Vegas Video 3: Digital Video Editing Hits the Jackpot
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This gets to the heart of the advantage of Vegas Video 3: Nearly universal usability, no matter which processor, graphics card, motherboard or even Windows OS you're using (as long as it's not Windows NT, which is no longer supported). The thing is hardware-agnostic, so if you want to use a notebook for editing, go right ahead -- it'll do the job almost as well as your workstation, as long as you have enough RAM and an OHCI-compliant DV card (such as those inexpensive cards from UniBrain, Pyro, Sig, or Evergreen) to get the DV footage into the machine.

For much of my testing, I used a Pyro Digital Video 1394DV card which performed flawlessly. Using Windows 2000 and XP, I installed the $75 card and it just started working, without having to install any drivers or setup anything else. How nice. To view the video on my NTSC monitor, all I had to do was plug an S-Video cable into the S-Video Out jack of my camcorder and plug the other end into the monitor. As long as I had my camcorder on Stop, and the DV cable plugged into the camcorder and Pyro card, the video played right through to the monitor. This works like a champ, or you can spring for a $250 transcoder that converts your DV signal to S-Video for viewing. [an error occurred while processing this directive] While evaluating Vegas Video 3 for this review, I used four different machines to test its responsiveness. At the low end, I deliberately used a machine that would have been state-of-the-art about three years ago: a 733 MHz Wintel box with just 256 MB of RAM. What a surprise! Even with a machine that would be the digital equivalent of an octogenarian, Vegas Video 3 was still responsive enough to be user-friendly. Also at the lower end of my testing stable was a Dell 700 MHz notebook, which had a disk that was so fragmented it wouldn't let me capture DV, but once I acquired footage into it via our network, with its 256 MB of RAM it was able to keep up nicely. Next up the scale was a Dell 1 GHz desktop, where more of Vegas Video 3's real time previewing came into focus, and the grand finale was a dual processor Athlon MP 1800+ with a gig of RAM, where real time previews were possible even with four layers of video. Hey, I could get used to this!

I like VV3's intelligent rendering, where you're able to preview everything in real time -- the software's reduced-resolution previews scale according to how much processor power you have. The rendering isn't this dopey "render everything again if you touch something," either. If you make a slight change in a segment that's been rendered, the clever software is designed to only require re-rendering of the surrounding ten seconds of your segment. For example, if you've just finished rendering a lower-third bug across an hour-long production and you then make one little tweak inside, you'll only have to re-render the ten seconds around where you made that change.

Best of all, the final full-resolution rendering that you end up doing with VV3 goes quickly, too, and it's even faster if you have dual processors. When I loaded the software on a Polywell dual-processor Athlon 1800+MP here at the Midwest Test Facility, the previews were smooth as silk, even when I was using the velocity envelope feature, letting me change the speed of a clip using a rubber-band control that was extensively keyframeable.

Source: Original Digital Media Net Content

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