Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 review

Price when reviewed

It’s a feature we’ve been imploring Sony to implement for years, so it’s great to see it finally included, even if it’s only for the Titles & Text editor and the new 3D effect. We hope Sony gets around to converting all the other effects to this system soon.

For us, preview performance is the single most important measure of a video-editing package’s success. Vegas Platinum was already a leader in this area, playing back four simultaneous AVCHD streams in our standard test on a Core i7-870 PC. However, version 10 was considerably less successful at handling QuickTime 1080p AVC files from digital SLR cameras; one stream would play smoothly but overlaying two resulted in lots of dropped frames. For version 11, preview performance for these files is transformed. We tested using footage from a Canon EOS 600D and Nikon D7000 and managed smooth playback of four simultaneous streams.

That’s a fantastic improvement, but it’s disappointing that Vegas Platinum is still only available as a 32-bit application. Vegas Pro 10 comes in both 32- and 64-bit builds, and the latter gives a significant boost to preview performance in our tests.

Version 11 also introduces GPU-accelerated AVC encoding, with support for both Nvidia CUDA and ATI Stream technology. Whether this delivers faster encoding depends on the specific processor and graphics card – with our Core i7-870 and Nvidia GeForce GTX 275, encoding was actually about 50% slower. Frustratingly, the software used GPU rendering by default, and overriding this involved some serious rummaging through advanced settings. A representative from Sony told us the software should automatically choose the fastest method, and admitted that the feature may require additional fine-tuning.

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11

Another frustration is that Vegas Platinum still lacks background rendering to help deliver smooth previews of complex sections of the timeline, or a proxy file system for substituting HD footage with SD copies to speed up performance while editing. These features make a big difference to rival packages’ performance on slower hardware or when combining lots of effects and overlays. The introduction of GPU-based rendering would have been the perfect opportunity to implement these features, letting the graphics card produce background and proxy files while the main processor got on with editing. As it stands Vegas Platinum’s preview performance is excellent, but these features would raise it even further.

There’s a smattering of smaller improvements, including the ability to apply effects to individual audio objects, plus an improved Render As dialog box that helps users find export templates that match the project’s settings. Overall, though, this is only an essential upgrade for those working with QuickTime AVC or 3D footage.

Then again, we’ve no qualms about keeping Vegas Platinum in our A-List. The improvements aren’t as dramatic as we’d hoped for but this is still the most elegant, streamlined and rewarding editor available for less than £100.


Software subcategoryVideo editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes

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