"Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum software has everything needed to produce spectacular HD movies. Edit video in nearly any format including HDV and AVCHD. Powerful features for video compositing, color correction, and soundtrack creation help you get feature-film results in your home studio. Use the surround sound mixing tools to create 5.1 soundtracks. Choose from hundreds of professional 2D and 3D video effects, titles, and filters. Upload movies to YouTube, burn to Blu-ray Disc, or author DVDs using beautifully designed themes or your own custom menus and graphics. Exclusive Sony Show Me How interactive tutorials help you get started fast."
Every year, like clockwork, Sony releases a new version of Vegas Movie Studio, their attempt at a consumer-focused video editor. I say "attempt" because as much as I keep trying to like Vegas Movie Studio, year after year, I end up throwing up my arms in frustration at the baffling user interface it has. Sony was kind enough to send me Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 last year to review, and after spending a couple of hours using it, I ended up with a bunch of jumbled review notes, and a pretty high level of frustration. I never completed the review, because I just couldn't get into using it..sometimes that happens with reviews, and it's always frustrating when it does (and it makes me look bad as a reviewer). I just couldn't force myself to complete the review.
Here's the thing about the Vegas line of products: they're fast, stable, incredibly well-designed programs. I've never had any of them crash on me, and their output quality is top-notch. But the user interface is just baffling - the basics are more or less easy enough to do, but anything more than that, and you're left scratching your head. Sony bought a company called Sonic Foundry in 2003, and I swear that their user interface hasn't received a significant overhaul since then. It's not like the UI was fantastic in 2003 and couldn't be improved - it remains locked in time, like a caveman frozen in ice. I'd never recommend a Vegas Movie Studio product to a friend of family member - I've recommended it to my peers with the caveat that the UI takes some getting used to. But what kind of a recommendation is that?
I've yet to be impressed by any video editing package on the market today; Adobe Premiere Elements 8 is user-friendly and has some great features, but is plagued by software crashes and sluggish performance even on the most powerful systems. Corel VideoStudio Pro X3 is fast, easy to use, and quite stable - but I have some significant concerns about the output quality of the videos that I haven't been able to resolve. I've looked at CyberLink PowerDirector, which impressed me quite a bit at first, but it lacks custom profile output, so I couldn't use it to create the types of MPEG4/h2.64 videos I wanted. Vegas Movie Studio? See above. I've had several people tell me that Final Cut Express is a great video editing application, and now that I have a Mac Mini (yeah, seriously, I do), I just might have to check that out. Are there any other good video editing packages that I'm missing?
Boy, this turned into a rambling rant! Vegas Movie Studio comes in three flavours: Vegas Movie Studio HD ($44.95 USD), Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum ($94.95 USD), and Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Production Suite ($124.95 USD). I think Sony takes their product naming notes from Microsoft's 2006 handbook. Oh boy, now I'm just being mean.
Writing this post has me wondering if I should upgrade my review copy to the newest version and give it another try...but isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a new result? Anyone want to see me review Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD?