First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Sony Vegas Movie Studio + DVD 7 (Platinum Edition)
- HD friendly, huge array of effects and transitions, very easy to use.
- Training video is for uber-novices only.
This is a feature-rich and user-friendly package that should suit amateurs and semi-professionals alike.
Price$ 239.00 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)
When it comes to producing professional looking videos, the editing process is arguably more important than remembering to take the lens cap off your camera. Whether you dream of winning fame and fortune at Tropfest, or just want your friends to stay awake for your holiday videos, the quality of the final cut can make all the difference.
Now up to its seventh iteration, Sony's highly lauded Vegas Movie Studio will ensure your digital creations match the unmolested vision in your head. With support for both DV and HDV cameras, the inclusion of DVD Architect Studio 4, and more effects than you can shake a stick at, this is one impressive piece of software that is admirably easy to use.
Despite being a stripped down version of the professional Vegas package, Movie Studio provides more tools and options than the majority of users will ever need. Over 500 video effects and transitions are included, allowing you to make your movies as stylised or avant-garde as you like. The audio options are also quite extensive, including support for Dolby 5.1 surround sound and custom soundtrack creation.
Sticking to the by-now standard tri-pane interface, everything is clearly laid out and highly intuitive. 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.
Even those who have never used a video-editing program before will find themselves in good hands -- there are over 30 interactive tutorials to follow, covering everything from colour correction to DVD burning. For the truly camera shy, a bonus training video has also been included, featuring a friendly videographer with a mullet who runs you through the baby steps. (He even offers tips on using cameras and tripods to ensure your footage is actually worth cutting together.)
As with most editing programs, you can spread the interface over two monitors; a useful option for those who want to take advantage of full-screen previews. Incidentally, the default preview window will still give you a pretty good view of the action, even on medium sized monitors.
DVD authoring is where Sony Vegas Movie Studio truly comes into its own though. As already mentioned, Sony has bundled DVD Architect Studio 4 in with the package, which combines functionality with ease of use and is almost worthy of a review on its own. While it's more powerful and complex than some of its rivals, basic tasks are still quite simple to achieve. A series of easy-to-follow steps will have your movie burnt to DVD, VCD or CD in no time -- you can even export directly to a Sony PSP, or reformat files for use on your iPod.
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