Vegas Video 3: Digital Video Editing Hits the Jackpot
PC Editing Software Gives Final Cut Pro 3 a Run For Its Money

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Sonic Foundry Vegas Video 3 box shotIf you've been using a PC for editing, and feel rather left out when idle chatter turns to reverent raves about Apple's Final Cut Pro 3 for the Mac (not available on the PC), here's a remarkable alternative for the PC side: Vegas Video 3, the newest edition of the groundbreaking editing and compositing application from Sonic Foundry. Many of the concepts lots of digi-vid shoppers think were pioneered by Final Cut Pro have been an integral part of Vegas Video from the very beginning. And, acing out Final Cut Pro 3 is Vegas Video 3's ability to see what you're really doing, previewing all your work through 1394 on an NTSC or PAL monitor in real time, something that's not yet possible with Final Cut Pro 3 (more on that later) without hardware assistance. Let's take a close-up look at this sophisticated piece of software that gives you an extraordinary amount of power and control over your work.

Perhaps the most important development in digital video in recent years is the advent of real time functionality. The ability to see the results of your editing tweaks as you work is crucial. Without it, it's like taking shots in the dark and then waiting a few minutes for the lights to come on to see if you've hit anything. Many products take a hardware-centric approach to the heavy lifting required for real time editing. Systems like DigiSuite and RT2500 from Matrox, the Canopus real time boards like DVStorm and DVRaptorRT, and Pinnacle's Pro-ONE rely heavily on well-designed and powerful real time hardware for their wizardry. No doubt, they work very well. See my shootout review of these three cards if you're interested in hardware-assisted real time editing. [an error occurred while processing this directive] But wait. There's another way, one that depends on the processor and RAM rather than a hardware-assisted real time editing card. Vegas Video has been doing real time previews using a software-based method from the beginning. By either rendering frames on the fly, or temporarily caching selected regions of the timeline in RAM, Vegas Video 3 gives you reasonably smooth previews of your editing decisions, leaving the full-rez rendering to be done after you're finished with your project. I like this technique -- it's one with a future, especially because processor speeds are increasing at an astonishing rate. And heck, RAM sticks are priced so low that soon they may be sold in grocery store checkout aisles in five-packs like sticks of chewing gum.

Vegas Video 3, Sonic Foundry decided to revamp the underpinnings of its already-powerful editing software. Recognizing that the stock Microsoft DV codec is inherently weak, the company decided to develop its own codec, one that could hold up to many more generations than its Microsoft counterpart.

Click for enlargement -- Sonic Foundry DV codec shows Microsoft how it is done.
[Click for enlargement] Sonic Foundry's DV codec shows Microsoft how it's done.
And, in keeping with Vegas Video's philosophy of processor dependence, the new codec had to be dual-processor aware, unlike the Microsoft codec. That support for dual processors works on any .avi codec, too. The result? A codec that can easily stand up to more than 50 generations of recompression and is faster than its lame-by-comparison Microsoft counterpart in every way.

Source: Original Digital Media Net Content

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