, but in reality, keeping their attention for more than 30 seconds is a task in itself. This fact is even more relevant in today's "Instant Gratification" mind set.

So this information brings us to the first consideration we should make when planning a new Video Project. That is: "Who is our target audience?" which will then lead to the question "What format will the final video be in?".

The answer to these questions will vary from project to project, and a variety of Video Formats are available in Vegas Pro 11. For our Beginners' Guide Project we shall edit and render the master file in PAL DV format, with an Aspect Ratio of 16:9, and prepare and render the final project ready to burn to a DVD playable in an everyday DVD player.

Now in the previous paragraph, I have emphasized some words and phrases that may mean nothing to the beginner, but fear not as here we will define the information to begin your Video Editing Vocabulary so you can talk it up with the best of them:

  • Video Formats: As technology advances and more companies enter the market place to compete, they are focused on creating a new video format that is good to edit with as well as good to play back the final product. A final video file that is great for playing on YouTube wouldn't necessarily look as good as it should on a Blu-ray player. So the more companies that create new formats, the more the editing software needs to be able to handle and create. For our Music Video project, I have selected the DV (Digital Video) format to keep the file sizes smaller for the downloads as well as keeping the project in the same format the DVD will be created in.

    Note

    Think of it this way: A CD you buy of your favorite artist can't be just placed on top of your iPod to make it play the music. The songs on the CD have to be converted by iTunes software into an audio format that the iPod can recognize and play. Video Formats are similar to those conversions.

  • PAL: Is an acronym that stands for Phase Alternate Line. This too is a form of format that defines how the vision appears on the screen. PAL is the dominant television standard in Europe and most of the world. The USA uses a different standard called NTSC, which stands for National Television System Committee. PAL delivers 625 lines at 50 half frames per second where as NTSC delivers 525 lines at 60 half frames per second.

  • Aspect Ratio: This ratio represents the width and height of the picture. For many years TV was presented in the almost square ratio of 4:3, but in recent years the ratio of 16:9 has become the default standard for pretty much all projects, especially those being presented on today's big screen LCD and Plasma TVs.

Towards the end of the Vegas Pro 11 manual you will find a glossary of terms, which will also help to advance your vocabulary and understanding of the many terms used in the world of video.

 

Summary


In this first chapter we have set up your computer with Vegas Pro 11 and checked that we have at least the minimum system requirements.

Specifically, we covered the minimum requirements essential to run Vegas Pro 11, where to find the built-in help and tutorials as well as the location of online help. We then explored the windows of the Vegas 11 Interface, and we also started to enrich your Video Vocabulary by addressing some common terms

We have lightly touched on most of the windows in Vegas Pro 11, so that you may start to know your way around this impressive software. I have always believed the best way to learn a software package is to actually use it in a project. So with that thought we can move forward and start to get our teeth into the ins and outs and personality traits of our new friend Vegas Pro 11.

About the Author

  • Duncan Wood

    A 35 year veteran of the Music and Video industries, Duncan Wood has certainly seen his share of changes and advances in technologies in these two fields. Having worked with a large range of music artists from household names such as Savage Garden, The Veronicas and Jon English, through to a list way too long to mention of unknowns and up and comers, Duncan has had hands on experience starting in the days of Analogue Tape and Video through to today’s Digital Media Formats. As owner and director of his company Touchwood Productions (http://www.touchwoodproductions.com ), Duncan is active on a daily basis pushing the boundaries and forging pathways to have his productions see light of day in this ever changing landscape of the Multi Media Industries. Always keen to help the next generation of Music and Video editors strive to succeed, Duncan hwas been excited to be writeing the Beginners Guide for Sony Vegas Pro 11. His hands on experience combined with his years of experience presented with the PACKT PUBLISHING BOOK format will make for an exciting read for those keen to conquer this powerful software.

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Latest Reviews

(2 reviews total)
GOOD BUT TAKE TOO MUCH TIME
It s very Good .It s take too much time to reserved .
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