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Review: Magix Vegas Pro 15

This article continues our series of looks at alternative nonlinear editors from the perspective of a longtime Premiere Pro editor. In this article and video we'll explore Vegas Pro 15 from MAGIX.

This article continues our series of looks at alternative nonlinear editors from the perspective of a longtime Premiere Pro editor. In this article and video we’ll explore Vegas Pro 15 from MAGIX. You might be familiar with Vegas as a Sony product, which it used to be. But it’s now owned and developed by the MAGIX Corporation out of Germany.

Magix Vegas Pro, like its Sony predecessor, is a Windows-only product. I’m testing it on a Windows laptop with a Dell Canvas, 27” touch display that uses pen and totem, plus fingers. I have a 38” ultrawide curved display as well (Figure 1, below). The curved display is where I'll do most of my editing. Vegas has some other windows like effects that I might want to manipulate with the pen, and that’s where the Canvas will come in handy. More on that later.

Figure 1. My testing setup. Click the image to see it at full size.

Vegas Pro 15 is the most current release. And there's three different options. You have Vegas Pro Edit, Vegas Pro, and the Vegas Pro Suite (Figure 2, below). The pricing is $400 for Vegas Pro Edit, $599 for Vegas Pro, and then the Vegas Pro Suite is $799. The differences among those are basically the add-ons that you get. Most editors will be fine with Pro Edit.

Figure 2. Vegas options

Main Interface

Figure 3 (below) shows the main Vegas interface. It's fairly straightforward. This interface actually first reminded me a bit of DaVinci Resolve. You have your clips on the left, and then you have your program monitor on the right. Vegas doesn't have a source monitor per se, like the one in Premiere Pro where you double-click on a file and it brings it up in the window that's usually on the left, and then your program or your timeline view is on the right usually.

Figure 3. The main Vegas UI. Click the image to see it at full size.

In Vegas, you have a video preview, and you have a trimmer. The trimmer can be used in a couple of different ways, so it's more than just a source monitor. But I like Trim view (Figure 4, below), because you can actually scroll your mouse over it and scrub the clip without clicking anything. A vertical line, or a timeline marker shows you where you are in the clip proportionally from beginning to end. And it shows you what's going on in that portion of the clip. And when your mouse goes away from it, it just goes back to the beginning.

Figure 4. Trim view

In the bar below the main window in Trim view you can choose your in and out points, which are also displayed with the lighter shaded area in the center. If you just click, it gets rid of that. And then I can adjust those in and out points again to bring those back to whatever I need.

The other thing you can do here is create sub-clips, which will actually generate a new sub-clip in your bin. Or you can simply choose to drop whatever it is on your timeline.

Test Project

As in previous installments in this series (see the Related Articles at the bottom of this page), I'm doing the exact same edit as close I can in each one of these pieces of software so that I have the closest apples-to-apples comparison of how it is to edit in any of these applications.

I exported my EDL from Premiere Pro, which is my original edit that I've been basing all my other edits on. First, I try to use a regular EDL file from Premiere Pro. It did not work, so then I actually exported a Final Cut Pro EDL, and that worked like a charm. So I brought it in--every clip, all the music, and the fades. Everything was in there. It did not import some after-market plug-ins that I have in Premiere Pro that are not standard. It replaced it with a closest approximation, which is basically just a fade.

All in all, Vegas did a pretty good job of bringing in an edit from another application into this one. So I'm not really going to get into the actual editing of a project. But I do want to show you how simple it is to make some of the changes. First of all, I love the scrubber in the timeline. If you scrub where the timecode is, you'll notice that it optionally does an audio and video scrub. Some people love having that scrubbing, they like to be able to hear what's going on, not just see what's going on. If you're trying to jump quickly to a point, you can do scrub without the audio, or just click to move the marker quickly. If you click and drag in an area in the timeline, it actually creates in and out points. So you can quickly make a selection for an in and out point just like that.

Related Articles
Paul Schmutzler looks at Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve editing and color grading solution from the perspective of a longtime Premiere Pro editor.
In this latest installment of our series on alternative NLEs from the perspective of a Premiere Pro editor, we'll look at EditShare's Lightworks, an NLE as noteworthy for its unique hardware as for the software itself.