Despite the doomsday rumblings at that time as to what what Magix was going to do with the software, the company has steadily continued development with very good results. So just as I do whenever I am embarking on any new review, here is a video from Vegas Creative showing a reasonably complete run through of the software and what it looks like. Now before I embark on this full Vegas Movie Studio 16 review I think it is important to address why Movie Studio in many ways sits outside the box when it magix movie studio platinum 14 to consumer level video editing software. Movie Studio was always a bit of an oddball within the consumer level video editing software market magix movie studio platinum 14 the years mainly due to its origins. The product grew out of some of the very first digital video editing software made by Sonic Foundry, later purchased by Sony which ultimately became Vegas Pro.
Vegas Movie Studio
Platinum is the sweet spot, with enough tools to have serious fun and creativity with your media. There is a day free trial, so you needn’t pay until you’re sure Vegas is for you. You first download a small installer app that gives you a choice of components to download, such as the NewBlue effects and the separate Music Maker program.
The video editor tool takes up MB of disk space right after installation, which isn’t excessive. You get a choice of five interface languages: English, French, German, Polish, and Spanish. The Vegas Interface Vegas Movie Studio’s interface it is much improved, no longer dizzying the onlooker with its former miasma of buttons and menus.
Instead, it offers a modern-looking dark interface with just a modicum of buttons. The trimming may have gone too far; sometimes I found myself looking for a button that’s common in most other programs, only to discover it had been removed. There are, for example, small buttons below the timeline, but none above, which most programs have for the major trimming options, audio, effects, and so on. Even Final Cut Pro offers these.
Instead, to add an effect or transition apart from automatic crossfades , you have to open what looks like a File Explorer list. My fresh installation was preloaded with a sample project, which is another helpful touch for getting started. But the Quick Start window is somewhat of a tack-on; other programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro and others have entire modes also called tabs or workspaces that take you through the steps of importing, editing, outputting, and more.
A new Add Media button makes assembly clearer. There’s an option to save custom window Layouts, but there’s not much guidance for using it. There’s no touch-screen-friendly option, which used to be a part of the program’s Simple mode. Even the pro-level Adobe Premiere Pro offers a touch interface option.
The Show Me How tutorials highlight how to import, trim, edit 3D video, edit audio, add text, and more. The top entry in the media Properties dialog is Tape Name! It’s easy enough to leave these off-putting options alone, but the fact that they exist shows that the program still needs improvement when it comes to usability. You won’t find any of this in a program that’s truly designed for hobbyists, such as Corel VideoStudio or Adobe Premiere Elements.
The interface uses a standard three-panel view with source at top left, preview at top right, and timeline across the whole length of the bottom of the window. It makes more use of three-line “hamburger” menus to hide multiple options. The track headers have been cleaned up a bit this way, no longer showing buttons for maximize, minimize, animate, and compositing mode. The new version adds a picture-in-picture track by default, which might be helpful to some novices.
The layout is among the most flexible in its class: You can undock any panel and float it on the desktop, and you can save multiple preset layouts.
Master channel volume meters or master bus show you the audio level at the right of the video preview. The program can import or export 4K content, for which it automatically creates proxy files for faster editing. One thing I like is that when you add a clip to the timeline, its scale adjusts to fill all the clips to the width of your view.
Instead of explicitly importing media, you simply browse your disk folder and choose content, which you can then add to the Project Media bin. The Search Media Bins tool listed keywords among its search parameters, but there’s no way to add keywords to clips; you can only add them to projects. Basic Editing As with most current video editing software, you drag and drop clips from the source onto the timeline, where you have access to a choice of trimming tools, including shuffle, slip, slide, time-stretch, and split.
The Trimmer lets you select a region of a source clip for insertion into the project, which is something you can’t do in CyberLink PowerDirector , though pro-level software works this way. The timeline allows just 20 tracks—most other products let you add as many as you want. Corel VideoStudio is another exception, also allowing a maximum of 20 overlay tracks.
The timeline is easily navigable. Spinning the mouse wheel now moves the timeline back and forward instead of expanding and contracting it as it used to. There are two ways to move back and forth through your movie: Dragging the play head simply changes its position, but dragging it with Ctrl held down scrubs or “shuttles” through the video, with the sound playing at sped-up speed. There’s also a separate Shuttle control at bottom left that you can speed up with a pointer indicator.
Each clip entry includes icons for cropping, FX, and an overflow menu. To get to transitions, FX, and the Trimmer, you click on tabs below the source panel. That’s not visually very intuitive; every other consumer editor, and even the pro-level Apple Final Cut Pro X , has icons that visually indicate their purposes.
Scores of keyboard shortcuts let you perform operations quickly. The left side of each clip has helpful solo, mute, and FX buttons. Within each clip display on the timeline is a Pan-and-Crop icon, with more choices available from a right-click context menu. Other outdated or pro-level aspects of Vegas Movie Studio are that it uses the term “bins” and effects are shown in folders, though you do see preview thumbnails for those.
The Search function helps mitigate this, however, making it easier to find media and effects. The search also works for non-transition effects.
A new touch for the Trimmer tool is hover scrub, which helps you find the point in the clip where you want to make a cut or set an in or out point. But the Trimmer window has been oversimplified to the point of being useless—most of its options are now in a dropdown menu, and it only shows one clip so you can’t adjust splices. The Insert Region control is helpful because it lets you name a section of a clip, but in practice it’s cumbersome to use.
One tool I miss is a right-click option to remove empty track space, which most competing tools offer. You can’t always just drop a transition between clips and have the program figure out the necessary overlap the way most other consumer videos do. I had to increase the clip overlap, but there was no warning message about this, as other programs provide. A simple star wipe opened a box with 14 different slider settings for the transition in my testing—you can set the number of arms the star had, its border color, feathering, animation direction, and more.
That’s a great level of control, but the lack of an automated option makes every transition a time-consuming custom affair, unless you choose the automatic crossfade option. I expect to see automated options in consumer-level software.
Time stretching is possible in Vegas Movie Studio—speeding footage up or putting it into or slow motion—but, again, there’s no button or icon to click on to show you the feature exists. You simply have to know that you can either drag the left or right edge of a whole clip, hold Ctrl, and drag to enlarge or shrink the timeline entry.
Alternatively, you can enter a playback rate factor in the clip’s Properties dialog. But you can’t just speed up or slow down part of a clip. New for version 15 is a freeze-frame tool like that in Adobe Premiere Elements. I had a heck of a time finding the feature. It’s not described in the Help, and doesn’t show up in any of the top menus, for example in the Edit or Insert menus.
To use it, you place the insertion point where you want the effect, and then tap the hamburger menu and choose Freeze Frame at Cursor. This simply inserts a 5-second still at the insertion point. That’s usually too long, but you can trim the clip on the timeline with the standard tools. A bigger problem is that the clip’s audio track is not adjusted, so when you use this Freeze Frame tool, everything after the effect will have out-of-sync audio, making the feature pretty much broken for the most common uses.
The freeze frame tool in other software like Premiere Elements and Final Cut Pro X wisely leave a gap in the audio track so it stays in sync for the rest of the movie. In my chroma-key test using a green screen to fake a background for my subject, I could either choose a green or blue screen or choose the dropper to set my background color to transparent.
The initial result wasn’t as simple and correct as with Premiere Elements and PowerDirector, but Vegas Movie Studio gives you high and low threshold sliders that let you clear the background nearly as effectively as those competing apps. Forget picture-in-picture presets like those offered by PowerDirector and VideoStudio. You can now resize video within the preview window if you use the OFX plug-in. You have to go to the Video Event FX window with its host of adjustments to do either of these things.
Finally, there is a stabilize tool buried in the Media FX options I’d love more of these video effects to be available from a right-click , and it did a decent job smoothing out test footage—once I found it. One tool you don’t get in Vegas Movie Studio is any sort of motion tracking, which lets you follow an on-screen object with text or an effect. Text Tools in Vegas Movie Studio There’s no tab or toolbar button to take you to the program’s text tool: Text is just another choice under Media Generators tab.
You can also get to this plug-in from the Insert menu. Your text can use any system font, and you can adjust the size and color to taste. You can’t type directly on your preview window. You can also animate the text’s position, scale, and pretty much every other property from clock icons next to each.
The Media Generators tab offers presets for these text animations. Color Match Vegas Movie Studio’s Color Match tool is somewhat of a pro-level feature, but it can make any video movie look better. This is good if you’re shooting different angles with different light sources. The tool also has a Match Brightness option with an obvious and helpful function. Color Match opens a very tall window in which you can choose the source and target color match image or clip from the clipboard, a file, the screen or preview.
I’d prefer simply being able to select video thumbnails or timeline clips for matching. In my testing, it was a subtle effect for most content, but the tool did improve clip uniformity. It also lets you pair 3D subclips. Templates for 3D projects let you build for both the Internet and Blu-ray output. The program doesn’t make editing and viewing 3D content as easy as Magix Movie Edit Pro or PowerDirector does, but the help shows you how to set up 3D editing and viewing.
Multicam Editing in Vegas Adding multicam support to Movie Studio is a nice boasting point, but the software doesn’t perform the first step—syncing clips—automatically, as all other editors I’ve tested do.
Instead, you have to eyeball the audio waveforms and line them up manually. The program supports up to four angles, which is probably enough for most amateurs, but competitors allow more.
All competing products I’ve tested show you the angle sources and the results of the edit; with Movie Studio, you can only see the resulting movie with an external monitor or after turning off multicam editing mode.
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