Sunday, April 8, 2012

My First Steps Using Vegas Movie Studio HD 11

I think I found my new computer but I have three more candidates to check out. In the meantime, my e-mail is being flooded with upgrade notices and special deals.

Not really in the mood to spend more than I have to. I have 3.5 different video editing software. I mainly use Serif MoviePlus but I dip into Corel  VideosStudio. I have just about given up on Magix Movie Edit Pro 16.

My old pookie is getting more finicky by the day. Still, it never hurts to look at options. I was walking around Target and saw Vegas Movie Studio HD 11 on sale for $30. I walked past it but something caught my eye.

AVCHD? Native? No converter required? I back up and read the box:
  • Can run on XP, Vista and Windows 7
  • 2GH processor
  • 400MB free space
  • Imports AVI, RM, WMV, MOV, and more
  • Exports MP4, MOV, WMV and more.
I'm thinking for $30 I could take a chance. Normally it sells for about $45 dollars and up. I could have downloaded a trial version. Maybe I should have. My hands would not let the box go. 

So I take it home, install it, wait for it to upgrade to the current version and and get to clicking..

I get to the Welcome screen. I can have a preset project, I can let it show me how to do stuff or go into the software with nothing but a hope and a prayer.

I needed the lay of the land so I went with Show Me:

 I have to say I was intimidated by the work area. I thought I'd made a mistake and got stuck with an old school version of the program.

After I worked with the animated tutorial I felt better. You can customize the work area, use keyboard shortcuts or the menu. There is a learning curve, even if you have used other computer software programs.

For those that come from Windows Movie Maker 2 you should be able to get around. Those folks that are newbies from Windows Live Movie Maker are going to have an adjustment period.

Other software program users from Corel, Adobe or Pinnacle are going to be familiar but be prepared to hunker down with the User Manual on the CD.

Who Should Consider Buying the Program?

That is a good question. If you are a visual but non-technical person who wants to be totally guided in editing this is not the program for you.

Let me be clear, this is an excellent editing program for the price. It is a full featured bit of kit. Vegas Movie Studio HD does have navigation guide to help you get up to speed. But the program itself is not that intuitive. You have to put in a bit (but not a lot) of effort to learn it.

If you are comfortable using editing software, or are willing to learn, this is a good deal. If I have to pick a type of user I am gonna lean toward entry level hobbyist. This is for a person that has more than basic editing needs but isn't ready or can't afford a full professional package just yet.

If you have videos that record in the HDV, MTS, AVC, ACVHD, formats you might not have to futz with conversion software, you can get right to the editing. That is a might good thing.

Sigh, there is a downside. It doesn't even see MOD videos. I tried. Well, you can't have everything.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Support

Now I do believe in reading the fabulous manual but I need visual support as well. Sony does have tutorial videos to help you get the best out of the software. The videos are in the WMV or Real Media format.

The main tutorials are made with an earlier version of the program but the essentials are the same for the current version.

I say essentially because the tutorial layout in the Screen Walk video has the reverse layout than I have on my screen. You really will have to go with the flow until the tutorials are updated. You can download the videos for off-line viewing.

The training videos are good. After viewing them I could start editing with more confidence inside of the program. Now, you don't need to do view the videos to use the program. You can jump in and get going.

But there may be a point where you get stuck. I definitely got stuck a few times.

For example, I was trying to do a fade to black. In my other software programs I drag the fade marker to the timeline or move an arrow on the video to indicate a fade. It doesn't quite work that way in Vegas Movie Studio HD. I could do a cross fade but not fade to black.

After seeing it in the tutorial it is simple but not obvious.

My suggestion is to review the tutorial videos on the Sony support site first. Then have your software manual near by for keyboard shortcuts and other tasks.Also make use of the guided animation Show Me when you hit a problem. Once you start using the program it will click into place.

So I'm going to see what I can do. And that is the main thing.

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  1. I had to buy a new laptop to be able to do some of the work that I do and for the first time ever, I bought a computer online (I was desperate). Costco - Lenovo G770 and I LOVE it. I've been using it for about 4 months and I am now getting rid of the desktop and the older laptop. I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio (9 and now 10) and I like it better than Pinnacle or the Windows default editor.

  2. Wow, good to know. I'm actually looking at a Lenovo desktop that is an AMD equivalent to an i5 or i7.

    I'm really picky so to get this far in the decision process is good. If I can find a laptop with the right specs I'll go get it for sure.

    Looking at gaming computers as well for future proofing and power. I don't game but the build would meet the specs.

    I'll see what is left after taxes and then take the plunge.


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