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Sony Vegas 7: Strong Video and Audio Editing Software Gets Even Better

Interface enhancements, HDV editing improvements highlight new version

Although I'm not all that impressed with any automatic music generation software, Sony has created a smooth integration with its package it calls Cinescore. Working seamlessly with Vegas as a plug-in, it's a smart workflow where all you need to do is right-click on the timeline and select Insert Generated Music. You define the time length of the music and then Cinescore opens as a plug-in, letting you create royalty-free music that matches up with the video you have on your timeline, all without leaving Vegas.

Too bad you only get a demo version of Cinescore with Vegas that disables itself after a month, and if you want to use the software after that you'll need to pay a steep $249.95 tariff for the full version of Cinescore. Beyond that, the biggest plus on the audio side of the software is an improved multithreaded audio engine which makes audio playback snappier, particularly when there are more than a few tracks. Also new is multichannel audio import, Broadcast Wave audio file support and multichannel audio rendering, as well as improved VST plug-in support. Overall, the audio section of Vegas, excellent to begin with, is now even better. In fact, on a personal note, I use it every day to edit all my podcast files.

I was also a highly impressed with one particularly useful new feature that gives you better preview capabilities with LCD monitors. For instance, when you set the preview to auto scale to the preview window that's on your computer monitor, the resolution of that window won't affect the size or playback in a second LCD display or in an external monitor. This way, you can adjust the size of that preview window on your PC monitor without affecting the "program" view on your external monitor or second LCD display. This in itself can save you the cost of buying another HDTV monitor to view your HDV footage in its full resolution. 

If that's not enough, there's DVD Architect 4, included in the package and already a powerful program in version 3. Although this review is about Vegas 7's capabilities, it can't hurt to mention that DVD Architect 4 adds a number of new features as well, including motion support for slideshows, buttons on video, and advanced scripting. To me, that's icing on an already-delectable cake.

Summing up, the improved performance of the Vegas + DVD Production Suite is welcome, and is particularly important when working with HDV and XDCAM files. If you're still working in DV, you'll like its timeline workflow enhancements such as the color-coded snap lines and layout saving capabilities. The improved audio performance and HDV native encoding are also welcome improvements. All this, and a $200 price reduction for the full version of the software? That represents an excellent value. Sony Vegas, already a first-rate audio and video editing software package, is now even better. Highly recommended. 9.1 stars out of 10.


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Related Keywords:Sony Vegas 7, Sony, Sony Vegas + DVD Production Suite, digital video editing, audio editing, DVD authoring, video production, Usability improvements

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