At NAB Sony had Vegas Pro 9 featured prominently in it's own special pod adjacent to the gigantic Sony booth in the back of the South Hall. This was a big change form prior years when Sony Vegas was tucked away in a single pod at the Sony booth or located in it's own small booth nowhere near the main Sony booth. After seeing the demo of Vegas Pro 9 and talking to our Sony sales team, it became clear to me that Vegas 9 was no longer the red headed step child in the Sony family. It was finally being embraced as an integral part of their product offering. We learned that the Sony Creative Software group has now been absorbed into a much bigger and important Sony business unit. This is extremely good news for Vegas editors! When we dug down into the new features in Vegas 9, the future looked even brighter.
XD Cam is Sony's tapeless workflow for video production. With this release of Sony Vegas, XD Cam support is tightly integrated. You can now capture and encode directly into XD Cam format with 3rd party hardware. Vegas also supports RED footage. I had the chance to watch a demo as an editor was taking a single Red 4K shot of two actors on a set talking and split it into a virtual 2 camera shoot, using HD cropping presets to break the footage into dialog going back and forth. Very cool! Another cool feature is the ability to import gigapixel images like the amazing shot of the Obama Inauguration and then create a video using pan, zoom and motion effects. All of the above HD workflows were handled easily with the 64 bit version of Vegas 9 running on the HP workstation at the booth.
Other new features in Vegas Pro 9 include a new GUI interface that video editors are going to love. Vegas has shed it's DAW audio roots and now looks and feels like an adnavced NLE application like Avid, Final Cut or Premeire. I found the new color scheme to be very pleasing on the eyes. A bunch of new filters, transitions and effects make Vegas 9 a must have upgrade for all Vegas editors. (Note: The upgrade to Vegas 9 requires a valid serial number & registration authentication and it is only available directly from the Sony store).
Sony also introduced a new productivity tool called the Production Assistant that automates some very cool tasks inside Vegas 9 for an incredibly fast workflow. I've always been a big fan of the scripting capabilities of Vegas which allowed 3rd party developers and power users to create their own time saving tools for Vegas. The gang over at VASST has taken this to a whole new level with the Production Assistant. In addition to a number of secondary tools, the Vegas Pro Production Assistant software plug-in features five primary productivity tools:
- Montage Tool: Automates the process of creating a montage from your video or still images
- Motion Tool: Automates the motion of clips across the screen complete with motion backgrounds
- Lower Thirds Tool: Generates animated lower thirds automatically with complete control over placement and timing
- Workflow Automation Tools: Streamlines tasks such as normalization, stereo to mono split, crossfade creation, audio ducking and archiving
- Batch File Processing Tool: Treats multiple files simultaneously with processes such as playback rate adjustment, image sequence generation, reduce interlace flicker, convert to widescreen, broadcast color correction and more
We've put together a bundle we call the Vegas 9 Productivity Pack that includes Vegas Pro 9, Production Assistant and Vegas 9 training for just $699.95. For a limited time Sony is including CineScore soundtrack creation software and a $50 mail-in rebate with all Vegas Pro 9 purchases.