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Tutorial: GPU-Assisted Multicam Editing and Encoding in Sony Vegas

Sony Vegas instructor David McKnight continues his video tutorial series with a look at Vegas' new GPU Assist feature, which enables Vegas editors to leverage the processing power of supported NVIDIA and AMD video cards to get full-frame previews of loaded timelines and accelerate rendering with many popular codecs.

Other Preview Performance Tips

There are a couple of other settings you should pay attention to when tweaking your preview settings for optimum performance in Vegas. You can optimize the preview settings by selecting the three main options that we selected in Figure 2. You want to optimize your project settings, and the way you get to that is by clicking on Project Video Properties. You should always match the settings of your Project Properties to the actual media that you're using in the project by selecting Match Media Settings (Figure 10, below).

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 10. Choosing project settings in the Project Properties dialog

After you click Match Media Settings, Vegas lets you browse to a piece of media that's in your project. Figure 11 (below) shows a clip that's part of the project used in this tutorial.

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 11. Browsing to a relevant piece of project media

When you click to open your project clip, it automatically populates all the fields that are related to the media, matcing the settings in the source clip (Figure 12, below).

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 12. Back in the Project Properties dialog, all relevant settings are matched to the project media.

Because in the absence of any media-matching guidance from you, Vegas will default a SD DV project, and most of us are shooting in some type of HD, make sure that you match your Project Properties to the media that you're using in the project before proceeding with any editing.

The next thing I would recommend, if you are using a GPU video card, is to update your video card drivers regularly and do so from the chipset manufacturer, whether it's NVIDIA, AMD, or ATI (which has been the same as AMD since AMD bought ATI several years ago). Do not go through Dell or IBM or Toshiba or whoever you bought your laptop from. New drivers for most video cards typically become available from their manufacturers every month or every other month. It's the most frequently updated piece of hardware you're likely to use anywhere in your work.

Now, there are many other factors you should consider as a discerning purchaser of GPU video cards, so check the Sony Vegas website for a list of supported cards and requirements for GPU before making any decisions. When I'm shopping for a card, I typically will use a site like to comparison-shop and get an idea of what I'm likely to spend to get what I need, but as often as possible I try to shop locally, either at Micro Center or Fry's or something like that where I can get service and exchanges if I need to.

GPU Update

In late March 2012, NVIDIA released the GTX 680 (code named Kepler). You can find all the technical details elsewhere, but suffice it to say this long-awaited beast runs leaner and faster than it's predecessors—a lot faster. Where the GTX 560 Ti contained 384 CUDA cores, the new GTX 680 contains a whopping 1,536 CUDA cores. At a current price of around $500 (if you can find one in stock) this new model kicks serious butt. What typically happens when new product like this is released is prices are lowered on the existing product line. If your GPU, like mine, is in the 400 series (or the Radeon equivalent) now might be the perfect time to upgrade, even if you don't choose the latest, top-of-the-line model.

That wraps up the third tutorial in our Sony Vegas Pro 11 series. We've got 3 more to come over the next few weeks. The next one is should drop just before NAB so, one way or another, I'll see you in Vegas.

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