Sony Vegas Tips & Tricks

1. Vegas requires that you have the right project settings, or it will not only be very slow to preview video, but it can mess up the output. So always know what your source video is (e.g. frame rate, frame size, aspect ratio etc) and immediately choose the right project settings upon creating a new project. Choose “progressive scan” in the field order and “interpolation” in the de-interlace method if you prefer to edit and export in a de-interlaced way.

2. It is much faster to encode when you have resized your images before you import them on Vegas. So for example, if your digicam is 10 megapixel, you will have to resize these pictures to the Vegas project size in order to ensure not only the best quality and speed, but also stability (some versions of Vegas have a bug where it eventually runs out of RAM on videos that have too many huge pictures in them). So, first download this batch resizing utility from Microsoft and install it. Then, you must find out the correct size you need to resize your pictures to. For example, if your pictures are 4:3 and your video is NTSC 720×480, then you should resize your pictures at 655×480 because the aspect ratio of NTSC video is 0.9091. For PAL it should be 768×576. These values are good for widescreen templates too. For HDV resize to 1620×1080. However, if you decide to resize in project properties size, that should be fine too (it depends how the video editor treats these images).

3. Use the “Best (Full)” preview quality in order to view how the video will actually be rendered. When using the default “preview (auto)” quality you don’t get to see resampling artifacts or if the de-interlacing is working or not. Use “preview (auto)” quality only when you simply want to quickly and speedy preview your clips. Also recommended is to right click on the preview window and uncheck the “scale video…” option and check the “simulate…” one. This way you get a more accurate view of how the video will look like when rendered out.

4. I found that 60i video converted to 30p looks better when the interlacing method is set to “interpolation” and when you right-click on clips that have horizontal panning and you go to their properties dialog and there you “disable resampling”. Resampling is useful for vertical pannings, but it can mess up the horizontal ones. This is useful also if you are doing stop motion animation work or fast/slow motion: it makes your footage to not have ghosting.

5. When you render out (especially for the PSP) use the “Best” quality in the project properties dialog. It takes longer to encode in “Best” quality, but if you are encoding in “Good” quality only there is a visible loss of quality if you have white text on black background on your video.

6. To preview frame by frame in the preview window use “ALT+arrow keys” left and right. To move a clip left or right by one frame each time in the timeline, make sure the num-lock is ON, and click the “1” or “3” keys on the numeric keypad.

7. It is not obvious how to remove a transition properly and the manual doesn’t mention it. Zoom-in in the transition, select it, right click it and select “transition properties”. From there, select the little “+x” icon next to the questionmark at the top of the dialog. This will remove the transition and won’t “convert to cut”, which has the bad habit of cutting down A/V parts of your clips or “convert to crossfade” that you might or might not want.

8. When capturing HDV video, Vegas has the bad habit of stopping the capturing if you moved your windows focus to another application. To change that, click the “Prefs” button on the “Capture” tab and uncheck the “Stop device on loss of focus”.

9. If you want to do slow motion work, record at 60i at 1/120th shutter speed, even if the rest of your project is 24p or shot on a different shutter speed. Recording as suggested will provide a smoother slow-motion video with Vegas.

10. Exporting for the TV requires an extra step or two for better color precision.

11. If you use Cineform’s own tools to capture/re-encode, Vegas Platinum 8.0 to 8.0c has a bug and won’t recognize the file format (all other versions/editions don’t have the bug). To go around the bug go to C:\Program Files\Sony\Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0\, rename away the “cfhd.dll” file and restart Vegas Platinum 8. Vegas will now use Cineform’s own library instead of Sony’s for that file type and your files will be recognized. Vegas Platinum 8.0d+ has this bug fixed, so upgrade to it.


Rafael wrote on October 29th, 2007 at 12:20 PM PST:

Hello, eugenia!
I´ve found your site when searching for “how to compress flv video in widescreen” and already learn a lot with your advices.

I´ve realized that you use heavily sony vegas. i use premiere cs3, and i´m searching for other editing options. I´m learning grass valley edius but i´ve found a bit dificult to do some simple things like move the video screen.

Resuming: Can you say the pros of vegas?

Thanks a lot!


Rafael wrote on October 29th, 2007 at 4:55 PM PST:

Thanks for the reply.
I´ve installed the last vegas to see if i could resolve a problem that i´m having with a wedding video.

If you point here i´ll see a video edited in premiere.
That´s isn´t my problem. I just wanted to export my little video to flv in a good quality but in ALL ways my video appears pixelated. I even tried 1500kbps bitrate, but the god damn pixels were still there.

Then i found your site, and some explanations about compress flv videos. I´ve installed the lastest vegas and coudn´t install the video coded because when i right-click there is no install option…

Well, i´ve exported in dv widescreen 640×380 and divided by two the video size. didn´t liked the result, but my client wanted to see the video.

Maybe the problem is my SD raw footage, or the poor video conditions, dunno.

Thanks for the advice, and sorry for my bad english! 🙂

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on October 29th, 2007 at 5:06 PM PST:

I can not see the Sabrina/Ricardo video, it does not load on my browser at all.

>couldn´t install the video coded because when i right-click there is no install option…

I really don’t know what you mean by that. Vegas does not support FLV, you need to edit with Vegas, export in Huffyuv and then use FFMpeg as I explain in my tutorial.

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on October 29th, 2007 at 4:25 PM PST:

Vegas today is the choice of the hobby videographer. While pros will use After Effects and such and no-clue newbies will use Ulead, the new generation of “geek” videographers will use Vegas. It just does almost everything as AE/Premiere does, but at half the price. I personally find Vegas easier to use than Premiere. More over, it requires less RAM than Premiere (about 400 MBs less for basic HDV editing).

Vegas has its quirks, but I am sure that Premiere has some too. I have a crash course on Vegas here to get you started with the demo, if you want to try it out. And here how to export FLV flash video from Vegas.

Nick wrote on November 5th, 2007 at 5:51 PM PST:


I shoot with a Z1U and edit with Vegas 7 Platinum edition.

I trying to get the best quality possible for the web.

What is the best way to capture and render HDV (1080 60i) footage for the web? Should I down convert?

Thank you,

This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on November 5th, 2007 at 6:41 PM PST:

If you want to export for youtube, you simply use Vegas’ “PSP full screen 896kbps” template under the “Sony AVC” type. This will create a 480×272 image, which is good for youtube.

If you want to export to Vimeo for HD though, you need to use the WMV type with the 720-30p template.

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