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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.

Applying Stabilization, Color Correction, and Other FX

One of the things I always do with my footage is correct for stabilization and color. In this project, my stabilization was a little bit tricky. You'll find the stabilization plugin under the effects in Vegas. I'll do that by selecting a clip and creating some effects on that particular Event, or piece of the timeline. Figure 5 (below) shows all of the effects available. There I found the stabilize plugin, and then I added that to the clip that I had chosen.

Figure 5. Choosing the Vegas Stabilize FX

Once I've added any effect I want, Vegas puts in a chain at the top left of the Plug-in FX dialog, as you can see in Figure 5. Then I click OK.

So from here, I can make adjustments and apply them so the effect will render. The problem is, when I applied the stabilization effect, I got ae: "You've added the Stabilize plugin to an event. This plugin must be applied to a clip or a sub-clip as a media effect." So it's kind of odd to me that that is even available in this interface if it doesn't work this way. So since I already went through this, I actually went back and I fixed and I found how I needed to actually add that to that particular clip: I brought up the stabilization for a sub-clip that I made of the trouble clip in my timeline.

So it's a little bit convoluted to try to do just a very simple thing, in my opinion. There are a few presets, which are basically just light, medium, and heavy stabilization. I just had to experiment to figure out which one worked. And really, the presets aren't that useful, because all they do is set a specific smoothing and stabilization amount right here. So the default that it's set to is .5 and .5. And then there's a checkbox for rolling shutter correction, which I didn't need. All it does is go up or down, both of those together, the pan smoothing and the stabilization amount. You hit Apply, and Vegas renders it. And then you can see the results.

I found that the light stabilization was enough for that trouble clip. It is a problematic clip that most stabilizers have trouble with, so I don't expect perfection when I see it there.

Now let's look at how to adjust the color on the clips. To adjust color in Premiere Pro, I created a look that I liked with a combination of several filters and effects. And then I copied all of those and just went through each clip and pasted, pasted, pasted onto each one. However, it would be a lot easier, if I had a look that I liked, just to apply it to the entire track if I'm not going to make any changes. Or I can make changes to the track and then I can apply counteracting effects to a particular clip in order to reduce it or modify it in some way.

In Vegas, I created a track effect that would apply to all of the clips in my timeline. As you can see in Figure 6 (below), on the left for the video track, there's a little hamburger menu. If you open that, you'll see there's a track FX option (bottom left in Figure 6), which will then open in my main monitor (Figure 7, below Figure 6).

Figure 6. Creating a track effect

Figure 7. The Track FX dialog.

As you can see in Figure 7, I applied some RGB curves. Some brightness and contrast. A hue, saturation and lightness adjustment.

What you have here is basically like the effects window in Premiere Pro, but a little bit different. I like this because it gives you everything right at the top (Figure 8, below) so you can switch between them quickly.

Figure 8. The FX tabs are easily accessible at the top of the dialog.

In Premiere Pro, when you have lots of effects, you have to scroll and expand to get to the effects parameters you want to adjust. It’s not always a very good visual layout. So I like the way these can be separated. They can be easily turned on and off, of course. And then you have multiple column views that you can change between depending on your preference and your setup.

Since my screen is so enormously wide, I can certainly take advantage of that three-column view and spread things out farther horizontally, rather than vertically. So all the effects here I just played with until I found a look that I liked for everything, and got is at close as I could to match the other videos that I produced here.

There are a number of other things here at the left side of your interface. Media Generators would be just generating graphics of some sort. You have Video FX, which is what we brought up in a different way, but it's also right here if you need it. Transitions (Figure 9, below), of course, you would always use in various ways. And then you have a file explorer to import your media.

Figure 9. Previewing preset transitions

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