Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0 takes a different approach. Unlike the Adobe and Pinnacle products, this one does not walk you through a step-by-step approach. By default, it begins with six tracks (text, video overlay, video, voice, music, and sound effects), and the user interface screams ‘sophisticated video production’. Since I seldom read manuals, I was relieved to find that it had a ‘Show Me How’ button that linked to a good menu and a series of handy tutorials.

While the interface may be intimidating, at first, to beginners, using Vegas was not significantly more difficult than other packages. I imported some video clips, dropped them on to the timeline and hit play to preview. As one might expect, Sony seems to pay a lot of attention to audio. For example, a pair of meters showed information on the audio levels. I had to use the tutorial to understand how transitions work — in the other consumer packages I tested, you just drag the transition between the clips. In Vegas, you first overlap the clips the way you want them, and then apply the transition to the overlapping region.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum

Vegas offers a vast array of transitions, effects and features. When you’re done building your video, a click on ‘Make Movie’ brings up a menu that starts a very intuitive process entitled, “What do you want to do with your movie?” Options include saving it to your hard drive, burning a DVD, publishing it to the web, saving it for a Sony PSP, e-mailing it and more.

Unlike most consumer oriented packages, Vegas doesn’t create DVD menus or burn DVDs. Instead, it focuses on video editing and encoding, and exports audio and video to Sony DVD Architect Studio if you want to create a DVD. It only took me a few minutes to layout a very simple DVD for grandma but it was obvious that DVD Architect Studio could do some very sophisticated DVD layouts if one took the time to learn the program.

Overall, Vegas has a steeper learning curve than other consumer packages and it may be too much for those who just want to create a simple video. However, if you’re willing to invest a bit of time to learn the application, Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0 is a powerful video editing tool.

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