Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro

Feature-rich editing software for the semi-professional

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Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro
  • Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro
  • Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro
  • Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro

Pros

  • Bundled Sound Forge Audio Studio 9 software; easy-to-use interface; novice-friendly tutorials; lots of advanced tools, features and effects for the asking price

Cons

  • Faces stiff competition from Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12

Bottom Line

If you’re semi-serious about video, Sony's Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro is well worth shelling out for. In particular, the inclusion of Sound Forge Audio Studio will help give your productions the professional sheen they need.

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It has been nearly a year since we last reviewed a Sony Vegas product (Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0), and in that time a lot about the digital video landscape has changed. HD-DVD has gone the way of the dodo, high-def camcorders are more popular than ever, and the cost of authoring Blu-ray movies has fallen substantially. Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro takes all this into account with a swathe of new and improved features. The result is a comprehensive and up-to-date video editing suite that is suitable for novices and enthusiasts alike. Despite some stiff competition from Pinnacle’s recent Studio Ultimate 12, it remains a very attractive package for the asking price.

As the ‘Platinum Pro’ in the title suggests, this is an enhanced version of Vegas Movie Studio 9 intended mainly for enthusiasts and semi-professionals. (This is further implied by the bloke on the front of the box and his absurdly large camcorder.) With an RRP of $239, it is more than twice the price of the vanilla offering. So what do you get for your extra simolians? Thankfully, quite a bit!

The added features in Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro are ample, including full versions of Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9.0 (an audio-editing package which originally retailed for $169) and the Cinescore Studio Pro Pack (a music creation tool for royalty-free soundtracks). You also get over 100 3-D transitions and effects from New Blue (with an emphasis on stylised animations), increased support for obscure file formats, 1001 additional sound effects and the ability to import AVCHD data directly from a camera. A free 2GB Sony thumb drive valued at $30 rounds out the package (though this is only available while stocks last).

Other improvements that are non-exclusive to the Platinum Pro edition include an updated moviemaking wizard for streamlined edits, full screen previews for single monitors, an integrated YouTube upload tool, an enhanced Sony AVC/MPEG-4 video encoder tailor-made for handheld devices and a large array of HDV-specific tools and features. For the first time, you can also burn your video projects directly to Blu-ray discs from the timeline. While most of these features are present in the standard Movie Studio 9, they remain valuable editions when compared to version 8 of the software.

Using Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9 Platinum Pro is as intuitive and user-friendly as ever: beginners will be able to grasp the basics and start making their own videos within minutes (this is in large part thanks to the excellent Show Me How interactive tutorials that have been built into the program). Sticking to the same tri-pane interface as Sony Vegas Movie Studio 9, the Pro version keeps everything laid out in a highly accessible manner.

Once your footage is captured, editing is a simple matter of selecting a clip and dragging it onto the editing timeline, where effects, titles and transitions can be applied with ease. The menus are particularly helpful and the entire process quickly becomes second nature. One great feature is the ability to automatically convert 4:3 screen ratios to 16:9 (widescreen) and vice-versa, ensuring your mixed footage will match regardless of what ratio it was shot in. (You can also import MJPEG-encoded AVI files, which is a common video format for still cameras.)

As with most editing programs, you can spread the interface over multiple monitors. In addition, the program now supports full-screen playback even if you are using one monitor. This will be particularly handy for notebook users who want to preview incomplete edits while on the road.

DVD authoring is another strong point of this software. Once again, Sony has bundled DVD Architect Studio (4.5) with the package, which combines ease-of-use with detailed functionality. A series of easy-to-follow steps will have your movies burnt to DVD, CD or BD-R in no time — you can also export directly to a Sony PSP, or reformat files for use on your iPod.

All up, we have no qualms recommending this product, although some users may want to check out Pinnacle’s Studio Ultimate 12 before making their buying decision. With many of the same features and a more entry-level interface, it may be slightly better suited to the 'emerging' enthusiast.

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