I was on the phone with Sony Creative Software earlier, they got me the update to Vegas Movie Studio 8-Platinum edition for $20 (full price is $130, update price is $60). I asked for a free copy because of the problems of VMS7 had (but most importantly, because some of these problems were eventually fixed on Vegas Pro 7 via 5 subsequent free updates, but there was never an update released for VMS7 even if they share the same source code), and after the helpful tech support guy talked to his manager about my case, eventually we agreed on a $20 purchase — which seems fair. If they wouldn’t give me a deal, I would have returned my copy of VMS7 (which I bought just 2-3 weeks ago).
VMS8 has better performance with HDV and it now supports HDV scene detection. More over, we finally figured out why previewing video is so slow on my (and others’) PCs, even if this is not discussed anywhere in their knowledge base or manual. Apparently, you have to manually increase the “dynamic RAM” setting from the default 255 MBs to about 400 MBs, set the number of threads to exactly the number of CPUs/Hyperthreads/Multi-cores your PC has, and also adjust (again manually) the project properties template to be the same as your footage (e.g. 1080i HDV). All this is needed to be done manually, to get good HDV preview performance out of Vegas. One funny thing is that VMS8 has a new bug now and does not allow the user to increase the “dynamic RAM” under Vista. Thankfully, I run XP. Another new bug found by VMS8 users online, is that the “normalizing” effect only works 10% of the time…
I am also thinking of upgrading my PC’s RAM and buy a second hard drive too this weekend for VMS8 (you need over 1.5 GB of RAM to properly edit HDV, while plain DV is doable with 640 MBs on XP/OSX). We will shoot for 3 GBs of RAM and a 300-500 GB disk. I will also try to get a few filters, HDV tapes and other gear for my camera this weekend. I am looking forward to shoot some more footage.
I also started reading last night my “Vegas 6” book by Douglas Spotted Eagle (yes, this is his real name, he is an American Indian). While the guy knows what he is talking about (especially on the audio side, he won a Grammy for his music a few years back), he has a hard time passing his video editing knowledge to the reader. It reads a bit like messy thoughts put together in a book. Nevertheless, I will continue reading it and hopefully “get” some of what he describes further down the book.