Vegas Pro - Refinements vs. Options

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/8/2010, 7:52 AM

Okay, I fully expect to be chewed up, spit out, stomped on, flamed, ridiculed, etc., so be it.

Again, I openly profess that I am not the technician that so many here are. In times past, with previous versions of Vegas, I have openly wondered, why do the developers (whom I fully appreciate) not take the time to take with one version (such as 9.0, for example) and refine it to the inth degree, e.g., remove all bugs and make all functions work as the end-user expects them to?

Case in point, elsewhere LarsHD has pointed out a problem with the preview playing scrolling text smoothly. Is expecting a simple rendered text scroll to play smoothly asking to much?

Is asking for the current version of any application, for that matter, to perform its basic functions smoothly asking and/or expecting too much?

Yes, I understand that no two systems (computers/users) are the same. However, one would think that the application would work so long as the minimum system requirements were being met.

Okay, let the flamming begin <slipping into my fire retardant suit>.


PerroneFord wrote on 2/8/2010, 9:16 AM
No flaming necessary. But you touched on a number of VERY significant Vegas faults in one go.

The most primary issue at hand, and one discussed at length in a thread shut down over two months ago, is that the "minimum system requirements" for Vegas are not for HD editing. They are targeted for SD editing. HD editing requires far more resources than what the box states. It's like the car commercials. Yes, you can walk into the Mercedes dealer and buy one for $25k. But that doesn't mean you should expect the model YOU WANT to roll off the lot for $25k. Similarly, if you expect more than minimum performance from Vegas, then you should have a machine with more than the minimum specs.

The secondary issue at hand is the idea of "kitchen sink" processing. In trying to be all things to all people, Vegas has become too bloated for it's own good. There is a very good reason that most pro NLEs operate as a suite of applications. If you want to improve the preview handling, you have upgrade the NLE. If you want to improve the compression algorithms, you have to upgrade the whole NLE. If you want to upgrade the audio filters, you have to upgrade the whole NLE. If you want to fix something in the title features, you have to upgrade the whole NLE. It's a tough way to go about things.

The idea of smooth video performance in an NLE is so fundamental, you'd think it would be job one. The problem is that Vegas is asking the overtaxed CPU to perform this task. Rather than adding a minimum spec of a decent graphics card and writing the software to leverage it, we suffer through poor preview performance. Like many, I was really concerned it was my system. Until I installed a different NLE. It's not the system, not the OS, and not the drives.
Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/8/2010, 9:36 AM

"The idea of smooth video performance in an NLE is so fundamental, you'd think it would be job one."

Yes, especially when the NLE had generated the video!

Please understand, and this includes the folks at SCS, this is not a slam or a swipe at the developers or their application. I can't begin to imagine what pressures these people are under.

One can't help but think that there comes a time when we must take the time to step back and honestly evaluate where we stand as opposed to where we are. Did we reach our destination or have we veered off track? I know I do with each project I produce.

Having come into editing video from editing film, Vegas comes the closest handling video the way I handled film. That's why I love it. That's why I use it.

Wanting to see my favorite application improved in its basic functions should not label me, or this thread, as unsupportive or trouble.

farss wrote on 2/8/2010, 10:03 AM
Your points are very apt. You know there's a discussion about Vegas on Stu's ProLost blog. It seems we're considered more rabid fanboys than FCP users. Maybe there's some truth to it and we do need to stand back and look at the big picture.

I have no difficulty agreeing with what Perrone has to say. Things are simply being bolted onto Vegas, an application that started out as an audio multitracker. In all the years since V4 I've not seen a single enhancement that required a change to the core Vegas design. A long time ago the audio guys were screaming for Vegas to be able to be run as a Rewire slave. Never happened and probably never will. The same goes for timecode, either from vision or audio. Not one of the features bolted on has been exactly stellar either, just enough for a bullet point on the box and then development moves on.

Not to say that like everyone here I don't love Vegas and am not about to really jump ship anytime soon however more and more I see what other apps are doing both with sound and vision and I do have to wonder where the ship is headed. Looking at John Cline's recent thread we do seem to be a bunch of grumpy old men and that's not entirely a good thing. We need young blood with radical ideas in both the user base and the development team. I also feel that the development needs a serious injection of funds. Progress seems to be happening at glacial speed. Years pass and we're still having the same issues.

DJPadre wrote on 2/8/2010, 10:04 AM
I agree jay... sadly some people on boards such as this cannot handle open opinion, irrespective of how or what is said.
Its one reason i only come here when i can offer help or when i only need help. IM far too busy to care about ppls opinions of me, especially in a faceless community such as this...

in a nutshell, SCS need to do what Adobe did. And that is to rebuild Vegas from scratch.
For my business, v9 is a total write off. The only use we got from it was the new plugin fx, but i had already bought those.
Titler should run (iMO as smoothly as Bluff runs. With GFX enhanced 2d and 3d effects. As its stands titler is too convoluted and time consuming to be of any use to us. For others it might be differnt, but we can whip out similar work in AE in half the time without the hassles.

The other issue we find is AVC HD. It simply doesnt work in v9, whereas in V8, it works without skipping a beat.

V9 has also damaged projects whereby clip references have been lost entirely and media is left "blank' when on the timeline we can see the clip thumbnails.

Finally, instaling newblue was fine, and despite it being a 3rd party plugin he issues we have faced without Vegas installs while having these plugs installed have almsot ruined a decent install which had no problems this time last week.

I understand SCS have changed teh architecture of Vegas, however what sony have failed to realsie is that more and more people are buying into solid state camcorders. With this, comes new codecs and wrappers from Sony, pana and JVC cams, and soon to be canon with the 422 camera.
WIth this, more and more people are moving toward vegas as CPU power increases, as other NLEs arent utilising these CPU boosts as SOny have (since day dot)

If SCS dotn get their act togetehr by v10, then I can imagine a myriad of editors jumping ship to NLEs which can not only handle the formats in question, but wotn continuously fail at every second rebuild

the point im tryin to make, is that its not just titler thats the problem, its the entire system itself... I coudl list 3 pages of problems i have with v9, which are non existant in v8. in that list, i can ask why it handles rubbish from no name codecs, but cannot handle DVCpro HD... and if anyne says it can, Id repsond by sayin i can only get it working with raylight which is an extra 500 out of my pocket... .

It seriously needs an overhaul...

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/8/2010, 10:16 AM

"... [ I ] am not about to really jump ship anytime soon however more and more I see what other apps are doing both with sound and vision and I do have to wonder where the ship is headed."

That pretty well says how I feel, Bob.

I too agree with Perrone. I think we all really like Vegas (and recognize it is not the end-all-NLE), but I think most of us can see there is room for improvement--"make a good thing better." And when I say "improvment" I do not mean tack on more bells and whistles. I mean fix what we've got, polish it and make it shine!

BudWzr wrote on 2/8/2010, 11:03 AM
I don't believe Vegas was ever created as a hardcore production product first and foremost.

The word "creative" in SCS is there for a reason. It's a prosumer product that's been infiltrated by pros because the GUI is brilliant.

If I were Sony, I'd do the same thing. There's lots more prosumers than pros, and Sony is undermining for the future.

Another thing is that content originators, like illustrators, will find bezier curves as a welcome option, as opposed to a frustration.

Another thing is that the oldtimers switching from reels to memory chips don't have the intermediate computer knowledge, and rely on their NLE to do it all. So they try to 3D animate a huge still straight from their camera which is set to the highest possible bitrate and then wonder why Vegas bogs down.

The content needs to be optimized FOR Vegas TOO.

When I start to see long render times or sluggish performance I consider that my workflow is faulty, and try to correct myself, but many just blame Vegas. I don't get that.

It's like blaming a grill for burning your BBQ.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 2/8/2010, 11:43 AM
system req's say HD requires a multi core or multi CPU setup, so it does say it needs more (slowest duel cores are ~3 or 4 times faster) then 1ghz single core. So far there's no advantage to buying a $800 GPU vs buying another NLE + dedicated hardware for $2000. You're still stuck with certain limits, limits that caused most people to go to Vegas in the first place.

I'm on 8 & I'm happy. I've seen lots of issues with 9, glad I didn't upgrade then (10? maybe. We'll see!) Could they do a lot under the hood? Not sure. It's pretty well documented on the forum that if Vegas forced everyone to edit in a single format 99% of all issues would go away (transcode everything to DV or HDV, for example). Almost all issues come from things that aren't kosher to Vegas. I said ALMOST!!! :)

But like said it's not aimed @ CBS News or James Cameron. I'm betting a bunch of college kids pirated/bought Z-Brush (which is the cheaper 3d sculpting app out there) because it was used in Avatar, just like a bunch pirated/bought the editing program it was made with thinking they'll do the same stuff.

I do love the idea though of the SCS team really fleshing out what's there now & making 10 the rock that all other Vegas versions are built on, which 4 seems to be now. I'd most likely buy 10 if it did just that & polished some things up, like making Protype fit with the GUI of the rest of Vegas, made the online help as useful as it was in 4, etc.

But unlike other companies, I can keep 8 until I die, I will never loose the license. So if SCS never hammers out another great version, I'm not really at a loss, I still have 8. And when they do, I can sell 8 & get that version. Apple, Avid or Adobe have that kind of upgrade scheme?
Coursedesign wrote on 2/8/2010, 11:43 AM
SCS need to do what Adobe did. And that is to rebuild Vegas from scratch.

...and Adobe needs to rewrite PP again. Talk about bloated and unreliable.

Vegas can't reach its potential until it gets rid of the VFW interface Microsoft deprecated 10 years ago, it is really really cramping what it can do.

That's a big code change, and I can only pray that the Madison gang has been busy doing this and we'll see it all in Vegas 10 announced at NAB, shipping in August, and fully working in December.

The performance boost would be substantial, and they could also make QuickTime work like it does in Avid on Windows (i.e. fast because it has to be, QT is the standard for most professionals).
Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/8/2010, 11:56 AM

What is "VFW interface"?

JackW wrote on 2/8/2010, 12:13 PM
Veterans of Foreign Wars are into video editing now?

Yoyodyne wrote on 2/8/2010, 12:45 PM
Just adding my .02 to this.

I would also love to see Vegas tweak and refine what it has as opposed to adding more features. It just seems to have migrated away from the stability and innovation it once had.
PerroneFord wrote on 2/8/2010, 12:49 PM
Video for Windows. It was the old standard way for dealing with video on Windows computers. It's been gone a LONG time from most applications.
BudWzr wrote on 2/8/2010, 1:08 PM
Dropping the VFW interface would cut sales 90% and then Vegas would cost $3000 if it survived.
rmack350 wrote on 2/8/2010, 1:40 PM
I wouldn't say VFW is entirely gone since other applications still distribute VFW codecs, but it's not the plumbing you'd build a modern NLE around.

For example, I use a Matrox VFW codec to open files created by Axio drivers in PPro. This allows systems without Axio hardware to use the media files.

I agree that Vegas has enough features scabbed onto it to justify a rebuild, but there are always lots of pressures to just put out a new software rev for the least amount of money and keep the revenue stream going.

Vegas could benefit greatly from a rebuild but it could also be improved with a bit of social engineering of the interface. Software interfaces have a sort of narrative for the user and Vegas' interface could lead people away from trouble. For example, PPro displays a thin red line above the timeline indicating that it ought to get rendered. Once you render it the line turns green and you get a peanut. Okay, maybe no peanut but the truth is that sometimes a red stretch plays just fine. Users get trained to render things, the reward is a green line.

Vegas, on the other hand, rarely gives advice or guidance. You're totally free to climb into your barrel and start drifting towards the falls.

Rob Mack
rmack350 wrote on 2/8/2010, 1:43 PM
Dropping the VFW interface would cut sales 90% ...

How so?

It's been the received wisdom here for ages now that Vegas should drop VFW. I'd love to hear a different opinion and some reasoning behind it.

Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/8/2010, 2:24 PM

Robert, please do not take this the wrong way--nothing personal...

The red line thingie is exactly what I'm talking about. Vegas does not need another bell or whistle. If someone is too dumb to render, then let 'em go over the falls! Again, let's perfect what we've got, or get as close as we possibly can.

How on earth did editors (or anyone for that matter) get things done before the advent of computers and idiot-proofing?

rmack350 wrote on 2/8/2010, 3:00 PM
Nothing personal taken.

A couple of points about the Red-Line/Green-Line two-step...

What I'm getting at here is that this sets an expectation that things must be rendered in order to play at full frame rate. A side effect is that people develop a pavlovian dog's response to it.

Editing before computers was a whole different ball game, as you know. There was no such thing as a Prosumer Steenbeck.

Rather than comparing this to film editing, compare it to early Avid and Media100 editing. In those days everything needed to be rendered. I don't know about Avid but Media100 had one and only one video codec that it supported, and that was media100's proprietary codec. If you wanted to use something else it would have to be transcoded.

The same went for stills. You had to do all the processing for a still before you imported it.

The point here is that the whole editing environment was very strictly defined, specialized hardware was required, everything had to be rendered right away, and playback was mostly guaranteed, at least for the low data rate versions of your media.

In contrast, Vegas has few rules. This works against it ever providing reliable playback because there's just no hard target for what will definitely, without question, play back at full rez and frame rate. If Vegas encouraged rendering to one working codec this would help a lot. If Vegas gave feedback about what it considered playable then this would at least manage expectations.

If you didn't expect unrendered AVC to play would you complain when it met your expectations? Or would you be pleasantly surprised when it exceeded your expectations?

Playback is only one of many issues. I'm saying that some things can be fixed, other things can be re-designed so that users have more realistic expectations. I wholeheartedly agree that Vegas could use a revamp. We're coming up on version 10 of a program that has grown organically and could use some rebuilding, rethinking, and redesigning. At the very least they could take what they have and make it all work more elegantly.

BudWzr wrote on 2/8/2010, 6:00 PM
VFW is the pipeline to opensource codecs, and without opensource codecs as an alternative for "We The People" all media formats would be loaded with DRM and prices would go skyhigh.

Without any alternatives, Apple's "pro" player would be $129 instead of $29.

Open source codecs are the only and best defense against greedy corporations that want to control our computers for profit.

It's no wonder that conventional wisdom here is to begone with anything that lets the proletariat eat cake.

It's been the received wisdom here for ages now that Vegas should drop VFW. I'd love to hear a different opinion and some reasoning behind it.

rmack350 wrote on 2/8/2010, 10:43 PM
Okay, it's a political argument. I don't buy it, mainly because I don't associate VFW with open source codecs.

The thing about DRM is that it's optional, so I think this is a bogus complaint about DirectShow. Similarly, filters can be written to support open source codecs in Direct Show. It seems to me that the "Open-ness" of DirectShow is pretty similar to VFW.

I'm not sure how much Direct Show matters at this point. That ship is about to sail, with Media Foundation taking its place. If SCS wants to rebuild Vegas' video engine they probably need to put their efforts there and not into Direct Show. And given that MF isn't going to be supported in Windows XP, maybe SCS would be better off waiting until XP sunsets.

On the other hand, waiting would not be good for Vegas users so maybe Vegas could see MF support sooner.

TeetimeNC wrote on 2/9/2010, 6:25 AM
Rob, I believe Premier supports DirectShow AND VFW. So hopefully the same can be done with MF and VFW.

BudWzr wrote on 2/9/2010, 6:28 AM
AFAIK, DirectShow is a playback mechanism controlled by M$. It does not support "3rd party vendors" which is industry codeword for "competitors".

I may be wrong, but I think when you install ffdshow, it also installs libavcodec which has the encoding capability accessed via VFW, yes?

I'm not an expert on this.
SuperG wrote on 2/9/2010, 7:42 AM
DS is both a playback mechanism and a standard for writing so called 'filters'. These filters can be just about anything. Compressers, decompressors, audio filters. DS can be daunting since there's fifty ways to implement a playback chain, and no two vendors do it the same. AFAIK, most application vendors using DS implement their own components since relying on third parties is dodgy.