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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.

Welcome to the third tutorial in our series on new features in Sony Vegas Pro 11. In this installment we're going to talk about GPU Assist. This is an exciting feature for Vegas users because, for the first time ever, your video card can improve the playback and editing performance in Vegas Pro. Let's get started.

Is Your System GPU Assist-Ready?

GPU Assist is very easy to enable or disable in Vegas but, before we do that, I want to set up a couple of other parameters and options in Vegas to make sure that your system is optimized before engaging the GPU.

I'n the example shown here, I'm working with a multi-camera project (Figure 1, below) of a concert by '80s daytime drama/rock star Jack Wagner from the 2011 Rick Springfield Cruise.

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 1. Our six-camera concert edit

In the Preview window, you want to make sure that the three main options are checked: Simulate Device Aspect Ratio, Scale Video to Fit Preview Window, and Adjust Size and Quality for Optimal Playback (Figure 2, below).

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 2. Make sure you have these main 3 options selected in the Preview window.

You can see where I've got playback set to Best (Full) here, but I can tell you that in playback it's probably going to move to Preview quality. Since we're going to let Vegas adjust it, it'll probably go to Preview Half or maybe Preview Full (Figure 3, below).

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 3. Playback quality settings for preview

Next, we'll adjust our Preview Video Preferences, found at the bottom of the preview window options shown at the bottom of Figure 2. Right now, my GPU acceleration is turned off. So if you don't see anything in this drop-down when you click on it, that means you do not have a video card that's capable of doing GPU Assist (Figure 4, below). So with that turned off, that means that you're using only the CPU to play back your video.

Sony Vegas Pro 11
Figure 4. The selected pull-down shows my GPU acceleration options.

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