Video Editing: These Are The Good Old Days

Sony's new Vegas Movie Studio +DVD is a $99 entry level video editor that does most of what high-end hardware and software combinations did not that long ago.
I decided that since I was in the process of making a larger video, I'd find out if Vegas Studio was as easy to use as it looked. It was.

I made a five-minute video made from about 25 different cuts. First, I imported the video, which already had audio. Then I imported some stills and finally some music. This part of the process only took about a minute since I already had all the video, sounds and stills in one folder on my desktop.

Next, I started assembling the video, first by going to the trimmer tab and cutting off the beginning and end parts of each clip that I didn't want to show in the final product. As I trimmed each piece, I moved it to the timeline in the order I wanted it to show in the video. If I goofed and wanted to insert a new clip or move a clip to another part of the sequence, no problem. I dragged it and dropped it where I wanted it.

After I was satisfied with the placement of all my cuts, dissolves, pictures, text and etceteras, I ran the entire video and watched it. A few more quick adjustments and I was ready to export the whole project as a single movie, which only required making a menu selection and picking the format I wanted, which in this case was an avi.

Problems And Issues

The whole process took only about 45 minutes and the end product was almost as good as I could have produced with the more "professional" packages I use. Maybe the high end products have more functionality, such as more different effects, but this program still has plenty.

The only significant problem I encountered that differentiates Vegas Movie Studio +DVD from higher-end packages is that it doesn't have the ability to "scrub" the timeline. Scrubbing means dragging the time marker back and forth across the video and audio tracks to hear and see my cuts and effects.

This is important for making good cuts in a video because it helps you get down to the exact frame you want to cut and not one frame too soon or a frame too late, a level of precision that's essential for professional videos.

But then, this is not a program for professionals. But Vegas Movie Studio +DVD is a top-notch excellent program for sophisticated amateurs that does an excellent job of balancing ease-of-use with strong functionality.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio + DVD; $99; Sony

Steve Haskin is a videographer and editor for the University of Michigan Department of Surgery.

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