What's New in Sony Vegas Pro 11?

EventDV by David McKnight

Vegas Pro 11 was announced at IBC in September and is an exciting and much-anticipated upgrade to the cornerstone in Sony Creative Software's (SCS) media production line. There are some important changes afoot and in this review we're going to take a look at what's new, what's changed, what's missing, and whether or not you should upgrade from your current version.

"This One Goes To 11..."
Here's a quick breakdown of the new feature set that we're going to cover: GPU-accelerated video processing, new Titles & Text plug-in, better plug-in organization, and performance.

In version 10, SCS tempted us with GPU-accelerated rendering on a single render format (Sony AVC), which was the first phase of tapping into the video card's power. But Vegas Pro 11 brings even bigger news. For the first time ever, Vegas can take advantage of your video card's GPU during playback of the timeline. This is a paradigm shift in that a Vegas "claim-to-fame" has always been that you didn't need special hardware for it to run well on most video material. That's basically still true, but with today's highly compressed AVC-based video (think DSLR and almost all current prosumer HD video cameras), every NLE struggles to keep up when editing native files using CPU power alone.

Some NLEs require you to have very specific video card hardware just to run their software at all. Vegas Pro 11 does not require special hardware, but I think all users of Vegas Pro who are editing HD video will welcome the change in direction.

Vegas will offload the timeline playback to the GPU if you choose this option (and have compatible hardware). This means that you can have various video filters, transitions, and composites all playing back at a high frame rate without rendering. Your actual performance with GPU assist will depend on how powerful your video card is and which specific filters or composite options you choose. Here are some real examples from our studio: Our main editing PCs are based on Intel i7-950 processors running at stock speeds. They also have NVIDIA GTS-450 video cards, which is a $120 video card, certainly not a powerhouse. Using this hardware in my first test with Vegas Pro 11, I created a .veg file consisting of a single event containing a file from a Panasonic GH2 camera recorded at 720/60p. My preview settings in Vegas were set to Best/Full. With the Sony Color Corrector and Gaussian Blur filters applied, I get between 2 and 6 frames per second (FPS) playback without GPU assist and 45-60 fps playback with GPU assist. Not bad, and I'm pretty impressed. Full-frame blur is very taxing on the processor. read more...

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