Vegas Video is Sonic Foundry’s video editor, bringing many of the audio editing capabilities of ACID to the world of digital video. Vegas delivers the best of both worlds in the sense that users of Adobe Premiere and other “old school” video editing software can switch to the traditional A-B Roll style of editing, while those coming from a digital audio background can utilise the classic multitrack audio interface.
One of the reasons why Vegas is so easy to use is that it incorporates a unique real time preview window that gives you instant visual feedback of what your video will look like with transitions and effects. This may seem like an obvious feature, but it is one that has really only been available in high-end professional systems until very recently. You can download a demo copy of Vegas Video from the Sonic Foundry Web site (http://www.sonicfoundry.com).
Step 1 – a quick orientation
If you have used ACID Pro (see our two-part guide to remixing) you will instantly feel at home in Vegas. Across the top of the screen are the horizontal tracks, which can be either video or audio tracks. In the lower right-hand corner is the video preview window. To the left of this is the audio mixer, and in the lower left-hand corner there is a tabbed window area that contains six different editing windows. We will go through the use of each of these windows as we construct our video clip.
Step 2 – import the soundtrack
Using the Vegas Explorer window, browse to the audio file you plan to use for your video clip. This can be a WAV or MP3 file, and you can preview it before loading it by using the playback controls just above the Explorer window. There is an auto-preview button here, which you can use to automatically preview files as you browse them. Once you’ve located the correct file, right-click it and select “Add to Media Pool”.
Step 3 – trimming the audio
Switch to your Media Pool window now. You should find the audio file you selected in there. The Media Pool is used to contain all the audio and video clips that you use in your project. You can think of it as a collection of shortcuts that allow you to manage your video clip resources without having to store all the relevant files in the same place.
Next, right click the file again, this time in the Media Pool instead of the Explorer window, and select “Open in Trimmer”. The Trimmer window will now display a waveform view of your audio, allowing you to locate the start and end points for your clip. You can zoom in on the audio using the +/- buttons or the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard. To select the audio you want to use, simply click and drag inside the waveform display. You can preview the result, and then, if necessary, reposition the start and end points of your selection by dragging them.
Once you are happy with the selection, it’s a good idea to create a region by either hitting “R” or right-clicking and selecting “Create Region”. Now, double-click inside the region to select it, and drag it into the timeline. A new audio track will be created automatically.
Step 4 – adding some video
If you have a video capture card, or a DV camera and FireWire card, you may want to try the Vegas capture window to acquire some video footage for your clip. Otherwise you can get started with still images or video you’ve downloaded from the Net or copied from CD or DVD.
If you capture footage from within Vegas, it will automatically be added to your Media Pool. If you are adding files from your hard drive, network, or CD drive, you will need to use the Explorer window and select “Add to Media Pool”, just as you did with the audio file.
Once you have some video in your Media Pool, open one of the clips in the Trimmer window. You can now create multiple regions within the selected piece of video, just as you did with the audio clip.
When you have a few clip regions ready to go, double click the video in the trimmer window and drag the selected region onto the timeline. A new video track will be created. If you have selected both the video and audio in the trimmer, a new audio track will also be created. As you drag more clips onto the timeline, you have the option of creating new tracks with each clip, or adding them to an existing track. For now, just drag them sequentially onto the same track.
Step 5 – previewing your clip
If you have added an audio track for your video, you can delete it if you don’t want to mix the audio with the music. Alternatively, you can just delete the relevant audio clips from the timeline. Or, if you prefer, just mute the audio track by clicking the mute symbol in the track controls (the mute symbol is a circle with a diagonal line through it). You can now play back your prototype video clip by simply clicking the play control and enjoying the real time preview in the lower right of the screen.
In part two of this tutorial we will explore some of Vegas’s effects, transitions, and compositing features. To give you something to experiment with until then, try overlapping the video clips in the timeline to create automatic crossfade transitions. Then, switch to the Transitions window in the lower left of the screen and try dragging different transitions onto the overlapping video clips. You can check out the results in the preview window.