Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 / Vegas Pro 11&12

Posted on 16 November 2012

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As this is a software product from Sony, I knew this could turn into a very good experience, or it will be very bad.

Vegas Pro 11

After downloading and installing the free trial version of Sony Vegas Pro 11 on my i5 MBP with VMware Windows 7, I found that it works like a charm with the Z10000 AVCHD files. I had to make some manual changes to the settings of the source-material: I found that Vegas can actually see both streams, but I had to make it select the second video stream as a 3D stream manually for each clip in the bin. Then, I could change the preferences of the project and set it to side-by-side for instance. After inserting the video in the timeline it displays side-by-side beautifully. Nice!

But now the bad stuff.

  • It is a lot of getting used to, coming from FCP. Vegas Pro is very technical and nerd-like. Some menus might not be so easy to reach. On the other hand, within the hour I could edit a short movie.
  • I had to set my Z10000 1080 p25 3D footage from interlaced to progressive (for every clip in the bin), but maybe panasonic records it as PsF material that doesn’t have the PsF flag set right.
  • The really bad stuff is that using Vegas on my system, everything gets really, really, really slow. I’ve tried en tested every VMware setting that I could tweak, but I can’t get it to playback in realtime. Maybe it’s my 4 GB ram that’s just not enough.

I did not get to any more testing, as the trial suddenly expired after three weeks, without a warning. I found that it’s possible to uninstall and then re-install it. Just don’t use the same details to register it!

Vegas Pro 12

I installed bootcamp with windows 7 to check if the slowness is due to VMware. I tried to find version 11 but now they only have version 12 on their website. And it is only for  64 bit Win7 computers! Of course, I only have the Win7 32bit version… bummer. I’ve already deleted my version 11 trial and I can’t find version 11 trial anywhere.

On 16/6/13, after testing Movie Studio 12, I installed Vegas Pro 12 on my win7/64 bit Toshiba. It’s the same, but Vegas (of course) has a few more options, like FCP and Adobe XML import and export functions. There also are the same problems: no S3D preview in the trimmer, long loading times, a lot of dropped frames and very unreliable sound playback. And the Vegas Pro 12 comes with a watermark on both preview and render as export. Bummer: you can’t test it on a real-life project which will put quite a few editors off.

I went to preferences and hit the following checkboxes:

  • double click on media open clips in trimmer
  • space/f12 cursor position.
  • import stereo as dual mono
  • automatically save trimmer markers and regions with media files

Movie Studio Platinum 12

Then I found the cheaper Sony Movie Studio Platinum Suite 12 and installed the trial on 30/10/12 on my bootcamp win7/32 bit. The good:

  • It’s a lot like Vegas 11. I only found that I am missing the scopes (and the great audio level meter from Edius)!
  • Importing the Z10000 has the same problems as with Vegas Pro: you have to set S3D and progressive for each clip individually.  I have to select the Stereoscopic 3D mode: pair with next stream. Here I can also choose ‘swap Left/Right’ which is really nice for up-side-down shooting (steadicam)! update: when you use a stereoscopic preview mode and 24p material, it sets the progressive and the S3D ‘next stream’ mode automatically. 
  • Setting the 3D viewing is the same as vegas: you can select project S3D settings and then view anaglyph (or any other S3D mode) after adding the clip to the timeline.
  • The first test didn’t give me smooth playback so I followed these hints. Later on I found that changing preferences->video->dynamic RAM preview to 500 MB is giving me really smooth playback in anaglyph mode (after restarting the program).
  • In Options > Preferences I also selected double click on media open clips in trimmer and f12 cursor position.
  • For display there is the adjust levels from studio RGB to computer RGB option. This is giving me a higher contrast playback which is right because the GH2 records studio-swing video. I couldn’t find a scope in this NLE to check it.
  • It took me a while to get the video on the secondary display working, apparantly you have to select ‘Display frames in video preview window during playback’ to get it working on the secondary display. I can select ‘left eye’ or ‘anaglyph’ as project settings to see normal video on my primary display, and in Preferences->Preview Device I can select ‘line alternate’ for my secondary display. SWEET!
  • S3D adjustments can be made by adding a VideoFX: Stereoscopic 3D adjust. It has real floating windows! Unfortunately you have to add this effect to every single clip (I would like it to be a window for all clips, like in Magix Movie Edit).
  • Playback of 2 IYUV (2x 600 mbps) streams is choppy (it skips frames) but no lag at all. I am impressed as I am sure that my laptop harddrive is not a 150 MB/s drive!

The bad:

  • Importing through device explorer puts all clips in one folder for all projects on the harddisk. It’s not simple to distinguish clips from one project from the other.
  • Only one timeline per project.
  • Building peaks of audio takes ages! It adds .sfk sidecart files to all source clips. bummer.
  • GH2 1080p25 material is displaying with CUE, it doesn’t go away if I select progressive in the clip’s properties.
  • Consolidating: you can choose project->save as and then ‘copy media with project’. Next window is ‘create trimmed copies of source media’. You can also select handles. But for my Z10000 and my GH2 material, this doesn’t work 😦
  • Trimming window only makes selection (blue selection visible) to Add the clip from in-out to the timeline when you set the out point while the clip is NOT playing. This is pretty annoying but you can get used to it. Should be solved!
  • Speed can be adjusted by crtl-clicking and trimming or just going to preferences, it only goes up to 400%. I can’t find a time remap function (yet).
  • There is a direct output to Youtube option. But trying this with a 8 minutes movie takes more then an hour and then it’s only 360p (source is 1080p) without sound! It’s better to just choose file > render as > mp4 and then upload that. Only: there is no way to select hinting for streaming so youtube keeps nagging about ‘optimizing your quicktime for youtube’.
  • Export size is limited tot 1920×1080 size. So there is no 2x full HD export (for youtube). There is only anaglyph, line alternating and side-by-side export, but no top/bottom option.
  • There is no keyboard shortcut for switching between normal and anaglyph view like you have in magix movie edit.
  • Solid color crop can go very wrong on export (side by side full).

Export problems

Export to 1080i50 AVCHD or Sony XDCAM EX 35mbps (mpeg2) crashes all the time. I tried rendering it part by part (shift M) and it seems to be the text generator. But also with only rendering out a few pieces of Sony XDcam EX material to EX it crashes. I finally got the job done by exporting bit by bit to EX, then rendering the parts with the text generator again, then rendering it out as a whole as AVCHD. It uses all four cores and 1,8 GB of memory, but still takes ages. Is this the 2GB memory leak bug that is reported for v11 in the 64 bit windows? I am NOT happy!  I am not going to tweak about 50 files with a program called CFF edit to see if it is better: I’m not a Sony software developer.

So I got a win7/64bit system, installed the 64 bit version and start testing. First it didn’t start, but this forum told me to fix my quicktime install and now it works perfect. I’ve had no problems with exports anymore.

Shortcuts

A: add to timeline from trimmer
U/G: (un)group items (to delete audio for example)
S: split at cursur
????: prev/next clip/cut in timeline (workaround is [] for start/end of clip (event)

Here is a nice shortcut reprogram program.

Things to check

  • It doesn’t read the Z10000’s timecode, but maybe that is because I didn’t use the importer (the files were already on my HDD). So I turned to the Device explorer to import a new file. Unfortunately: still no timecode from the camera. But maybe I was not shooting TOD…
  • Unfortunately: at ‘full’ size 3D preview mode (line alternating, to get the lines correct), playback starts stuttering again. I am pretty sure this is the processor speed, but I will try this with win7/64, task manager on and with a FW800 disk later to just to be sure.
  • It seems that the graphic driver of my MBP does not support use of the GPU by Vegas. I would have to find if this is true. See preferences -> video -> ‘GPU acceleration of video processing’ can’t be turned on. With my Intel HD4000 laptop I can use hardware acceleration but I don’t feel playback is less choppy. After upping the memory to 1 GB it’s better.
  • There is no AC3 5.1 sound when playing the Z10000 files in the trimmer. This is with 5.1 sound (focus mic?). Both stereo AC3 (ALC, 2 channel) and PCM are fine.

Export:

Export mp4 10 mbps:
iqs fast: 16:34
gpu: 16:33
cpu: 23:09 – resulterende video is maar 5 ipv 10 mbps
source: 13:05 (S3D correcties)

20/5/13 today I had a lot of problems with playback. S3D seems to go right when I drag clips to my edit as long as the timeline (project) is set to a S3D preview setting?

Conclusion

If playback problems get solved this is a very nice program to buy.

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Posted in: Editing, S3d