Sony beefs up Vegas Pro 9 for higher-end formats

New edit suite upgrade geared towards higher-end workflows

Sony Creative Software has announced Vegas Pro 9 at the NAB 2009 exhibition in Las Vegas, an upgrade to its video editing software that boosts its tool for higher-end workflows including 4K video and native support for footage from the Red One camera. The company has also debuted the Vegas Pro Production Assistant plug-in, which automates repetitive processes.

Vegas Pro 9 software has a new customisable interface to make it easier to expand the currently worked on toolset and allow editors to work faster. Enhancements have also been made for importing and archiving media, and there are new keyboard and mouse modifiers help to save more time by streamlining editing commands.

The new Device Explorer feature enables users to browse the contents of both XDCAM EX devices and AVCHD cameras, allowing users to selectively import files and use them natively, without conversion to an intermediate format. Vegas Pro 9 also allows users to directly capture XDCAM-compatible MXF files from supported SD/HDSDI sources. The new capture-compress function allows broadcast editors to convert their legacy SD or HD tape-based material, including Digital Betacam, HDCAM, and DVCPRO 100, into MXF clips conforming to the Sony XDCAM MPEG2 standard.

In addition to supporting frame sizes up to 4,096-x-4,096 (4K), Sony says that Vegas Pro 9 offers improved performance working with high-resolution still formats as well as added support for gigapixel-resolution images. Vegas Pro 9 software also gains native support for opening and editing Red One (.r3d) files on the timeline to support 4K HD workflows using footage from RED high definition video cameras. The upgrade also adds support for DPX and OpenEXR files.

The software includes six new effects plug-ins for creating titles and special effects. The new Gradient Wipe Transition offers organic and artistic transitions.

Audio improvements in Vegas Pro 9 include waveform-drawing during recording, which Sony says greatly increases workflow speed. Audio-only edits, such as event moves, trims and ASR envelopes, are no longer quantised to frame boundaries by default, helping editors match audio and video to an exact event on the timeline. A 'Use all Streams and Channels' command has been added to the Trimmer window shortcut menu enabling users to choose how streams and channels are handled when adding media to the timeline.

Vegas Pro 9 will ship on May 11 for around US$630.

The Vegas Pro Production Assistant plug-in automates repetitive production processes, and works with Vegas Pro 8 and 9. The plug-in features a three-tab interface for Input, Process and Output. Pre-built output presets for broadcast workflows are included to quickly begin finalising content for television.

There are five primary productivity tools. The Montage tool automates the process of creating a montage from your video or still images; the Motion tool automates the motion of clips across the screen complete with motion backgrounds; the Lower Thirds tool generates animated lower thirds automatically with complete control over placement and timing; the Workflow Automation tool streamlines tasks such as normalisation, stereo to mono split, crossfade creation, audio ducking and archiving; and the Batch File Processing tool treats multiple files simultaneously with processes such as playback rate adjustment, image sequence generation, reduce interlace flicker, convert to widescreen, and broadcast colour correction.

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