Over the next 2 months, I’d like to offer a few tips I’ve picked up for using Sony Vegas. They may not be immediately apparent if you use Vegas, but they can be useful and save you time in the edit. We’ll start with five this month and then add another five in the December issue.
Extended Mouse Wheel Functionality
If you’re a Vegas user, you most certainly already use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out of the timeline. This function allows for a finer granularity of editing, including milliseconds and frames. But did you know that you can add some helpful functionality by using the modifier keys Ctrl and Shift (Figure 1, below)? Ctrl + the mouse wheel will scroll the timeline up and down, while Shift + the wheel will scroll left and right.
Instant Color Correction Layout
Vegas has had the ability to save and recall multiple layouts for a while, but with the introduction of Vegas Pro 9, Sony Creative Software has designed a few useful layouts for us. One is the audio mixing layout, which you can access by using Alt + D and A. But my favorite is the Color Correction Window Layout, which is accessed via Alt + D and C. It loads up the scopes and levels window, so you can view these windows when you need to adjust color and get them out of the way (by choosing another layout) when you don’t.
Watermark and Timecode
When my studio sends projects out to clients for review, we place a watermark track in the project, and we’ve recently started dropping a timecode filter on that bug track prior to rendering (Figure 2, below). This way, the client can use the timecode reference to pinpoint an exact area of video to include comments. The watermark can be a simple “Your Company Website” text event that lasts the length of the video.
Position the bug text in the lower-right corner and the timecode in the lower-left corner of the event. This makes the video less suitable for final delivery (who really wants “MackieBoyVideo.com” and a running clock on their entire video?). But it lets the client see 100% of the video for comments and approval while protecting you from any inappropriate use or distribution of your work.
Be sure to utilize Regions with this approach—if there are no changes needed, all you need to do is mute the one bug track and re-encode the video for DVD delivery; you won’t need to render audio again.
Paste Event Attributes
Do you have a bunch of events that need the same type of effects or correction applied to them? Work on one event and apply filters and color correction as needed. Then, select the event and Copy (Ctrl + C). Next, Ctrl + Click to select all the other events you want to apply these settings to. Right-click and choose Paste Event Attributes (Figure 3, below).
Everything about the original event will be applied to the selected events. Be careful; if you’ve already applied different velocity envelopes or keyframes to these events, they will now be set as the original event. It’s best to do this trick before you make any velocity or keyframe changes—unless they need to be copied across events too.
Slow Motion Quickly
Do you use motion effects in many of your clips? If so, you can quickly add velocity envelopes to many clips at once by either using Ctrl + Click on the events or choosing one event on a track and the menu item Select Events To End. You can also choose all clips on all tracks by using the shortcut Ctrl + A.
With all the clips you want selected, choose Insert > Video Envelopes > Event Velocity. All the selected clips are now ready for velocity manipulation.
Bonus Tip: Multiple Monitors
Bonus tip! This one should almost be a given: If you have only one monitor now, beg, borrow, or steal to get a second monitor. Two computer monitors plus a broadcast monitor or calibrated TV for critical color will work even better (Figure 4, below). Splitting up the Vegas windows and using a calibrated TV or broadcast monitor for preview is the best way to maximize your editing potential in Vegas and to get a truly accurate idea of how your productions will play when you deliver them.
Next month I’ll be back with my next five (or maybe six) tips in Part 2. What are your favorite Vegas tips and tricks? Drop me a line; I’d love to know. Until next month, I’ll see you in Vegas!
David McKnight (david at mcknightvideo.com) is half of McKnight Video of Houston. He is vice president of the Houston Professional Videographers Association (HPVA), has Sony Vegas and HDV certification, is the technical editor of the forthcoming Vegas Pro 9 Editing Workshop (Focal Press), and is a contributor to TheFullHD Book (VASST). He and his wife, Christie, are winners of multiple HPVA awards.